The Ideal Gazebo: A Buying Guide
May 26, 2021

Gazebos are ideal for shielding you from the sun and wind, as well as providing a place for your outdoor dining set. But before you make your decision, there are a few things you should think about. Which material is best for you and which type of gazebo should you buy - freestanding, lean-to or another type? And what is a lean-to gazebo anyway? We’ve compiled this handy gazebo buying guide detailing all these answers and more to help you find the best gazebo for you.

What is a gazebo?

A gazebo is a structure which provides a place to relax in your outside space with some shelter from the elements. They feature a canopy and either legs, curtains or solid sides and can be made from metal, wood or even fabric. 

They come in a range of sizes and styles. For example, some types of gazebo have features like trellis sides which are great for climbing plants, while others are convenient pop-up designs that are ideal for camping. 

Types of gazebo

lean to gazebolean to gazebo

Lean-to gazebos

A lean-to gazebo is one that leans against the outside of your house, usually over your back door. They can be freestanding or attached to the wall for extra support.

If you’re wondering which gazebo to buy for your patio or decking, the Greenhurst Easy-Fit Wall-Mounted Gazebo is our best one when it comes to the lean-to designs.

View the Greenhurst Easy-Fit Wall-Mounted Gazebo >

rowlinson freestanding gazeborowlinson freestanding gazebo

Freestanding gazebos

A freestanding gazebo is one that requires no additional support, so you can place it anywhere in the garden without having to lean it against your house. The Zest4Leisure Broxton Gazebo in the picture is our best gazebo of the wooden variety.


View the Zest4Leisure Broxton Gazebo >

best pop up gazebobest pop up gazebo

Pop up gazebos

Some pop-up gazebos can be set up in minutes like the Charles Bentley 3x3m design, which is the best pop up gazebo in our range. It’s ideal for summer gatherings, BBQs and parties as it provides a place to relax or dine in with shelter from the wind, rain and sun.


View the Charles Bentley 3x3m Pop Up Gazebo >

tent gazebotent gazebo

Gazebo tents

Ideal for barbecues, garden parties or some privacy at a campsite, gazebo tents have a canopy and usually walls. Those with sides often feature ‘windows’ made from the same fabric - often polyethylene - to let in some light.

View the Kingfisher Pop Up Gazebo Tent >

What to look for when buying a gazebo

From size to material to additional features you may not have thought of, there are several things that may affect your decision. Read on and make sure you know what’s what. 


Think about what you’ll be using your gazebo for - does it need to cover a barbecue, a hot tub, a specific dining set? Make sure you measure those first and choose a model that’s big enough. Gazebos are commonly around the 2.5m mark in height. 


Polyethylene - Tent gazebos are often made of polyethylene as it’s a waterproof and economical material. These are usually at the lower end of the price range. 

Polyester - Polyester is waterproof but is better quality than polyethylene, and therefore more expensive.

Metal - Lots of gazebos have a tubular metal frame - often steel - for strength and durability, and come a fabric canopy.

  • Powder-coated steel - Steel is strong and sturdy yet relatively inexpensive. The powder coating makes it more resistant to chipping, fading and wearing than other finishes. It’s also rust-proof, though if it does get chipped it can rust in that area, in which case it will need touching up. 
  • Aluminium - This type of metal is lightweight, easy to move around and doesn’t rust.
  • Wrought iron - Heavy and sturdy, wrought iron is extremely strong but needs painting with a rust-resistant paint. Wrought iron gazebos usually come fully painted, though they will need touching up if the paint ever chips or scratches.

Wood - Wooden gazebos have a more traditional appearance and blend into gardens seamlessly. The type of cladding depends on the model - it may have open panels or it could feature tongue-and-groove cladding, for example. Check out our guide to find out about the main cladding types. 

Maintaining your gazebo

Each material requires a different type of care - read our guide to find out how to care for your garden furniture

Additional features

Gazebos can come with several useful features, so look out for these:

best gazebo retractable canopybest gazebo retractable canopy

Retractable canopy

Gives you the choice between light, shade or partial shade. Our best seller is the Monaco Metal Gazebo Pergola and Slide Away Sun Shade thanks to its great contemporary look and handy retractable canopy.

View the Monaco Metal Gazebo Pergola and Slide Away Sun Shade >

gazebo curtaingazebo curtain


These can be tied around the posts or slid across for extra shade.

bbq gazebobbq gazebo


Handy for drinks if using your gazebo for parties or barbecues.

best gazebo trellis sidesbest gazebo trellis sides

Trellis sides

This open criss-cross design is great for climbing plants to make your gazebo more attractive. They’re most commonly seen on wooden models.

best pop up gazebo doorsbest pop up gazebo doors

Doors and wall blinds

Doors are often featured on designs that are great for camping. Wall blinds are usually bought separately.

What’s the difference between a gazebo and a pergola?

The purpose of both is to provide shade on sunny days, though there are some differences. 


  • Usually smaller
  • Typically round, hexagonal or octagonal
  • More lightweight
  • Has a full roof
  • More practical - can come with sides, curtains and other features


  • Usually larger
  • Typically square or rectangular
  • More solid structure
  • Has a roof made up of beams that’s often covered with climbing plants, or a fabric canopy
  • More of a statement piece - ideal as an eye-catching feature on a patio or decking

Which is the best gazebo for you?

If you only want to use your gazebo occasionally, a pop-up or tent gazebo would be ideal as they’re lightweight and easy to put up and store. If it’s a more permanent feature you’re after, consider opting for something sturdier like a steel or wooden gazebo.

The shape of the roof can help create the look you’re going for: Clean straight lines or smooth waved canopies are great if you want to make a contemporary statement, while a classic pointed roof has a more traditional look. Wooden models give a warm rustic charm, while metal is more sleek and modern. 

If you have existing garden furniture, you could buy one to match the material if you plan on using your gazebo to house your furniture set. You could even surround it with pretty outdoor lights for ambience in the evening, or add climbing plants on the trellis sides if you opt for a wooden gazebo.

Now you’re more clued up after reading our handy gazebo buying guide, you’ll have more of an idea of which gazebo to buy. So go ahead and find the perfect one for you in our great value range. 

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