A light blue Eclipse 13' Octagon Cantilever Umbrella set up beside an outdoor pool on a warm summers day

Choosing a patio umbrella can be one of the most enlightening parts of crafting your dream outdoor space. Determining the right design, shape, size, and material for your patio umbrella makes all the difference in bringing life and functionality to your space.


There are two options when it comes to your patio shading needs: market umbrellas and cantilevers. These two unique designs ensure you can find the right shade solution for your outdoor space. 

A market umbrella may be what you imagine when you think of a typical patio umbrella. With one pole standing straight up from an umbrella base, this design usually covers a seating area with a table and chairs, though you can use it in many different settings.

A cantilever is a different design from a market umbrella. A cantilever has a solid base and an arm to hold the umbrella out over an area to shade it. A cantilever offers an open shade area. Cantilevers are great for outdoor seating areas to protect your patio cushions from sun fading and provide you and your guests with an ideal amount of shade.

Whichever design you choose, make sure it’s right for your needs. A cantilever directly next to a dining table might function. A market umbrella in the middle of your seating area wouldn’t be functional. The right shade solution can make your patio the space you’ve always wanted.

How to choose the different shapes of a patio umbrella


Umbrellas and cantilevers come in a few different shapes. The shape you choose depends on what you plan to shade. The main outdoor umbrella shapes include:

  • Octagonal
  • Rectangular
  • Square

When you imagine your outdoor space, you should think about how you want it to function just as you want it to look. This visualization will help you make the right choice when it comes to shape. Each shape comes in handy for different uses. 

Octagonal shapes, sometimes called “round” in the outdoor industry, are versatile and allow you to shade different areas depending on your needs, like an outdoor seating area or pool. They are also a popular choice because they look fantastic in a wide variety of settings.

Rectangular patio umbrellas are ideal for a large outdoor table and dining area. You can place an umbrella directly in the centre of your outdoor table and give you and your guests the shade you need to enjoy an afternoon meal with the sun shining.

A square umbrella or cantilever can offer an expansive level of shade. Since each side is a uniform size, it casts a larger shadow. If you’re looking for a more consistent shade, a square umbrella or cantilever could be the perfect option for you.


Your patio umbrella size is vital since its primary function is to provide shade and UV protection. A larger umbrella will naturally offer more shade than a smaller one; however, there are other factors to consider when deciding which size you should go with.

A gigantic, 13-foot cantilever would be an excellent option for your outdoor seating area but may look out of place covering a bistro set. A good rule of thumb is your umbrella or cantilever should cover 5 feet extra diameter than the area you’d like to shade. 

A Cantilever positioned over a black and white striped outdoor patio sectional


Quality materials ensure your umbrella will last for years and ensure your investment doesn’t go to waste. By choosing quality from the beginning of your journey in crafting your dream outdoor space, you save time and money in the long term. 

We like to spend as much time as possible enjoying the outdoors during the summer without worrying about getting too much sun. Umbrella fabric serves the purpose of providing shade and protecting you from harmful UV rays. Fabrics like Sunbrella and Outdura offer excellent UV protection while maintaining their vibrant colour and resisting mould and mildew growth from rain.

Solid and durable frame materials are also vital to getting the most out of your investment. High-quality materials include aluminum, stainless steel, and teak. These materials are long-lasting while solid and light enough to move around at your pleasure.


Choosing a patio umbrella can be an overwhelming task. With so many choices from fabrics to frame options, it can be challenging to keep it all straight. Luckily, you can get the help you need from our team at Patioline. With years of experience and a creative eye to find you the right shade solution to suit your space, getting a professional consultation can make a big difference in ensuring you get quality, long-lasting products that reflect your unique style.

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