Adding a gazebo to your garden can open up new possibilities for outdoor dining, parties and events – or simply encourage you and your family to spend more time outside.
These portable structures generally consist of a fabric roof – and possibly side panels – draped over a collapsible metal frame. Intended as temporary structures, the advantage of a gazebo over a permanent summerhouse is that they can be easily taken down and stored away when not in use. They’re also affordable and can be assembled in as little as one minute.
Gazebos provide shade and sun protection on hot days, and shelter when it’s raining, enabling you to enjoy your garden in all weathers (although they don’t fair too well in strong winds!). They’re the perfect choice for the UK’s variable climate and can transform how you use your outside space.
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So, which of these multi-functional structures is right for you? To help you decide, we’ve put together this selection of what we believe are the six best gazebos on the market today. We’ve based this on several important factors, including sturdiness, weatherproofing, ease of assembly and value for money.
Our best gazebo – sturdy, waterproof and looks great!
Topping our list of the best garden gazebos is this 3m x 3m option from All Seasons. This is a decent size that gives you plenty of coverage over an outdoor dining table, seating or hot tub, and is great for garden parties.
It features a pop-up design which takes only a minute to erect. It’s possible for one person to do this on their own, but because of its size and weight, we recommend at least 2 people to do it comfortably. You will have to attach the cover on the first installation, but from then on, you can just fold it up with the cover on, for even easier assembly next time.
The frame is made from rust-resistant, powder-coated steel with built-in supports. The roof is heavy-duty polyester (260g per m2) with reinforced pressure points and PVC coating – all of which makes it fully waterproof. Want to use your garden in the rain? No problem! You can shelter under this gazebo without worrying about drips.
Although the manufacturer advises not to leave the gazebo out overnight, they say this with the warranty in mind (which doesn’t cover you if the gazebo is left unattended). In reality, this gazebo is strong enough to be left, providing there are no strong winds or adverse weather conditions – so you don’t have to pack it down every night in summer.
The height of the gazebo is adjustable, and we would recommend lowering the roof overnight, as an added precaution against the wind. It comes with holes in the base of the legs to bolt it to the ground, as well as tent pegs, guide ropes and sandbags, to secure it to a variety of surfaces.
Available in a range of funky colours, there’s one of these All Season gazebos to suit every garden, and whichever one you go for, we ‘re sure you won’t be disappointed!
- Easy to assemble pop-up design – erect in just 1 minute.
- Large size makes it great for covering dining tables or hot tubs.
- Fully waterproof, PVC coated roof.
- Heavy-duty, rust-resistant steel frame.
- Adjustable height with 3 settings.
- Available in a choice of colours, so you can create the look you want in your garden.
- Quite heavy – difficult for one person to erect alone.
Not very hard-wearing, but the low price makes it appealing for occasional use
If you need a gazebo for a one-off occasion, this Waterproof Canopy by Harbour Housewares offers unrivalled value for money – and at 3m x 3m, it provides plenty of cover for a reasonable number of guests, or a dining table and chairs.
The structure is made from plastic, and it isn’t the strongest – you’ll definitely want to take this one down overnight and in anything more than gentle wind. Unfortunately, it’s not the easiest option to assemble either – there’s no simple, pop-up design here, the instructions aren’t particularly clear, and it really needs 2 or 3 people to put together the frame.
The good news is that it comes with tent pegs and guy ropes, so you can at least make sure it won’t be flying off once it’s up, and the overhead canopy is waterproof (or perhaps more accurately, showerproof), so it will offer you protection from drizzly weather.
A crisp white colour also gives this garden gazebo a professional look that would be ideal for christenings and wedding parties – although in truth, if it’s a special occasion such as this, we’d advise investing a bit more in a heavy-duty option that you can be sure won’t let you down.
Ultimately, the best thing about this gazebo really is the price. It’s unlikely to withstand anything more than gentle wind, and we definitely wouldn’t recommend it for heavy, sustained use – but if you just need something for a one-off BBQ on a sunny day, you can’t beat this for value for money.
- Very affordable.
- Large size (3m x 3m) is perfect for dining tables.
- Waterproof fabric to protect you from the elements.
- Includes tent pegs and guy ropes.
- Not very strong – flimsy joints and reports of material ripping and poles cracking in wind.
- Awkward to assemble – requires at least 2 people.
The SPF 50+ sun protection canopy makes this gazebo ideal for summer festivals or events
Boasting an impressive 4.5m x 4.5m sail, this extra-large Coleman Gazebo Shelter is perfect for garden gatherings, offering plenty of space for a dining table and standing guests – or for a large group to seek shelter under at festivals.
The modern-style shade canopy features a UV Guard with SPF 50+, making it perfect for protecting children from harmful rays on sunny days. It’s also waterproof, with a hydrostatic head of 1000m, so it will keep you dry too – although unfortunately, it is prone to leaking around the seams.
This is our first gazebo that features a roof vent in the top of the canopy. The vent encourages airflow, making for a more pleasant environment on hot days, and also helps to prevent the gazebo from being lifted by the wind. The frame is made from strong, powder-coated steel which fairs well in most weathers.
As far as assembly goes, it shouldn’t give you much trouble, and can even be completed by one person – although as usual, we recommend 2 for a less stressful experience. It isn’t as quick to assemble as the All Seasons pop-up design, but it still shouldn’t take you more than 15 minutes or so.
Overall, this is a strong and stable gazebo that offers a large floor plan and great all-round weather protection – and the modern design is perfect for trend-setting gardens.
- Extra-large canopy (4.5m x 4.5m) makes it ideal for parties and events.
- Waterproof canopy (1000mm).
- UV Guard provides SPF 50+ sun protection.
- Stable steel pole construction.
- Roof vent encourages airflow and prevents it being lifted by the wind.
- Can be assembled in 15 minutes.
- Prone to leaking at the seams when it rains.
Built-in net side panels and a hexagonal shape give this luxury gazebo an exotic feel
If you prefer a more traditional style, this Horwood Hexagonal Gazebo might be right up your street. The hexagonal shape, tapered roof and net curtains give this gazebo a stylish Moroccan look and ensure it will add a touch of elegance to your garden.
With a footprint of 3.6m x 3.1m, there’s plenty of space for seating or an outdoor dining table, and unlike the other designs we’ve featured so far, there are built-in net side panels which you can Velcro closed for more privacy and weather/fly protection.
The frame is made from a strong, powder-coated steel, and the canopy is a 180g/m2 polyester with PA coating to make it water-resistant (although not completely waterproof, so don’t expect it to keep you dry in torrential rain!) A pop-up design means it’s fairly quick and easy to assemble, although the instructions are not overly clear.
The only other negative is the fact that the Velcro straps are white in colour, which doesn’t look great against the dark steel frame. That’s being pretty picky though and certainly wouldn’t stop us from recommending this otherwise stylish and sturdy gazebo.
- Stylish hexagonal design.
- Strong steel frame.
- Water-resistant polyester canopy with anti-pooling design.
- Included zip-open net side panels.
- Quick-to-assemble, pop-up design.
- Assembly instructions not overly clear – need at least 2 people, takes approx. 20 minutes.
- White Velcro straps stand out against the dark steel frame.
An affordable gazebo with side panels for increased privacy
Cost: Price not available
This Pop-Up Gazebo by MCC is our smallest gazebo yet, at 2m x 2m square. It’s a great option if you have limited outside space, or just need to cover a bistro set, but might be a bit of a squeeze for an outdoor sofa or large dining table.
What it lacks in size though, it makes up for with the included side panels, which are removable and attach with Velcro. Unlike the Horwood gazebo, these panels are opaque (with two church-style windows to allow in light). This affords you more privacy and makes it ideal for covering a hot tub, or for use in an overlooked garden.
The 300 denier overhead canopy is waterproof and will protect you from rain, as well as providing shade. A heavy-duty steel frame provides support, although it is prone to bending in the wind, so this is another product where we wouldn’t recommend leaving it out overnight.
Wind can also lift the side panels at the bottom, due to insufficient Velcro, which can create a draft inside the gazebo. On the plus side, the pop-up design makes it easy to assemble, and there’s a handy included carry bag for when you want to pack it away.
With a range of colours available, this Pop-Up Gazebo is a versatile, mid-range option, and an excellent choice for small gardens, or those looking to create a feeling of privacy in their outside space.
- Durable 300 denier waterproof canopy.
- Includes 4x removable 190g PU sidewalls for improved weather protection and privacy.
- Pop-up design is easy to assemble.
- Reasonably priced.
- 2m x 2m size is pokier than the other designs featured.
- Sides are prone to rising in the wind, causing drafts.
- Frame not very sturdy in the wind.
A modern, on-trend gazebo alternative, which frees up floor space
Our final ‘gazebo’ is something a bit different; the Clara Shade Sail is a large UV protection sun canopy, with metal D-rings in each corner. These need to be attached to fixed points, in place of legs, to create a cover over your garden.
The PU-coated shade is waterproof, and offers 98% UV protection, so it’s perfect for providing your family with all-round weather protection, and making the garden a more inviting place. The absence of a frame creates a feeling of space and means there are no poles for anyone to trip over.
As there’s no frame, it also folds down much smaller than a gazebo, and is more lightweight, making it better suited to transportation. Take it to the park or on camping trips, secure it to some trees, and you’ve instantly got the perfect shaded picnic area.
The lack of a frame also makes it a more affordable option than many. Although it’s still not the cheapest gazebo on this list, when you consider the high quality of the 160gsm canopy material, and the modern, on-trend aesthetic, it really does offer excellent value for money.
The only real downside of this shade is that you need to have those fixed points – such as trees, or hooks on the side of a garage – to secure the corners, which somewhat limits your installation options. You could get around this by purchasing additional poles to attach it to… but then you might as well just purchase a traditional gazebo. If you have those fixed points though, there’s really no reason not to love this stylish canopy.
- Large size (3.6m x 3.6m) offers plenty of coverage.
- Durable 160gsm fabric with PU coating and reinforced seams to make it waterproof.
- Sail provides 98% UV protection.
- Lightweight and folds down small for easy portability.
- Modern and stylish look.
- Requires existing fixed structures such as trees to anchor it, or the purchase of additional metal poles for installation.
- Must be angled correctly to avoid water pooling the middle.
Tips For Assembling A Garden Gazebo
Exactly how you should assemble your gazebo will depend on the make and model purchased, so you should always consult the manufacturer’s instructions prior to installing it.
As a general rule, here are some assembly tips that can be applied to most garden gazebos:
Ask for help
Although it is possible for one person to install most of the gazebos here on their own, we wouldn’t recommend it. Gazebos are typically heavy and awkward and asking a friend or family member to help you will make for a much less stressful experience.
Before you begin assembling your gazebo, make sure you have everything you need. This includes the instructions, all the parts (which you should lay out on the ground so you can find them easily), and any tools you will need.
Assemble in good conditions
Choose a dry, still day on which to install your gazebo. Attempting to put your gazebo up in rain or windy weather will be an unpleasant experience at best, and at worst, could lead to snapped poles or a ripped canopy. Make sure the site is level and ideally has some pre-existing shelter from the wind, such as a wall or fence.
Follow a process
Refer to your instructions for the exact process, but generally speaking, most gazebos require you to assemble the frame first, then stretch the canopy over the top whilst at waist height and fix it in place. Once this is done, lengthen the legs to form the gazebo shape.
Secure it to the ground
Once your gazebo is up, don’t be tempted to think the job is done. To make it secure, you need to fix it to the ground using pegs and guy ropes. These will usually come included with the gazebo (although they’re often not the best quality, so you might wish to swap them out for something more heavy-duty). You can also weigh the gazebo down with sandbags on the legs to make it sturdier, and as an extra precaution against the wind.
Monitor your gazebo
Even when properly secured, gazebos are not permanent structures, and should not be left unattended for long periods of time. Make sure to monitor the weather forecast, and be ready to pack yours away if you’re expecting strong winds/heavy rain, and certainly over the winter months.
April is a freelance writer who specialises in writing about home and garden design and the environment. She is an avid wildlife-enthusiast and adventure-seeker, and feels happiest when in the Great Outdoors.