If you have your eye on that large market umbrella, you may not realize the price often does not include the stand. The stands can be pricey, and occasionally hard to find. Inexpensive does not have to mean "cheap," and making an umbrella stand might be easier than you think. With a little patience and a trip to a home improvement store, you can have a functional umbrella stand that is attractive, and possibly sturdier, than that one you saw in the store.
Use a large (18- to 20-inch) plastic planter as your base. Planters with full depth give the most stability. Sometimes you can pick up good deals late in the season on large flowerpots.
Obtain a piece of PVC pipe with a diameter just big enough to slide in your umbrella pole. You will need a length that is approximately four to six inches taller than the height of your planter.
In a wheelbarrow or other large container, mix a 60 lb. bag of concrete mix, such as Quikrete, to a thick consistency. Use a shovel to turn over and stir the concoction. Five parts concrete mix to one part water usually gives a good starting point. If the cement is too thin, add a little more mix, and if it is too thick, add a bit more water.
Place the PVC pipe vertically into the very center of the planter. Carefully shovel in the concrete mix around the pipe. As you add concrete, make sure to keep your pipe upright and level. The heaviness of the wet cement mix will help support the pipe in place.
With a small board or float, smooth off the top of the concrete around the PVC pipe. Ensure the pipe is in place and allow the concrete mix to dry completely; usually, eight to ten hours is enough. When dry, slip the umbrella inside the PVC pipe opening and enjoy the shade!