Outdoor Umbrella

Umbrella Base Options – how to safely secure your umbrella

When it comes to securing your umbrella there are many different options to choose from. The most important thing is that the umbrella is adequately stabilised and cannot fall over or blow away in the wind. Freestanding bases offer the flexibility of being able to move the umbrella, while fixed installation provides greater wind resistance.

This article discusses the different types of outdoor umbrella base options and helps you make the right choice for your home or business.

Freestanding base vs fixed installation

Freestanding base:

A freestanding base allows you to move the umbrella around your patio or café outdoor seating area. This can be good if there are several furniture settings that you want to shade with the one umbrella (eg. two different areas) or if you want to move the umbrella as the sun moves throughout the day.

Movable bases are also a great option if you’re living in a rental property and can’t get permission to do a fixed installation. Installations can also be problematic on balconies or rooftop terraces due to waterproofing issues, so freestanding bases are usually the best option for those settings.

When it comes to cafés, freestanding bases are the quickest and cheapest option as they don’t require organising council permission for umbrella installation, dial before you dig, etc. However for safety, your bases will require lots of weight (eg. additional sandbags) that your staff may have to bring in and out each day.

Fixed installations:

Fixed Installation UmbrellaFixed installations are the preferred option for maximum stability and safety of your umbrella. They are definitely the best option for larger umbrellas and cantilever umbrellas (which are inherently more vulnerable to wind due to their design). Fixed installation removes the risk of the umbrella toppling over from a gust of wind.

Some councils now require fixed umbrella installation in public spaces like footpaths.

Installing an umbrella is not difficult and a number of fittings are available to make the installation easier depending on what sort of ground surface you are fixing to (eg. concrete slab, timber decking, garden bed, etc).

Keep in mind however that even if an umbrella is installed, it is still not a permanent structure. The umbrella should still be closed and securely strapped when not in use, or in anticipation of strong winds.

How much weight is needed for a freestanding base?

Two things impact on the stability of a freestanding outdoor umbrella base:

  • The footprint (ie. the size of the base)
  • The weight

In simple terms, a base with a bigger footprint will provide more stability than a smaller one of the same weight. And the more weight the better to prevent your umbrella from toppling over in the wind. Another thing that can aid stability is a table – if the umbrella is positioned through the hole of a table, the table provides additional stability.

If you don’t plan to move your umbrella around, then select the biggest and heaviest base you can find. Our concrete bases are very heavy and are a great option for this scenario – for example our 45kg concrete base has a footprint of 650mm diameter and can safely support a large market umbrella like our 3m Square Monaco market umbrella.

If you need to move your umbrella and base regularly – for example a café that brings umbrellas in and out each day – it is better to select a less heavy base and add weight through additional sandbags. Our Café Series flat base plates weigh less than 20kg so can be carried by one person safely. A set of two sandbags adds an additional 30kg but can also be easily carried. These are the most popular option for Commercial Umbrellas.

Should I use a freestanding base with wheels?

freestanding base with wheelsWheels are a popular addition to umbrellas bases and can make the umbrella easier to move. However keep in mind that a heavy base with wheels still requires considerable strength to move it, especially if the ground surface is not perfectly smooth. It also makes the umbrella a little bit taller and a little bit more vulnerable to the wind.


Types of fixed installation

Umbrellas can be installed on pretty much any surface, but the installation method will vary and different installation fittings will be required. For example:

  • concrete patio/slab – fix a base plate to the concrete
  • timber decking – fix a base plate to the decking and reinforce the decking with additional timber underneath (known as a “nog” or a “noggin”)
  • garden bed or lawn – dig a hole and pour a concrete footing with an inground fitting in it for the umbrella to attach to
  • public area or footpath – install our specially designed inground socket & sleeve kits that feature a self-closing lid that closes over the hole when the umbrella is removed

Who should install my umbrella?

Outdoor Umbrella MelbourneWe always recommend hiring the services of a professional to install any of our umbrellas. This way, you can rest assured that the job is done properly. However, if you have the right tools and experience then DIY installations are relatively easy to carry out and we provide comprehensive instructions in our owner manuals.

We also have handy videos on our website where you can see the step-by-step process of carrying out the installation.

To find out more about the best Outdoor Umbrella Base Option for your home, contact our stockists today! For commercial projects, contact us with your requirements.

Outdoor Umbrellas - The Ultimate Buyers Guide for Your Garden or Patio

Outdoor Umbrellas – The Ultimate Buyers Guide for Your Garden or Patio

Bring the party outdoors for everyone to enjoy with an outdoor umbrella providing shade and style to your outdoor area. Instant Shade Umbrellas are industry leaders when it comes to quality outdoor umbrellas. From the classic octagonal market umbrella to giant cantilever umbrellas and wall-mounted umbrellas, here is our guide to help you select the right outdoor umbrella for your family.

Types of Outdoor Umbrellas available for your home:

Cantilever vs Market Umbrellas vs Wall Mount Umbrellas



For many years market umbrellas with a pole in the center of the shade and a rope-and-pulley opening mechanism were the most popular option for Australian backyards. These days cantilever umbrellas are much more popular, allowing for better shade coverage over furniture and swimming pools due to the main post being off to the side of the canopy. Wall mount umbrellas are a variation of cantilever umbrellas that are fixed to a wall rather than being ground mounted. They are a great option for small spaces since the canopies are restricted to smaller sizes and the wind resistance is less than a ground mounted market or cantilever umbrella.


  • Market or Patio Umbrellas are equipped with a centre-pole, making them classic in design and feel. They are usually a simpler construction and feature less mechanics making them a less expensive option, but the build quality is the same as all our other products. They are the perfect option for small areas like balconies and courtyards, or for covering a small table that has a hole in the center to accommodate the umbrella pole. They can be used on weighted bases and easily moved around.
  • Cantilever Umbrellas feature a side pole that allows for more free space under the area shaded by the canopy. They are perfect for covering large furniture settings or over swimming pools. The degree of adjustability is far greater than that of a market umbrella, with quality models allowing them to be spun 360-degrees and conveniently tilted to offer shade from the low afternoon sun. Although they can be used on weighted bases, they are more stable in the wind if professionally installed (refer further info below).

Umbrella construction – Timber or Aluminium?



All our umbrellas are constructed with marine-grade anodised aluminium frames. There is a long list of advantages that come with using aluminium. The primary benefits include a long life free from regular maintenance, lighter weight and ever-lasting good looks. On the other hand, timber is heavier and can weather and crack in the harsh Australian conditions. The choice is clear.

Shape – Classic Octagonal vs Contemporary Square



Most umbrellas will come in either an Octagonal or Square shape. Octagonal (8-panel) gives a round look to the canopy and is more often associated with a classic European or “beach umbrella” look. Square (4-panel) gives a more streamlined and contemporary aesthetic.

The shape preference depends on certain key aspects such as the area that needs to be shaded and design preferences. Square umbrellas are definitely a better option if you are considering having multiple umbrellas side by side, as you can position them closer together with less gaps between them. However for those looking for a more classic look, octagonal umbrellas are the best choice. Also when comparing sizes, be aware that octagonal umbrellas are measured by the diameter (tip to tip through the middle) whereas square umbrellas are measured by the length of the sides (the distance along the edge between the corners). For example, a 3m Square Umbrella is much bigger than a 3m Octagonal one.

Moveable Base or Fixed Installation


Umbrellas can be used on freestanding moveable bases or installed to the ground surface. Movable bases allow for freedom of movement within your area while a fixed base installation offers more safety and stability in the wind. The bigger the umbrella the more likely it is that it should be installed.

If using freestanding bases it is important that they are heavy enough to safely stabilize the umbrella in case of wind. The biggest risk with freestanding bases is if they are not heavy enough and the umbrella topples over in the wind, causing damage to the umbrella and surrounding furniture. This is particularly important with cantilever umbrellas as they are inherently more vulnerable to wind.

Quality umbrellas will always have a wide range of heavy base and fixed installation accessories available. 

To find out more about the best Outdoor Umbrella for your home, contact our stockists today!


VIDEO – How to Install a Cantilever Umbrella on a Timber Deck

Tips for a Successful Install:

  • Before you get started, check you have the correct tools needed to install the Cantilever Umbrella to the timber deck
  • Watch our installation video several times before commencing
  • Measure and mark out your where you would like to install the Cantilever Umbrella, before drilling any holes in the decking
  • Carefully remove the timber decking either side of the base plate
  • Ensure the nog you are installing underneath the base plate, (between the decking joists) is at least 400mm wide for stability, and 50-100mm thick
  • The bolts to secure the base plate to the decking/nog will need to be longer than the thickness of your nog
  • Use large washers and nuts to secure the bolts underneath the nog
  • Once base plate is securely fastened, attach the spigot to the base plate using the supplied stainless steel spigot bolts
  • Re-attach your timber decking in place before mounting the umbrella to the spigot.
  • When the base plate has been secured to the decking, and the spigot to the plate, have someone help to lift the Cantilever Umbrella securely onto the spigot.

For more information on our Cantilever Umbrellas, click here.

2.8m Square Aurora Cantilever Umbrellas installed into concrete

VIDEO – How to Install a Cantilever Umbrella on a Concrete Patio/Slab

Tips for a Successful Install:

  • As with any DIY project, ensure you have the right tools to begin with and take your time to follow the steps.
  • Watch our installation video several times before commencing
  • Ensure that you have measured and marked out the area that you would like to install your Cantilever Umbrella first, before you commence drilling any holes.
  • The concrete screws can be purchased from a specialty bolt shop (eg – www.costlessbolts.com.au). The screws should be galvanised and measure 10mm in diameter (M10) x 75-125mm in length. Other types of hardware can also be used, for example Dyna Bolts.
  • When the base plate has been secured to the concrete, and the spigot to the plate, have someone help to lift the Cantilever Umbrella securely onto the spigot.

For more information on our Cantilever Umbrellas, click here.


Heavy Duty Cantilever Umbrellas

Our Heavy Duty Cantilever Umbrella, the ‘Eclipse’ is the perfect choice in a Commercial setting where you need to maximise your shade coverage, as it has no central post. Shown here at the Lorne Sea Baths, the Eclipse has a full 360 degree rotation, which shelters and shades the swimmers throughout the day. With increasing reminders from the Cancer Council to not only ‘slip, slop slap’, but to now ‘Seek out Shade’ the Eclipse can provide shade that rotates where you need it most.

Continue reading “Heavy Duty Cantilever Umbrellas”