This blog is about growing tropical-looking plants in the Phoenix, Arizona area

July 3, 2014

Choosing a patio umbrella for your back yard

I have to admit to being unimpressed with the new patio umbrella that arrived yesterday. But now I'm understanding why umbrellas look like this, and work much better than what I had before.

Before I had a *grass skirt* thatched-style patio umbrella. It looked great, but functionally, it was awful. Raising and lowering it was quite a chore. It didn't have a handle for raising and lowering, you had to reach up and pinch your fingers to do it. Then you had to go around an put in all of the wire edges, which all popped out. It was also missing that little bit of engineering that is on the top of my new umbrella, which helps keep it from becoming a wind foil. It really didn't take much wind to tip over the old one.

I'm experimenting mostly, and I thought that I would buy this one (which was on sale at Wal-Mart) and then look for another *grass skirt* or *tiki style* at my leisure. But the more I learn, the more I'm deciding to stay with this style.

This umbrella has a flatter profile than the old tiki style umbrella, to catch less wind. It also has that funny wrinkly thing on the top, where there are air holes to allow wind to pass through. And, of course, it has the handle for lowering and raising. Additionally, it has a nicer-looking pole, which I hadn't realized was what really showed the most. The old one had a tacky aluminum pole.

This umbrella is 9 feet, which seems to fit right in my tiny yard. It does provide good shade, which I need here, especially in the summer, and it also creates a nice focal point for the garden. It wasn't terribly expensive, and when it starts to get ratty from living outside all of the time, I will replace it. I like this umbrella!
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