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What size umbrella should I buy for my picnic table?

An umbrella can be an important addition to any outdoor space. It can help protect you, your family and your guests from the elements, ensuring you derive maximum pleasure from your time outside. A good umbrella will provide shade and coolness while also helping to block the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays for everyone underneath its shelter.

The right umbrella is critically important for a picnic table, where everyone will gather to enjoy meals when the weather’s nice. To ensure that you pick the right patio umbrella for your picnic table, here are some helpful suggestions from Outdoor Furniture Plus.

First, decide how you will connect your umbrella to your table. Naturally, you want the surest, safest connection possible. Nothing could be more disastrous than having your umbrella fall over or even fly away—hopefully without any dishes or little ones in tow a la Mary Poppins—should the wind pick up. If your picnic table has a hole in it, you are in business, although it is wise, of course, to make sure the hole’s diameter matches the diameter of the umbrella pole. It is also important to make sure that the table is heavy enough so that the umbrella doesn’t pull it over on windy days. In some cases it is recommended that you place an umbrella base under the table to provide additional support.

For those with tables without umbrella holes, there is hope. Sure and sturdy table clamps are available. Simply clamp them onto your table and you are good to go (again an umbrella base may be required to stabilize the table). Offset umbrellas with their own stands are also an option. Simply place them near your table in position to provide maximum shade and protection.

How big should your umbrella be? Generally, shoot for an umbrella that is about five feet bigger than the area you plan to cover. That overlap will provide some extra protection as the sun moves across the sky.

The size of your umbrella will also differ depending on its shape. Of course, the size of your table and the number of benches or chairs will also come into the equation. Here are a few suggestions for the most popular shapes of umbrellas, including octagonal and round, rectangular and square.

In general, if you are using a round or octagonal umbrella, a 13-foot umbrella will cover a table and eight chairs. An 11-foot umbrella should be sufficient for a table and six chairs, while a 10-foot umbrella will cover a table and four chairs. Umbrellas ranging from 6 feet to 10 feet should be sufficient for a very small table and two chairs for an intimate picnic.

If you are interested in a rectangular umbrella, a 10-foot by 13-foot umbrella will cover a table and 10 chairs. A rectangular umbrella ranging from 8 feet by 10 feet to 8 feet by 11 feet will handle a table and six chairs.

For those who prefer square umbrellas, a 13-footer will give good coverage to a table and eight chairs. A square of 10 feet or 11 feet will handle a smaller table and four chairs, while squares in the 9- to 10-foot range are suitable for intimate picnics at smaller tables with just two chairs.

Much depends, of course, on the type of picnic table you have and the type of seating you plan to provide. If you have questions, just call our friendly staff here toll-free or drop us an email. You’ll get fast, helpful answers.


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