A parasol has 3 distinct parts – the canopy, the pole and frame (or structure) and the base (fixation or anchoring). In this article we will talk about the widest and the most visible part of a parasol that has the most visual impact - the canopy. We will try to understand how to find the best colours for our project.

Choosing the right colour for your parasol can make a huge difference to the overall appearance of your umbrella and your garden. It's an important decision that should not be taken lightly. A good parasol has to be easy on the eye, charming and blend in or stand out with the environment, depending on what you need it for or how would you like it. It is easy to get lost in all those colours so don't worry if you feel like you have too many to choose from...

Choosing the right colour for your garden umbrella is vital to getting the shade you want and matching it with your garden (deck, patio, furniture, fence, vegetation and others). Ideally you should choose one that matches your house, but that’s not always possible. You might have an extension built in a few years’ time, or you might just prefer a certain colour!

The truth is that when it comes to which one is the right colour, there is no best answer, because there are many factors to keep in mind and at the end, it simply depends on the taste, preferences and the overall vision of the project owner.

Why are the colours of your parasol important and how can you take advantage?

Playing with colours can absolutely transform and enhance an outdoor space, make it appear bigger or make it look lively. Colours are playing a major role in changing our mood. In our case, warm tones like orange, red or a yellow parasol can energise a space, whilst a green, navy or a cloud blue parasol in lighter tones will create a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere. The brighten and lighter a colour is - the happier and more optimistic you will feel.

red cantilever parasols shading a terrace with tables

Red Parasols

blue cantilever parasols by the sea side

Cloud Blue Parasols

Before we dive in and explore the two major possibilities – blending it in with the surroundings or making it stand out, let’s try to answer a few other questions that you might have in mind.

UV Protection Parasol

Do parasols provide UV protection?

In short, the answer is yes. A U.S. study published in JAMA Dermatology magazine shows that a parasol blocks about three quarters of the sun’s UV rays. This means they can provide protection up to a level, but not 100%, so it still is possible to get a sunburn on a sunny day under your garden umbrella, if your skin is more sensitive.

Do patio umbrellas block UV?

Unless you opt for a fabric that has a high density structure, an extra coating or was made specifically with that purpose in mind, UV rays will not be fully blocked by your parasol. Each canopy has a UPF (ultra-violet protection factor) specified by the manufacturer, usually around 50, meaning that the fabric can stop up to 98 % of UV’s.

The following table shows the UPF range of canopies and the percentage of blocked UVs.


UPF Range

UPF Values on Labels

Approximate % UV Blocked

Good UV Protection

15 - 24

15 and 20

Up to 95.8%

Very Good UV Protection

25 - 39

25, 30 and 35

Up to 97.4%

Excellent UV Protection

40 - 50+

40, 45, 50 and 50+

Up to 98.0%


The surrounding environment has an important role too, as it could reflect the light and UV towards you and your skin and cause a sunburn even when you are under the canopy.

What colour blocks the most UVs?

black parasol over table and red long chairs

Black Parasol

Black. Black and darker colours like a graphite grey parasol will absorb more of the UVs and the heat, but because you are positioned below the canopy, most likely you won’t even feel it.

These are more resistant to bird-drops, stains and dust; thus, it could save you more time and will make the maintenance easier.

What is the best colour for an outdoor umbrella?

The answer is mostly your personal choice based on what goes best with the outdoor setup and other colours. Keep in mind also aspects like maintenance or other purposes it might have, like marketing.

Is it better to have a lighter or a darker outdoor umbrella?

Both darker and lighter colours have pros and cons. Over time, lighter colours will be more exposed to stains and dirt. You will have to wash the fabric more often so it may require more time for maintenance. The advantage is the increased resistance to fading.

The dark canopies are better at hiding stains from dirt, bird drops or rust, but are more exposed to the fading process.

There are 2 possibilities of colour mixing your garden umbrella with the environment:

  1. Make your parasol stand out for more visibility

If you are the proud owner of a pub or a restaurant maybe, in the commercial or hospitality sector, you may want to make your parasol stand out and be a head turner. This way it will promote your brand, make it more visible and send a message to your clients: no mater the weather, here you’ll find shade and shelter.

To make this happen, your parasol’s canopy must have either a bright colour or be in a strong contrast with the environment. For example, a red parasol or a bright yellow one will make the umbrella visible from far away, whilst a purple parasol canopy will definitely catch the eye of nearby walkers.

purple parasols with mountain view in backgroundPurple Parasols on Mountain Terrace

You can opt for them to be simple, or you could have the company’s logo printed either on the valance, either on the sides. Another good idea would be to use the colours in your company’s logo palette and fully customise it for your business.

3 blue coloured parasols on grill bar terraceCustom Branded Parasols

At Shade Specialists we can and we do offer this. Just follow the link to find out more about our printing and branding your parasol service.

At home, in your garden you can be as creative as you wish and you may choose a striped pattern, or a full printed canopy (like the half fruit image).

red, green, yellow printed parasol canopies - with fruit section print

To match it with your exotic plants, you could instal a fabulous Balinese parasol that has such vibrant colours and brings a corner from Asia on to your patio.

amazing yellow orange decorative parasol in a garden with tableBalinese Parasol

You must be aware that vibrant colours will require more attention from you, so, to extend the life of your parasol and to better protect it against fading, we always recommend to our customers purchasing it with a protection cover for when it’s stored or not in use. This way the canopy will remain safe not only against fading but mould, tear and stains as well.    

  1. Make your parasol blend in with the environment

On the other side, some of our clients prefer to make it blend in with the environment. Their gardens have high vegetation so they prefer to keep the overall natural aspect and they choose a green, lime or light yellow parasol for their outdoor space, to properly integrate it with big leaves or palm trees.

yellow garden parasol with oval table on a patioYellow Garden Parasol 

Light blue and navy parasols are preferred more for pool sides or beach resorts, whilst white, beige and cream are the colours for when you don’t want to stand out. Keep in mind though that usually lighter colours are more exposed to stains, dirt or mould, thus you will have to pay more attention and put more effort in to the maintenance process.

Having a matching garden parasol closer to an older building could combine harmoniously the old with the new and in many cases, it could add a touch of luxury to that outdoor space.

Eventually, if you’re still not happy, you can choose to match it with the garden furniture or with different elements from your yard like the deck or pathway, chairs, the patio table or the fence.

navy parasol next to old house on a deckNavy Parasol and Old House 

Another great idea is to match it with the wall next to it, if placed in the proximity of a building, and make the umbrella look like a part of it.

For the classic British housing like Victorian or Georgian properties, with red or orange brickwork exposed on the walls, a red or a terracotta parasol will fit the best in the garden, looking more like an extension of the building.

9 red parasols close to a red restaurant buildingRed Parasols and Red house


Colours for the pole and frame

Wooden garden parasols come with natural wooden colours (bamboo, eucalyptus or hardwood) but the aluminium or steel ones can have a wider range of colours to choose from for the frame and pole. Powder-coating and anodization are 2 chemical processes that make possible different colours and textures from silver, white, graphite grey to teak wood or bamboo finishes.  

In final words we hope you found this guide useful and by now you should already have an idea about what colour is the best for your parasol. No matter if you want a new parasol or just want a replacement canopy, when choosing the colour, you should also have the end user in mind and ask yourself: ‘how will my clients or my guests feel when using it?’. If you haven't decided yet upon the style or the model that you want, maybe you can find some useful answers in the Parasol Buyer's Guide. 

We work Monday to Friday from 09:30 to 16:30 and our dedicated in-house team is happy to help you with advices, ideas, quotes, or shopping assistance.

Please note that for colours we don’t have in stock, the delivery time may be up to 3-4 weeks, due to the summer season increased demand.  

Get in touch with us today by phone or email and enjoy quality time spent outdoors, safe from the sun rays and sheltered from the summer showers.