Everything You Need to Know About Gazebo Kits

Traditional gazebo surrounded by flowers

With a gazebo kit, you can build the gazebo of your dreams in your own backyard without having to start from scratch. These kits are relatively easy to assemble, and they don’t sacrifice variety. You can find kits for gazebos of all different styles made with different construction materials. 

Let us guide you through your many options. 

Types of Gazebo Kits

Pop-up vs. permanent 

Pop-up gazebos are usually fairly simple in construction and appearance. They’re intended for occasional use at garden parties or other special events you might hold.

These gazebo kits are easy to assemble and disassemble. Make sure to put away a pop-up gazebo in the event of inclement weather, since it isn’t made to stand up to strong winds. 

A pop-up gazebo might be for you if you anticipate using it only every once in a while and don’t want to make the financial commitment of a permanent outdoor structure.

People often use pop-up gazebos to create shady seating areas at special events and parties.
Photo Credit: Needpix

Permanent gazebos, on the other hand, are for homeowners who want to integrate a stylish outdoor living space into their landscaping for year-round use. For a permanent gazebo, you’ll usually want to install some sort of anchor or concrete footing to help the structure survive storms. 

Note that installing a permanent gazebo, even with a building kit, is a more expensive and labor-intensive endeavor than a pop-up. 

Hard-top vs. soft-top

Another factor you should pay attention to while shopping for a gazebo kit is whether it includes a hard-top or soft-top canopy. 

Gazebos with hard tops will be sturdier and are definitely the better choice if your area frequently experiences high winds and heavy rain. Hard-top canopies are typically made of long-lasting, durable materials such as shingles, asphalt, or wood. You can even find gazebo kits with aluminum roofs.

Hard-top gazebos have sturdy roofs often made with shingles.
Photo Credit: Pxfuel

A soft-top gazebo would feel airier and more open, and it would be cheaper, too. Soft-top canopies are made of fabric that can be removed for washing or if you anticipate a bad storm that might damage it. 

If you decide to go with a soft-top gazebo kit, look for one with high-quality, weather-treated fabric such as polyester or polyethylene with heavy-duty stitching.

Sizes and styles

Whatever you want to use your gazebo for, you’ll probably be able to find a kit in the right size. Kits for gazebos come as small as 8 feet by 5 feet coverings for a grill and as large as 30 feet by 30 feet gathering areas. 

Many common inexpensive DIY gazebos come in 10 feet by 10 feet or 12 feet by 12 feet squares. 

Even when using a kit, building a large gazebo can be a long and intense construction project.
Photo Credit: Pxhere

Aside from their many styles, gazebo kits also come in a variety of shapes to suit a landscaping location or designated space. The basic shape options are square, rectangle, hexagon, octagon, or round. 

Whether you want a small standalone structure for your backyard or a deck or patio gazebo, there’s a shape and size to fit your needs.

Just make sure you measure the space accurately so you know exactly what kind of kit you’re seeking. If you have patio furniture or a dining set that you want to place in your gazebo, make sure you choose a gazebo with plenty of room for your furniture.

Gazebo Kit Materials 

Kits for gazebos don’t come only in different shapes and sizes. They’re also available in different materials that suit different aesthetics and budgets.

Wood

Wood gazebo kits are available for a wide range of budgets. The type of wood you choose decides the pricing and the quality. 

Natural redwood is the most durable and expensive option. Cedar is slightly softer and less hardy, but it’s a popular choice because it’s so budget-friendly. Pressure-treated lumber is another option. All of the above are resistant to pests and decay. 

Many traditional wood gazebos have knee-high railings around their perimeter, but you can also find more modern, open designs. 

Metal

Metal gazebo kits include a steel or aluminum frame with a hard-top or soft-top canopy.
Photo Credit: Pxfuel

Metal gazebos often feature metal frameworks with a rooftop made of fabric, shingles, or aluminum roofing. The metal frames are usually made from steel or aluminum, both durable options. Aluminum requires less maintenance since it doesn’t rust. 

Metal gazebo kits range in price, but they’re usually much cheaper than their wood counterparts. Metal kits also tend to be simpler in design. Many have only four posts and a roof, without the traditional railing typical of wood gazebos. 

Vinyl

Vinyl gazebos are less common and more expensive than wood or metal. They come in different colors and styles, both traditional and contemporary. Vinyl gazebo kits often come in panels that are especially easy to assemble. 

Vinyl is one of the most expensive options when it comes to gazebos, but for good reason. Vinyl is durable and low-maintenance. It doesn’t require painting or staining, as some wood does. It also doesn’t need rust protection.

To keep your vinyl gazebo looking its best, all you have to do is spray it clean with water when it gets dirty. 

Special Features and Add-Ons 

We’ve covered the basic characteristics of a standard gazebo kit. However, some kits come with special features and add-ons that might make them more suited for your yard and your purposes.

Some features like these might come along with a gazebo kit, while others are sold separately.

Floors

Most kits for gazebos don’t come with flooring. You’ll usually use the ground, a concrete base, or your deck or patio as the floor. You can find kits, though, that come with matching floor panels.

If you want a garden gazebo and you’re going for a certain aesthetic, flooring might help you achieve the look you want. 

Walls

You might want to use your gazebo to create a private outdoor living space in your yard, such as a hot tub or secluded seating nook. If that’s the case, you’ll probably want to look for a kit with walls.

Gazebo walls can be either solid panels or screens, like you would see on a screened-in porch.

Some gazebo kits come with screens or walls to add privacy.
Photo Credit: Thomas & Dianne Jones / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Vented roof/cupola

A vented roof will allow more breezes and sunlight to reach your gazebo. If you’re planning on growing potted plants in your gazebo, you might want to look for one with a vented roof. That way, your plants will have access to direct overhead sunlight. 

A cupola (a small dome or square structure that goes on top of the roof) serves the same purpose as a regular roof vent and adds an extra style element. Keep in mind that cupolas can get pricey and might make installing your gazebo’s rooftop a little trickier. 

Lighting 

If you anticipate using your gazebo at night (for dinner parties and such), make sure you choose a kit with lighting capabilities. Some gazebo kits come with attached lighting, while others simply have the necessary hardware to hook up your own lights. 

Unless you use battery or solar-powered lights, your gazebo will need to be within an extension cord’s reach of your home or another power source for this feature. 

Mosquito netting

In summertime in warmer climates, spending time outdoors can be frustrating (and itchy) because of the excessive mosquitoes. Luckily, many gazebo kits come with mosquito netting or at least hardware to attach mosquito netting. That way, you can enjoy the sunshine and fresh air without suffering death by a thousand bug bites.

Tips for Assembly 

While shopping for a gazebo kit, pay attention to the difficulty level of assembly. You don’t want to choose a gazebo kit that’s above your construction skill level (say, a large octagonal gazebo with flooring and a cupola) and end up over your head.

Check the manufacturer’s website and customer reviews for an accurate assessment of difficulty. 

Once you’ve purchased your kit, it’s a good idea to recruit at least one friend to help you put it together. Assembling a gazebo kit is much easier than trying to build one from scratch, but the job still requires some elbow grease and heavy lifting.

Plan to spend a couple of hours assembling a small pop-up gazebo or a whole weekend on a permanent one. 

Whether your gazebo has a floor or not, build it on level ground clear of roots that might interfere with the structure. You may have to remove some roots yourself, either by digging them up or using herbicides.

Above all, follow the assembly instructions that come with your kit. Pay careful attention to each step, as every gazebo from every brand is slightly different. 

FAQ About Gazebo Kits

Do I need a permit to build a gazebo on my property?

That depends on your city, county, and homeowners association’s regulations. Some areas have size restrictions for outdoor structures, and some require a building permit only if you plan to run electricity to your gazebo. Some have no such restrictions.

What’s the difference between a gazebo and a pergola?

A gazebo has a solid roof, either hard or soft top, while a pergola’s roof is made of open slats. Pergolas provide less coverage and are usually used more for decoration than function. You can purchase DIY pergola kits, too.

Does a gazebo add value to a home?

That depends on the market where you live. Outdoor structures such as gazebos, pergolas, and decks tend to add more property value in warmer climates.  

Does a gazebo need to be anchored?

It’s up to you. Installing concrete footing or anchors will require more work and more money, but it will also help your gazebo stand up to severe wind and rain. If your region is prone to severe storms, anchors are a good idea. 

When to Hire a Landscaping Professional

Installing a gazebo from a kit — especially a permanent gazebo with extra features — takes a solid amount of work and time. It’s easier than starting a construction project from scratch, for sure, but the job still might entail more than you’re willing to commit.

If that’s the case, you can always hire a professional landscaper to assemble your gazebo kit for you. 

Enlisting professional help might even be necessary if your property has difficult or hilly terrain or if you don’t have the required construction know-how and equipment.

As you’re shopping for your gazebo, it might be wise to leave room in your budget for a contractor.

Kits Make it Easier to Build a Gazebo

If you want to add a little whimsy to your landscaping and create an outdoor living space at the same time, a gazebo is the perfect feature for you. And with gazebo kits, they’re easier to install than ever. 

Main Photo Credit: Needpix 

Jordan Ardoin

Jordan Ardoin

Jordan Ardoin is a writer and indoor plant enthusiast hailing from Florida. She enjoys reading fantasy novels, cuddling with her bulldog, and collecting succulents (because they’re so hard for her to kill).