Well, summer is here and if your backyard could use a a bit of work you are not the only one. The winter months can wreak havoc on our patio furniture and if you don't have tons of extra cash there are several easy ways to refresh your patio. One of the most familiar outdoor accessories is the patio umbrella. Nowadays, a person is limited to a green or beige outdoor patio umbrella for your backyard. Outdoor umbrellas come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors which can make a statement. From modern to traditional you can find a perfect match to your existing outdoor décor. Here are some information on how to find the perfect patio umbrella for your needs.

First, you should figure out what size patio umbrella you require. This can be easily done with the help of a tape measure. If you will be using your outdoor umbrella to cover a table what you should do is move your chairs out to about where they would be if your friends were sitting in them. Then find your measuring tape, have one person hold one end at the center of your table and then walk around your table and chairs jotting down the distance you are from the center of the table. For example, if you have a round table and you are measuring out at a distance of 4 ½ feet out from the center of your table, you need to double that distance which would mean that you would need a 9 foot patio umbrella. If you have an oval table and you are 4 feet out on one side and 5 ½ feet out on the end you will need at least an 8 by 11 oval patio umbrella.

Now that you have determined the size and shape umbrella you require, you should pick the style. The two most popular styles are wood or aluminum, and it is basically personal preference as to which one you select for your patio. Aluminum patio umbrellas tend to be lighter than wood umbrellas which make them a bit easier to handle. They also usually have cranking mechanisms that make them easier to open and close. Wood patio umbrellas have a very traditional and elegant look and are a nice addition to existing wood furniture. They normally have manual lift systems or pulley systems to open and close them so there are fewer mechanical parts.

After you select which type of umbrella to buy you will start to look at fabrics and colors. The most familiar fabrics are Sunbrella, Olefin and Suncrylic. Everyone has their own benefits whether it is price, warranty or that it is easy to clean. Sunbrella fabrics are the most expensive because they are marine-grade and come with a 3-year warranty against fading. Olefin is a more economical fabric that is easy to clean and comes with a 1-year warranty against fading. Suncrylic is a solution-dyed acrylic fabric that also easy to maintain and comes with a 1-year warranty against fading. When deciding which fabric is the right choice for you, the most important thing to take into account is your type of weather and how much time during the year it will be in the outdoors. If your home is in a desert climate and tend to use your patio umbrella throughout the year, you may want to think about investing in Sunbrella fabric. If you are in a milder climate and only use your umbrella for a few months out of the year you can purchase the Suncrylic or Olefin fabrics.

And make sure to find a color that speaks to you. There are so many of color choices available today, so don't be afraid to get a bit creative with your outdoor umbrella.

Source by Jennifer Drozd