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 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 furniture, best rattan furniture, best garden rugs and garden hammocks, deck chairs and hanging egg chairs, and our tests of the best solar lights. If you're entertaining, check out our tests of the best gas BBQs and the best charcoal BBQs.
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.
- 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 plots.
What to consider when choosing a garden parasol?
- Canopy: for the best protection against UV rays, go for a thick, high-density fabric. Acrylic tends to be used in the best-quality parasols as it is stain-resistant, water-repellent and mould-resistant, too. Polyester is the better option if budget is a consideration. Available in a variety of shapes, rectangular parasols are the best option if you’re looking to create the largest area of shade, and square-shaped parasols cover a larger area than an octagonal version of the same size. If possible, choose a canopy with ventilation to help air move around on hot days, and to allow air to flow freely when it’s windy.
- Pole material: there is a range of options from which to choose, including FSC wood, which is eco-friendly but needs to be treated every year; durable and rust-free aluminum, and steel, which often comes with a powder coating.
- Opening system: opening or closing the canopy should be easy as long as the push-up or pulley mechanism works efficiently. However, if the canopy is large or you have reduced mobility, go for a winch with a crank handle.
- Parasol base: made of materials like cast iron, concrete, granite or resin, the weight and sturdiness of the base is an important consideration if your parasol is situated in a windy location. Plastic options filled with water or sand are fine for smaller, upright parasols, but the most effective bases have feet in the shape of an ‘X’, like a café table. These are anchored by weights or paving slabs, and work particularly well with large, upright parasols and cantilever designs.
To provide shade over a table, follow our guide to the best ratios: Choose a 2m-diameter parasol for a two-seater table; 2.3m for four-seater; 2.7-3m for a six-seater and 4m or larger for eight-seaters or more.
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 trees or shrubs casting shade - try the extra shade afforded by a tilting parasol.
What’s the best colour for a garden parasol?
While you might choose the colour of your parsol to complement other accessories in your garden, there are other practical and design-related considerations that might be helpful. For example, 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. As with clothing, black absorbs the sun’s rays more than lighter colours – as well as masking stains and marks – and has the potential to make it feel warmer under the canopy. Lighter tones, on the other hand, create a cooler environment as they reflect the heat away from you.
Find inspiration from our selection of traditional and contemporary designs, below.
- Our selection of cantilever parasols
- Our selection of tilting parasols
- Our selection of upright parasols
- Our selection of sail parasols
Best parasols and umbrellas for the garden
Gully 3m Cantilever Parasol
Strong and sturdy, this cantilever parasol opens with a crank mechanism. The metal pole, stand and frame are rust-resistant, while the polyester canopy is water- and rust-resistant, too. Featuring vents to allow air flow, you’ll need to buy four weights to anchor the base into position. Available in five different colours: beige, green, black, blue & grey
Dakota Fields Gaithersburg 4.6m Traditional Parasol
This generously-sized cantilever parasol is ideal if you’re getting friends and family together, as it’s extra wide to provide ample shade for large tables. The thick steel pole is sturdy and the canopy opens and closes with a crank handle. The polyester fabric is anti-rust, waterproof and features 36 integral solar-powered LED lights.
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Dunelm Teal 3m Cantilever Parasol
Great value, this cantilever parasol is made from polyester and metal, which means it’s durable and sturdy. The stand is included - although it needs slabs or weights to secure it in place, which you’ll have to buy separately. Available in teal, grey and cream, it comes with a one-year warranty.
Airwave 3m Banana Hanging Parasol with Solar LED spotlights
A powder-coated steel frame makes this a sturdy option, along with a water-resistant canopy for practicality. Solar-powered LED spotlights inside the canopy make this great for late-night parties, and it comes with a one-year warranty. However, the base is not included - you’ll have to buy that separately.
GoodHome Mallorca 3.46m Kaki green Overhanging Parasol
This parasol features polyester fabric, a rust-resistant aluminum pole and opens with an ergonomic handle and crank system. Available in bedrock, black and linen colours.
Cyr 3m Square Traditional Parasol
Great value, this parasol has a solid wooden pole, and bamboo frame for the canopy. It’s manually operated and tilts at the push of a button. The canopy is rust-resistant and it comes with a six-month warranty.
Outsunny Garden Parasol Outdoor Tilt Sun Umbrella with LED
This 2.75m parasol features a crank handle to make opening, closing and tilting a breeze. Sturdy and durable, it has a steel frame and polyester canopy. We also love the integral solar-powered LED lights so you can enjoy relaxing outside, even when the sun goes down. Available in red, white, brown and grey.
Crank & Tilt Parasol, 2.1m
Perfect for a patio, this parasol features a steel frame and a polyester canopy, which is available in dark grey, light grey and natural. A simple hand-crank handle opens and closes the parasol. To tilt, just press the button before cranking.
Angel Living Parasol, 2.7m
Light and easy to use, this parasol’s pole is made from aluminium and the canopy has UV-protection and is water-repellent. Open, close and tilt using a crank mechanism, this elegant design is available in red, blue or grey. The stand isn’t included.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Haikus Waterproof Sun Shade Sail
This simple design comes in a range of sizes, and features high-density polyester that is water- and tear-resistant and, anti-mildew/mould. Stainless-steel D-rings and rope are provided to anchor the corners in place. Available in Dark grey, cream and sand.
Price: from 17.99
Elements Grey Sail Parasol
Strong and durable, this sail shade is made from polyester and metal, which can be wiped clean with a soft cloth. It comes with a one- year warranty.
Covers & All Custom-Made Shade Sail
Made with breathable, woven fabric, which is abrasion-, UV- and tear-resistant, you can choose the exact size and shape you need. These sails come in various colours with a generous two-year warranty.
Price: from £18.37
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.
This product guide was last updated in June 2022. We apologise if anything has changed in price or availability.