What You Need to Know about Purchasing a Gazebo

What You Need to Know about Purchasing a Gazebo

Looking for an easy way to enhance your outdoor living space both in terms of adding functionality and making it more aesthetically pleasing? Placing a gazebo in your backyard can give you much needed shelter from harsh sun, rain, and insects that will allow you to enjoy more time outside whether you wish to entertain friends and family or simply relax alone in your private garden whenever you want.

Gazebos come in all different styles, shapes, and sizes, allowing you to easily find one that is suitable to your own needs, space, and budget. Whether you’re looking for a more permanent structure for your backyard or a portable gazebo one you can take to the beach or camping, check out this comprehensive guide on what you need to know about purchasing a gazebo.

What Exactly is a Gazebo?

You have most likely seen a number of gazebos before, many being found in places like botanic gardens and parks. These often attractive structures are made to provide shade and shelter from the elements so you can continue to enjoy the outdoors even when the weather isn’t playing nice.

Some people may refer to a gazebo as a pavilion, folly, rotunda, pergola, or sunshade and although many of these structures are similar, they each have a slightly different design and function. Gondolas are often freestanding, roofed structures that are open on all sides, although some offer the option of enclosing the sides with curtains or screens for extra privacy or protection from insects.

A gondola can be made to be a permanent structure or portable depending on what you’re planning to use it for. Backyard gondolas tend to be more permanent and can be used for backyard parties and barbecues, afternoon siestas, or to cover an outdoor spa. Portable gondolas on the other hand are great for taking camping, to kids’ sporting events, and to the beach.

While you may be able to rent a gondola for your special events or occasions, purchasing your own gondola is usually a much more economical option in the long run and allows you to take advantage of the many benefits it can offer whenever you wish.  

Different Styles of Gazebos

Gazebos can be square, rounded, or have as many as six to eight sides. They may be placed on decking, grass, sand, or have their own distinct flooring. In terms of styles, they range from sleek modern designs to Victorian-looking or Asian inspired structures resembling pagodas. Whatever style of gazebo you’re searching for, the best ones all have a few things in common that you should look for.

A gondola should be durable, pleasing to the eye, and suitable for the area you are planning to use it in. Most gazebos are both affordable and easy to install. Most feature sturdy metal frames and a soft fabric canopy, although they do make fancier and more durable hard-top canopy models as well. Soft-top canopies are often constructed of polyethylene or polyester.

Gondola frames come in different thicknesses and metal compositions. More permanent gondolas may have a frame that is wrought iron or powder coated steel, while lightweight aluminum frames are ideal for portable gondolas that you want to take with you when you travel to local campgrounds, lakes, beaches, or parks.

Gazebos can also be constructed of wood, but unless you happen to be a skilled carpenter, wooden gazebos can be a bit pricey and won’t generally be able to be taken down or transported. Lighter framed models will be much more manageable to take down in the winter if needed and can be more easily moved to areas where they are most needed which can change depending on the specific event or activity.

When it comes to sizing, a 10ft x 10ft (3m x 3m) gazebo is often the most popular size both for permanent backyard gazebos and portable gazebos you might take camping and to the beach. This size can shelter a family comfortably and accommodates a good number of chairs or decent-sized furniture pieces. They of course do make smaller and larger models if either would be more practical for you.  

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Additional Gazebo Features

There are a number of enhancements or add-ons that can take your gazebo to the next level. Gazebos can be fitted with lighting to make them more suitable during the evening and have attached curtains or walls you can use for complete privacy. It is recommended you also think about getting bug screens or nets for your gazebo to stop mosquitoes and other biting insects from ruining your outdoor enjoyment. Bug screens are also great for keeping flies, bees, and other insects away from any food you might have in your gazebo.

You may also want to look for a gazebo that has a vented roof, as having proper ventilation will make the temperature and air quality much more enjoyable in your gazebo. If you live in a region that is prone to frequent rain, you may want to make sure your canopy roof is designed to be anti-pooling which will allow rain to roll off the sides in an effective manner.  

Some gazebos allow you to adjust the height of the canopy, while others feature canopies that offer UV protection, sometimes as much as a 50+ UV rating. You can also beautify your gazebo by adding lattice that climbing plants can grow on or placing some flower boxes or pots around the structure.  

And lastly, if you are planning on getting a portable gazebo, look for one that offers a heavy duty carry bag or at least some way of easily transporting the structure.

Where and How to Install a Gazebo

You should consider where you want to place a gazebo before actually looking for one since your space will likely determine what size and style of gazebo you’ll be able to fit in the area. You may also need to ask your council if planning permission will be required for your chosen gazebo. Most models will not require council permission, but there are sometimes restrictions when it comes to height allowance of structures and how close a structure can be to your property’s boundary.

Most gazebos can be easily assembled in an hour or two and don’t require a lot of specialized tools or technical know-how from an installation point of view. One of the most important things is to make sure the gazebo is placed in a well-drained area that won’t be affected by heavy winds if possible. You should also try to match the gazebo’s design to the current design of your backyard. For example, if your home and outdoor patio/deck areas are modern, a rustic or Victorian style gazebo may not be fitting.

Regardless of whether you get a portable or permanent gazebo, you will need to make sure to firmly secure it to the ground in order to prevent injury to you, your family, or others. Properly securing your gazebo to the ground will also of course prevent the structure itself from getting damaged. Portable models may be secured by stakes, ropes, sand bags, or frame weights, while heavier permanent structures may require wood or concrete footings.

Consider what furniture you wish to place under your gazebo including outdoor chairs, outdoor lounges, or tables. You want to make sure your gazebo effectively covers everything you want to place underneath it. If you find you are having trouble erecting or installing your gazebo, search online for video tutorials which can offer free and helpful instructions to quickly get you back on the right track.

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Gazebo over hot tub: Photo courtesy of Almangeshi at Wikimedia commons CC BY-SA 4.0

Maintaining Your Gazebo

The amount of maintenance involved in owning a gazebo will depend on the type of materials used in its construction. Depending on where you live, you may need to break it down and pack it away during the winter months since heavy snow and ice could damage your gazebo, most notably the canopy.

Most gazebos these days are constructed with frames that can stand up to the elements with little maintenance. Those with powder coated steel or aluminum frames are usually resistant to chipping, abrasion, cracking, peeling, and rust. You may only need to wash them with soapy water every now and then, making sure to use a non-abrasive sponge to avoid scouring or scratching the finish.

Metals like iron will need to be coated with an anti-corrosion product and gazebos with wooden frames and roofs may need to be treated with a fungicide and will usually require a special coating of stain, varnish, or paint to help it hold up to elements like rain and sun.

When storing a portable gazebo, make sure to keep it in a dry and temperate location that is free from pests like spiders, rodents, and birds. You will also want to make sure it is also fully dry before placing it in storage to prevent algae or mold growth. Properly storing your gazebo will extend its life and allow you to enjoy it for many years.

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Evening Gazebo: photo courtesy of JAOEMAI skquadweb at Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0

We hope our gazebo guide has helped you learn the different styles that are available and how you might be able to incorporate one in your own yard or weekend travels to better enjoy the outdoors. For many people, gazebos prove to be an invaluable part of their backyard setup that allows them to be outdoors rain or shine.

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Author: Michael Jerrard

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