flowers with gazebo in background
June Marie / Flickr (Creative Commons)

When it comes to adding shade to your backyard, there are quite a few products you can choose from. Pergolas, shade sails, and gazebos all offer shade in a variety of different styles. A hardtop gazebo, in particular, offers a traditional structure that will stand the test of time.

Hardtop gazebos can offer more stability than other shade options and are especially ideal for windy locales.

How And Where You’ll Be Using It

A gazebo can be a small haven in the garden, provide a bit of coverage over a hot tub, or create shade poolside. There are even tiny gazebos just for covering grills. By having an idea of what you’ll be using it for, you can narrow down your options.

If you’re adding a gazebo with an event like a wedding in mind, make sure to consider the size and height of the structures and that it can accommodate the couple as well as any officiants or bridal party members.

Gazebo Size

Once you have an idea of what you’re going to use the gazebo for and where you’re going to put it, it’s time to think about size. Gazebos range from a small 8’ x 5’ to an extra-large 30’ x 30’. You’ll want to be sure to provide yourself with plenty of room to not only house the gazebo but assemble it as well.

You must consider two different dimensions: the size from the base to the roof of the gazebo and the overall area when you’re standing inside the structure.

Exterior Dimensions

Measure out the overall length and height of the gazebo. Will it fit in the space you’ve designated? Will this new structure leave enough room for people to move around in? Does it seem like it might be too dominating of a structure for your space? Are any tree branches or roots going to interfere with the structure as you build it?

Interior Dimensions

What’s going to go inside your gazebo? Make sure your patio set or outdoor dining table isn’t too big to fit. Also, if you have any tall family members … remember to pick a gazebo that they can comfortably fit underneath without having to duck!

Ease Of Setup

While gazebos tend to have the same general set-up and shape, gazebos can vary from simple to complex. Traditional gazebos can be intricate and may require most of a day to set up. But soft-top steel options can only take an hour or two.

Will you be able to do it yourself? Will you need to recruit a few friends? Or do you need to budget for a professional installer?

Traditional 10’ x 10’ Gazebo Kit

traditional 10 by 10 gazebo kit

Overall Footprint: 10’ x 10’ x 12′ H
Material: Cedar

For a traditional gazebo that will last for decades, check out this 10’ x 10’ solid wood gazebo kit. Crafted out of Western red cedar, this gazebo comes equipped with all the hardware needed to set it up and a cupola for the top of the structure. The cedar comes unstained, so be prepared to stain or paint the structure to suit your needs.

The gazebo kit is delivered in what the manufacturer calls β€œmanageable panel sizes” for easier set up. The structure is built to stand up to 100 mph winds, and the gazebo flooring is included. This is the ideal gazebo for someone who is wanting a traditional look that will stand strong against less-than-ideal weather and seasons.

Find it at Wayfair: Traditional 10’ x 10’ Gazebo Kit

12’ x 10’ Two-Tiered Hardtop Gazebo

two tiered hardtop gazebo

Overall Footprint: 12’ x 10’
Material: Powder-coated aluminum and steel

This two-tiered hardtop gazebo from Sunjoy has a deep, chocolate brown matte finish. The double-vented top allows for air flow to move freely and prevent the chance of the structure toppling in windy conditions. A powder-coated steel frame protects the gazebo from rusting.

At 12’ x 10’, this gazebo is large enough to cover your patio set, while still leaving plenty of open space to entertain.

One reviewer mentions that the instructions say that you should use six people to set up the gazebo, but they were able to do set it up with three people who had construction experience. The same reviewer said she purchased it for a windy and rainy part of the Pacific Northwest, and the structure hasn’t budged a bit.

Find it at Amazon: Two-Tiered Hardtop Gazebo


10’ x 12’ Hardtop Gazebo With Mosquito Net

hardtop gazebo

Overall Footprint: 10’ x 12’
Material: Aluminum

This 10’ x 12’ gazebo features an optional mosquito net sidewall, which can be especially helpful for those long, buggy nights. This gazebo features a brown, rust-proof aluminum frame. The triangular-shaped frame legs support a galvanized steel roof that can maintain the weight of snow in the winter. The roof has a 3-year warranty.

One reviewer mentions that it took two people and five hours to have the structure set up. They also mention that the first three nights after they had the gazebo set up, there was 3 inches of snow and 30 mph wind, and it didn’t budge.

Find it at Amazon: Hardtop Gazebo With Mosquito Net


Rounded Hardtop Gazebo

Overall Footprint: 10’ x 12’ x 9’
Material: Aluminum

If the square gazebo look isn’t for you, check out this rounded aluminum patio gazebo. With mosquito netting included, you won’t need to worry about the bugs getting the best of you and your guests. The steel roof is rust-resistant, and the gazebo is installed with spikes.

While the gazebo is large enough to fit your patio set, the entrance is only about 6.5 feet tall. So, if you have any taller family members or friends, they might feel a bit uncomfortable ducking in.

Reviewers mention that the gazebo can be put together in 5 hours with two people, but a third person is ideal for certain steps. The instructions are easy to follow, and multiple reviewers mention that the parts fit together perfectly and the structure is well made.

Find it at Wayfair: Rounded Hardtop Gazebo


Aluminum Patio Gazebo

aluminum patio gazebo

Overall Footprint: 8’ x 8’ x 10’, or 9’ x 10’ x 10’
Material: Aluminum

For a more modern take on a hardtop gazebo, check out this screened-in aluminum option. Available in either 8’ x 8’ or 9’ x 10’, the unique shape of this gazebos roof is what sets it apart. With a metal frame and galvanized steel roof, this gazebo is ready to face the elements. Mesh screens are included and the frame is secured with an anchor system.

Some reviewers mention that the screen isn’t especially high quality, but that a set of outdoor curtains would do the job. One reviewer mentioned that her husband was able to set up the gazebo in 4 hours.

Find it at Wayfair: Aluminum Patio Gazebo


Flat-Top Gazebo

flat top gazebo

Overall Footprint:10’ x 10’ x 7’
Material: Aluminum

Another more modern option, this flat top gazebo is a decent size at 10’ x 10’, allowing room for Adirondack chairs or a patio set. An integrated gutter system allows for water to flow off of the structure, rather than pool on the top. Hooks are included to support netting or curtains. The roof is semi-transparent, allowing for some sun to peek through without exposing you to direct UV light.

This gazebo is rust-resistant and ready to take on many seasons. One reviewer mentions that the gazebo can be put together in a day, and the instructions are straightforward. Foot pads are included with the structure, allowing you to relocate the gazebo and install it elsewhere if need be.

Find it at Wayfair: Flat Top Hard Gazebo