Offering welcome shade from the midday sun, as well as shelter from spots of rain, patio umbrellas and outdoor parasols are the perfect way to create the right ambiance. There is a wide range of decorative and original styles now available, with new mechanical functions that make them easy to use in your garden or beside your pool. Take the functional concept of umbrellas further, and enhance their use into an opportunity for you to make a strong statement of personal style. You can use umbrellas to influence the whole mood of your garden: a bamboo parasol is evocative of the jungle; a Tiki umbrella can take you back to a Hawaii vacation; elegantly decorated parasols exude Eastern splendor. An archetypal umbrella captures the breezy sophistication of cafe tables along the busy Avenue des Champs-Elysées in Paris. Whatever atmosphere you have in mind, there’s an umbrella or parasol for that authentic touch.
1. Aluminum Umbrella from Jardinco – Waikiki Beach
This sophisticated choice, the Waikiki Beach umbrella from Jardinco, comes with a super lightweight aluminum structure and rather fetching style. The shade’s refined pale green colour is easy on the eye, and the slim black post makes for an attractive contrast. The edge of the shade is finished with a delicately scalloped shape. Ideal for those who do need to be sure to stay out of the sun’s powerful rays as the day wears on, the Waikiki Beach umbrella tilts at the top to the ideal angle needed to protect you. A Belgian company, Jardinco prides itself on a long-established reputation. Picked by Trendir from an extensive range of shade products, the Waikiki Beach umbrella is a classic for your patio.
2. Big Ben Umbrella from Caravita – for large areas of shades on terraces
The name says it all: the Big Ben Umbrella from Caravita offers cool shade over a wide area. Superb for when you have a large number of guests, the Big Ben comes with a span width of up to six meters! Ideal for replicating the vibe of busy al fresco restaurants and cafes in your own home, the umbrella is, of course, also suitable for those businesses. The sheer size of this umbrella conjures up the image of people happily and safely enjoying the shelter it provides. Caravita’s quest for innovation means that the Big Ben features new integrated lighting. An optional feature, the lighting is completely out of sight in the shade struts. It provides a bright light so that festivities can continue late into the night. If the night becomes nippy, attachable infrared radiators generate a comfortable heat so that guests can prolong their outdoor experience. Although large in size, the Big Ben umbrella from Caravita is a breeze to open using a crank.
3. Reflexion Parasol from Hartman – round or square
The Reflexion Parasol from Hartman is free arm parasol that would suit a traditional or transitional approach to garden decor. The arm and post are in anthracite which has an attractive, deep hue. The parasol canopy itself is not only available in the light, natural color pictured here, but also in marine, green and grey – colors evocative of the sea that are so effortless to coordinate. With a stretch of 350cm, the Reflexion parasol would be the right size to provide shade for a table, or perhaps you might locate it over a sun lounger to enjoy the heat, but remain sheltered from the sun’s aging rays. Available in a square or round version, the Reflexion Parasol is from Hartman.
4. Bronze Frame Umbrella from Frontgate – classic elegance
If effortless elegance is your priority, the Easy Open Bronze Frame Umbrella from Frontgate is bound to fill you with enthusiasm. The look of the rich bronze finish aluminium frame is classic and substantial, but its operation is totally up to date. The Easy Open umbrella incorporates a counter balanced lift system – you can select the height of the umbrella and the width of its expansion by sliding a knob up or down. The layered appearance of the shade is simple, but gorgeously distinctive. Made from Sunbrella®, the canopy is resistant to environmental damage from the sun or rain, and is painless to clean. Available in three shades; Wheat, Vellum and Brick, the Easy Open Bronze Frame Umbrella is normally $695.00 from Frontgate. The Wheat hued shade is now on sale – a steal at $549.
5. Outdoor Parasols from The Urban Garden – unexpected
Outdoor Parasols from The Urban Garden are unexpected, opulent additions to your garden or patio. Going beyond the practical into a realm of marvels, these whimsical umbrellas are certain to enchant your guests with their exotic airs. Pick a color theme to showcase your outdoor style… or a few, for a wonderful eclectic mix. Why not choose from the Gold Canvas Parasol, just GBP £221, which is lovingly handmade by a family-run business? They use traditional Indonesian designs in gilt paint, and surround the circumference with a tasseled fringe incorporating capiz shells and beads. The Indian parasol, in vibrant sky blue, is likewise ideal to use in clusters at a party, or for a two seater table and costs GBP £109. The pretty aluminium hanging decorations will glint and glimmer in the sun. Also pictured, the Black Narcissus Parasol and the Bridal Garden Parasol (both GBP £195) are stately and mysterious. A creative choice, these umbrellas are presented by The Urban Garden.
6. Tradewinds Tornado Parasol from Global Parasols – for strong winds
The Tradewinds Tornado Parasol from Global Parasols will allow you to stay outside even in adverse weather conditions. It will afford you shelter in strong winds – the 4.2m square size has now been tested to withstand winds up to 115km/h – that’s an incredible wind force 11! You can also optionally fit lights and heaters to make the parasol even cozier and more inviting underneath. The Tradewinds Tornado Parasol also comes in a 2.8m square size, both boasting white Ferrari PVC fabric and a stainless steel base. Global Parasols suggest that the parasol be installed in the ground, using the included ground tubes. This will ensure the parasol may be left open all through the year, whatever the weather. If you need a strong and reliable parasol, the Tradewinds Tornado Parasol from Global Parasols is your best choice.
7. Oversized Parasol by Tuuci – Crescent modern chic
The wide reach of the Tuuci Cresent oversized parasol gives you, and your guests, great coverage from the elements. A parasol suitable for any style of decor, the Crescent is at once a modern classic. The sturdy aluminium constructed parasol comes in your choice of finishes varying from Linen White to Textured Black. Attractive aluminium ‘trillion’ rib ends are highly polished to add a certain chic. The oversize canopy is of high-tension marine fabric construction, and is sure to protect you from summer showers (and storms!). Smart opening and closing systems available include the Auto-Loc Lift™ and Auto-Scope™. A hexagonal shape with a fishtail profile shape, the Crescent Parasol by Tuuci proves that practical elements can be in themselves items of sculptural beauty.
8. Auto Scope Umbrella by Tuuci – Ocean Master with a valance
Just the umbrella you need for relaxing by the sea: the Ocean Master Auto Scope Umbrella by Tuuci. You can have it just how you want it – this umbrella is available is octagon, oval, square, and rectangle shapes, plus many different profile options which can include a valance. It also has a surprisingly wide choice of detailing… the pole comes in an unusual Durateak™ woodgrain construction and the finial tops add a finishing touch in metal or wood in a variety of shapes. The Ocean Master Auto Scope Umbrella uses a gas-piston lifting system which ensures that even larger umbrellas will close above the table level, as the struts move upwards as the umbrella closes. The storm gray pictured here is a wonderfully adaptable color, making the Ocean Master Auto Scope Umbrella by Tuuci a well-dressed choice.
9. Luxury Parasol by Shademakers – the surprisingly adaptable Solano
A superior choice for those who are concerned about getting too much midday sun, but long to stay outdoors to make the most of the summer months, the Solano Parasol is by Shademakers. Worried about the children getting sunburned in the pool? The Solano can be cleverly positioned right over the water. With three different positions and a simple wind-out handle operation, the cantilevered umbrella is surprisingly adaptable. If space is limited, the design allows for maximum shade coverage without the pole limiting movement. In fact, two umbrellas per arm is also an option. With loads of options from clear or colored drop sides, print branding, heat, light and sound, the Solano is truly personalisable. The parasol comes as square or octagonal. A square 4.0m size is GBP £3160.75, 5.0m is £3936.25. The octagonal version has a span of 5.0m and costs £3466.25. The Solano is a fantastic luxury parasol from Shademakers, and a top pick for 2008.
10. Pagoda Parasol by Tuuci – Asian influence in contemporary design
Add a heady dash of exotic locales to your own patio in an instant with the splendid Pagoda Parasol range by Tuuci. The Pagoda parasols come in three variations: Mistral Pagoda, Durateak Pagoda and Ocean Master Pagoda. Reminiscent of Asian experiences, the Mistral Pagoda is entirely of natural hardwood construction. With optional valances and decorative tassels, it cuts an unmistakable profile. The Durateak Pagoda parasol is made of aluminium that resists all corrosion but gives the warm look of wood… ideal for areas that experience rugged weather conditions. Or, if something with the same stylish flair but additional security is needed, the Ocean Master Pagoda is made to withstand strong winds. The skintight fit of the canopy is created by the self-tensioning gas piston system. Tucci Pagoda parasol range blends traditional looks with contemporary construction.
11. Tiki Fiberbuilt Umbrella from Nicamaka – tropics paradise under authentic palm thatch
The disposition of the Tiki Fiberbuilt Umbrella from Nicamaka is totally relaxed, just like the more laid-back way of life you experience on islands. It’s instantly noticeable, making the umbrella a great choice for theme parties. The Tiki umbrella is so much fun you’ll want to keep it as a permanent addition to your garden decor, though! And you can – due to the heavy duty fiberglass ribbed frame and matching Textalene support top to provide support and proper ventilation of the authentic palm thatch covering. The Tiki Fiberbuilt Umbrella provides good cover, built on a 7.5′ diameter frame. It’s also easy to take down for storage. Bring the tropics home with the Tiki Fiberbuilt Umbrella from Nicamaka.
12. Bamboo Umbrella from Habitat – resort style, ecologically sound
Liven up your pool, patio, or resort with the lovely Bamboo Umbrella from Habitat. Reminiscent of Thai vacation style, or the bamboo frame makes it an ecologically sound option. The parasol cover is polyester, and more than sufficient to protect you from an English summer sun. Choose from zingy saffron yellow and fresh olive green hues to add a memorable citrus tang to your garden parties. With a diameter of 260cm, and a height of 230cm, the bamboo is compact enough to combine several for a fun look. An affordable and functional accessory, the Bamboo Umbrella from Habitat is GBP £60 (the base is sold separately).