Skip to content

Tips When Shopping for an Outdoor Patio Umbrella

By Axis Fuksman-Kumpa April 17, 2023


Not all umbrellas are created equal! Luckily there are a large range of umbrellas out there in different sizes, styles, colors and price points. However, sometimes too many options can become overwhelming - and that's where we can help.

We chatted with our design team to hear some of their top tips when shopping for an outdoor umbrella - check them out so you can shop confidently!

Patio Umbrella Considerations

There are many different kinds of umbrellas so when purchasing one, you'll want to consider which style umbrella is right for your yard. Here are some key considerations:

Evalutating Your Space

First, it’s important to evaluate your space, the use of your space and the traffic through your space. Do you have room for a stand alone umbrella or should you look for a table that allows for an integrated patio umbrella? A good rule is to allow for 3’ around the umbrella to circulate.

Think about placement first and aesthetic second. Make sure the umbrella will achieve the desired sun blocking without impinging on views and movement around the area. This is especially critical if the umbrella will be a more permanent fixture and therefore harder to move.

Umbrella Aesthetics

For aesthetics you need to ask yourself if you want the umbrella to blend in with the landscape or pop with a vibrant color. If you want your umbrella to meld in the natural setting, think neutral colors like white, grey, and beige or even subtle greens and blues. If you want your umbrella to make a statement check out umbrellas in a vibrant color or even a pattern.

There are so many different style umbrellas - one to match any backyard trends. From vintage stripes to bold colors, fun patterns to sophisticated Sunbrella fabric options - there truly is something for everyone. If you're feeling overwhelmed, try creating a Pinterest board to help narrow down your favorites or see if there is a consistent trend in what you like!

polyester canopy over outdoor dining table

Choosing the Umbrella Fabric

There are different fabrics for the canopy of your umbrella.

  1. Sunbrella is often regarded as the premier outdoor fabric. Sunbrella is an acrylic fabric that is durable and long lasting! It’s an investment, but worth it for a long life span.
  2. A polyester canopy is a synthetic fabric that is lightweight, durable, and water-resistant. It is a popular choice for affordable patio umbrellas.
  3. Olefin is another synthetic fabric that is lightweight and durable, but also more fade-resistant and breathable than polyester.
  4. Acrylic fabric is a soft, breathable fabric that is resistant to mildew, fading, and water damage. It is often used for high-end patio umbrellas.
  5. Vinyl is a durable and water-resistant material that is often used for commercial-grade umbrellas.
  6. Canvas is a heavy-duty fabric that is strong, water-resistant, and often used for large outdoor umbrellas.

It's important to try to find an umbrella canopy with the color as part of the material and not dyed, this will help retain the color in outdoor conditions.

Look for an UV resistant fabric since your umbrella will be in the sun constantly. A UV resistant fabric will help extend its lifespan and ensure the canopy color doesn't quickly fade.

When your umbrella isn’t in use, it’s a great idea to store it. Either bring it in a garage or find an umbrella cover for the material and the stand - this will protect it from the elements, falling pollen, wind and help it last much longer.

The Umbrella Rod & Base

Materials depend some on where you live and what you want to spend. It's important to consider the weight of the umbrella base when choosing one for your outdoor space. A heavier base will provide greater stability and be less likely to tip over in strong winds or inclement weather.For example when it comes to the stand:

Cast Iron and Powder Coated Metal

This type of stand is very durable, but may rust in high humidity areas. They are often have a decorative look to them and can typically support larger umbrellas.


Plastic is very common and won’t rust won’t crack, but it’s not always the highest quality look. It also may not be able to support a very large umbrella.


As a stand this material is very durable and won't rust. A concrete umbrella base can be more expensive than other types of umbrella bases, such as plastic or metal. However, the cost can vary depending on the size, weight, and design of the base.


Wood umbrella stands are often made from teak, cedar, or other outdoor-grade woods. They can add a natural, rustic touch to outdoor decor but may require regular maintenance to prevent rot or damage.


Wicker or rattan umbrella stands are made from natural materials and can add a stylish, bohemian touch to outdoor spaces. They are lightweight and easy to move around but may not be as durable as other materials or able to support a large umbrella - especially on a windy day.

So do a little research and then make a decision that fits your lifestyle and budget best.

Think About Your Budget

Consider your budget when selecting a patio umbrella. While there are many high-end options available, there are also budget friendly umbrella options that provide excellent quality and durability.

classic looking umbrella with a push button tilt mechanism

As you begin to set up your backyard space there are many choices. Here are some common questions people have around which type of patio umbrella will work best in their space.

Cantilever Umbrella versus Traditional Umbrella?

Cantilever umbrellas are large, but cover a lot of space for ample shade. They can typically pivot, but are usually more expensive and require more room. You'll also have to make sure the base is substantial and won't tip with the weight of the umbrella canopy.

Traditional umbrellas can be integrated into furniture and moved around easily. There are many options available and you can find them at many different price points. Because they are lighter they can be more unstable in the wind and elements.

Crank Lift System versus Push Button Tilt?

Crank lifts tend to be a little smoother then a push button tilt system, but also take more time to open and close. Both options are widely on the market and it really depends on the quality of the umbrella. Tilt umbrella options are also really useful because you can tilt their position to block the sun.

outdoor umbrella with sunbrella canopy fabric over outdoor tables

Is a lighted patio umbrella worth it?

There are great lighted patio umbrella options that have lights under the canopy. These are great for evening dinners and extending an event once the sun goes down. Many of these are solar lights meaning they charge all day and then work in the evening.

What's a market umbrella?

The term market umbrella comes up frequently these days. There is really no difference between a market umbrella and a patio umbrella and the terms can be used interchangeably.

A market umbrella is typically a smaller, more portable umbrella that is often used at outdoor markets, street fairs, and other events. They are usually made from lightweight materials such as wood or aluminum. Market umbrellas are collapsible and easy to move, making them a popular choice for outdoor vendors and event planners.

On the other hand, a patio umbrella is typically larger than a market umbrella. Patio umbrellas are designed to provide shade for outdoor seating areas such as patios, decks, and poolside lounges. They may be mounted on a stand, attached to a table, or even permanently fixed to the ground. Patio umbrellas are often made from heavier materials such as metal or wood, and may have features such as tilting or rotating canopies to adjust the shade as the sun moves.

What's the best large patio umbrella?

There are many high-quality large patio umbrellas available on the market, so the best one for you will depend on your specific needs and preferences. However, in reading different reviews by media, customers and experts, here are a few top rated options on the market.

  1. Abba Patio Outdoor Patio Umbrella: This 11-foot umbrella features a vented canopy to allow for air circulation and reduce wind damage, and is made from fade-resistant, waterproof polyester fabric. It also comes with a crank lift and tilt function for easy adjustment.
  2. Sunnyglade 10' Outdoor Patio Umbrella: This 10-foot umbrella has a double vented canopy to allow for airflow and is made from waterproof, UV-resistant polyester fabric. It features a crank lift system and comes in a variety of colors to match your outdoor decor.
  3. Island Umbrella Santiago 10' Cantilever Umbrella: This 10-foot cantilever umbrella has a powder-coated aluminum frame and a vented canopy made from Sunbrella fabric, which is known for its durability and resistance to fading and mildew. It also features an easy-to-use crank lift and tilt function, as well as a cross-base that can be weighted down for added stability.
  4. Best Choice Products 15x9ft Large Double-Sided Rectangular Outdoor Market Style Umbrella: This oversized rectangular umbrella features a double-sided canopy for maximum shade coverage, and is made from waterproof, UV-resistant polyester fabric. It has a sturdy metal frame and comes with a crank lift system for easy adjustment.

Remember to also consider factors such as the size and shape of your outdoor space, the level of wind exposure, and your overall style and decor when choosing a large patio umbrella.

cantilever patio umbrellas over a patio table with an aluminum frame
cantilever umbrella on a patio next to a pool and patio decor
outdoor patio umbrellas over a seating area with lounge chairs
solar powered led lights on a black outdoor patio umbrella
patio umbrella canopy in blue with solar powered led lights
outdoor crank patio umbrella
outdoor crank patio umbrella
scalloped patio umbrella
striped patio umbrella with wicker patio furniture
best patio umbrellas, an orange umbrella with a black patio umbrella base on a wood deck
best patio umbrellas tiered green canopy fabric
double cantilever patio umbrella with solar led lighted patio

About Tilly

Tilly’s easy online landscape design process has been embraced by homeowners across the country and in Canada. From Texas, Florida, Colorado to Illinois - we have a team for you! Tilly designs front yards, backyard or your entire property. We match you with a professional landscape designer who is familiar with your region to help you create the perfect custom plan for your outdoor space. 

To start our process you’ll fill out a questionnaire about your property that helps our design team understand your goals, needs and existing landscape. You can add 3d renders, lighting plans or side yards to your design package. You’ll then connect with your designer on a video call to meet them, show them your space and talk about your priorities.

When you receive your design you will be able to purchase your plants at a discounted rate through our team of plant experts and have them delivered directly to your curb. Tilly can also provide recommendations of local installers who can help you complete your landscape project.

Wherever you are in your yard journey, we can help!

Read more about: Tips