If you love spending the summer outdoors, garden parasols are a must-have. Whether you’re just out there relaxing or sitting down for a meal it will protect you and your guests from the glare of the sun and help keep you at a comfortable temperature.
There are plenty of options when it comes to finding the best garden parasol with different sizes on offer, and designs ranging from those that offer just shade underneath, tilting and rotating versions, and models that promise great UV protection.
Whatever your style preferences and budget, we’ve tracked down the best around this year. Read on to find the best design for your space, then check out our pick of the best garden furniture.
The best garden parasols 2021
Need enough shade for dining, over your loungers, or even for the hot tub you’ve treated yourself to? This big parasol could be the answer.
It’s easy to cope with the movement of the sun with this parasol. It rotates right around the pole so you can create shade where it’s needed at different times of the day.
With a diameter of 300cm, this design is ideal for shading fairly large dining tables and areas.
Bear in mind that you will need to use this parasol with a base, and you’ll need to add that to the shopping basket separately.
- Buy the Argos Home Rotating Overhanging Garden Parasol
This bold blue parasol will bring a pop of colour to your outside space that’s definitely more Med than Margate.
A garden parasol with UV protection offers more than just shade, and this design provides it. Don’t skip the sun lotion, though, to keep yourself safe.
This isn’t a rotating design, and you’ll need to reposition it to follow the sun’s movement. It isn’t too heavy to move, though.
Up and down
There’s a crank handle to wind when you want to open and close the parasol, and it’s neat when folded down for easier storage.
- Buy the B&Q Malta 2.96m Blue Overhanging Parasol
This square design has a contemporary look while the combination of sage green fabric and a wooden frame makes it blend into the garden perfectly.
As well as creating shade for an alfresco meal, or a sit in the sun, this design has UV protection equal to UPF50+ (that’s ultraviolet protection factor, and indicates how much UV radiation a fabric allows to reach your skin). In other words, it blocks more than 98 per cent of the sun’s rays.
The frame is made from solid eucalyptus, a wood that’s ideal for garden furniture. It’s FSC certified, too.
You can wipe this parasol clean, but you’ll need to put it away dry in the garage or shed in winter.
Get a sophisticated modern look in your garden with this shade made with aluminium plus a polyester canopy.
A click of the button will tilt the canopy of this parasol to keep you in the shade all day long on your patio or in an outdoor space.
We like the smart grey colour of this design which looks contemporary and would suit a modern plot.
Up and down
A crank handle opens the shade once the sun gets overhead so you can put it up in a jiffy.
- Buy the Cuckooland.com Elizabeth Aluminium Parasol
This sunshade may be a smaller design, but it has plenty of great features, and we love the colour, too.
This parasol will shade an area of 3.4 square metres, so it’s ideal used over a lounger or on a city patio.
You can adjust the height to suit the spot, as well as tilt this model as the sun moves round.
The parasol is Scotch-guarded to prevent rot, and there’s a colour-fastness solution applied to resist fade. It offers UV50+ protection, too.
- Buy the Robert Dyas Glatz Alu Smart 2.2m Round Parasol
If you’re looking for plenty of control over your parasol, check out this rotating, tilting, and height changeable model.
The polyester of the canopy is fade resistant to keep the parasol looking new. It’s rated UV50+, and it’s water repellent as well in case the weather changes.
The vent in the top of the parasol is made to let the heat out so you’ll stay at the right temperature. It’s a wind vent, too.
You’ll get a storage cover with this parasol, and a cross base, but it will need weights, and you’ll need to order these in addition.
- Buy the Amazon Purpleleaf 11 Feet Double Top Deluxe Patio Umbrella
How to choose the best parasol
The best garden parasol for your outside space will depend on your needs, the size of your garden, and your budget.
Think about the size
You’ll need to consider how big an area you want to shade when you’re buying, but also how the parasol fits into the space. Make sure you take any overhanging features in your plot into account so you can factor in the clearance needed.
If you only want a parasol to shade a lounger, it won’t need huge dimensions, but if it’s to shade a dining set, think about opting for a design with a diameter of 2 metres for two seats; 2.4 metres for four to six seats; 2.7 to 3 metres for six to eight; and 4 metres for 10 seats.
What about adjustment?
A parasol that offers shade from above might be enough, but think about whether a tilting design would be better for your needs – for example if you’re likely to be in the garden for many hours. Rotating designs can also offer flexibility.
Some fabrics offer extra protection from the sun. Look out for an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF). The higher the value, the better the protection offered.
Go for woods that are suitable for outdoor conditions like eucalyptus if the frame of the parasol is wooden, and look for rust-resistance if it’s made from metal, plus water-repellent fabric for the shade.
You’ll likely have to buy the base separately, so add the cost of this to your budget and look out for the compatible design when you’re buying your parasol.