Umbrellas 101: Everything You Need To Know

Whether you’re looking for extra shade or a pop of color in your outdoor space, there’s more to choosing an umbrella than meets the eye. And while it’s easy to choose the canopy fabric, there’s a technical side to finding the patio umbrella that suits your needs. Read on for all the information you need to find the right one for your space.


First things first: Is your umbrella going to be freestanding or at the center of an outdoor table? If the latter, you’ll need a center pole umbrella. If your table doesn’t come equipped with a center cut hole, or you’re looking to shade a lounge area, you can assess the amount of shade you need and use either a freestanding side mount (for more shade coverage) or a center pole umbrella with a base set near the seating (for less shade coverage). Our side mount cantilever umbrellas offer extra versatility as they swivel and tilt, so you can chase the shade with the turn of a knob or slide of a lever.

Center poles

With over 70 fabric options and six pole finishes – teak, faux-wood EnduraTeak, silver, black, white & bronze – our market umbrellas offer shade and style. And if you’re looking to make a statement, our designer umbrellas feature unique embellishments like handpainted designs, fringe and more. No matter which center pole umbrella you choose, confirm your table’s hole measures greater than 2 inches wide to accommodate the pole.

outdoor café umbrellas

Resort stripe umbrella




Side Mounts

With a larger scale, side mount umbrellas are an excellent choice for their versatility in covering both dining and lounge areas. They also help anchor a space as their reach can clearly define a specific area on large patios.


rectangular Altura umbrella




To prevent tipping, it is essential you properly secure your umbrella. It’s important to note that even if your dining table has a hole for the umbrella, you’ll need the extra reinforcement of a base to stabilize it. Our side mount umbrellas include a base – carefully read their safety instructions as some may require separate pavers or sand to be fully stabilized.

Center pole bases

Belmont 50-lb. Umbrella Base

A classic look that blends with most styles and works with umbrellas up to 9 feet in diameter. Requires 8-1/4 inches between the ground and stretcher to fit under table.

Slim Profile 35-lb. Umbrella Base

Sleek and flat to the ground, these low bases typically fit under tables with low stretchers. Works with umbrellas up to 9 feet in diameter. Requires 6 inches between the ground and stretcher to fit under table.

Smooth Base

Exceptionally sturdy and specially made to accommodate up to 11 foot diameter umbrellas. Requires 8-3/4 inches between the ground and stretcher to fit under table.

Ribbed Wheeled Base

If you’ll be moving your umbrella throughout your space, you’ll appreciate the mobility this base offers. Works with umbrellas up to 11 feet in diameter. Requires 10-1/2 inches between the ground and stretcher to fit under table.

Center pole tables

If you don’t yet have a table for your umbrella, consider one made specifically to house an umbrella. Our umbrella tables are manufactured to secure umbrellas with 2-inch poles and canopy widths up to 9 feet in diameter. It’s important to follow each table’s assembly instructions, as many require sand to properly weight the umbrella and prevent tipping.


At this point, you’re probably excited to choose a canopy fabric, but there are some important functional choices you’ll also need to consider. With a variety of frame options to choose from for designer and market umbrellas, like teak, silver and bronze, you’ll easily find one that suits your decor. And no matter which you choose, you can rest assured it will hold up as all our umbrellas are crafted to resist weathering and rusting. They are also easy to open, close and tilt with hand cranking or lever mechanisms. Market and designer umbrellas with teak frames feature a simple pulley system to open and close.


It’s ideal to have a canopy 2 feet wider than the diameter of the space you’d like to cover. To give you an idea of what that might be, here are a few common diameter preferences for key areas: 7 1/2 foot umbrellas are best for dining tables seating two to four people and small scale chaise or chat seating areas; 9- to 11-foot umbrellas cover tables seating six, most chaises and modular seating areas (with a slight offset of shade); 11 foot and up work best for large tables seating eight or more or seating areas where you want full shade coverage.


Most of our umbrellas are made with 100% Sunbrella solution-dyed acrylic fabric that resists fading, stains, mold and mildew. To extend its life and as a safety precaution against tipping, always close your umbrella when not in use. Spot clean with mild soap and water as necessary and place in a protective cover when out of use for an extended period of time. And should you want to change the look of your umbrella in a later season, replacement canopies are available in a variety of colors.