The 5 worst places to put a parasol and how to avoid them, according to garden design experts

Steer clear of these no-no spots in your garden to ensure optimal shade all summer long

White outdoor table and chairs set with matching white parasol in garden.
(Image credit: Future PLC)

A parasol is a staple for an outdoor space, providing a place of necessary shade in the summer as well as being an opportunity to spruce up a garden that has seen better days. However, have you ever considered where not to put a parasol?

Among the many garden shade ideas you can consider, there's a chance you never considered that the placement of a parasol could be so complex. But, being clued up on the worst places to put a parasol can make or break the look of an outdoor space.

Choosing the perfect spot for a parasol extends beyond just looks, but is an art where safety should be considered first and foremost. So, we've asked experts for the places you should steer clear of the next time you choose to relocate or purchase a new parasol for summer.

Where not to put a parasol

'When creating a shady haven from the sun's rays, not all locations are equal. Here are some places where you should avoid putting your parasol,' begins Lucy Ferguson, founder and designer of East London Parasol.

1. Under trees

'It might seem like a natural choice to position your parasol under a tree for extra shade, but bird poo and sap from the tree can fall onto your parasol and stain it,' warns Lucy.

If you've spent time picking out the perfect parasol to complement your best garden furniture set, chances are the last thing you want is for it to get soiled pretty early on. Instead, be mindful to position your parasol where there aren't any overhanging trees.

2. On grass

Whether your parasol is going to be a permanent or semi-permanent structure in your garden ideas all year round, you should avoid putting it on your lawn or any area of grass.

'Even when it's not erected, you'll find that its base weight will leave a rather unsightly patch of yellow that will plague you long into the winter,' explains James Ewens, commercial director at Alexander Francis. 'This is, of course, where your lawn has been blocked from receiving the benefits of summer sun and watering. So not only is your grass not the most sturdy of places, but it can also cause you future gardening problems.'

The result of putting a parasol on grass is especially undesirable if you've been taking the time to care for your lawn and bring it up to scratch for summer.

If you really have no other place to put it, Tom Clifford, garden design expert at Gardenstone advises moving it periodically. 'Avoid keeping it in the same location for an extended period of time.

3. On uneven ground

Similar to the last point, avoiding putting a parasol on uneven ground or uneven surfaces is advised. The only exception is if you have a high-quality ground spike.

Lucy explains that this is because uneven ground can make it difficult to secure the parasol properly and increases the risk of it tipping over in windy conditions. As you can imagine, this makes for a generally unsafe environment.

Instead, consider putting a parasol on a stable surface among your patio ideas.

4. In open areas

As we mentioned above, you should always be mindful of putting a parasol in a place where it's at risk of tipping over due to heavy wind. Therefore, James adds that you should also avoid placing your parasol in open areas of your garden.

'Even with the weighted base in place, a gust of wind at the right angle can cause it to tip over. Try to have the seating area you're trying to protect against a wall or fence, or perhaps in the corner of your garden. This will not only give your parasol more protection, but it also means that you'll have far more comfortable seating all around,' assures James.

This is something to consider the next time you work on an outdoor dining area. Not to mention, keeping your outdoor seating against a barrier will also help you stay warm when dining outside.

5. Close to BBQs or fire pits

This one probably goes without saying, but it's important to keep a parasol away from anything flammable, including your best BBQ, fire pit, and even your trusty patio heater.

It obviously does make sense to have a parasol near these sources, because you've likely set up a whole outdoor kitchen to enjoy when the sun is out but it's a must to ensure you're keeping a safe distance between all of your outdoor furniture and appliances.

'Flying embers or grease splatters can easily damage your parasol or even pose a fire risk,' cautions Lucy. So, be smart with the positioning of your outdoor space.


Where is the best place to put a parasol?

'For the most effective positioning of your parasol, you must consider where the sun will fall into your garden at different points during the day,' explains Tom Clifford from Gardenstone.

'East-facing gardens receive the majority of their sunlight in the mornings, so you may wish to position your parasol near your morning seating area. It may be hard to choose a position for your parasol if your garden is south-facing as they receive ample sunlight throughout the day.'

What is the best parasol?

'A cantilever parasol is a popular choice as you can tilt and adjust the angle of it depending on the direction of the sun, without having to move it around often,' says Gardenstone's Tom Clifford.

'This type of parasol allows for greater flexibility in shade coverage since the pole is positioned to the side, rather than in the centre. With 360° rotation, simply manoeuvre and angle the parasol as the sun moves across the sky, keeping your guests safely in the shade,' adds Caron Grant, brand manager at Bridgman.

Now you know where not to put a parasol, you should hopefully feel more confident to make an informed decision the next time you're reconfiguring the placement of your garden furniture.

Ensuring the best placement for your parasol is an often overlooked part of curating a cosy and comfortable outdoor space – but believe us when we say it makes all the difference in the long run.

Jullia Joson
Junior Writer

Jullia Joson is a Junior Writer at Ideal Home. She's always loved all things homes and interiors, graduating with a bachelor's degree in Architectural Studies from the University of Nottingham where her love for journalism blossomed following her internship at ArchDaily. Now focused on home tech, Jullia works on writing features and explainers to help people make the most of their home appliance investments. When she isn't writing, she loves exploring the city, coffee shop hopping, and losing hours to a cosy game.