How Do I Stop My Patio Umbrella From Blowing Over?
Patio umbrellas are a great way to extend your outdoor living area without undertaking a huge construction project. It will give you some shade and even protect you from mild showers. However, this simplistic fix has a single inherent problem – the wind blows them over easily.
If your patio umbrella keeps flipping, you did not weight it down properly or skimped on the stabilizer hooks. It could also mean your area is too windy for patio umbrellas.
Why Does My Patio Umbrella Keep Blowing Over?
Your patio umbrella is a big stretch of canvas. This makes it the perfect kite. It wants to fly away every time it catches the breeze. The bigger the umbrella, the more the wind it catches and the harder it is to keep it down.
Your only patio umbrella hack to counter this is weighing down the umbrella giving the wind something heavier to blow away.
If your umbrella keeps blowing over, chances are you haven’t weighed it down enough for the prevailing wind conditions.
How to Make Your Patio Umbrella Wind Resistant
Nonetheless, you should first try the following tricks to anchor down your umbrella and deny the wind the joy of taking it off your property.
Ensure Your Patio Umbrella Has the Base Installed
All decent patio umbrellas have a big sturdy base that would go under the patio or underground. Some homeowners find installing the base a bother and just lay it on the surface. Install the umbrella base before the patio and ensure that it goes under the patio’s floor, and you will never have to worry about the umbrella tipping over.
Get a Very Heavy Base
If you can’t integrate the patio umbrella base onto the patio’s floor, look for a very heavy base. A base over fifty pounds should be heavy enough to withstand some wind on its own. When it gets gusty, remember to close the umbrella, and the heavy base will still hold it down in the strong wind.
You can go a step further and drive stakes around the base into the ground to hold the umbrella down. This is a great option if you install the umbrella in a grassy backyard.
Add Weight to the Existing Patio Umbrella Base
If the stock base isn’t heavy enough, consider a DIY project to weight it down. Be creative and develop cool and neat ways to get the job done. Here are some ideas to try out.
Cinder blocks or bricks around the base are a simple short term fix but might vibrate and fall off as the wind picks up
Add some sandbags (or bags filled with soil) onto the base. These are heavy and will easily stay in place. You can then build a neat wooden box to cover up the base keeping the whole installation neat.
Add Water or Sand to Hollow Base Umbrellas
Some patio umbrellas come with a hollow plastic base. The hollow base is light and seemingly useless. However, the designer wants you to fill it with water and sand to form a very heavy and unmovable base.
- Find some fine sand or dry soil and carefully pour it into the hollow section of the umbrella base until it is full
- Add some water to make the soil or sand wet, giving it more weight
Sand/soil and water are a good idea since you can always empty them when you want to relocate the umbrella. However, if you are looking for a permanent installation, you could consider pouring concrete to create a very heavy base.
While this will make your patio umbrella windproof, chances are you will never move the umbrella base without using a lift or a wheeled platform.
Tie it Down Using Wind Stabilizer Straps
Stabilizer straps are a set of nylon straps (or any rope you can find) tied to the edges of the patio umbrella or its stem on one side and tied down on the other side to a firm surface like a fence, tree, or stakes driven into the ground.
You will need a couple of straps radiating out in opposite directions. The idea is to get a look and feel similar to what you would have when setting up a tent.
While this technique will work, it has a couple of shortcomings that I find unacceptable.
- Your patio will be riddled with bungee cords or straps. You will have to weave and bob around instead of walking around comfortably
- Umbrellas aren’t designed to get lateral support from extra straps. Regardless of where you attach the stabilizer straps, you will introduce extra strain to the umbrella’s structure that will reduce its lifespan
- Children, pets, or tipsy adults can trip or get entangled in the straps maze you create
Get a Patio Umbrella With Less Resistance to the Wind
If you haven’t bought a patio umbrella yet, you could consider getting a unit with the least resistance to the wind possible.
Such an umbrella will be full of compromises, however. For instance:
- Could have mesh sections to let most of the wind through without blocking it
- It could have holes to let more wind through
- Be relatively small for a smaller wind profile
- Be entirely made of mesh, making it perfect for windy places and terrible at protecting you from rain
Is it Better to Fill an Umbrella Base With Water or Sand?
While any can do the job, I find combining the two the best solution. You will get a very heavy base without the annoying slosh or water alone. Filling the base with sand before adding water to saturate the mix will give you a very heavy base that you would get with water or sand alone.
Here are some points to note
- Water is easier to drain. Consider it if you move your patio umbrella around a lot
- Water sloshes around more than sand
- Sand can be harder to handle, while you can pipe in the water using the garden hose.
While the above techniques will make your patio umbrella more stable and resistant to the wind, you will still have to close it when the wind picks up or when you aren’t using it. Even an anchored patio can take repeated gusty winds. And it will not survive a storm.
Check this too: How to Clean Bird Poop off the Deck
Also, a protected patio that isn’t directly in the way of the wind will make your umbrella less susceptible. Find a spot that experiences less wind flow to place the umbrella for maximum windproofing.