Why should I invest in a garden parasol?

Perfect for providing cooling shade, a standard garden parasol, also called a garden umbrella or parasol umbrella, can be used on its own (freestanding with a base) or fixed to a table. You’ll find that most garden tables have a ready-made hole in the center to support a standard parasol.

The most basic garden parasol will offer a simple ‘open and close’ mechanism, which essentially only offers overhead coverage – it’s great during the hottest parts of the day, but when the sun appears lower in the sky, not so much. However, more garden parasol designs now include a ‘crank and tilt’ function, which enables you to adjust the parasol for better protection from the sun.

A garden parasol also works for a balcony a half parasol is ideal as it won’t take up too much space but will still give you all the benefits, and you can fix it against the wall.

Most parasols will be constructed from coated aluminium and/or a powder-coated steel frame. Aluminium is a popular choice as it’s lightweight, durable and rust-resistant. There’s also fibreglass, an extremely versatile material which won’t corrode and provides exceptionally strong resistance, even better than steel. Meanwhile, wooden parasols offer a timeless, natural look and can be quite expensive, especially those made from hardwoods such as teak, eucalyptus and bamboo.

In terms of the canopy, polyester is the most common material; it’s inexpensive, showerproof and UV resistant, but an acrylic canopy has it’s benefits too; it’s stain-resistant, water-repellent and mould-resistant. The latter tends to be more expensive so weigh up what is best for you. Remember, for a garden parasol that offers protection against the sun’s UV rays, look out for a UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) rating of 50+.

Parasols are often circular, square, rectangular or octagonal, and styles and colours can vary too, from traditional black and white, to popular neutrals like beige and grey, and vibrant colours from green to orange to pink. There are also more decorative designs on the market to create real wow factor outdoors.

Finally, do bear in mind that not all garden parasols come with a parasol base; you may need to buy it separately so take this into consideration if you’re on a budget.