Outdoor Umbrella Setup for Beginners: Expert Tips to Keep Your Patio Umbrella from Blowing Away

Outdoor Umbrella Setup for Beginners: Expert Tips to Keep Your Patio Umbrella from Blowing Away

A gorgeous patio umbrella? Check.

Mesmerising weather? Check.

An evening of laughter, food and drinks? Check, check and check.

There’s one slight problem though – your umbrella keeps tipping over.

That’s right, we’ve all been there. There’s nothing more frustrating than having your patio umbrella fall over and get damaged or hurt someone nearby. This is all it takes to ruin a great al fresco meal. One minute you’re relaxing and enjoying a hearty meal and the next, you’re picking up pieces of bread, cutlery and shards of glass from the ground, no thanks to the umbrella that tipped over.

Outdoor Umbrella Setup for Beginners: Expert Tips to Keep Your Patio Umbrella from Blowing Away

So, how do you keep your patio umbrella from falling over?

There are several techniques that you can adopt to solve this problem. The basic idea is to keep the base of your umbrella secured to the ground. The more weight there is around the base, the more stable your umbrella will be.

Let’s look at some of the different ways in which you can keep your outdoor umbrella from blowing away or tipping over.

#1 Use a reliable patio table

For a patio umbrella, a sturdy table can make all the difference in securing it. Plus, tables also double up as accessories during social gatherings to place drinks or food. Patio tables have a hole in the middle that is known as an Umbrella Hole. When buying your umbrella and its table, make sure that the table is made of durable material. Solid cast aluminium tables are long-lasting and durable.

#2 Close unused umbrellas

Yes, opened umbrellas look very welcoming to passers-by but they are also quite vulnerable to falling down or blowing away. It’s a wise idea to close the umbrella when not being used. Do tie the cord around the fabric firmly. This way, it will not blow when the wind blows. Several varieties also come with a Velcro strap while others have a separate cover. You can enclose your umbrella with the cover to prevent any damage due to strong wind.

#3 Buy an outdoor umbrella with air vents

Although a majority of market umbrellas feature air vents, double check when buying your own. These vents allow air to pass through the umbrella, keeping it secure. They also keep the guests cool underneath. Consider adding air vents to your current umbrella if it doesn’t have them already.

#4 Use a heavy base

The heavier the base is, the firmer will be the hold of your umbrella. Cement and granite bases are good options since they tend to be denser in volume. Some umbrellas also come with a heavy base. If you live in a particularly windy area, also strap a couple of sandbags to the pole of your umbrella.

If you’re wondering how heavy the base should be, remember that it’s relative. One heavy weight for a patio umbrella might be nothing for another. For umbrellas that measure somewhere between 1.8 to 2.3 meters, an 18kg+ weight plate is recommended. Umbrellas measuring 2.8 to 3.5 meters require a minimum of 29 to 34kgs. If you’re purchasing a weighted plate online, pay attention to the weight mentioned there. If you plan to buy offline, speak with your vendor to seek suggestions.

Smaller umbrellas often have a hollow base design made with plastic that can be filled with water. Alternately, you can make the base heavier by replacing water with sand. You can increase the weight even further by using wet sand! The downside is, these bases are not designed to bear additional weight, therefore, any wheel or lifting mechanisms should be handled with caution.

#5 Get ready for powerful winds

Wind is the worst enemy of your patio umbrella.

You may have all the protection, but what if a powerful wind storm hits? This is particularly true for café umbrella owners who live in windy areas with frequent high winds. Be proactive to minimise the damage. Find an area that is close to a building or a fence so these embankments can block winds. In case there’s a large wind storm forecasted, it is advisable to close your umbrella and store it inside safely.

#6 Buy an outdoor umbrella with strong ribs

Umbrella ribs give your canopy its structure and shape. The ones closest to the pole keep the canopy up and those that extend to the edge of the canopy keep the panels in a downward curved shape. Umbrella ribs are made of wood, metal and fiberglass. Wooden ribs look classy but they don’t ensure sturdiness. In case of high winds or a storm, wooden ribs give in quite easily.

Instead, buy an umbrella that has fiberglass ribs. This material has elasticity, meaning it can cope up very well with the tension caused due to the wind. Aluminium is also a good option for the ribs of your market umbrella.

Bonus: Follow these tips to beef up the base for additional resilience

Extra strength never hurts. Plus, it safeguards your umbrella in the scenario that you’re travelling and your umbrella is left outside during a heavy storm. Since the base is the main component responsible for keeping an umbrella together, emphasise on strengthening the base, so the overall structure is more stable.

Tip 1: DIY sandbags

Sandbags are easy and inexpensive solutions to add more weight to the base of your umbrella. They are easy to procure or create and can be installed conveniently. Try adding these to your default base to give it more strength.

Tip 2: Supplemental weight bags

Is your patio umbrella more than 9 inches in diameter? Then you can try using supplemental wight bags too. They’re a better way to introduce more weight to your base and can add up to 45kgs of weight.

Tip 3: Add gravel for weight

An effective and easy way to increase the weight of your umbrella’s base is to fill a bucket with colourful gravels and insert the pole of the umbrella into it. This will increase the weight and also jazz up the overall look of your umbrella.

Tip 4: Cinder blocks

Another fun way to add more weight to the base of your outdoor umbrella. Paint a cinder block, slide it under the base and insert the pole into the hole of the block.

Tip 5: Lead bags

Small yet heavy, these tube-shaped lead bags are useful in adding additional weight to the base.

Tip 6: Opt for a cantilever umbrella base

Due to their design, cantilever umbrellas need much more weight. This means that their bases are extra heavy-duty. Even if you don’t have a cantilever umbrella, you can still buy their base. However, they’re slightly on the higher side with regards to price.

So, there you go. Practical tips from experts to keep your patio umbrella safe and sound for years of use. Do you have any other tips? Don’t forget to share it with us.