To make the most of sun-drenched back yards during the long, days of summer, a patio umbrella offers cooling shade plus a chance to add a dose of décor to outdoor living spaces.
This holiday weekend — when customers can find great deals on outdoor furniture — is the perfect time to shop for this useful accent.
Styles range from affordable simple 6-foot canopies that sit atop wood poles to luxurious 11-foot shades with bases of sturdy yet lightweight powder-coated aluminum. Fabrics include cotton canvas and long-lasting man-made acrylics. Look for materials such as Sunbrella that are stain-resistant and resist fading from sun and rain.
The versatile umbrella can define a space by shading a dining table and chairs or a seating area. Or they can add a pop of color to a boring yard with a vibrant pattern.
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For an exotic look, Pier 1 offers the Asian-inspired Pagoda Umbrella ($179.99), with a tiered canopy of turquoise, yellow, white and red. At Crate & Barrel, a vintage Appelsiini pattern designed in 1950 by Marimekko designer Maija Isola adorns a variety of styles and sizes. Colors include a cheery lime and a vibrant orange and red.
Shoppers may choose the basic umbrella design, which fits through the opening of a table and into a base below. One of the pluses of this traditional style is portability: Just collapse the canopy and store it.
But one of the most versatile styles is the side-mount design, which can be placed alongside a table instead of through the middle. At luxury outdoor retailer Frontgate, the European Side-mount umbrella ($799) features an 11-foot canopy that tilts and pivots 360 degrees, so it can be adjusted through the day as the sun makes its way across the sky.