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Which gazebos are best?

You might have heard people talking about them or maybe you’ve seen them around, but you’re still left wondering, what is a gazebo? Or perhaps you know the basics but you’d like to learn more.

A gazebo is an outdoor structure that provides shade and protection from the elements. You can buy them in a range of styles, shapes and sizes. Once you know more about them, it’s easier to find the right one for you.

What is a gazebo?

A gazebo is a freestanding garden structure that’s open-sided, rather than having walls or fixed sides like a shed or summerhouse. The primary function of a gazebo is to provide shade and shelter while you’re outside.

Although they’re often square or rectangular, you can find hexagonal, octagonal and other similarly shaped gazebos. They come in two main varieties: hardtop and soft-top.

Hardtop gazebos

As the name suggests, hardtop gazebos have roofs made from hard materials. More often than not, their canopies are made from metal or some type of hard plastic, such as vinyl. They’re more rugged than soft-top varieties, but they’re also significantly more expensive.

Gazebos of this type take a significant amount of time to set up and take down, so they’re designed to be either permanent or semi-permanent. They can either be concreted into the ground as a permanent structure or anchored with pegs or screws if you want to be able to move them.

Soft-top gazebos

Soft-top gazebos have canopies made from a sturdy fabric that’s UV-resistant and either naturally waterproof or has a waterproof coating. They’re more affordable than hardtop versions but not as durable.

They’re generally meant for temporary use, either for a day or week at a time or the full summer. Some soft-top gazebos have pop-up frames, making them even quicker and easier to put up and take down.

What are gazebos used for?

Now you know what gazebos are, but you might still be wondering what they’re used for. These are some of the most common ways to use gazebos.

  • Shade: If your yard doesn’t have much natural shade, you’ll be able to sit out more comfortably and for longer when shaded by a gazebo.
  • Shelter from rain: It’s frustrating when it’s warm enough to enjoy your backyard but it’s raining. However, with a gazebo, you can enjoy the fresh air while staying dry.
  • Keeping bugs out: Many gazebos have mosquito net curtains, so you can spend time outdoors without worrying about bugs.
  • Grilling under: Thanks to their open sides, gazebos are safe to grill under and can be used on rainy days or to provide shade when it’s hot out.
  • Hot tubs: Gazebos make ideal covers for hot tubs, providing shade and shelter from rain or snow.

How to choose the right gazebo

Think about size

You can choose from a wide range of sizes, from under 10 feet by 10 feet to over 14 feet by 20 feet. Consider what or how many people you want to fit under your gazebo and also the size of your outdoor space. You don’t want a gazebo to absolutely dwarf a small yard or look comically small in a large yard.

Decide if you want a permanent or temporary structure

Do you want a shelter just for the summer months or are you looking for something more permanent that you can enjoy year-round? Your answer to this question will dictate which type of gazebo is right for you: hardtop for permanent or long-term use or soft-top for short-term use.

Consider materials

Gazebos usually have metal frames, though some cheap models have plastic frames and some high-end versions have wooden frames. Roofs can be fabric, metal, plastic or even made from wooden shingles. Choose durable materials if you want your gazebo to last years to come.

Pay attention to side panels

While gazebos don’t have fixed sides, some have removable side panels or curtains that can be drawn around the edges. Some curtains are made from mesh to keep bugs out while maintaining airflow, while others are made from more solid fabric to help block out wind and rain.

Best gazebos

Best Choice Products Hardtop Gazebo

Best Choice Products Hardtop Gazebo

Lightweight yet durable, it’s made with an aluminum frame and a UV-blocking tinted plastic roof. It measures 10 feet by 10 feet, which is large enough to accommodate a group without taking over your yard.

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best Purple Leaf Permanent Hardtop Gazebo

Purple Leaf Permanent Hardtop Gazebo

This rugged hardtop gazebo is meant to be concreted into the ground as a permanent backyard structure. It’s available in four sizes between 10 feet by 14 feet and 12 feet by 18 feet.

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best Kozyard Alexander Hardtop Aluminum Permanent Gazebo

Kozyard Alexander Hardtop Aluminum Permanent Gazebo

With an aluminum frame and steel top, this is a highly durable choice of gazebo that comes in sizes between 10 feet by 12 feet and 12 feet by 20 feet. The double curtains have a mosquito net layer that you can use independently of the opaque fabric layer.

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Best Choice Products Outdoor Portable Pop Up Gazebo

Best Choice Products Outdoor Portable Pop-Up Gazebo

Taking just minutes to pop up and peg down, this is a great choice for occasional use or impromptu garden gatherings. It folds relatively small so you can take it camping or on day trips.

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best Cool Spot Pop-Up Instant Gazebo Tent

Cool Spot Pop-Up Instant Gazebo Tent

This stylish pop-up gazebo has a vented roof and mosquito net curtains to keep bugs at bay. It comes in six colors, including beige, blue and red.

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best Grand Patio Gazebo

Grand Patio Gazebo 

Measuring 10 feet by 13 feet, this is relatively spacious for a soft-top gazebo. The sturdy frame is made of iron and the canopy and curtains are made of high-quality fabric.

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Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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