Parasols are perfect for creating soothing shade in a favourite seating or dining area in the garden. And with climate change and our growing understanding of the damage the sun does, it’s particularly important to consider the level of protection a parasol offers.
Usually made of polyester or acrylic, the denser the material the better the protection from the sun's rays – if you can see the light through it, you won’t benefit from much protection! As well as weight, the product specifications should provide the SPF protection, with 50+ filtering close to 100% of UV radiation – but ideally aim for 30 SPF 30. Some UV protection garden parasols will have a metallic silver canopy to block the sun's harmful rays and even a black underside designed to absorb rather than reflect any indirect or ground reflected UV.
As well as the standard umbrellas, tilting garden parasols can be angled against the sun as it moves. And cantilever garden parasols allow you to stretch the umbrella away from its stand, giving you space underneath. A 2-metre parasol is good but you may need something wider for L-shaped garden furniture. And don’t forget to apply sun cream when under a parasol as the sun’s UV rays can still travel underneath.