De 6 characteristics of an
easy-to-use parasol

A parasol can sometimes be difficult to open and close. And moving them from place to place on your terrace can be a major problem. So how can you best deal with these matters?

If you can, move the parasols to follow the sun, but take account of the time and effort this involves

If your parasols are easy to move, you can change their position to provide maximum shadow in the right places at the right times:

  • Some hanging parasols (where the mast is not in the middle, but at the side) can be turned 360% around their axis. This is one easy way to move shadow to wherever you want it.
  • Some parasols have a joint at the top of the mast that allows them to be angled. This makes it easier to ‘aim’ at the spots where you want shadow to fall.
  • Opt for parasol bases on wheels. This makes it easier to move the parasols to match the movements of the sun, so that you always have shade. Make sure your bases have a wheel-lock, so they don’t roll away if there is a lot of wind.

Choose parasols that open and close easily

There are many different opening and closing systems in the parasol world. Each system has its pros and cons, and some are easier to operate than others.

Different systems for opening and closing parasols

  • A pulley to make it easier to open the parasol
  • A retractable spring that clicks the runner into place
  • A handle you need to turn
  • A rod that allows you to push the parasol open or pull it closed

These are the most common ones, but there are lots of others that are less well known.  Making the right choice is difficult:

  • Ask the supplier if you can test the different systems in his showroom.
  • Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each system.
  • Talk about the various options with an expert. Ask him to come and have a look at your terrace, so he can give you the best possible made-to-measure advice.

Choose an Autolift parasol that opens automatically

One of the more recent possibilities is the patented Autolift system. This is fitted, for example, in the wooden Cape Wood parasols sold by Symo. A pneumatic spring (like the one in the boot lid of your car) assists the automatic opening and closing of the parasol.

  • Take hold of any rib in the frame of the Cape Wood Autolift parasol and pull it gently towards you.
  • The built-in pneumatic spring will slowly open your parasol automatically.
  • To close it again, just pull down on the runner and the pneumatic spring will do the rest. Check out the film on

Choose parasols that open and close above the level of your tables and chairs

It is important to avoid the need to move your tables and chairs every time you want to open or close your parasols. This will cost you time, money and a lot of extra effort! What’s more, all that pushing and pulling is not good for your back and the backs of your staff. It can be irritating for your customers as well. Imagine that your terrace is full and someone suddenly asks you to open or close one of the parasols. You either have to say that you can’t or else you have to ask them to stand up, so you can first move the tables and chairs. Both options are far from ideal, but fortunately there are a number of possible solutions:

  • You can opt for smaller parasols with shorter ribs that don’t reach down as far as the tops of your tables when they are closed.
  • Some hanging parasols close in such a way that they fold back above the tables against the mast. In this way, only the nearest table would be inconvenienced.
  • The best solution is a telescopic parasol. When you close this type of parasol, the parasol becomes longer (or higher), so that the frame ribs pass just above the tables and chairs, without touching them.

With a telescopic parasol you can raise the outer edges of the frame ribs above the level of your tables and chairs, so that the parasol can be opened with no problem.

Good advice pays

“Good advice is important. Our parasols are telescopic. This means that we don’t need to move our tables and chairs if we want to open or close the parasols. We would never have thought of such a clever solution ourselves. An expert thinks with you to decide what’s best in your particular circumstances.”

Sommelier Joachim Boudens (three-star restaurant Hertog Jan and Bistro LESS)

Think about buying parasol bases with wheels

If you need to move your parasols frequently, their weight can be a real problem. They are big, heavy and awkward to manoeuvre. Pushing, pulling or carrying this kind of weight is not good for your back. And it’s a real pain if the moving needs to be done when there are already people on your terrace.

  • Some parasol bases have handles. This makes them easier to grip and move.
  • A base with wheels can easily be rolled to its new position.
  • The wheels need to be fitted with a brake, so that the parasol doesn’t start to roll away on its own when the wind gets up.

You don’t want to move your parasols? Then why not choose large parasols that cover your entire terrace

If you can easily move your parasols, your customers can do it as well. Is this what you really want?

  • Choose large, static parasols that cover your entire terrace.
  • In this way, there is always shade on all parts of your terrace, so that nothing needs to be moved.

Pick the right parasol
(and your terrace will be packed)

50 parasol tips for the catering world

The book of 'parasologist' Pierre Christiaens for the
catering professional who wants to get more out of his business.

Pierre Christiaans

"Parasologist" and author

How can you get more out of your terrace? Why can the right parasol help to make your terrace more pro table? And how do you choose the right parasol?

In this book, ‘parasologist’ Pierre Christiaens offers insights based on his more than 25 years of experience and know-how in the world of parasols for catering businesses. With dozens of awards, his company Symo Parasols is most highly acclaimed parasol producer under the sun.

Pierre is most proud of his honorary title as ‘Maestro dell’Artigianato’ (Master Craftsman) of the City of Rome.

Symo Parasols also created the famous Sywawa ‘Sunbelievable’ design parasols.

In 2007, Unizo nominated Pierre Christiaens as the most creative entrepreneur of the year.

This book allows you to benefit from that creativity and entrepreneurial skill.
Because with the right parasol you can get so much more out of your business.