Guide to Outdoor Gazebos

What Are Gazebos?

White gazebo set up for wedding.

Gazebos are structures designed to provide you with a place to relax in an outdoor space. A gazebo allows you to enjoy the outdoors and save yourself from the elements. Gazebos are constructed using either legs, fabric, or solid sides. They use materials such as wood, metal, or even fabric to ensure that they stay up.

Gazebos are versatile structures that are available in various different styles and sizes. You can choose a type depending on how you want to use this outdoor structure. 

What Are Gazebos Used For?

Modern patio with furniture at night

A gazebo can be used for various purposes, depending on the type of gazebo you choose to buy and where you place it. They can make for incredible centerpieces in your garden that enhance the look of your garden and provide a use. 

These structures are one of the most stylish ways to add a place to relax in an outdoor setting. You can turn your gazebo into a place where you can escape to. By adding a sofa or a rug, you can create a space to enjoy peace and quiet away from your busy life.

Gazebos are also a popular setting for hot tubs. By placing your hot tub under a gazebo, you can enjoy it without fearing the weather. It can also help you create your own luxury spa area within your garden. 

A gazebo can also be used as a lounging area. If you purchase a freestanding hammock and attach it to your gazebo, you can create a breezy spot to lounge in as you read or listen to music. 

These structures can also create an outdoor play area for your little ones. You can add a table, soft blanket, and toys to allow small children to enjoy nature and develop an appreciation for nature. 

You can use your gazebo in various ways depending on what you place in it. If you place office furniture, you can make it into an office. You can also turn it into a dining space if you add an outdoor dining set. There is no limit to what you can use gazebos for. 

Types of Gazebos

Gazebo with dining set.

There are many different types of gazebos available. To choose one that fits your needs best, you should choose one based on your use. Here are a few different kinds you can choose between.

Wall-Backed Gazebos

Wall-backed gazebos are the most affordable kinds of gazebos that you can install. These are installed with their back to an exterior wall or glass door, which bricks it off at one end. These kinds of gazebos are compact and extremely easy to build. Mostly they use four pillars that can be made of wood or steel. Depending on the style you are going for, you can also tie drapes to them.

Some designs of wall-backed gazebos have acrylic or glass enclosures that feature a door. They also have a sloping roof that enhances the look of the structure. 

Wall-backed gazebos are a perfect choice if you have limited backyard space. They are also versatile in terms of style because you can change their look by changing the drapes. 

Free Standing Gazebos

Freestanding gazebos do not need additional support because they depend entirely on their pillars. You can place these kinds of gazebos anywhere in your garden. 

They are ideal for more extensive gardens because they are meant to be a centerpiece. Freestanding gazebos are one of the most used gazebos because they allow you to create an independent space. This is useful when you want to connect with nature despite the weather. 

Pop-Up Gazebos

Pop-up gazebos are temporary structures that can be set up in minutes. They are mostly made using fabric, with their pillars made of wood or steel. They are available in DIY sets. You can use them for temporary setups, but they should not be left as a permanent installment since they are not as sturdy as other kinds. Additionally, since they use materials such as PVC sheets, fabrics, screens, and nets, they cannot withstand rain, high winds, and sunlight for extended periods. 

Canopy

Canopy gazebos are much like pop-up gazebos, only that they are designed to be permanent structures. They are made using durable materials such as rigid PVC sheets and UV-resistant materials, which can withstand sunlight, rain, and high-speed winds. They are also often decorated with drapes, screens, nets, and curtains. 

Canopies are open gazebos, meaning you can fully experience nature when you lounge under one. It is an excellent structure for connecting to nature and taking a break from your hectic life. 

Dome

If you are looking for a structure to enhance the look of your garden, then a dome is a good option. These structures have a hexagonal, octagonal, or square roof instead of a sloping one. This gives it a colonial look and adds to the aesthetic of your space. Dome gazebos do not require structural support and can be set up anywhere in your garden. 

Brick-n-mortar

Brick-n-mortar gazebos are often considered real gazebos because they are permanent structures that are built to last forever. To install a brick-n-mortar gazebo, you need to hire a professional because it needs to have a foundation on top of which the gazebo will be constructed.

These structures are made using wood or plastic and have vinyl, granite, marble, ceramic or vitreous flooring. They are usually open from all sides and have a railing. 

What To Consider When Purchasing an Outdoor Gazebo

Gazebo with dining table in a garden.

When purchasing a gazebo, there are various factors that you should consider to ensure that you end up with a gazebo that suits your garden and your needs. Here are a few things you should consider before you settle on one. 

Use

Determining what you will be using your outdoor gazebo for is extremely important. This allows you to decide whether you need a permanent or temporary structure. Most gazebos are used as a shelter from natural elements. Suppose you intend to use your gazebo similarly. In that case, you should avoid choosing one that is made using flimsy fabric or is temporary. 

Gazebos can be used in various ways. They can be used as a focal point in your garden, a spot to relax, a refuge from everyday life, an outdoor dining area, an entertainment area, and even a way to add value to your plot.

Knowing what you will use your gazebo for is the first step in choosing the perfect one.

Size

Gazebos come in various sizes, which is why you should first consider the size of your garden. If you have a small garden, a large gazebo will likely take over the space and leave the garden unusable. To avoid such a situation, carefully consider your gazebo’s dimensions.

Here are a few standard sizes available on the market and how they are generally used. 

Size  Use
8’ x 8’ to 10’ x 10’. These gazebos are perfect for private use. If you want to build an outdoor sanctuary, then this is the size you should go for. You can also use such gazebos for family dinners.
12’ x 12’  This gazebo size is ideal for hosting small gatherings. You can easily accommodate a small family and a few additional guests for an outdoor dinner.
14’ x 14’ to 16’ x 16’. These gazebos are perfect for larger social gatherings where the guest list may extend to 12 to 15 people.
18’ x 18’  If you are fond of hosting parties and outdoor events, this is the gazebo size you should opt for. 

Shape

The shape of the gazebo is also an essential consideration because it determines the aesthetic you are going for. Suppose you have a modern setup in your garden. In that case, you should choose a gazebo style that matches, such as a rectangular gazebo. 

The shape also determines the ease of setup and the ground it will cover. Rectangular gazebos are easier to set up and are available in various sizes. If you want to cover a large space, then a rectangular gazebo is the one to go for. 

On the other hand, if you want a more classical gazebo, you may want to opt for a hexagonal or octagonal-shaped one. These gazebos are more challenging to install than other kinds, but they are gorgeous and can enhance the aesthetics of your garden.

Ground

The area where you will place the gazebo is also an essential factor to consider. You want to ensure that the gazebo can be properly anchored in the ground so it can stand independently. Most gazebos do not have a floor, so the ground it is installed over should be flat. 

Some standard gazebo foundations include concrete pads, pavers or blocks, and wood or composite decking. A concrete pad is the most common foundation over which gazebos are erected. Ensure that the pad is at least 4 inches thick. This thickness will prevent it from cracking over time. 

Pavers and blocks are the most cost-effective option and look decorative and aesthetic too. When building a block foundation, ensure that the blocks are leveled out to avoid sinkholes. Decking is another common foundation because it allows flexibility.

Location

Before purchasing a gazebo, you must decide where the structure will be placed. To do so, you will need to consider the access areas you want for your gazebo and whether you want it to stand out or blend into the space where it is erected.

Assessing the access areas for your gazebo is essential because you want it to be easily accessible. If you wish to have access to it from all sides, you should ideally choose one that is freestanding. 

Additionally, you should also consider what you will be using it for. Suppose you want your gazebo to be a visual structure. Placing it in the center where it can be easily seen is an excellent idea. On the other hand, if it is a space for relaxation and peace, you may want to place it tucked into a corner. 

Material

The structure’s material is essential if you are in the market to purchase a gazebo. It will determine the amount of shade you get, how weather-resistant it will be, and how easy the structure will be to set up. Here are the various materials commonly used to construct gazebos. 

Material Benefits
Wood Wood gazebos are the one to go for if you want a more traditional look to your structure. These gazebos blend very well with the surroundings and can be used for various purposes.
Polyethylene Tent gazebos are usually made using polyethylene and are waterproof. They are an economical option but may not be completely weather-proof.
Polyester Polyester is a waterproof material and a much better option than polyethylene because of its thickness. It is also more expensive than polyethylene.
Powder-coated steel If you want a durable gazebo, you should opt for a steel gazebo. They are sturdy yet inexpensive. Compared to other materials, powder-coated steel gazebos are also resistant to chipping and fading. They are also rust-proof.
Aluminum Aluminum is a lightweight metal and makes the gazebo a lot more portable. It is also super durable because it does not rust.
Wrought Iron Wrought iron gazebos are sturdy because they are heavy. These gazebos are some of the strongest, but they must be painted with rust-resistant paint. 

Additional Features

When purchasing a gazebo, ensure that it comes with useful features to enhance its versatility and usability. These features include retractable canopies, curtains, shelves, trellis slides, and doors and wall blinds. 

Retractable canopies are an excellent addition to gazebos because they allow you to choose between light, shade, or partial shade. Curtains also serve a similar purpose, but they also add to the aesthetic of the gazebo.

If you plan on hosting barbeques under your gazebo, you may want to choose one that comes with shelves. You can use these to add decorations or hold drinks and other items. Most people also use gazebos as a way to protect their outdoor grill from rain and wind. 

Trellis slides include a criss-cross pattern that is excellent for climbing plants. If you have vines, they can enhance the look of your gazebo and make them look more attractive.

Doors and wall blinds also feature you may want to have if you are considering converting your gazebo into a private space to relax. 

Pros and Cons of Outdoor Gazebos

Pros  Cons
They provide shade from sunlight, meaning you will be able to enjoy the outdoors even when it is sunny and warm. They take up a lot of space and make the available space even smaller if you have a small yard.
It provides ample shelter from the rain. They require regular maintenance to keep them in good condition.
It is a versatile structure that can be used in a variety of ways. You can use it to host parties, as a dining area, a private relaxing spot, etc.
It adds to the aesthetics of your garden. You can add drapes and lights or plants to the structure to make it look charming.

FAQs

1. Is wood or metal better for a gazebo?

If you are in the market for a gazebo, a metal gazebo will be a better choice because they are much more durable and versatile than wooden gazebos. Metal gazebos are also easier to assemble and are long-lasting. They also do not require a lot of maintenance. 

2. What roof is best on gazebos?

The standard roof used in most gazebos is asphalt shingles. You can choose the color of the shingles and ensure they match your home for a seamless look. 

Rubber slates are also a typical roof for gazebos because they are affordable and capture the essence of slate shingles, which give your gazebo an elegant look. This kind of roof is also easy to install and eco-friendly.

3. Can you leave a metal gazebo up all year?

Yes. You can leave your metal gazebo up all year, provided that you maintain it regularly. For metal gazebos, you need to apply a rust sealant at least once or twice a year to prevent rusting. Metal gazebos are an extremely durable option and, as compared to other options, are low maintenance.

Conclusion

Outdoor gazebos are incredibly versatile structures that can be used for various purposes depending on their need. Provided that you choose the correct gazebo, you can use them as a safe space, a party den, or even as a way to increase the value of your property. The important thing is that you buy the correct one.

Gazebos come in various shapes, sizes, and materials, which is why you need to consider your use, location, foundation, and other additional features before settling on one and purchasing it.