Welcome to our definitive guide to the types of gazebos you can erect in your backyard!
Gazebos are a great place to retreat to on hot summer days, as the open design allows the breeze to flow through and the roof provides plenty of cooling shade.
For this reason they are popular in warm and sunny climates as an outdoor entertaining area. Typically they are not attached to the house, instead standing alone in a large garden or backyard.
In addition to being freestanding, gazebos are typically roofed, although some may have the structure of a roof without any of the shingles.
The kinds of gazebos you’ll see most often are large enough to seat four to six people, although gazebos come in much larger sizes–some are large enough to serve as bandstands! Of course, most of us don’t have the kind of space in our backyards to install such a huge structure. For most people, gazebos will be an intimate and comfortable outdoor entertaining area away from the main patio.
Gazebos come in quite a variety of styles, and may resemble other types of similar outdoor structures like pergolas, ramadas, and pavilions. We’ll go over how to tell the difference between gazebos, pavilions, and pergolas later in this post. While the gazebos we usually think of tend to be wooden and permanent structures, you can purchase portable structures that will allow you to take your cozy outdoor seating area basically anywhere. Take it camping and outfit the gazebo with mosquito netting to enjoy the breeze without dealing with the bugs.
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However you like to enjoy the outdoors, we’re sure you can find the perfect gazebo design for you and your family. You may want a gazebo large enough to have a dining table, or maybe a smaller one with benches for reading.
It should really come as no surprise that gazebos are so popular. They’re the perfect way to enjoy the great outdoors, even in the heat or rain.
Find more backyard ideas in our definitive guide to backyards!
Table of Contents
- Gazebo Basics
- Gazebo vs. Pergola vs. Pavilion
- Gazebo Designs & Ideas
- Square Gazebos
- Rectangle Gazebos
- Round and Oval Gazebos
- Hexagon Gazebos
- Octagon Gazebos
- Dodecagon Gazebos
- Wooden Gazebos
- Portable Gazebos
- Open Design Gazebos
- Tiered Gazebos
- Patio Gazebos
- Enclosed Gazebos
- Garden Gazebos
- Hardtop Gazebos
- Canopy Gazebos
- Screened Gazebos
- Pool Gazebos
- Grill Gazebos
- Hot Tub Gazebos
- Tent Gazebos
- Budget Gazebos
Gazebos tend to be made out of wood, vinyl, or aluminum, but if you choose the custom route, you may see steel, wrought iron, concrete, and even stone! Like most structures, if you’re willing to pay for it, you can have your gazebo built out of just about anything.
Wood is the most popular option in North America, partially due to the availability of lumber. Pine and cedar are popular wood specimens used to construct gazebos, and of course, many other types of outdoor structures.
Most kits and gazebo plans tend to be hexagonal or octagonal, depending on size, but there are a number of other options for your gazebo, including square, oval, round, and even dodecagonal, which has twelve sides.
Common shapes for gazebos include:
How much do gazebos cost?
Gazebo kits are available for as low as $500. These are typically pop-up portable units that are great for camping or for homeowners on a budget. Pre-fabricated wooden gazebos can cost a couple thousand dollars depending on size and material.
A nine foot wooden gazebo, for example, will probably run you between $1,500 and $2,500. A vinyl structure of the same size will cost a tad more, around $2,100 to $3,600. You’ll pay more for a vinyl gazebo due to the difference in durability between the two.
Metal gazebos are typically made from affordable aluminum or durable steel, which tends to be more expensive.
There are also some surprise costs associated with building a gazebo. If you want an enclosed gazebo, be prepared to pay more in both materials and labor. You also may need to level your yard or have a concrete slab poured, so the gazebo sits flat on the ground.
It’s important to ensure that the contractor you choose includes the flooring cost in the final price to avoid any large surprise costs.
For a custom gazebo, expect to pay closer to $5,000 to $11,000. Luxury, enormous, high-end gazebos can run you as much as $40,000.
As you start looking at options, remember that if you see a very low price, check the listing, because the listing may only be selling the gazebo canopy.
Gazebos come in all kinds of sizes, but the standard size for a typical backyard is 12 feet by 12 feet. Other popular sizes include 12 feet by 14 feet and 14 feet by 14 feet.
Of course, you can go bigger if you want, but you shouldn’t go too much smaller than the standard size to ensure you have enough space for all of your guests.
Below is a diagram showing the anatomy of a gazebo.
There are many design elements you can choose from to add charm and function to your patio or outdoor living space. Consider these common structural features of gazebos.
Learn more here.
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Gazebos tend to be placed away from your home and provides you with a different view of your backyard or garden than you get from your main patio area. The best spot to place your new gazebo will depend entirely on your backyard.
Survey your backyard from different angles and ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you want a secluded niche or a view of the entire yard?
- What kind of sun exposure do you want?
- Is the proposed site level and does it have good drainage?
- Are there any zoning laws that would effect your structure?
- Should it be nearer to the kitchen for easy dining?
- Or should it be pool side to provide a shady spot to relax after getting out of the pool?
Answering these questions should give you a basic idea of where you’d best like your gazebo.
(Source: Weekend Gardener)
Gazebo vs. Pergola vs. Pavilion
As we mentioned earlier, gazebos are very similar to other outdoor structures, namely pergolas and pavilions. Sometimes gazebos may take design elements from the other two to create a hybrid structure, so it’s important to understand the basic features that distinguish the different structures.
Gazebos have a solid roof or canopy along with partial or full walls. They have a wide variety of shapes, although hexagonal and octagonal structures are the most common.
Pergolas have beams instead of actual roofs, they feature lattice and sometimes have a simple fabric canopy. Pergolas tend to be near walkways, but large ones can function as a sitting or dining space. Click here for a luxury home making full use of the beauty and function of a pergola.
Pavilions are a cross between gazebos and pergolas. They feature a solid roof like a gazebo, but totally open walls. Pavilions tend to be larger than gazebos and pergolas and are popular in public parks.
Learn more here.
Gazebo Designs & Ideas
Square gazebos aren’t always the classic look we think of when someone says “gazebo,” but they are a great small-space substitute for a octagonal or hexagonal gazebo.
This raw wood log cabin style gazebo has an open design that’s perfect for setting a picnic table under.
Learn more here.
While most gazebos are away from the home, this one is elevated to the same level as the deck and serves as a massive covered patio for entertaining and dining.
This gazebo is made from wood and the entrance is covered by beautiful pink flowers. The gazebo is in an open area in a backyard, it adds a nice compliment to the yard.
An outdoor pool built around a wooden gazebo. The gazebo adds extra seating space in this modern backyard environment.
This size gazebo can fit a small wedding party. It’s made of stone and erected in a lush green landscape. The natural, calming environment makes this type of gazebo perfect for weddings.
Another example of a gazebo fit for a wedding. This size can accommodate a larger wedding than the previous picture, but still holds the closeness of a wedding within it’s frame.
A square pergola-style gazebo fitted with sheer curtains and adirondack chairs. The gazebo looks out on the water and embraces a beachy aesthetic.
An eclectic square gazebo with clever details on the roof and a sunburst design on the sides. The structure is a nice spot to rest off the brick pathway.
An Asian-inspired gazebo on the beach surrounded by a makeshift driftwood fence. This is a great spot to sit and watch the sunset before leaving the beach for the night.
A pergola-styled square gazebo. While it has the grid-structure roof, it’s been closed off, making it a gazebo. Sheer curtains add an exotic flair to the structure.
A gorgeous square gazebo with lattice between the pillars. The roof resembles that of a greenhouse.
Obviously rectangle gazebos are longer than square gazebos, and are favored for large gazebos that need to house a large group of guests, or if you plan to create several different seating areas.
A lovely single-roof pine rectangular gazebo sitting on a concrete pad. This is a classic gazebo style that is large enough to accommodate two separate entertaining areas.
Learn more here.
An open rectangular design is perfect for creating a shady patio area. This one has a stone fireplace that matches the stone supports of the structure. The gable roof lets light and air flow in.
An open pavilion-style gazebo behind the house on a concrete patio. Add some furniture and you’ll have a great space to dine outside.
Round and Oval Gazebos
Round and oval gazebos tend to have a more classic look and are great for small areas, as many only have room for a seat or two.
Sometimes called elongated hexagon gazebos, oval gazebos aren’t perfect ovals. However, they are great for keeping that classic gazebo look while gaining the kind of space that rectangular shapes offer.
Learn more here.
Another classic oval gazebo, this time in vinyl. The spaces are screened in to keep bugs out.
Adding window boxes and small landscaping plots around your gazebo helps integrate it into the existing environment. You’ll feel as though your gazebo was always there.
An open design ensures that there’s plenty of space for a large gathering to move around without having a traffic jam at the entrance. This gazebo is tucked near a forest and surrounded by flowers.
This is a great example of a round gazebo. The top is wrought iron and incredibly ornate. This is a small gazebo, but it’s perfect for sitting or just for admiring from far away. Source: Zillow Digs™
The ceiling of this gazebo is lighted, giving the area a soft glow so that you can spend the evening outside enjoying the cool breeze.
Learn more here.
Another great example of an open design pavilion style gazebo. This one features a bell shaped roof and fluted columns.
Another lovely round gazebo overlooking a tropical sea and palm trees. This style is small, so it only has room for a couple of chairs. This does, however, make for an intimate atmosphere.
This is an incredible example of a round gazebo made out of sculpted concrete and stone. It has a decidedly majestic and imposing footprint.
Hexagonal gazebos are closer to the classic shape popular in North America, and tend to really look great as focal points in backyards and gardens.
A hexagonal gazebo has the classic shape we love, but feels a little more open than a gazebo with more sides.
While gazebos are typically not attached to the house, this is a great example of how much curb appeal one could add to your home.
Octagonal gazebos are the perfect and most classic shape for a gazebo. This style is just right for traditionalists and those with older homes.
Octagonal gazebos keep that classic shape. This wooden example is sitting on a concrete pad rimmed by brick pavers.
Learn more here.
This slightly larger model also embraces the classic wooden gazebo, and is a great example of how keeping the design simple can look elegant.
Learn more here.
The slope of this gazebo’s roof is not as severe as the earlier examples, and the structure features a wooden floor, also adopting the octagonal shape.
Learn more here.
Here we see a variation in vinyl with forest green shingles. The darker color makes the structure stick out less.
Learn more here.
A lovely white gazebo with bench seating all around. This structure is an island in the sea of grass and the foliage behind it allows for some privacy from neighbors.
While this gazebo is a public structure, and isn’t in a backyard, it is a great example of how large gazebos can be. This one is being used as a private concert venue.
This many-sided gazebo is very classic looking, although it tends not to be a popular choice. If you want a dodecagon gazebo, you will probably need to have it custom built.
Dodecagon gazebos have twelve sides and are ideal for building enormous gazebos fit for entertaining large crowds.
Learn more here.
This much more portable style is screened in to keep out the bugs and would probably be a fantastic structure to take along with you while camping with a large group.
Metal gazebos are typically made out of aluminum, which is nice and light and perfect for portable varieties. More permanent structures may be built out of steel or wrought iron, depending on the style desired.
A tall gable roof in a bright green makes this public gazebo an easy structure to spot from a long ways away. The gazebo is furnished with a picnic table, chairs, and a trash can.
An aluminum gazebo with a canopy top and cushions formed to make a cozy bed-like structure. This gazebo is a luxurious way to relax on the beach and beat the summer heat.
A lovely aluminum gazebo with a canvas canopy. The gazebo is placed over a brick patio and furnished with wicker chairs in a rich chocolate brown.
A slim metal gazebo that has been overgrown by lovely roses and vines. When in bloom the gazebo is a fragrant spot just bursting with color.
Wooden gazebos are the most common type, especially in areas where lumber is a cost-effective material.
The lattice, log-cabin sides, and hexagonal roof shingles give this unique wooden gazebo an exotic look.
A log-cabin style gazebo is perfect on snowy days. This one has the feel of a high-end ski resort.
This gazebo is situated at the end of a catwalk over the water and provides an incredible view.
The incredibly tall roof of this small gazebo is shaped somewhat like a witch’s hat. It is equipped with rustic benches on four sides.
A gorgeous green gazebo that is secluded at the edge of the yard and contains a small bench. The space is small and intimate. Source: Zillow Digs™
A rustic gazebo made with natural branches and logs. The structure has enough space for a dining area and a relaxation area. Source: Zillow Digs™
This portable aluminum gazebo has a hard top, which means it won’t sag under the weight of rain should you have inclement weather. It also has screens you can close if it’s a little buggy out.
Another portable model, but this one has a canvas canopy. Portable gazebos are a great budget buy, and can be stored during the winter to avoid deterioration.
While this gazebo is typically open, the screen or shades can be drawn if privacy is desired or as the evening falls and bugs start to emerge.
These portable gazebos are a great way to create a focal point or retreat in your backyard without investing the money or space in a permanent one.
Open Design Gazebos
Open design gazebos are very similar to pavilions, since they don’t have walls as traditional gazebos do. This makes them perfect for large gatherings, as people can enter and leave freely without creating a traffic jam.
A gazebo with an open design is much like a pavilion, and it’s very easy to maneuver. Open design gazebos are the perfect way to relax with a large number of guests.
A gazebo with an open design is much like a pavilion, and it’s very easy to maneuver. Open design gazebos are great for hosting large parties.
This is a great example of a custom gazebo made out of stone, which isn’t exactly a common material. Trailing flowers up the supports gives this gazebo a huge pop of color.
The breezy design of an open gazebo is perfect for tropical locations, so you can get out of the sun but still feel the salty air on your skin.
Tiered gazebos have two or more tiers of roof, which tends to make them look more stately and traditional, and also increases the cost of the gazebo.
This is an elegant dollhouse like gazebo with a massive second tier and a cheery color scheme.
Canopy gazebos can be tiered as well. This one looks out over an incredible infinity pool, and further on out, over the coast.
A large wooden gazebo with a two tiered roof, surrounded by shrubs and bushes. The simple landscaping gives this gazebo a pastoral feel.
Another fantastic gazebo in white overlooking a large lake and boating area.
This cedar gazebo is attached to the side of a deck and overlooks the wooded backyard, including a shed tucked into the trees.
Learn more here.
Patio gazebos are large enough to be used as patio areas, and may be set aside from a larger patio area or attached to one.
Patio gazebos are typically designed to be large enough to be suitable for patio furniture.
This cedar gazebo is home to a small patio dining set and is placed at the center of a garden on a brick patio surrounded by hedges and trees.
Ornate details on a gazebo are perfect for dressing up a yard. This one has craftsman style details, and adds a bit of elegance to this marina.
Bamboo planted in containers is a great way to create a privacy shade for an open gazebo.
This gazebo is placed on its own wooden platform, raised up about a foot from the main deck. The hot tub across from it is given the same treatment. Source: Zillow Digs™
Enclosed gazebos resemble sunrooms and greenhouses, since they usually are enclosed with glass to keep bugs out but still let light in.
An enclosed gazebo is somewhat like a sunroom, especially when you have sheer panels on the roof!
This much smaller gazebo has tinted windows for a bit more privacy. This would make a great retreat for an artist or writer!
This pretty blue gazebo is fully enclosed and has a matching blue picnic table outside.
The unique roof of this unique gazebo really stands out as the focal point of this backyard. If you have enough space to add a grand structure like this one, it’s certainly worth it.
A glass roof makes an enclosed gazebo the perfect unattached solarium for a backyard. Here, it’s next to a lovely pool.
Garden gazebos are exactly what they sound like: they are gazebos that are tucked into garden areas, usually surrounded by lush foliage and landscaping.
Surrounding your gazebo in large flowering bushes and shrubs creates a secluded retreat. This particular gazebo is enormous and features decorative elements.
Even in the center of the yard, adding vines, hanging baskets, and planting beds around the gazebo helps create a sense of being in a secret garden.
This gazebo has a bit more Asian flair and is situated over a small pool of water adjacent to a stone waterfall.
A colorful gazebo that is large enough to be used as a bandstand. The surrounding landscape is color matched to the paint job on the gazebo.
A garden pavilion style gazebo on a brick patio. While the surrounding area is lush, the gazebo stands apart. Hanging baskets and container gardens help integrate the two sections of the yard.
While vines can look a little scraggly at first, when you get your vines fully trained they have an incredible effect.
Tradtional gazebos have hard tops, not canvas or fabric, and that makes them suitable as permanent structures that can withstand winter weather.
Another Asian inspired gazebo, this time with a unique roof. The differing colors of shingles and supports draw the eye upwards.
The slight bell curve of this gazebo and large shingles stand out against the wooded backdrop.
A rustic gazebo in the fall. The structure stands on concrete supports, since the landscape isn’t totally flat.
The latticed sides of this gazebo form a kind of screen. The tall gable roof is piled with snow in this stark winter landscape.
A hard top gazebo at the end of a long walkway over the dunes. The gazebo is equipped with a porch swing that looks out over the waves.
Canopy gazebos have soft tops, which can range from fabric to natural fiber roofs.
A straw-topped gazebo has a uniquely tropical atmosphere and is perfect for tropical themed yards or even resorts.
This screened gazebo is located at the center of a dock above the turquoise waters of this tropical sea.
The breezy white canopy keeps the hot sun off your head, neck, and back while looking fantastic. This gazebo features a deep luxurious couch for relaxing.
This soft-top gazebo features a rustic roof and magenta curtains.
Even a simple canvas canopy is a great way to hide from the hot sun. You’ll typically see canopies like this on portable models.
Screened gazebos are great for keeping bugs out of your relaxation area while still being able to enjoy the weather outside. Unlike enclosed gazebos, you can still feel the breeze in a screened-in gazebo.
Adding screens to your gazebo keeps the bugs out without also keeping out the cool breeze. This is perfect for an elevated treehouse-style gazebo like this one.
Learn more here.
Screened gazebos like this one have the option of curtains for privacy. Much like a tent, this gazebo has fabric “walls.”
This screened gazebo is built off the corner of the main deck and patio area and is the perfect spot to escape into once the bugs start coming out.
Learn more here.
An enormous screened in rectangular gazebo at the end of a gravel and flagstone pathway.
This wooden gazebo has wide edges and sits at the edge of an aqua garden.
Gazebos built near or partially over pools are great spots to relax after getting out of the pool. These are typically designed similarly to pergolas, and filled with lounge furniture.
This is a pergola-style gazebo, due to both the open roof and the lattice of bars on the top. The gazebo extends over the side of the pool slightly, making entry easy.
A tall gazebo with a pointed roof, much like a castle turret in fairytales. It sits at the edge of a faux rock waterfall and a pool. Source: Zillow Digs™
This is a simple, barebones metal gazebo on the edge of a small lake. The area is spruced up with a few small planters.
Grill gazebos aren’t typical gazebos, but more like a shelter to keep your grill out of the rain and snow. These can be permanent or portable, just like any other gazebo.
A simple wooden gazebo that acts as a rain and snow shelter for a large stainless steel barbecue grill. Source: Zillow Digs™
This much larger gazebo acts as a shelter for an entire outdoor kitchen area, complete with granite countertops. Source: Zillow Digs™
While some grill gazebos are open, this one has glass panels that really protect it from wind, snow, and rain.
This gazebo is less expensive than building a permanent structure and features extra storage space that you’ll be glad to have when it’s time to grill out!
Hot Tub Gazebos
These gazebos are built expressly for the purpose of housing hot tubs or jacuzzis, and are often not large enough to house anything more, although custom gazebos may also have seating areas.
This large gazebo features an extra-deep platform that contains both a spacious hot tub and sectional seating, in addition to mood lighting. Source: Zillow Digs™
Seen from inside the gazebo, we can see a circular hot tub that looks out onto a large pool area. The container gardens surrounding the area help make it feel more private. Source: Zillow Digs™
This portable hot tub gazebo features a riveted roof, tinted glass windows, and enough extra space to add some plants or shelving for towels.
These tend to have less emphasis on solid supports and more on fabric walls or dividers.
Tent gazebos come in a lot of different types, from those that look very similar to camping tents to ones like this, which resembles a luxurious cabana.
Custom gazebos can be pricey, but there are definitely budget options available if you know where to look and what to expect from a budget model.
A simple fabric gazebo may be ideal for you if plan on camping, or if you’re just not sure how often you’ll use a gazebo. This is on the low end of the price spectrum, at under $100.
This gazebo is still remarkably inexpensive, but looks better than a partially covered canvas model.
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