A gazebo is a luxurious addition to a backyard, garden, or deck. These quaint, open-air shelters provide cover from the elements when you’re relaxing outdoors. Depending on the gazebo style, the structure can offer cover from sun, rain, wind, and even pesky insects, creating a comfortable outdoor living space.
The best gazebo is sturdy and protective, and it looks lovely on your deck or in your garden. With a wide range of styles and sizes available, there’s an elegant gazebo for any backyard. This guide includes tips for finding the best gazebo for your outdoor space. Read on to learn more about features to look for in a suitable gazebo and explore some top picks for relaxing outdoors.
- BEST OVERALL: Kozyard Alexander Hardtop Aluminum Permanent Gazebo
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: COOL Spot 11’x11′ Pop-Up Gazebo Tent
- BEST HARD TOP: YOLENY 12’x12′ Outdoor Double Roof Hardtop Gazebo
- BEST POP-UP: OUTDOOR LIVING SUNTIME Instant Pop Up Patio Gazebo
- BEST FOR GRILLING: MasterCanopy Grill Gazebo with LED Light
Features to Look for in the Best Gazebo
Gazebos come in a range of styles and sizes, and choosing the right one depends on its intended use. Those looking for a year-round feature should consider a permanent gazebo, while those looking for a shady spot for a dinner party may prefer a pop-up option. When picking a gazebo, consider its design, size, materials, durability, and installation process.
Size and Shape
It’s best to choose a gazebo that fits in the yard or patio without obstructing or overwhelming the outdoor space. It’s also important to make sure the gazebo is large enough for its intended use, whether to seat a couple of friends or to house a large dining setup. Expect pop-up gazebos to come in smaller sizes, whereas permanent structures are typically larger.
Gazebos can be hexagonal, octagonal, round, square, or rectangular. The ideal shape depends on personal preference and, again, intended use. Hexagonal, octagonal, and round structures have the classic gazebo look, but square and rectangular models tend to be more common for at-home installation kits.
Gazebos come in a wide range of sizes, with small ones measuring about 6 feet across and larger models measuring up to 12 feet by 20 feet long. Round and square gazebos tend to be small or medium-size and are a great pick for covering a patio set, seating area, or hot tub. Rectangular gazebos come in larger options, excellent for covering a long outdoor dining table, for example.
Material and Style
Gazebos come in a range of styles, built from different materials to give them a different purpose. Chosen materials are either naturally weather resistant or are treated to be waterproof and fade resistant to withstand the elements—and look great while doing so.
Wood and metal are common frame materials since they are sturdy and long lasting in outdoor conditions. Hard-top gazebos feature hard roofs made of wood, metal, or polycarbonate shingles or panels. Soft-top gazebos have canopies made of weather-resistant and tear-resistant materials like polyester or polyethylene, or acrylic materials like Sunbrella.
Hard-top and soft-top gazebos can come in permanent designs for year-round use. Some soft-top gazebos have removable canopies that allow for removing the canopy in the off-season.
Pop-up gazebos are designed for convenience and usually come in soft-top designs for easy transport and storage. They are made of foldable materials that can easily assemble and disassemble for a pool day or dinner party. Portable or pop-up gazebos are generally made with lighter materials, like metal framing and fabric canopies.
Gazebos can include a range of features to make them more pleasant to use. Insect netting, curtains, and double-roof designs offer comfort and protection.
Some gazebos include built-in insect netting. This netting protects from mosquitoes, moths, and other bugs without blocking the view or the breeze. Other models have optional hanging rods or hooks to install netting or curtains.
Curtains can help block the elements, like rain and UV rays, as well as bugs. Plus, they can also turn the gazebo into a private space. When open, curtains can be tied back to cover the poles, giving the gazebo a more luxurious look. Keep in mind that extras like curtains or netting may need to be taken down during or after wet or windy weather to prevent damage, dampness, or mildewing.
A double-roof design allows for better airflow without sacrificing protection. These gazebos feature a roof with a small gap at the top to allow fresh air to enter. A second rooftop section overlaps over the main roof to prevent rain and snow from coming into the gazebo.
Stability and Construction
Stability is one of the most important safety features when it comes to choosing a gazebo. While all gazebos are designed for outdoor use, some types are sturdier than others. Permanent structures are stronger than pop-up options. Made to move around with ease, pop-up gazebos tend to be the least stable option. They usually aren’t suitable for windy conditions, but the trade-off is their ease of use and simple assembly.
Hard-top gazebos tend to be sturdier than soft-top gazebos. Their hard metal roofs are more durable than fabric options. Hard-top gazebos also don’t run the risk of sagging or dropping with heavy rain or snow.
Gazebos include a range of features to maintain their sturdy construction. Features like air vents allow gusts of wind to flow through without rattling the roof or canopy. Built-in gutters and sloped designs direct water off the gazebo. For extra stability, most models come with spikes, bolts, or stakes to anchor the gazebo to the ground.
Type of Assembly
Gazebos are available as installed, permanent structures or portable pop-up options. Permanent options often take longer to install but also last much longer. Many DIY installation options include ready-to-install kits with precut and predrilled pieces for easy assembly. Consider your skill level and available help—while many of these sets are made for home installers, they will take two or more people to put together. Consider hiring a professional installer if needed.
Pop-up gazebos are easy to assemble and disassemble, coming together with a little bit of elbow grease. They usually have a metal frame that pulls apart or clicks into place, then the soft canopy straps over the top. Some options include storage bags for portability.
Before Buying a Gazebo
Installing a gazebo starts with thorough planning. When selecting a gazebo, consider the intended location and installation process. Step one is choosing where it will go, an important factor in identifying the appropriate size. Also ensure the area can be cleared of any obstructions like shrubs, branches, and other greenery. Make sure the ground is flat and that any roots, rocks, and other debris can be removed.
Make sure to have the necessary permits or permissions to install the gazebo. While most areas don’t require a permit for smaller structures, it is a good idea to check with governing bodies or homeowners associations.
Consider whether the gazebo will require building flooring, or select a gazebo that comes with a floor included. For those choosing to build a floor (or installing the gazebo directly onto a lawn), consider its anchoring method. Bolts, screws, or strap systems are appropriate for concrete floors, foundations, or decks, while ground stakes are suitable for installing into grass or dirt.
In short, consider the following steps before buying a gazebo:
- Choose the gazebo location. Measure and clear the area to decide the suitable gazebo type and size.
- Keep in mind that many gazebos do not include a floor, and consider the necessary planning if the floor needs to be built or installed separately.
- Consider the flooring surface and anchoring options to ensure safe installation.
- Make sure to check for any necessary permits or permissions needed to install the chosen gazebo.
Our Top Picks
Gazebos provide an open but covered outdoor space, offering protection from sun and rain and doubling as an elegant backyard feature. With the above considerations in mind, the following top picks are durable, protective, and stylish to provide attractive outdoor shelter for years to come.
Made for permanent installation, this gazebo from Kozyard has a sturdy hard-top design. The frame is made of a dark brown rustproof aluminum that withstands wet and windy weather. For protection from the sun, rain, or snow, the galvanized steel roof has a vented double-roof design. It also has a gutter system to ensure proper water runoff on rainy days.
Measuring 10 feet by 12 feet, this rectangular gazebo is perfect for covering outdoor seating areas year-round. Double-layered curtains have both a solid curtain and mosquito netting layer to protect from the sun during the day and insects into the evening.
- Sturdy metal roof
- Rain gutter system
- Permanent backyard structure
- Includes mosquito netting and privacy curtains
- May leak occasionally due to vented roof design
- Difficult to assemble
For a stylish gazebo at an affordable price, consider this portable gazebo from Cool Spot. This pop-up model is incredibly easy to set up and provides 11 feet by 11 feet of coverage. With a lightweight steel frame, fabric top, and included carrying case, it’s a versatile option for seasonal use.
To set up, just open the metal frame and attach the vented soft-top canopy. The beige canopy is made from 150D Oxford polyester, which is water resistant and blocks up to 99 percent of UV rays. This gazebo includes four optional zippered mesh side walls to protect from mosquitoes and other flying insects.
- Portable style with carrying case
- Water, flame, and UV resistant
- Top air vent
- Mesh walls
- May need extra anchors against heavy winds
- Several gaps that allow bugs in
With 12 feet by 12 feet of coverage, this square gazebo from Yoleny is ideal for large outdoor seating and dining areas. Made for permanent installation, it features an aluminum alloy frame and a polycarbonate hard-top roof.
The powder-coated aluminum frame has a reinforced design to ensure stability. The roof is made from lightweight and translucent polycarbonate, which protects from UV rays and rain but still lets some light shine through. The top also features a double-roof design for ventilation on hot or windy days.
Included with this gazebo is a fully enclosable zippered sidewall system. The curtains are on a dual track, with a netting track for preventing bugs and a solid curtain track for privacy and protection.
- Reinforced metal roof
- Blackout curtains and mesh walls
- Larger footprint
- Can be moved after it’s set up
- Mesh curtains aren’t secured at the bottom
- Bugs can get in the upper roof vent
For day-to-night use, consider this pop-up gazebo from Outdoor Living Suntime. It’s designed to shield you from sun and bugs while still allowing airflow through the mesh walls. Each wall is zippered for easy access or to open them like curtains for even more airflow. The 10-foot by 10-foot size is an excellent temporary cover for daytime shade from the sun and for evening dinner parties.
This gazebo installs in minutes by opening the frame and popping up the roof similar to how an umbrella opens. The steel framing is lightweight and powder coated for easy assembly and water resistance. The canopy is made of 150D polyester, which is also water resistant and blocks 95 percent of UV rays. It comes with a storage bag so you can take it anywhere.
- Easy set up
- Take anywhere
- Extended eaves provide more shade
- No privacy curtains
- May not withstand heavy rainstorms
Grill gazebos are often smaller in size and include handy shelves on each side to hold plates and grilling utensils. This 8-foot by 5-foot gazebo from MasterCanopy offers the perfect summer setup for a weekend barbecue.
The temporary gazebo has a rustproof steel frame and a weatherproof UV-protective polyester canopy. This soft-top roof offers cover from the elements for safe grilling, no matter the weather. The canopy also features a double-roof design, with an ample vent for smoke to escape.
Each side of the gazebo has a sturdy steel shelf for placing plates and utensils. A row of hanging hooks hold onto a range of cooking tools, and a built-in bottle opener makes it easy to open a cold one while grilling.
- Shaped to cover a grill or outdoor kitchen area
- Roof vent releases any trapped smoke
- Shelves and hooks for food and tools
- Includes LED lights
- May not withstand heavy rain
- Metal poles could be stronger
Most of us want a gazebo we can set and forget no matter the time of year, which is why the Kozyard Permanent Gazebo is our top choice for a year-round gazebo. For those who prefer the pop-up style they can take anywhere, opt for the COOL Spot Gazebo.
How We Chose the Best Gazebos
There’s only a minimal amount of variety among available gazebos, so its intended uses are what help guide the decision of which products qualify as the best gazebos. We decided the quality of the more permanent structures was paramount for homeowners looking for a structure that requires little effort after it’s set up. Metal roofs and strong supports are key considerations when choosing a gazebo that can withstand rain, wind, and snow. And, the best gazebos also make an attractive space for family dinners or to create privacy around a hot tub.
Alternatively, a portable or specialized gazebo could fit your needs better, which is why we included several pop-up gazebos. These are not built to survive strong weather, but they’re great for protecting against the sun and bugs. A great portable gazebo should be easy to pop up and carry anywhere. For small groups of people, a minimum size of 10 feet by 10 feet is a wise option, but larger spaces offer more room for gathering if the footprint is available.
Whether it’s a temporary gazebo for a summer party or a permanent, year-round cover, there’s a stylish gazebo model for every outdoor space. Consider the following common questions and answers while choosing the right one for your patio or backyard.
Q. How long do gazebos last?
A well-built permanent gazebo can last decades with proper maintenance.
Q. Do I need a building permit to build a gazebo?
It depends on your jurisdiction and intended structure. Temporary pop-up gazebos do not require a permit. Most permanent gazebos don’t require a permit either, but it is always a good idea to make sure it meets the requirements of your local township or homeowners association.
Q. How do I anchor my gazebo into the ground?
Permanent gazebos can anchor to the ground or a concrete foundation, wooden deck, or other permanent flooring using screws, straps, bolts, or other anchoring systems. Pop-up gazebos often come with stakes to secure the posts into the ground.
Q. How much wind can my gazebo withstand?
It depends on the structure and its installation. Pop-up gazebos can withstand very mild wind and are best used on calm and sunny days. On the other hand, permanent gazebos are made to withstand year-round weather, including stormy conditions. Some sturdy options can handle severe winds; check the manufacturer’s specifications if stormy conditions are a concern.
Q. Are gazebos waterproof?
Since they are outdoor structures, most gazebos are waterproof. They use weather-resistant or treated materials to withstand wet conditions. To ensure the gazebo can withstand an area’s climate, check the manufacturer’s directions for use in wet or windy weather. While most structures can handle wet weather, long term use in rainy conditions might deteriorate some soft-top and pop-up canopies.
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Jasmine Harding is a freelance writer and avid traveler. She is a DIY enthusiast with a keen interest in budget finds and sustainable living. In her free time, you can find her embroidering, researching her next home project, or watching nature documentaries.