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Gazebos – The Complete Buyers Guide

Jun 02,2021 | Vicky

Gazebos – The Complete Buyers Guide

We love to talk about the weather, especially from the comfort of a sheltered space! A gazebo provides the best of being outdoors in the fresh air and sunshine, with the protection and comfort of shade and rain protection when needed. It is also a stylish garden feature that can really elevate the look of your outdoor space.

What is a Gazebo?


A gazebo is a garden structure that serves as shelter from sun and rain, and can also add a lot of beauty and focus to your garden. They come in a lot of styles and cost ranges, some having lattices and flower boxes, curtains, shutters, seating and other features. They can be made of wood, metal, stone or fabric.

Many gazebos are stationary and hold up well to weather, while others are portable and are made for camping, picnics, and outdoor events.

Popular Types of Gazebos

1. Freestanding Gazebos

A freestanding gazebo provides its ow support and need not be attached to anything else. When most people picture a gazebo, this is what they think of.

2. Pop-up Gazebos

Pop-up designs, are great for camping, picnics, weddings and other outdoor celebrations. Storm straps and UV protection are useful features, so make sure the model you choose has these, or that they are available as add-ons.

3. Gazebo Tents
A gazebo tent has a canopy, usually has (fabric or polyethylene) side walls, and the ones with walls often have polyethylene windows to let in light when closed.

4. Lean to Gazebos
A lean-to gazebo, as the name suggests, usually leans against a house or other building. They can be a great way to extend storage space at the back of your house or to provide a cosy place to have tea in the shade. Some lean-to gazebos are free-standing, but most use the side of a building for greater stability.

wooden gazebo with lights and white curtains

Buying Advice for Gazebos

There are some factors that will affect whether a gazebo suits your needs and expectations or not, and sometimes we forget these features when it comes time to buy, so it’s best to make a list beforehand so you don’t get your new purchase home and realise that there was. Better choice for you back at the shop.

Things to consider:

What Size Do You Want/Need?

It’s seldom a problem if you have a little extra space, but get a gazebo that’s too small for your needs and you’ll be unhappy with it. Consider what you’re using it for. Does it need to be high enough to use a barbeque under it? A hot tub? A dining table? Set up whatever you hope to cover with it, measure out the necessary space, and you’ll have a reliable idea of the space you need. Don’t forget to leave room to walk around a covered object if you have walls down on the sides of the gazebo.

2.5m is a fairly standard height for gazebos, but be sure to check if you need more.

Material Types

  • Polyethylene – Polyethylene is a waterproof material that doesn’t cost much, so these gazebos are usually at the lower end of the price range.
  • Powder-coated steel is sturdy and not too expensive, but heavier than aluminium – and it will eventually rust if chipped or scraped.
  • Polyester – Polyester wears better than polyethylene, but is also a bit more expensive.
  • Metal – Frames are often made of tubular metal – often steel or aluminium – and are covered with a fabric canopy.
  • With aluminium, you lose a bit of strength, but it is easier to move around and doesn’t rust.
  • Wooden gazebos are strong, don’t rust (though they will need occasional painting) and are also not considered portable.
  • Wrought iron is strong and can be painted with rust-resistant paint. They are usually too heavy to be considered portable.
  • Stone gazebos are also available, usually from bespoke stone gazebo builders. These are heavy, expensive, ad need upkeep to prevent plants from growing into cracks in the blocks, and not a common choice for those reasons.

Extra Specs

Here are some features that may also be important to consider:

Does the canopy retract? If one of the reasons you want a gazebo is for protection from sun, then this feature is excellent. You can adjust to give occupants more shade, or less.

Do you want curtains/blinds? Curtains can be adjusted to block sun or light rain, or to give added privacy. When not needed they tie securely to the posts. Doors and wall blinds can turn a sun shade in to a tent-like building great for camping or other outdoor activities when the weather is a bit too poor for comfort.

Do you want ornamental trellis for plants? Most popular with wooden models, trellises are panels of criss-crossed wooden slats that are great anchors for climbing plants. They add privacy, beauty, and structure for a variety of vines and flowers.

Do you need shelving/storage? Shelves are a great way to provide convenient storage for glasses, light tools, plants and so on.

Extra Advice When Choosing a Gazebo

If you use your gazebo all the time, and always at home, then a permanent structure is a better choice, as it will be sturdier, and you won’t have to bother with taking it out and putting it away. Choose a permanent model that will go well with your existing furniture or, if you plan to upgrade patio furniture, choose a model that goes with your future plans and build your garden around the gazebo itself.

If, however, you want to take your gazebo camping, on picnics, to watch sporting events at playing fields, etc., then a lighter, portable model better suits your needs.

If the looks of it is a major concern, consider the roof line, fabric look and colour, and how it looks with any added features installed. If looks don’t matter as much to you, go for the sturdiest model you can – just in case.

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