Garden parasols: Practical and pretty sunshades

Dine, lounge and enjoy the warm weather out in your garden for longer with a garden parasol.

garden parasol in a modern garden

by Angelica Daujotas |

There's nothing quite like soaking up the sun's rays on a gorgeous warm weekend, even if you are in your own garden.

Picture yourself spending the day, from early morning to late evening, outdoors - kids entertained for hours by the splash pad with the smell of the BBQ at lunchtime, all while you're on your sun lounger protected from the sun's harmful UV rays by a parasol. Sounds perfect right?

The right parasol for your garden and home will fulfil all that you should wish for, whether it be a shaded space for days spent dining al fresco or a cool space to escape the sun's rays when you've had enough.

With so much on offer from big retailers like Amazon or B&Q, it can be hard to know exactly what your garden needs. From modern, large parasols to gorgeous hand-made flamboyant masterpieces, whatever you're aesthetic or needs, we're sure you'll find your next new favourite parasol in no time with a helping hand from us!

Below we also answer burning questions when it comes to parasol bases and knowing how to find the right parasol for you. Keep reading to see our top picks of the best garden parasols available to buy right now online.

Shop our pick of the best garden parasols below

This complete garden parasol set contains everything you need to get the most out of your time in the sun, for many years to come. With heavy-duty construction, this parasol is built to last, whether it's sunny, windy or raining, the Jarder garden umbrella is good to go.

Features: fillable heavyweight plastic 4-piece base, Jarder cover, steel frame, retractable carry handle, features a drawstring to secure and vents to help prevent mould growth.

Specifications:

Size – canopy diameter 3m, pole dimensions 2.5m (up to 3.5m when tilted)

Available colours – beige, blue, grey.

Add a splash of colour to your outdoor space with this gorgeous vibrant pink parasol. Easy to operate and manufactured to the highest quality, this oriental-inspired parasol is reliable to survive the sunniest of days and the biggest raindrops of the year. Protected against the elements, this parasol is perfect for shade coverage and shelter from even the most unexpected showers.

Features: hand crank and tilt mechanism, made from powder-coated aluminium, shanghai-inspired oriental design.

Specifications:

Size – 2.6m aluminium pole with 2.6m parasol

Available colours – pink, purple, turquoise.

If you're looking for beautiful, hand-crafted parasols, bound to make you feel like you're on a tropical island getaway, then the East London Parasol Company is for you. Show-stopping designs, hand-carved wood, and made by artisans in the UK, Bali and Jaipur, these handmade parasols are the perfect flamboyant addition to your garden. Base sold separately.

Features: handmade parasol, hand-carved durian wood pole, cotton bag for carrying and storage and waterproof canvas. For every parasol sold, one tree is planted.

Specifications:

Size – height 230cm x width 190cm, pole diameter 4cm

Available colours – available in a multitude of colours and prints, from neutrals to show-stopping tropical prints, there's a parasol for every outdoor space.

Whether you’re heading to the beach or soaking up some rays in the garden, Fatboy is on hand with this parasol to give you a little shade. Complete with a sturdy aluminium pole and durable woven umbrella, this handy summer accessory from the Dutch label is perfect for helping keep you cool as the temperatures start to soar. Pair it with the accompanying adjustable base to keep it firmly in place.

Features: striped design, cover, logo printed flag on the top.

Specifications:

Size – height 200cm

Available colours – navy striped, red striped, black striped.

This round overhanging parasol from the Mallorca collection provides cool, shady areas even in the hottest hours of the day. The off-centre base helps save space around your garden furniture. The parasol features an easy opening with an ergonomic handle and crank system. Thanks to its five adjustable positions and 360° rotation, you can have optimal protection all day long without having to move your parasol.

Features: storage bag, 360-degree rotation, ergonomic handle and crank system, water repellent fabric and rust-resistant aluminium.

Specifications:

Size – diameter: 346 cm, height: 255 cm

Available colours – steel grey, sand and khaki green

We love the natural beach vibe of this garden umbrella, crafted from reclaimed timber, the laminated pole supports the water and mould-treated canvas, cloaked in nautical stripes. Encircling the trim is a bullion fringe that moves with the breeze, providing the perfect backdrop for your own summer adventure.

Features: the canopy is replaceable, made from UV, water and mould-treated canvas with cotton bullion fringe, comes with a carry bag.

Specifications:

Size – Width 210cm x 210cm, height 260cm

Available colours – market striped, Lauren’s navy stripe, vintage black stripe.

Another amazing garden umbrella from the East London Parasol Company, this one takes an Arabian-influenced valance in sunshine yellow. This parasol is perfect for a patio, through your table with an umbrella hole or by your sun lounger at the pool, each part specifically made for East London Parasol Co. – it’s the touch of luxury you’ve been looking for.

Features: handcrafted frame made in the UK. Orange zig zag and yellow garden parasol. Printed natural coloured waterproof cotton canvas with tangerine zig zags and easily removable canopy for cleaning. The frame is made in Hampshire from FSC certified ash wood.

Specifications:

Size – Width: 200cm or 275cm, Height: 270cm, Pole diameter: 4.5cm

Available colours – available in a multitude of colours and prints, from neutrals to show-stopping tropical prints, there's a parasol for every outdoor space.

Create a stylish and comfortable spot in your garden, with this beaded parasol. High quality, with a crank lift and tilt mechanism, this garden umbrella is an easy way to add a touch of glam to your outdoor space. Base not included.

Features: beaded droplets, crank lift and tilt mechanism and aluminium powder-coated pole and parasol cover.

Specifications:

Size – width 270cm x diameter 270cm, pole height 240cm, pole diameter 3.8 cm

Available colours – green and cream.

This is a stunning pink parasol that will add the wow factor to your garden. Handmade, handprinted and imported from Bali, it is a unique garden accessory that will be the envy of friends and neighbours. These parasols are handmade in small batches in Bali and there will be colour variations in the fabric and gold print from batch to batch. Base not included.

Features: hand-printed in pink and gold with handcrafted wooden beads and gold metal hearts. The wooden pole is hand-carved from treated Durian wood and is finished with traditional Bali gold foil hanging decoration. Arrives in a cotton carry bag.

Specifications:

Size – height 260 x width 200 x diameter 200 cm.

Available colours – pink

What are the types of garden parasols?

When finding the perfect parasol for you and your home, you should consider the type of parasol you are after. Choosing the right type of parasol will be dependent on the size of your outdoor space, features, price and durability – here are a few of the most common types of garden parasols:

Freestanding parasols

Freestanding parasols are designed to be used in outdoor gardens. With detachable bases, they allow you to move the parasol around your outdoor space, to block the sun wherever it may be. Freestanding parasols are available in a multitude of sizes from 1.6 - 3m, so perfect for any outdoor space, no matter the size.

Cantilever parasols

Cantilever parasols benefit from having the pole stand at the side and not in the middle. This construction saves a lot of space, especially if you’re aiming to shade a larger area. They offer the most adjustable sun protection and stability for all weather conditions.

Garden table parasols

Just like the name suggests, garden table parasols are designed to fit perfectly with your outdoor dining set-up. All parasol pole diameters vary between 30mm-48mm and will fit most outdoor tables.

Is there a difference between a parasol and an umbrella?

While they may look alike and share similar functions, here are a few differences:

Function - parasols are designed to shade people from the sun, whereas umbrellas are to protect against rain and wet weather.

Size - parasols are usually not made to be portable, most commonly they come with a fixed placement and are not easy for on the go. Umbrellas, however, are portable and easy to carry.

Design - parasols have a classic and standardised design to them compared to umbrellas, which are modern and innovative.

Material - parasols are made with thick and UV-protective fabrics, whereas umbrellas are made from plastics such as nylon.

Will any garden parasol fit any base?

Most garden parasols will fit any parasol base, however, depending on the size of the parasol, the base will need to be large enough to keep the parasol secure. The size of the base is dependent on the size and type of parasol, to ensure the correct weight is used for optimum stability. So, while any base may fit, it cannot guarantee the most stable hold.

How do I choose a garden parasol?

To pick the perfect parasol for your garden, here are a few tips we think you should consider:

Location - deciding where you want your parasol to stand is the first and most important step. Freestanding or table supported are two parasols that require you to consider the location.

Purpose - are you solely after sun protection or a cool place to relax and eat? Identify the purpose and this will help when deciding size, base and colour.

Size - size is mostly dependent on the space you have outdoors. If you’re looking for something smaller for shade on your balcony, then the Argos Home 1.6m Garden Parasol is for you.

Colours - whether you want your garden parasol to stand out or blend in with the rest of your garden furniture, there is a colour or print out there for you. With brands like the East London Parasol Company, which delivers on show-stopping prints and vibrant colours, and Amazon for your classic beige or black, your colour options are definitely not limited.

If you want to keep your parasol protected come winter, buying a furniture cover will keep it safe from the unpredictable British elements without having to move it indoors.

How heavy should a garden parasol base be?

The larger the parasol, the heavier the base must be. Freestanding parasols will also require a heavier base compared to garden table parasols.

Small garden table parasols (1.5-2m) can be held securely with a 15kg base, whereas larger parasols (2.5-3.5m) require a minimum of 30kg for a base, with the support of the table.

Larger freestanding parasols will require a minimum of 50-60kg for a secure hold, a general rule is that 10-20kg should be added on top of a table base weight, to a freestanding parasol.

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