A parasol is, oftentimes, the hub of a garden furniture setup. When the weather is poor, or the sun is shining too bright, refuge is sought underneath the protection of a garden umbrella. What better chance, then, to make the most of this space with the addition of some welcome functionality to a piece of equipment that hasn’t changed much since it’s inception in Ancient China, circa 21 AD. LOFA run you through some essential parasol accessories and their innate benefits below.
Outdoor lighting is exponentially beneficial during all seasons: whether you’re looking to extend your time outside very late into the longer evenings of the summer, or you’re happy to bear the cold and make the most of the quiet, crisp evenings of spring, autumn and winter. Luckily, there are a myriad of options for parasol lights that can provide a welcome source of brightness when the parasol in your patio furniture setup becomes more of a hub than it is a protection from the elements.
With both decorative and functional options available, it truly is a choice of your own. Decoratively, fairy lights and chain lights can extend the ambience of the rest of your garden to your parasol, and can even replicate a small section of bright stars when the cloud cover prevents the admiration of the real thing. Maybe it’s not quite the same, but you’re certainly the creator of a vibe that adds your personal flavour, as well as some light and some colour, to the underside of a parasol that would otherwise be underused.
Practically, lights are imperative to utilising your outdoor space when the sun goes in. As patios are often placed in the centre of a table, or overlooking an eating area if you opt for a cantilever extension, being able to see what you’re doing is pretty useful. The construction of a parasol itself lends itself to protecting those underneath from light, so it can render your other garden lighting options obsolete, unless you practically make use of your garden umbrella. Again, there are a variety of options available that range from ‘disco lights’ to directional lights that can allow for an ambient, outdoor party or some peaceful, al fresco dining.
Parasol heaters are another applicable parasol accessory that can help you to make the most of the parasol in your garden as a hub for activity and gatherings. These smaller heaters are directional and centred around providing welcome warmth to those surrounding the umbrella.
Often silent, odourless and satisfactorily effective, parasol heaters work along the same lines as parasol lighting by utilising the existing space under a parasol and extending its benefits beyond protection from the weather. Parasol accessories, as is true with the accessories for almost anything, are centred around being able to improve the functionality of what they are attached to – so that means parasol heaters (by definition) are a great addition to your parasol.
And, just for the bonus round, parasol heaters have a couple of further benefits that might just make it even more worth your while. A common theme throughout this piece will be directed at the importance of making the most of the space you have in your garden – which is important if that space is limited, or even if it’s copious and you’re more inclined to a minimal aesthetic. Patio heaters can be large installations that eat into valuable space, but this is not the case with parasol heaters as they are designed to make the most of space that is often squandered.
A little off-piste, and out of the left field, yet still tying into the disco-theme briefly mentioned earlier: a parasol speaker is a great addition to your parasol for – once again – some directly, and directionally, applicable benefits. Speakers are ideal parasol accessories for any gathering within the confines of your outdoor space – whether for atmosphere or because you really are in the mood for dancing, of any genre.
In a lot of cases, speakers come as a package with parasol lights so you could be gaining double the benefits within a compact package. There are a lot of further benefits, such as the fact that you won’t need to stick to the workarounds for music outside that you have been putting up with for so long: opening the door and playing music from the speaker inside, bringing the speaker from inside and using it in the garden, putting up with no sounds other than the talking of voices and the clattering of cutlery and crockery and, most importantly, the worry we all have of leaving a music-amplifying device outside that certainly isn’t weather-resistant. A parasol speaker – or parasol light-speaker combo – eradicate all of these issues instantly, and won’t even take up that much space.
Okay, so you have your parasol in the centre of your dining table, but wouldn’t some more space be great? Why not, right? There isn’t much reason to waste the opportunity of gaining some more square footage, and there are parasol accessories designed just for this.
A parasol table can offer some welcome, additional space to an already existing garden dining set for you to use at your disposal – a place for some candles, somewhere for drinks, or even just somewhere to place the condiments. If you don’t have a full dining table under the umbrella of your parasol, though, this could be a perfect place to gather at a party. Once again, the parasol in your garden is often the hub of the space – shelter, etc. – so offering a little ‘poser table’ for people to stand and talk without having to hold their drinks, or food (we’re suggesting they use this parasol table to put these items upon if that wasn’t clear) is going to be very popular.
Naturally, these parasol bar tables, parasol butler tables, whatever they should be named, are more applicable in a commercial setting – the outside area of a bar, for example – but that doesn’t mean you can’t utilise these parasol accessories for the gain of your person or those you are hosting.
Quick, utilitarian and impeccably practical – a parasol cover is something every parasol owner should invest in. Although, by definition, a parasol is a more hard-wearing example of an umbrella, you should still take care of this installation in order to extend its life as far as possible. A parasol cover will protect your parasol from the elements, when it’s not in use, and might even prevent the need of such frequent cleaning.
A parasol anchor, much like a parasol cover, might not be constantly applicable but is a small investment to save you from some real heartache. You’ve seen videos of umbrellas flying away, you’ve seen Mary Poppins – parasols, umbrellas and equipment of the sort is extremely susceptible to flying away in adverse weather conditions – however, parasol anchors will offer some protection against this. Tying the pegs to the parasol, and anchoring in the ground is a good idea when the wind is picking up and you don’t want to be chasing your garden umbrella down the street – it’s the same principle as tent pegs, and you are already used to using those…
Often seen as a necessity and not an accessory, the base for your parasol can offer some optional stylistic choices and additional functionality. The choice is in your hands, but there is great scope for personalisation that caters to your eye, your pocket and your requirements.
Whether you’re looking for a change of material from plastic to powder-coated steel, or plain to patterned, there are a multitude of alternatives that are available. Do you need wheels to help with manoeuvrability? Would you like to utilise the base space as a planter and add some nice greenery to the anchor of your parasol? Would you like to fill the base with a sedimentary material of your choice, a material that you can see? Sand or pebbles? Water, even? As you can see, the power is in your hands for the personalisation of all aspects of your parasol.
Now That’s Para-Solved, It’s over to You
Surprisingly, there are a variety of inventive parasol accessories that you can implement into your garden furniture setup, via your parasol, allowing you to reap the rewards of additional light, heat, sound, or just the pleasure that is ridden within being able to style all aspects of your garden to your specific requirements.
At LOFA, we’re experts of the parasol space and we have a range of further content to provide information and ideas in regards to parasols, which you can read on our parasols page. We also have a further range of articles that cover all facets of garden furniture and can inform and inspire you and your garden living.