In ancient times, umbrellas, or parasols, as they might be more properly called, were mainly used for shade. Umbrellas may have been around over 2,400 years ago, and the collapsible umbrella is thought to have been invented in China about 1,700 years ago. In ancient times, umbrellas were thought to have been used only by people of high rank. Today, umbrellas can be found at the beach, at campsites, and at home. Umbrellas are available to everyone, and are used for protection against the sun and rain.

Patio Umbrellas

Using umbrellas at home continues to be popular, particularly during the summer months. Patio umbrellas provide not only shade, but color and ambiance to a yard. There are many types of umbrellas for the backyard. When looking for a patio umbrella, first consider the type of fabrics which are available. Some choices include:

  • Canvas - the standard favorite
  • Knitted fabrics - the breathability of the fabric keeps you cooler under the hot summer sun while filtering out most of the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays
  • Thatched or tiki - brings a little beach to your backyard; tiki umbrellas made from lively rayon pieces bring a splash of exotic color to your home.

Of course, you can find umbrellas in almost any color of the rainbow. You can even find umbrellas with little sparkly lights installed underneath ready to glow during a warm night.

Factors to Consider When Buying an Umbrella

The next consideration in your umbrella is support. Do you want a wood support or an aluminum support? Aluminum supports will outlast wood, but many find wood more aesthetically pleasing.

Would you like your umbrella to be seated in a patio table or would you like to have a portable umbrella? There are patio sets with glass tables, plastic tables, or wood tables. If you choose a portable umbrella, you can find simple stands, decorative bases, or even bases on wheels.

Do you want to have the ability to tilt your umbrella? Whether you are looking at a popup umbrella or a crank umbrella, you will be able to find a model that tilts. Do you want an umbrella that will shade a large area? You can find umbrellas that are side-supported by a pole which can cover a large part of a pool or a deck.

With so many options available, you are sure to find umbrellas to fit your needs and taste.