Cantilever or patio umbrellas have become a crucial part of your outdoor area as they shield you and your guests from the harmful rays of the sun and sudden rain showers apart from accentuating the look and feel of your outdoor space. Whether you are creating an outdoor dining zone or shading a casual snack station by the pool, finding the right umbrella is key to spending a relaxing time outdoors. The best cantilever umbrellas in Australia come in many different sizes and shapes and it is vital that you get these things right. 

This article is meant to help you assess what outdoor umbrella size is right for your furniture and your space so you can buy with confidence. 

  • Things to consider

Before we tell you about the size and dimensions that are ideal for a large outdoor umbrella, you must learn and consider a few things when purchasing the product:

  • If you are using an umbrella with a table, make sure that the hole is large enough to accommodate the umbrella’s pole diameter.
  • A base is required for most umbrellas. Simply placing an umbrella in a hole in your table won’t do especially if there’s any wind.
  • Not all outdoor umbrellas are created equal! They are available in a variety of fabrics, frame materials, tilt features, etc. in the market. So you should double-check the products and read the information carefully before making a purchase.
  • What size umbrella should you buy?

The size of your umbrella depends on various factors. How much space do you need? What’s the location you want to set up your umbrella? What’s your budget? These are all things that must be taken into consideration before purchasing a cantilever or patio umbrella. Choosing an oversized umbrella might become overwhelming and throw off the balance of your outdoor space.

Ideally, your umbrella should extend over the edge of your outdoor table by 2 feet (60cm) on each side. For instance, if you have a 2m (diameter) rounded table, this means you need an umbrella that measures 3m in diameter. 

For optimal shade, look for an umbrella that imitates the shape of your table. It means that if you have a rectangular table, opt for a rectangular umbrella as it would provide the best coverage. 

  • How to measure an umbrella?

The size of an umbrella is determined by its width and not by its height. The shape of an umbrella also influences the measurement of the product. For instance, a square umbrella is measured across its width while an octagonal umbrella is measured across its diameter. 

Here’s how to measure a large outdoor umbrella in 3 easy steps:

  1. Open your umbrella so that its shade canopy is fully extended
  2. Using a measurement tape, measure along one of the rib arms on the top of your umbrella from the centre to the outside edge
  3. Multiply that number by 2 and it will give you the correct size of your umbrella
  • Height and diameter of umbrella pole

Measuring the pole diameter of your umbrella is also essential because it’s crucial to the stability of your umbrella. For maximum stability, you want your pole diameter and base (opening) diameter to be as close as possible while still fitting. 

The height of your umbrella is another vital factor. This is because you want enough clearance so that taller individuals don’t have to stoop down when they are under the shade of an umbrella. Generally, you want your umbrella to be at least 2.2 m tall. 

  • Square umbrellas vs octagonal or round umbrellas vs rectangular umbrellas

It is quite a tricky task to select the best cantilever umbrella in Australia. However, in terms of shade coverage, square umbrellas are extremely popular. For the benefit of our readers, we take into consideration two umbrellas of the same size – a 3m octagonal umbrella and a 3m x 3m square umbrella. The octagonal umbrella, which is essentially a round umbrella with eight symmetrical ribs, will cover a shaded area of 6.4m2 while the square umbrella provides shade over a 9m2 area. That’s why people prefer square umbrellas to octagonal ones.

However, if you are looking to cover a large seating area with a dining table and chairs, you might opt for a large rectangular umbrella. Even though they are less popular in comparison to octagonal or square umbrellas, rectangular umbrellas are ideal to shade large areas.


Now that you understand what size to choose for your umbrellas, we would suggest you to look for two special features in an umbrella — tilt and vent. While an umbrella with a tilt function lets you adjust the angle of the umbrella according to the movement of the sun, umbrella ventilation allows for the dissipation of heat and is likely to hold up under average winds.

We would also advise you to invest in a high-quality outdoor umbrella to make sure that your time is spent enjoying conversations with close friends instead of chasing umbrellas across the yard.