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A gazebo (sometimes called a rotunda, pavilion, or tea house) is a freestanding outdoor structure with a roof and an open design. It can be round, square, rectangular, or hexagonal and might have screens or drapery in place of walls. Typically made of wood or metal, gazebos offer shade, shelter from the rain, and, depending on the type, protection from insects.
While you'll often see these structures at parks, event spaces, and other public areas, you might consider getting one for your house. For large families and anyone who likes to entertain outdoors, gazebos are a warm-weather staple. You can even set up a couple of heat lamps and use it year-round.
From hard-tops and pop-ups to canopies, screened structures, and easy-to-assemble kits,
we've found the best high-quality gazebos for every budget. Read on for our top picks.
Best Budget: Better Homes & Gardens 12' x 12' Gilded Grove Gazebo
This budget-friendly option from Better Homes & Gardens has a heavy-duty steel frame and a weather-resistant polyester canopy top. Its double-roof design allows for plenty of light and fresh air into the structure. And those who are planning to bring it with them to their next tailgate will be pleased to know it weighs just 50 pounds and comes with a carrying bag.
Best Hard-Top: Palram Martinique Aluminum Frame Rectangle Gazebo
The Palram Martinique is a rectangular gazebo with a sturdy aluminum frame and a hard-top roof with a powder-coated finish. It's designed to offer year-round protection from rain, hail, snow, and blazing-hot sun.
This structure is available in three sizes: 10 x 12 feet, 10 x 14 feet, and 12 x 16 feet. It comes in a ready-to-assemble kit with pre-cut and pre-drilled pieces and can be set up with two people.
Best Fabric-Top: Outsunny Aluminum Patio Gazebo
If you're looking for a fabric-top design, you can't go wrong with this gazebo from Outsunny. This tent-style structure has a powder-coated aluminum frame and a polyester canopy over the roof. It also has curtains on each wall, allowing you to adjust the level of lighting, privacy, and weather protection.
Best Screened: Hampton Bay Holden Hard Top Galvanized Steel Gazebo
The Hampton Bay Holden Gazebo boasts an ultra-durable galvanized steel construction and an all-weather roof with an air vent at the top. It comes with zippered insect netting on all sides, which you can be opened and closed as needed. This structure measures 10 x 10 feet and comes with all the parts and hardware needed to assemble it.
Best Pop-Up: Symple Stuff Hartin Steel Pop-Up Canopy
Looking for a pop-up gazebo? Check out the Symple Stuff Hartin Canopy. This portable, collapsible structure has a lightweight steel frame, a polyester roof, and mesh walls for full visibility and insect protection. It weighs just 29 pounds and comes with a storage bag, making it ideal for on-the-go use.
Best Grill: Sol 72 Outdoor Bayamo Steel Grill Gazebo
Need a dry, shaded place for your barbecue? The Sol 72 Bayamo Gazebo is an excellent solution. This ready-to-assemble structure has a rust-resistant, powder-coated steel frame and a canopy-style roof designed to ventilate smoke. We also like that it comes with handy built-in shelves and hooks for all your grilling utensils.
Our budget-friendly pick is the Better Homes & Gardens Gilded Grove Gazebo (view at Walmart). It has a heavy-duty steel frame, weather-resistant polyester canopy top, and is also portable. If you're looking for a hard-top gazebo with a screen, your best bet is the Hampton Bay Holden Hard Top Gazebo (view at Home Depot), which has built-in zippered insect netting that easily opens and closes.
What to Look for When Buying a Gazebo
When purchasing a gazebo, you'll have a few different materials to choose from: wood structures, which are often made of weatherproof cedar with aluminum roofs, along with metal structures and steel or polyester canopy roofs.
Then you've got gazebos with drapery or insect netting or added privacy and protection from the elements. You can also find pop-up structures that are easy to set up and conveniently portable. If you're looking for something to use year-round, make sure to select one with weatherproof materials that can withstand snow and rain.
Gazebos are traditionally round, hexagonal, or octagonal. But most of the kits you can buy and set up at your home are square or rectangular. The choice of shape is mostly a matter of preference, but rectangular structures are often bigger and better suited for entertaining or dinner parties.
Particularly if you have a smaller property, size is definitely something to consider. You'll want to make sure you have plenty of space to set up your gazebo, so it won't obstruct (or be obstructed by) anything else in your yard. Also think about what you're going to use it for: Will you be using it mostly for entertaining, hoping to place a picnic table, grill, or even an entire outdoor living room underneath? Or are you just hoping to have an enclosure for your hot tub or smaller seating area? Be sure to measure carefully and select one that can accommodate all of your needs.
Do you need a building permit for a gazebo?
Laws vary from state to state, but in most cases, gazebos aren't considered a building since they don't have actual walls. For this reason, you probably don't need a building permit. That being said, it's always a good idea to check with your local building department to make sure you're in the clear.
Where should you place a gazebo?
Gazebos can be placed almost anywhere outdoors, as long as it's on a flat surface. This includes lawns, patios, large decks, and gardens. However, certain styles of gazebos might be better suited for specific areas; for example, canopy-style gazebos are generally designed to be used on a deck or patio, while grill gazebos should be placed wherever your grill is (no surprise there).
Do gazebos hold up to wind?
Most gazebos are designed to resist not only wind but rain, snow, and other inclement weather. They can also help block the wind when you're underneath. However, if you're concerned about your structure flying away or topping over in heavy wind conditions, you might want to anchor it down for good measure.
Are gazebos waterproof?
Many gazebos are waterproof and can hold up in rainy and even snowy weather. They're typically made of all-weather materials, like steel, powder-coated aluminum, cedarwood, and resilient polyester. If you're concerned about potential water damage, be sure to read through the product description and warranty information carefully.
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This roundup was written by Theresa Holland, an experienced commerce writer specializing in home improvement and outdoor spaces. She is seasoned in the world of patio furniture, exterior home accents, and weatherproof materials. You can find more of her work on MyDomaine.