The best gazebos for your outdoor space

A free-standing gazebo can offer shade and protection from the elements while you enjoy your outdoor space. If you don’t want to hire an expensive contractor, you’ll need a gazebo kit that requires basic tools and minimal labor so you can easily assemble with the help of family and friends.

For a durable, insect-proof backyard gazebo, the Sojag Dakota Aluminum Gazebo with Steel Roof Panelsis our overall best choice.
The research for this buying guide began months ago when I was asked to write a grant seeking funding to purchase a garden gazebo kit for a community park. A local garden club was looking for a pre-fabricated gazebo that volunteers could put together with the help of the municipality to provide a resting spot and some shade in a small park. That sent me on a search and question tour of gazebos near my home. I talked to park managers, neighbors, contractors, and strangers to absorb their expertise and experiences.
If you’re planning to buy a gazebo you can assemble yourself or with the help of family and friends, you’ll want something that comes with all the tools and materials, save for extra accessories like a bench or curtains which you’d have to buy separately.

What to look for when buying a gazebo?

Beyond picking out the “pretty one that matches our home,” here are five things you should consider before purchasing a gazebo.

Where will the gazebo be located?

The number one rule is that the location must be flat. The foundation can be an established patio or deck, a newly-installed foundation pad, or on a lawn.

Do you need a building permit?

To save yourself a headache, always check with your local building codes office to ensure that adding a gazebo is permissible. Most structures that are less than 100-square-feet do not require permits, but you should also check with your local utility company if you are digging a foundation so you can avoid water, sewer, and electrical lines.

What size of gazebo do I need?

Always measure carefully before you purchase a gazebo kit. Most kits measurements state the interior floor area. Allow at least an additional one foot of clearance around every side to accommodate roofing overhangs. Consider the size and shape if you plan to cover a hot tub, picnic table, outdoor seating, or cooking areas.

Do you plan to assemble the kit yourself?

While most kits can be assembled by someone with basic home repair skills, others require more knowledge. Almost every kit will require at least two people when it is time to raise the structure and erect the roof.

Does the gazebo fit your needs?

If you desire more privacy, look for a gazebo with privacy walls or curtains. For insect control, screening on all sides is imperative. If you desire complete protection from the weather, metal or shingle roof will provide more shelter than a fabric roof.

aluminum gazebos

While doing my research, I saw dozens of gazebos in backyards and learned the benefits and downfalls of each one. Knowing that there’s no one type of gazebo that meets the needs of every homeowner, we’ve taken price, durability, and style in mind to find the five best gazebos for your outdoor living space. I’ve also tested several of our top choices with my family.

I live in a area prone to hurricanes so I wanted a gazebo with a hard roof. Canvas roofs are gone in a flash when high winds hit. The steel roof provides total shade and protection from the elements. It’s also easy to clean with just a hose and a power washer. The heavy-duty aluminum frame and galvanized steel roof are powder-coated to prevent rust. The dark brown color reflects nature and is resistant to fading.

Our area is also mosquito prone so netting during the summer is also a must. includes the surrounding netting that runs on a two-track system. The second track can be used to add privacy curtains that can be purchased separately.

The 10 x 12-foot size is perfect for my family and accommodates a small dining table and several chairs. The roof peaks at 9 feet and the lower edges measure 6.4 feet. There’s even a hook at the interior of the roof to hang a fan or light fixture if you want. The style is also available in a smaller 10 x 10-ft gazebo and 6 x 8-ft model with shelves to double as a grilling station.

We set ours up on a concrete pad and bolted the legs to the concrete. Assembly was simple enough with basic tools. It does take a bit longer than you’d think and you need at least two people (though three is better) who can lift the roof into place. After more than 14 months, the gazebo looks good as new and we have enjoyed using it nearly every week.