Back to Blog
Close up image of the underside of a tan and black patio umbrella.

Tips to Help You Find the Right Patio Umbrellas in Ottawa

Patio umbrellas are both practical and stylish.

They provide shade on hot sunny days, protecting you from the sun’s harmful UV rays, and they keep you dry if you want to sit on your patio even if the weather isn’t cooperating.

Patio umbrellas also bring a patio set together. With a variety of designs to choose from, umbrellas add a splash of colour to your outdoor living area.

To help you find the right umbrella for your patio, here’s a guide on choosing patio umbrellas in Ottawa.

What Size Umbrella Should I Get?

Most patio umbrellas are between five and 11 feet in diameter. A patio umbrella can stand in a hole in an outdoor dining table or stand on its own with a weighted base.

The size of umbrella you choose will depend on the area you want to cover with shade and the amount of space you have.

Patio Table Size

If you plan to use an umbrella to cover your patio table, then it should be large enough to cover the table and the seats around the table. But you don’t want an umbrella that is too large since it will overpower the table.

The following are general rules of thumb for choosing an umbrella size:

  • Use an umbrella that is five feet larger (in diameter) than the area you want to shade; or,
  • The umbrella extends over your patio table by two feet on all sides.

Here are suggestions for the ideal umbrella size based on patio table sizes:

  • A 30-inch diameter table with two chairs will need an umbrella that is six feet in diameter;
  • A 36-inch table with two to four chairs will need an umbrella that is seven to eight feet;
  • A table size of 38 to 48 inches with four to six chairs will need an umbrella that is nine to 11 feet; and,
  • A round or square table that is 54 to 60 inches, or a 72-inch oval or rectangular table, with six to eight chairs will need an umbrella that is 11 feet or larger.

Umbrella Pole Height

An outdoor umbrella should be tall enough to allow clearance for tall people. But your umbrella should still be low enough to provide ample shade for your patio set.

Consider using tilting or cantilever umbrellas to adjust to the direction of the sun for optimal shade.


Another factor to consider when choosing a patio umbrella size is the patio’s proximity to surrounding landscape. Keep the following in mind so you don’t overcrowd your patio area:

Where is the location of the patio in relation to your house? Will a large patio umbrella touch your house? There should be some space between your patio umbrella and your home’s roof or overhang;

How close would the patio umbrella be to your barbecue, outdoor kitchen, and indoor kitchen? For safety reasons, you don’t want to put an umbrella near open flames. And you also don’t want a large patio umbrella obstructing the path from your patio to your kitchen.

How to Measure an Outdoor Patio Umbrella

To accurately measure your patio umbrella, open it fully so it is completely fanned out. Next, you will need to measure a rib arm. The ribs are the metal or wooden rods that extend from the pole to the edge of the umbrella and support the umbrella shade material.

Measure the entire length of a rib arm, from top to bottom. This measurement is the radius of the umbrella. Multiply the radius by 2 to get the diameter, and that will be the total size of your umbrella.

What Style of Umbrella Should I Get?

The most common styles of patio umbrellas include:

Cantilever Umbrellas

Also known as offset umbrellas, these must-have umbrellas stand on their own with a weighted base. They bend forward to cover an entire patio area. Cantilever umbrellas are made of heavy-duty materials to withstand the elements.

You can place a cantilever umbrella to the side of your patio and angle the umbrella to cover the patio area.

Since these umbrellas are set to the side, they don’t get in the way or obstruct pathways to the house.

The height can be easily adjusted. And you can tilt these umbrellas side to side as the sun moves to maintain shade throughout the day.

Cantilever umbrellas are ideal for small spaces or covering patios with tables without holes. They work well for outdoor living rooms with deep-seating sets. And they are also ideal for covering lounge chairs near pools.

Free-Standing Umbrellas

Free-standing umbrellas are like cantilever umbrellas since they stand on their own and have weighted bases. But they stand straight instead of bent forward.

Free-standing umbrellas can also tilt on various angles to provide shade throughout the day. These umbrellas are ideal for use next to lounge chairs by the pool.

Table Umbrellas

Patio table umbrellas fit in the holes of patio tables meant for these umbrellas. These are ideal for smaller patios that don’t have much space for cantilever or free-standing umbrellas.

What Are the Best Umbrella Colours for Blocking Sunlight & UV Rays?


Since white reflects all light, it is ideal for reflecting both the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) light and infrared (IR) light. IR light is also known as heat energy. So by reflecting the sun’s heat energy, white umbrellas do not heat up as much as darker colours.


Black absorbs sunlight, preventing less of the sun’s energy from passing through the fabric. This is useful for protection from UV rays. But black does absorb the heat of IR light too, making black umbrellas hotter.


Blue umbrellas are also very effective for blocking out UV light. But high-quality umbrella fabrics will block a high amount of UV light, regardless of colour.

Fabrics, such as Sunbrella, come in a variety of colours and patterns and provide up to 98% UV protection. This UV protection is essential for keeping your skin healthy and avoiding sun damage.

When shopping for patio umbrellas in Ottawa this season, look for the best colour, size, and durability to suit your backyard.

Patio umbrellas are a must-have to stay cool, comfortable, and protected from the sun while enjoying the outdoors during this scorching hot summer.