One of the most indispensable accessories for the summer is the parasol! Hurrah that summer is finally here with it’s blue skies and sunshine full of much-needed vitamin D! Yet sunburns or heatstrokes are likely to put a damper on your summer holidays. It provides the perfect solution to protecting yourself and your loved ones in the heat. You’ll be able to spend ample time basking in the sunshine’s warm glow, whilst avoiding all the uncomfortable side effects. Here are our top tips to help you select and enjoy your parasol to the fullest this summer.
Tip 1: Selecting the right parasol
To choose your parasol, several criteria come into play. First up is its intended location: is it for the garden, a patio or balcony, or the beach? Next, how many people will it shelter? A small beach umbrella for one child is poles apart from a cantilever parasol capable of protecting a table of 12 people! You also need to tailor your choice to the region where you live: How many months in the year can you use it? Will it be exposed to summer storms? Finally, what is your budget?
Once you’ve answered all these questions, simply opt for the version that best suits your needs, with a little help from our handy advice guide. It will help you spot the difference between upright, tilting, or cantilever parasols. Our blog also explains the benefits of round parasols compared to rectangular parasols or the different types of canopy fabrics available, such as cotton, acrylic, or polyester.
Tip 2: The wind is not our friend!
Wind poses two serious dangers to your parasol: tearing the canopy and the risk of it collapsing or blowing away. An open parasol must be able to withstand winds of 25 km/h. The very best can survive gusts of more than 50 km/h.
In fact, the wind resistance of your parasol will depend on the model you choose. A light parasol will be more sensitive to wind than a larger, heavier and more robust model. Wooden poles are more fragile and require regular maintenance, but they are heavier and are more stable in the ground. The type of canopy fabric used also plays a key role. Acrylic canopies are more expensive, but more resistant, especially when it comes to keeping their colour in the sun.
If you live in a very windy region, we recommend choosing a parasol with a textilene (synthetic mesh) canopy, which is very light and extremely resistant. Although not widely available, they are gaining in popularity. Large parasols also have a wind cap or valance to add extra stability against wind. The wind cap is a smaller piece of fabric partially stitched into the top of the parasol. When the wind blows, this cap lifts and lets air pass through to reduce the pressure put on the frame.
The wind cap is but stretched over a rigid frame, like a mini parasol over your parasol. It also ensures better air circulation and greater resistance to sudden gusts of wind.
Tip 3: Choose the right spokes
The stability of a parasol in windy conditions will also depend on its spokes. Located under the canopy, the spokes keep the canopy in place despite the amount of pressure exerted by the wind. As cheaper models have less robust spokes, they are easily lifted up and moved around by even the slightest gust of wind, a bit like hand-held umbrellas. Flexible spokes will provide better wind control. The best models use fibreglass spokes to ensure optimal flexibility of the whole structure.
Tip 4: Parasol safety on the beach
When a beach umbrella suddenly takes flight, it’s hard not to laugh. But it can cause serious damage! If the metal foot hits an unsuspecting beachgoer, it can be extremely dangerous. That’s why you must take extra care when anchoring your parasol at the beach. Here are a few helpful tips to follow:
- Don’t use it if the beach is too windy
- Bury it as deep as possible in the sand (or pebbles)
- Pack the sand around the entire foot
- Weigh it down by hanging small bags of sand to the spokes under the parasol
- Face the outside of the parasol into the wind
There are also models with sand anchors, explicitly designed for the beach. For optimal stability, opt for a beach parasol with a built-in screw foot and crank-shaped pole that bores directly into the ground.
Did you enjoy reading our parasol tips for the summer? After all the effort you’ve put in, it’s time to relax on your DIY pallet chair, safely sheltered from the sun and flick through our article on your garden to do list for the rest of the summer 🙂