What Size Patio Umbrella Do I Need?

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A patio umbrella is the perfect addition to any outdoor area.  It not only provides protection from the weather, it also makes a stylish feature for your property. 

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Choosing the right size patio umbrella for your pool deck or outdoor table is crucial.  If it’s too big it will overwhelm the area and look out of proportion.  If it’s too small it simply won’t get the job done.  So before you make a purchase, take another look at the area where your patio umbrella will be going and the furniture you’re using it with.  Do some quick measurements and ask yourself what size patio umbrella do I need?

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Consider The Whole Patio Area

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When you’re looking at outdoor umbrella sizes, there are a few important things to consider.

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The overall space you’re putting the umbrella in is the first thing to think about.  How much area do you have and how much of it do you want covered by an outdoor umbrella? 

If you have a reasonably small area you might decide to cover as much of it as possible with an umbrella, but if you have a larger size zone, you may want only a smaller section undercover.  Perhaps you just want a cover over the eating area or maybe you’d like some shade where the kids like to play.  Maybe two smaller umbrellas would work better functionally than one larger one, eg. for pool deck umbrellas to shade sun lounges.  Think about the style of umbrella you would like, cantilever umbrellas can be a great option with the offset base, giving you uninterrupted shade below the canopy, just be sure you have room to sit the base.

Make a decision on these things before you start shopping!

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Shading An Outdoor Table

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When it comes to patio umbrella sizes, the size and shape of your outdoor table is very important.  Many people like an outdoor umbrella to fully cover all their guests while they’re sitting at the table and this is a great idea. 

In the heat of summer, eating or drinking under the cover of an umbrella is a much more comfortable option.  Most people choose a patio umbrella that’s the same shape as their table and this is always more pleasing to the eye.  A round umbrella can look awkward with a rectangle table and square umbrella looks odd with a round table.  Sizing is the most important thing though. 

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Don’t be too tight with outdoor umbrella sizes! 

Ideally you want your umbrella to be two feet (or 61cm) longer than your table on each side.  

For example, if your square table is five feet long, get an umbrella that’s at least nine feet long. With the standard umbrella sizes available it would be recommended to go up to the next standard size rather than going down.  For example, it might be difficult to find an 8ft umbrella for a 48″ table so it would be best to go up to the 9 ft umbrella. 

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Use the following figures as a guide to the minimum patio umbrella sizes you need to make sure your table is fully covered.

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Round Table
Table SizeSeatingRound Umbrella Size
36"2 - 4 person7 - 8ft
42"4 person7.5 - 8.5ft
48"4 - 6 person8 - 9ft
54"6 person8.5 - 9.5ft
60"6 - 8 person9 - 10ft
72"8 - 10 person10 - 11ft
84"10 person11 - 12ft
Square Table
Table SizeSeatingSquare Umbrella Size
36" x 36"4 person7ft x 7ft
48" x 48"4 - 6 person8ft x 8ft
60" x 60"4 - 6person9ft x 9ft
72" x 72"8 - 10 person10ft x 10ft
96" x 96"8 - 12 person12ft x 12ft
Rectangular Table
Table SizeSeatingRectangular Umbrella Size
30" x 42"2 person7ft x 8ft
30" x 60"4 - 6 person7ft x 9ft
36" x 72"6 - 8 person7ft x 10ft
42" x 96"8 - 10 person8ft x 12ft
54" x 120"10 - 12 person9ft x 14ft
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Ideal for a large round outdoor table seating 8 – 10 guests

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Shading An Outdoor Lounge Setting

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An outdoor umbrella over a lounge setting has become a popular option for many homeowners.  You want to enjoy your seating area at all times of the day, so protection from the sun is important. 

Outdoor umbrella sizes for a seating area are a bit more complicated than simply measuring a table though, so do your homework before you start shopping for a patio umbrella. 

Measure the whole lounge setting area, not just the size of an individual piece of furniture.  Think of it as more of a “zone”.

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You need to include the whole area where people are coming together – the lounge, any other seating, the smaller table – even an area with rugs and floor cushions if you have it!  Step back and look at your whole lounging area before you get the tape measure out. 

When you’re choosing patio umbrella sizes for your lounge area, be as generous as you can.  The larger the umbrella, the more of your zone will be covered.  You won’t regret going too big but you might regret ordering an umbrella that’s too small for your lounging area.

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What size patio umbrella do I need?

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Choosing the right outdoor umbrella size for your backyard can be tricky.  You’ll need to think carefully about what area you want covered and take accurate measurements.  Perhaps two smaller umbrellas may be more beneficial than one larger one?

Consider the whole outdoor area first so your umbrella doesn’t dominate the entire zone. 

If you have an outdoor table you want covered, take special note of its shape and size and choose an umbrella with at least two feet extra on each side. 

If you’re purchasing an umbrella for a lounge area, consider the whole lounging zone and try to cover as much of it as possible.  Remember if you are choosing a cantilever umbrella to allow space for the base and pole and think about where they would be best postioned.  It is generally advisable to have the pole facing the sunset to provide the best afternoon shade.

By taking some time to ask the question “what size patio umbrella do I need?”, you’ll be more likely to make the right choice and ensure all your guests are fully covered and get to enjoy your outdoor area as much as possible.

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Find the best cantileve umbrella to shade your outdoor space

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A great choice for your pool deck or to shade the pool itself

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