20 Different Types of Patio Umbrellas and Shade

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Bring shade and coolness to your outdoor living space by choosing the right type of patio umbrella and shade for your patio, deck, garden or backyard.

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Patio umbrellas have a long and regal history which associated them with the royalty, nobility and even the diety. They first existed between 1100 and 1200 BC in the royal courts of China and Egypt. The Egyptians prided a fairer skin, so nobles used the outdoor umbrella to keep from getting tanned.

Royalties all over the world flaunted their status with their parasol’s tiers. A Chinese emperor used to have a four-tiered parasol while the King of Siam was called “the Lord of the 24 parasols.”

In Greece, they carried statues of their gods under the shade of an outdoor umbrella. Even the Roman Catholic pope in the Middle Ages used a parasol called the ceremonial regalia. The Roman Catholic church is believed to have influenced the use of umbrellas and shade across Europe.

The market umbrella became a trend in England between 1685 and 1705 among coffee houses. James Smith and Sons, the first umbrella shop, still stands today in London, England.

A. Types

1. Traditional Table Patio Umbrella

The traditional type of patio umbrella in red an other colours such as brown, blue an dark green. Source: Amazon

Patio umbrellas are very important when you want to be able to go outside to enjoy the afternoon. A good umbrella is going to be able to provide you with ample amounts of shade and will keep you from getting a sunburn. It will also allow you to maintain a good conversation without being distracted by having the sun in your eyes the entire time. If you want to spend time outside in the sun comfortably, then you are going to need a good table patio umbrella.

These traditional table patio umbrellas are very common and you will find them being sold at most major retailers. Typically, these patio table umbrellas will come on an aluminum or wooden pole. This pole will fit right into the middle of the patio table and will provide you with a convenient source of shade. People have been using these patio table umbrellas for many years to great effect.

It is incredibly important that a good patio table umbrella can provide you with enough shade. The utility of these umbrellas is paramount but the aesthetic appeal of the umbrella is also quite important. People want to be able to make sure that their yards look as fantastic as possible. The style really does matter so you will want to pick out the patio table umbrella that has the most appealing look to your sensibilities.

Picking out an umbrella should be a simple task with so many options being available on the market. You will be able to find a patio table umbrella that will appeal to you no matter what your design choices are. You will be able to find something that is wild and crazy just as easily as you will find something that is subdued or elegant. It’s just important to take the time to find the patio table umbrella that will make you happy as you will be getting a lot of use out of it during the hottest months of the year.

2. Offset Patio Umbrella

An offset patio umbrella in a Tan shade.Source: Wayfair

Some people prefer to have their patio umbrellas be a little offset from their seating arrangements. These types of patio umbrellas can be very visually appealing and they provide a completely different look from the traditional patio table umbrellas. Usually, these umbrellas will feature a very large support base that will sit somewhere near your seating area. The design of this umbrella has the umbrella itself sitting on the side of the base rather than right in the middle.

This is perfect when you want to have an umbrella to protect you from the sun and give you a little shade on your patio. Generally speaking, these umbrellas are very large and can provide ample amounts of shade. Being able to make use of these umbrellas will help your patio environment to feel that much more appealing. You won’t have to relegate your patio activities to a specific patio table as you can make use of a variety of furniture options on your patio with this type of an umbrella setup.

People enjoy pairing these offset umbrellas with more intricate patio furniture. It looks great with a set of wicker outdoor furniture and an accompanying tea table. You will be able to host parties and small gatherings without having to worry about the sun. You also won’t have to sacrifice your personal sense of style to get the shade that you need so this is certainly a worthwhile option to consider.

3. Tilting Umbrella

A beige, tilting patio umbrella made out of polyester fabric.Source: Hayneedle

The sun isn’t always right where you want it to be. Sometimes you will find that the sun moves to an inconvenient spot and your patio table umbrella might not be able to properly shield your eyes from the powerful rays of the sun. In these situations, you would really be benefited by having an umbrella that could move into a more convenient position. This was the thought process that went into the creation of the tilting umbrella.

As the name implies, this umbrella is capable of tilting. You can maneuver this umbrella into a more convenient position to provide yourself some shade where it is needed the most. People love using these umbrellas to block the sun in just the right spot. This can really make spending time outside during the summer months far more comfortable than it would be otherwise.

Using this umbrella is going to be very convenient. It isn’t difficult to tilt the umbrella the way that you want it to go. It can also be placed in a normal upright position just the same as your normal patio table umbrella. Having an umbrella with the ability to tilt is only going to give you more options for blocking the sun and keeping your skin safe from harm. This is something that you will want to own if you are going to be spending ample amounts of time outdoors during the summer months.

4. Tiki Umbrellas

Tan Tiki Umbrella with an Aluminum pole. Source: Amazon

There are a large number of people who have created tiki-themed patio environments for themselves. There is something that is just so appealing about a tiki bar and for many people, it is synonymous with good times in the summer. If you enjoy the style of island-themed décor, then you are going to love owning a tiki umbrella. People use these umbrellas to help them lounge in the shade during the hottest months of the year.

The tiki umbrella itself is made to resemble grass and it looks really nice overall. You will be able to create the perfect look for your island-themed patio environment if you purchase a couple of these umbrellas. They are good at providing shade and look really visually appealing. The umbrellas are going to draw people’s eyes to the area and they will help to create that sense of summer fun that you are going for.

People enjoy using these umbrellas at the beach as well. If you are taking your tiki umbrella to the beach, then you won’t even need to have a stand for it. You can simply stick the umbrella in the sand and it will be good to go. The umbrella will give you the right amount of shade and you will feel very satisfied out in the sun.

For those who are using these umbrellas at their homes in their patio areas, it is important to buy a good base for it. Some tiki umbrellas may come with a base but if the one you decide to purchase does not, any 50-pound stand base will work nicely. If the weather is particularly windy where you live, then you may want to purchase an even heavier base but it would have to be pretty windy to move a 50-pound base around.

5. Patio Umbrella with LED Lights

Brown patio umbrella with LED lights.Source: Wayfair

It is possible to buy a patio umbrella that has LED lights attached to it. This has proven to be incredibly popular in recent years because it really adds a lot of utility to the umbrella itself. You can use the umbrella to keep the party going well into the evening when you have a fun light source attached to it. These LED lights can be changed to different colors in many cases as well, giving you the option to create a very unique party atmosphere.

Of course, the fact that an umbrella has LED lights isn’t going to make it any better at providing you with shade. This is essentially just a normal patio table umbrella or tilting umbrella that has LED lights on the underside. Regardless, you should be able to see the brilliance in having this sort of feature. People love being able to sit out on their patios during a cool summer evening and being able to create the right kind of ambiance with LED lights is really nice.

You can enjoy having fun on your patio in the evenings, even more, when you have an umbrella with LED lights attached to it. It will allow you to enjoy your time outside without having to turn on an incredibly bright light. This keeps the atmosphere just right for fun conversation at relaxed summer parties. It’s very easy to make use of this type of an umbrella so seek one out if it appeals to you.

6. Sail Umbrellas

Sail patio cover with a triangular shape. Source: Amazon

If you want to have a truly unique umbrella on your patio, then you could choose to purchase a sail umbrella. These have their own brand of visual appeal as they are so visually distinct from other types of patio umbrellas. There are even those who don’t consider them to be patio umbrellas. Whatever your thoughts about them are, they certainly can provide ample amounts of shade and they are very convenient as well.

You don’t have to purchase a stand or anything such as that when you are using sail umbrellas. You simply need to secure these to some sort of structure and stretch them out accordingly. You see, these sail umbrellas have a tri-cornered design and this makes them simple to tie up to just about anything. You can tie this type of umbrella between two trees to provide you with some shade if you would like.

Most people hang them off of their houses and stretch them out across the patio. Purchasing multiple sail umbrellas can provide all of the shade that you could possibly need in your backyard or patio environment. If you are the type who is worried about the visual appeal of your patio area, then you will be happy to know that these sail umbrellas are available in a wide variety of different styles as well. It shouldn’t be difficult to find a sail umbrella that will appeal to you and will match up well with the look that you’re going for.

It’s also worth noting that many people decide to hang these sail umbrellas over their pools. This is a very convenient way to get the shade that you need to avoid getting a sunburn. You will be able to spend more time out in your pool without having to worry so much about the harmful rays of the sun when you have these sail umbrellas to rely on. They’re great for patios and just about anywhere else in your yard where you might need a bit of shade.

7. Awning

A green, retractable awning with a durable aluminum construction.Source: Hayneedle

If you would prefer to have an awning, then you should know that it will create a lot of shade for you. For some people, an awning is going to be a more practical source of shade in the summer months. If you want to purchase an awning, then you don’t have to feel intimidated about installing it. You can purchase an awning at a very affordable price and will be able to install it without any issues.

An awning will attach to the side of your house near your patio. This is something that just about anyone can install easily. There are awnings that you can purchase that include all of the tools you will need to install them properly. Even the ones that don’t come with tools are very easy to understand and feature simple instructions.

Awnings will be able to provide more shade than your average umbrella would be able to. If you want to make it so that your entire patio is able to be protected from the sun, then purchasing an awning is very sensible. It will allow you to enjoy your patio area more readily even when the sun is beaming. It can be a very worthwhile purchase for those who love spending time outdoors.

8. Trees

Ready-to-plant Willow Trees that provide a beautiful shade. Source: Amazon

It is also important to mention that you can choose to provide your patio area with shade in a more natural fashion. If you are a fan of plants and trees, then you might want to consider planting a large tree that can provide your patio with ample amounts of shade for years to come. Trees can add a lot of beauty to any area of your yard and when you put one close enough to your patio, it will be able to give you a lot of shade.

Being able to enjoy the sight of the tree’s leaves blowing in the wind is something that is synonymous with summer for many people. Umbrellas and awnings are very useful and you may want to use them in conjunction with natural sources of shade. Planting a new tree or purchasing an adult tree that can be immediately placed where you want it could be the perfect solution for you.

B. Styles

1. Solar Umbrellas

Dark Green, solar-powered patio umbrella with LED lights. Source: Amazon

You can find LED light umbrellas that are solar-powered. These are perfect for enjoying cooler summer evenings out on your patio. The umbrella soaks up the sun all day long and uses that energy to power the lights in the evening. Using this type of umbrella is very environmentally friendly and you will love how nice it looks on your patio.

2. Tilted Offset Umbrella

A large, tilted patio umbrella in a fresh beige tone.Source: Wayfair

Those who really like offset umbrellas will be happy to hear that you can purchase versions of them that can be tilted. This is very convenient when you want to be able to put your umbrella at just the right angle to block out the sun. These offset umbrellas are already very convenient with the ability to place them anywhere around your patio set but with the added functionality of tilting, it brings even more to the table. Keep the sun out of your eyes no matter where the sun is located by purchasing this convenient umbrella.

3. Double-Top Offset Patio Umbrella

An double-top offset patio umbrella in a maroon shade. Source: Amazon

Offset patio umbrellas are definitely very visually appealing. You can add even more to the striking looks of these umbrellas when you add on the double top. These look really interesting and are sure to draw a lot of attention to your patio area. As you would expect, these umbrellas are available in many different colors as well so finding the perfect option to fit your patio area shouldn’t be difficult.

4. Large Square Umbrella

A large, square-shaped patio umbrella in deep blue.Source: Wayfair

When you want to have ample amounts of shade on your patio, it can be very beneficial to purchase a large square umbrella. Most of these types of umbrellas fall under the offset umbrella category but the large square umbrellas are distinct for providing the most shade possible. These umbrellas are excellent when you have a large family and want to make sure that everyone has a good spot in the shade. Setting the umbrella up is simple and you will love the overall look of it as well.

5. Flat Rectangular Umbrella

A flat and rectangular-shaped patio umbrella.Source: Wayfair

Another interesting umbrella style is the flat rectangular umbrella. Whereas most umbrellas have a peak, this type of umbrella is completely flat. It extends out as far as it can to provide the most shade possible. You can purchase this style of an umbrella with a variety of different fabric colors so it will be able to fit right in no matter what your sense of style is.

6. Motorized Awning

A motorized awning with a classic finish,Source: Hayneedle

You can buy an awning that is motorized for your convenience. This makes using your awning more simple than ever before. You will be able to simply press a button and watch as your awning retracts itself. This gives you the option of having ample shade or taking the awning away when you want to get some direct sunlight.

C. Materials

1. Canvas

Gray patio umbrella with a durable canvas. Source: Amazon

Canvas has been used to make durable and weather-resistant umbrellas for many years. These umbrellas are very high-quality and will be able to be used for a long time. You can even find replacement canvas umbrellas being sold without the ribs and pole for those who want to put one on an existing frame. Canvas is one of the most common materials used when making patio umbrellas for a good reason.

2. Polyester

Burgundy patio umbrella made out of polyester. Source: Amazon

Many umbrellas are made out of polyester. Polyester is very resistant to mildew and this makes it perfect for umbrellas. It won’t matter when your umbrella gets wet if it is made out of a material that is going to resist mildew and mold. You will find many different styles of polyester umbrellas that you will love making use of on your property.

3. Aluminum

Fresh-looking, aluminum patio umbrella in turquoise. Source: Amazon

Lots of umbrellas have aluminum bases. These aluminum bases are very rigid and sturdy. They will stand up to regular use and will be able to stand the test of time for you. When you have a good pole for your umbrella, you will be able to feel confident that it is going to work well for your purposes for a long time to come.

4. Wood

Yellow patio umbrella with a wooden base and skeleton.Source: Wayfair

Those who want a more natural look for their patio umbrellas are going to gravitate towards wood options. If you are creating an island-themed patio environment, then a wooden umbrella pole is going to make a lot of sense. You will find many types of umbrellas that use wood in their design and they all look very beautiful. The wood is very high-quality and will stand up to regular use well.

5. Steel

A retractable awning in cream with a steel construction.Source: Hayneedle

Some umbrella poles will be made of steel in order to be incredibly durable. You will also find many awnings that use steel parts in their construction. Awnings in particular need to be very sturdy in order to be used properly over the years. Steel parts allow them to be used many times without having any problems with wearing down.

6. Fiberglass

Aqua blue patio umbrella with a fiberglass tip. Source: Amazon

You will also find several types of umbrellas that use fiberglass as the primary material. Fiberglass looks really nice and it can be very durable. It is also lightweight, which is perfect when you want to be able to carry a patio umbrella where you need it to be. You’ll find that fiberglass patio umbrellas are very common and are also quite popular due to their ease of use.





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