white wooden shed in the middle of the park during day time

The Best Gazebo or Pergola (+ Infographic)

Are you looking for a way to upgrade your garden or create an outdoor space where you can spend moments with family or entertain guests? A gazebo can transform an ordinary garden into an outdoor living destination.

What benefits does a gazebo provide? What are the main considerations when looking for a new gazebo? And how to select the right one for your space?

This guide will help you navigate a wide variety of gazebos on the market and explain how to select the best one for your backyard. 

Pergolas vs Gazebos

A gazebo is a covered outdoor structure that is usually open on all sides. While they tend to be freestanding, they can also be attached to a house or garden wall.

The difference between a gazebo and a pergola is that a gazebo has a covered roof while a pergola is slatted, therefore not offering full coverage.

A gazebo is a dominant garden addition that doesn’t only have a decorative purpose but also many functional properties. A pergola, on the other hand, is usually a visual landscaping accessory.  

10 Benefits of a Gazebo

What are the functional benefits of a gazebo? Here are 10 reasons why a gazebo can help you better enjoy your outdoor space:

  1. Year-round use and protection against outdoor elements. Because of the full roof coverage, the gazebo provides a shaded covering from the sun in the summer months as well as full protection against rain. 
  2. Gazebos are a destination for social gatherings. Gazebos are spacious and can be used even when the weather is not ideal. With a gazebo, you can entertain family and guests more often. 
  3. Low maintenance. Gazebos are usually made of material that is resistant to mold and mildew, which makes them easy to clean and maintain.
  4. Adds visual appeal to your garden—like a design anchor that lets you structure and build your outdoor space.
  5. Adds value to your property and attracting potential buyers. 
  6. You can add screens that protect you from insects, bugs, and rodents.
  7. Provides superior comfort in an outdoor setting. 
  8. The sturdy structure can resist harsh weather conditions but the variety of materials means you can find one that suits your specific needs.
  9. Roll-up windows and curtains offer privacy from neighbours, and create an outdoor space ideal for romantic dinners.
  10. Since the gazebo offers covered protection, it allows you to install electricity, which can boost the functionality of the space. 

Gazebo Functionality: What to Expect and Which One Is Best?

1. Shade

Gazebos are an ideal structure for providing an optimal shaded spot in your garden. A gazebo can be a place of relaxation and relief from the midday sun. 

You can benefit from a gazebo-style shaded spot in any part of your outdoor space. If you’re just looking for some UV Protection, you can attach a gazebo to a wall of your house or invest in a portable one that you can put up and take down as needed. 

2. Focal Point of Your Garden

Many homeowners decide to install a gazebo in the middle of their garden because of its visual appeal. Gazebos can be included in backyard designs as a focal point that grabs attention.

When selecting freestanding structures for the middle of your backyard it is important to consider the architectural style, size, and design, since it will play an important role in the overall look of your garden. 

3. Outdoor Room

Because of its solid roof, a gazebo can act as an outdoor extension of your living space. You can customize it according to your preferences and add furniture, lighting, cushions, or rugs for extra comfort. 

4. Providing a Perfect Cover

Looking for a gazebo to cover your hot tub, a deck, or an entertaining area? Covering these areas with a gazebo adds privacy as well as allowing you to use them in any weather.

In this case, you only need a gazebo big enough to cover your desired area. 

5. Events

Because covered gazebos feel like a separate outdoor room, they are popular for hosting events, celebrations and ceremonies, even weddings. The visual appeal of a gazebo also contributes to attractive pictures from the event. 

Pop-up gazebos are perfect for one-off events and celebrations. They can be easily set up and put down. A beautiful rented gazebo can totally transform your garden when used for a special occasion.

Buying a Gazebo: Factors to Consider

1. Function

Consider the functions above when selecting a gazebo. Do you want a structure that will provide a functional cover to your outdoor areas? Or a focal point in your garden to entertain guests and hosts parties? Are you looking for a fixed structure to use all year-round or something that can be removed when not needed?

If you want to make the gazebo a focal point of your garden, a free-standing architectural design will be best. If you want your gazebo to offer effective protection against weather elements, and have the flexibility to move it to the area you need it for, select a lightweight portable one. 

2. Material

Gazebos are most frequently built from wood, canvas, vinyl, or metal.


Gazebos made of wood have the most impressive and attractive structure. These permanent gazebos can withstand windy conditions and can transform your backyard space.

If you can invest in a more expensive type of wood, naturally insect and decay-resistant redwood is the most durable type available. But also the most expensive.

Cedar is slightly softer than redwood, but it is also pest and rot-resistant. Available in a variety of colours and styles, it presents the most cost-effective option. A gazebo made of wood requires regular painting and re-staining for it to retain its beauty and natural colour for the years to come. 

Pressure-treated lumber is a type of wood that has been chemically enhanced to resist deterioration and can be an easy-maintenance alternative to cedar or redwood.


Gazebos that use vinyl are more affordable, long-lasting, and can work with a contemporary garden. While it comes in similar structures as wood gazebos, they tend to look plastic and cheap. 


Gazebos that have a canvas canopy are also affordable and come in a variety of finishes and colour options. These are usually made of dense, outdoor fabrics which are resistant to harsh elements and strong winds. 


While steel can be used for public gazebos, it is not the most attractive frame material to use for your garden. An aluminium frame can come in a variety of styles and sturdy construction, it can be heavy and prone to rusting.

3. Roof Type

  1. Hard Top – roofs can be made out of metal shingles or asphalt
  2. Soft Top – soft top gazebos are made of polyethylene and polyester fabric. When selecting a soft-top gazebo, look for reinforced seams and heavy stitching in order to ensure its durability. 

4. Size 

Consider the size when purchasing a gazebo. If you need room to entertain 10 guests, a large gazebo will suit you better. And if you just need a gazebo big enough to cover your hot tub or provide a shade, smaller ones are sufficient.

Consider the size of your outdoor space. Don’t purchase a large gazebo if you need to fit it in a tight space. Likewise, if you want a backyard gazebo as a permanent fixture in your spacious garden, a small gazebo kit might look inadequate. 

5. Style

In order for the gazebo to match the style of your home and offer a seamless transition between inside and outside, consider the architectural style of your house.

If your house has a modern design, a Victorian-style gazebo might distort the architectural look of your property. 

Here are the main types of gazebos:

Pavilion/ Traditional – usually octagon-shaped, made of wood, with or without windows, sturdy construction, and enough space for family gatherings.

Victorian – this style matches the houses made in the Victorian era and the gazebo features include complex curves with columns and wall panels.

Pagoda – a gazebo in a Japanese architectural style features ornaments and details influenced by Japanese culture and would work well with a similarly-styled home. 

Rotunda – a traditional style of gazebo with a domed roof is common in European architecture and public spaces but not a common style for residential gazebos. 

Contemporary – can come in a variety of shapes and materials, with modern design. 

Portable – lightweight, simple design, and easy to install and disassemble.

6. Budget

Gazebo prices vary and consider the budget before you start looking any further. The price of the gazebo will be influenced by the materials and finishes used, extra features, and size.

While small portable gazebos are perfect if you’re looking for something affordable, you can consider gazebos made out of wood if you have a more generous budget.

7. Additional Features

Looking for enhanced privacy or protection against insects? Look out for extra features included in your gazebo kit. 

The most common features are:

  • storage shelves 
  • seating
  • nylon mosquito netting
  • UV protected fabrics
  • screens for enhanced privacy
  • light or plant hooks
  • vented roofs

Best Gazebo for Your Garden

The gazebo that is most suitable for you depends on your type of garden. What to look for when selecting the gazebo best suited to your needs?

Best for Multiple Uses

Look for soft top gazebos that are cost-effective and versatile. You can move them where needed and create a shaded area, entertain guests or protect against rain.

Best for a Small Garden

If you want to make the best use of your available space, select an outdoor wall-mounted gazebo. You can attach its structure to the wall of your home and create an extension of your indoor space. 

Best for Harsh Weather Conditions

Select a gazebo with a sturdy durable frame and weather-resistant materials that can withstand heavy winds and rain.

Best for Protection Against Insects

Many gazebos come with transparent panels or nylon nets to keep out the mosquitos and other insects. These can be removable for when you want to open up your space.

Best Grill Gazebos

Select a smaller gazebo with ample functionality. A metal roof will offer superior protection against the weather and additional shelving where you can store condiments, or a beer will make outdoor cooking even more enjoyable. 

Best Gazebos for a Hot Tub

If you have a hot tub, you can create your own private enclosure with an addition of a gazebo. It will protect your hot tub from outdoor elements, keep your water clear and offer extra privacy. If you have the funds, look for gazebos with an automatic or manual retractable roof.

Where to Buy the Best Gazebo

There are a variety of places to find a gazebo in Canada. Here’s a list of some of the best stores, based on the return policy and buying help:

Costco Gazebo: You won’t find a gazebo for less than $1,500 at Costco, but you will find some of the most reputable, larger brands when it comes to your backyard shelter. There are a variety of options from Yardistry, Sojag, Palram and Sunjoy and most have 4+ star ratings or higher (based on independent customer reviews).

Canadian Tire Gazebo: The price point at Canadian Tire drops quite dramatically, making this a good option for those on a budget. One reason for the price difference is that Canadian Tire offers hardtop gazebos as well as soft-top — gazebos with cloth ceiling covers. This store also offers a few options for BBQ gazebos and backyard pergolas. (Plus, if you wait until closer to the end of the season you can find great sales that slash the price by 25% to 60% off!)

Home Depot Gazebo: With over 700 products listed online, Home Depot is a great place to shop for a gazebo, pergola or patio cover. (Hint: If you are looking for a BBQ gazebo try searching “grill shelter” as many of the gazebos made specifically to cover your outdoor grill station are labelled ‘grill’ on the Home Depot site.)

Rona Gazebo: While not quite as many products as it’s rival, Home Depot, Rona’s 600+ collection of gazebos and pergolas certainly offers a great many options for those shopping for outdoor shelter for their backyard space. Like its rivals, Rona’s selection offers a bit for every price range. For real savings, check out end of season sales.

Amazon Gazebo: For those that prefer online shopping (or no access to the physical stores listed above) consider checking out the selection of gazebos and pergolas on Amazon. Be careful, though, as you’ll need to read descriptions and reviews carefully to confirm you are getting the quality and build that you want and need. Amazon is also a great spot to find Sojag, Sunjoy and Outsunny brands — all name brands in the outdoor shelter industry.

The Bottom Line

Gazebos can be made out of different materials and come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, styles, and budgets. It can be hard to know which one is the best for your outdoor space.

The selection of the right gazebo will depend on your expected functionality and size. Do you want to create a focal point in your backyard to entertain 10 people or do you just want to add a relaxing secluded spot shaded from the sun?

Other key elements to consider when selecting the gazebo for your garden is the architectural style, material, and budget. 

Whether you’re looking for a gazebo that will cover your hot tub, offer protection from insects, or resist harsh weather conditions, this guide will help you select the right gazebo for your outdoor space. 

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