Eight of the best garden parasols and bases for summer

Fatboy Stripe Parasol with Base - BBC Gardeners' World magazine

Nothing says summer like lazy afternoons in the garden. To help keep you cool and shaded beneath the sun’s rays, why not add a practical and stylish umbrella to your outdoor space?

The right garden parasol could be the finishing touch to your garden seating ideas or perfect the relaxed ambience created by the best deck chairs, so we’ve compiled a collection of bold, sophisticated, bohemian and statement-making garden parasols, to help you make the right choice for your space.

Some are designed specifically as a garden table umbrella, others are leaning, freestanding or come with their own garden parasol base.

Whatever your style and practical needs, there’s a garden parasol to help you stay safe in the shade this summer. And, if you’re kitting out a patio or deck, check our guides to the best garden rugs and best garden hammocks, deck chairs, and hanging egg chairs.

What are the types of parasols?

  • Upright – the standard parasol design, an umbrella standing straight up. These tend to be the cheapest and most decorative parasols, though their protection is limited to whenever the sun is directly overhead.
  • Tilting – a parasol with a tilt in the neck, to be angled against the sun for extra shade. However, this means they tend to be more expensive than upright parasols, and they could be blown over if the wind catches them on the angled side.
  • Cantilever – a parasol where the pole stands off to one side, and the canopy is suspended from a long beam. While this frees up floor space, they’re a lot more susceptible to falling down in high winds.
  • Sail – a simple way to create shade in the garden by hanging a fabric sail from walls, poles, fences and trees. Great for small gardens.

Which type of parasol should I get?

Compact and easily stored, upright parasols are a good choice in a small garden. Bigger gardens and social spaces would benefit from a cantilever parasol, as they tend to be larger. For any garden with long hours of sunlight – south-facing gardens, or exposed gardens without a lot of foliage – try the extra shade afforded by a tilting parasol.

What’s the best colour for a garden parasol?

Ultimately, choice of colour is entirely your choice, however there are some design-related considerations that might be helpful: If you want to create a vibrant space, opt for warm shades of red, yellow and orange, whereas if a tranquil sanctuary is what you’re after, cool blues, from soft blue to smart navy, will help achieve this. Like clothing, black absorbs the sun rays more than lighter colours – as well as masking stains and marks – and has the potential to make it feel warmer under the canopy. Light tones on the other hand, create a cooler environment as they reflect heat.

Find inspiration from our selection of traditional and contemporary designs, below.


Best parasols and umbrellas for the garden

Browse our selection of tilting garden parasols:

1

Christow Garden Parasol

Christow Garden Parasol

If you have a smaller garden, this compact parasol could be a chic choice. Available in four muted tones and with a strong pole made of steel it has a simple handle to open and close the shade. This reasonably priced parasol doesn’t include a base, so you would need to purchase it separately or add it to a weight you already have.

Price: £36.99

Buy Christow Parasol at Amazon


2

Outsunny 4.6m Double Canopy Parasol

Outsunny 4.6m Double Canopy Parasol

For even more shade, try this double parasol. As 4.6m, this massive parasol is great for shading loving tables or even entire social spaces. It’s also available in seven other colours.

Price: £103.99

Buy the Outsunny 4.6m Double Canopy Parasol from Robert Dyas


3

Outsunny Balcony Half Parasol

Outsunny Balcony Half Parasol

Direct sunlight can be a problem in small gardens and balconies, but parasols are usually too big for these spaces. This is solved with this half parasol – half the size, and fits up against a wall, but providing crucial shade in small outdoor spaces.

Price: £44.99

Buy the Outsunny Balcony Half Parasol from Amazon


4

Hanway Garden Parasol and Table

Hanway Garden Parasol and Table

This garden table umbrella set includes a stylish, wicker and glass table, which forms the unique garden parasol base. The classic ash wood pole supports a wide, black fabric canopy and comes with a waterproof sleeve to keep it protected when it’s not in use.

Price: £450

Buy Hanway Garden Parasol at Oka


5

Costway Outdoor Parasol

Costway Outdoor Parasol

We love this garden parasols for its clever inclusion of LED lights. Solar-powered, the lights soak up the suns rays through the day and then come on once light levels start to drop and the evenings set in, creating a twinkling ambiance that’s perfect for socialising on summer nights.

Price: from £139.95

Buy Costway Outdoor Parasol at Amazon


6

William Bamboo Parasol

William Bamboo Parasol

This ornate garden umbrella is printed with a genuine William Morris design and mounted onto a hand-carved wooden pole with solid brass joins. An iconic addition to any garden, this hand-made parasol is a true show-stopper.

Price: £450

Buy William Bamboo Parasol at East London Parasol


 

7

John Lewis & Partners 2.7m Striped Parasol

John Lewis & Partners 2.7m Striped Parasol

Contemporary gardens might be improved with this striped parasol from John Lewis. Not only can it tilt, but its polyester fabric has a UV50+ rating, the highest possible for fabrics. It would suit a nautical or beach theme, and would look fantastic over some deck chairs.

Price: £69

Buy the John Lewis & Partners 2.7m Striped Parasol from John Lewis


8

Kookaburra 4mx3m Rectangle Ivory Party Sail Shade

Kookaburra 4mx3m Rectangle Ivory Party Sail Shade

Full disclosure: this isn’t a parasol, but a sail can be a great shade solution. Unlike a parasol, it won’t blow over in high wind, and it takes up far less space. This simple sail is available in six different colours, and from two to six metres.

Price: £39.99

Buy the Kookaburra 4mx3m Rectangle Ivory Party Sail Shade from Primrose

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