The garden parasol has come a long way since it first became a fixture in British gardens back in the 1970s and 80s. These days, you can pick a sun shade to suit your garden furniture; go for something high tech such as Bluetooth speakers in your parasol; or go for vintage charm with a raffia, fringed affair reminiscent of fifties Côte d’Azur chic.
Back in the 1980s we struggled with flimsy steel framed umbrellas on spindly 28mm poles. You remember, you could angle them over your white plastic patio furniture and they’d make a feeble attempt at keeping the sun off one lucky guest at the table. If you are lucky, you might still get to wrestle with one of these at a holiday camp. If nothing else, it’ll remind you that when it comes to outdoor furniture, things have largely moved on.
Their multi-striped, some might say garish, coverings, in raffia or deck-chair material, do have a certain appeal and increasingly, can be found gracing the patios of the Vintage style set.
When chunky wooden furniture was top of the pops, back in the 1990s, parasol poles became much more substantial. At that time, the outdoor furniture look was reminiscent of South Africa and Australia, where much of the timber came from. These wooden poles were mini tree trunks themselves – as much as 48ml in diameter. The bigger poles could support a bigger canopy and the garden parasol became a much more serious affair, with umbrellas of 3 metres not uncommon.
Recently, we’ve become accustomed to proper shade. Technological developments in the manufacture of metal garden furniture have meant that much stronger, thinner metal frames can support a large canopy. Huge angled cantilever parasols first made an appearance at the swimming pools of luxury hotels, but think about the alfresco dining set up at your favourite pub or café; I expect you benefit from large cantilever parasols which cover all the diners.
The latest trends witnessed at exhibitions such as the RHS Chelsea Flower Show this May, show that we are still in love with the idea of bringing our holiday vibe back home. So-called Chinese parasols, with a far greater number of ribs and decorated with tassels seem to be flavour of the month. Their delicate highly decorative looks bring echoes of the Far East and offer a simple way to personalize your garden furniture look.
If it is the latest in mod-cons that you are after, take a look at our newly launched parasol with Bluetooth speakers. There can’t be an easier or better way to get the party started.