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How to stabilise a garden umbrella

Whether you're entertaining guests or enjoying a bit of "me time" outdoors, sitting in your garden is a simple way to enjoy your outdoor space. While your flowers may prefer full sun, it's important to protect yourself from harmful UV rays. Garden umbrellas shield you from the sun and are easy to set up. They're top-heavy, so they require an umbrella stand to keep them stable. You can create your own stand or buy one at the garden centre.

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Umbrella stand selection

  1. Browse your options before deciding if you will buy an umbrella base or make your own. Look online and visit a garden centre. Some umbrella stands double as planters, while others are designed to match a table top. If you decide to make your own, reviewing the types available may give you a few creative ideas.

  2. Measure the height and diameter of your umbrella.

  3. Buy an umbrella stand that is heavy and wide enough to hold your umbrella securely. Read the product description before purchasing a base to ensure that it's a proper fit. For instance, a 35 cm (16 inch) square steel umbrella stand that weighs 8.6 kg (19 lbs) will support an umbrella with a diameter of 1.8 metres (6 feet). A 60 cm (24 inch) square steel base weighing 27 kg (60 lbs) will support an umbrella that measures up to 3.3 metres (11 feet) in diameter. Umbrella stands range in weight from 18 to 57 kg (40 to 125 lbs).

  4. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to put the stand together. Some plastic stands need to be filled with water or sand to make them heavy enough to hold the umbrella.

  5. Position the stand where you want it in your garden and insert the closed umbrella.

Make your own umbrella base

  1. Look around in your shed for empty containers, buckets, metal pails or spare wood. The wider and heavier you can make your stand, the more stable it will be. Refer to the product description of a commercial stand that is comparable to the one you are making to ensure its stability. If you're filling a plastic bucket with concrete.

  2. Measure the diameter of the umbrella pole.

  3. Go to the DIY shop and ask for a piece of PVC pipe large enough to serve as a sleeve for the pole.

  4. Ask a friend to hold the pipe so it stands upright in the centre of your container. The top of the pipe should extend 5 to 7.5 cm (2 to 3 inches) beyond the top of the container.

  5. Fill about three-quarters of the container with sand or gravel. If you prefer to use concrete, you may only need to fill the container halfway as concrete is heavier.

  6. Insert the umbrella into the stand by sliding the pole into the pipe, and open it slowly.

  7. Tip

    The lighter the stand is, the easier it will be to move around, but you don't want it to be too light or it will tip over once the umbrella is open.

    Mask the exposed pipe in a homemade base by covering a concrete base with crushed lava rock. Plant greens around the base.


    Avoid opening your umbrella on extremely windy days. Strong winds may cause damage or break your umbrella.

    Bring your umbrella indoors at the end of each day.

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Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Commercial base
  • Sand or water
  • Bucket or wood
  • PVC pipe
  • Sand, gravel or concrete

About the Author

Aurora LaJambre

Aurora LaJambre is a writer and editor living in Brooklyn, N.Y. For over five years she's covered topics in culture, lifestyle, travel, DIY design and green living for print and online media. Her publication credits include "WOW Women on Writing," "Six States" and Catalogs.com. She graduated from New York University in 2003 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in creative writing.

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