The Ultimate Guide to Gazebos

Do you struggle to know what to do with your backyard?

You want a space that’s beautiful and tranquil as well as practical and useable, but that’s easier said than done.

You've tried planting trees, adding shrubbery, or including lighting in your landscape only to find you still aren't nailing the picture in your mind.

One solution that works perfectly for many people is to add some dimension, shade, and Victorian-style beauty to your yard by building a gazebo. 

Here at Fisher’s Backyard, we offer custom gazebos in many different styles. 


Because we want to help you transform your backyard with as little stress as possible. And most importantly, you'll love the results when you're finished!

Of course, at this point, you’re probably not sure if a gazebo is even suitable for you. That’s why we wrote this article, in which we’ll go over various things you should know about gazebos, including gazebo styles and how to incorporate gazebos into your landscaping.

Table of Contents
  • Blog-Images---Fisher_s-Backyard-ICON-1

    1. What Is a Gazebo?

  • Blog-Images---Fisher_s-Backyard-ICON-2

    2. Is a Gazebo Right for You?

  • Blog-Images---Fisher_s-Backyard-ICON-3

    3. Five Popular Gazebo Styles

  • Blog-Images---Fisher_s-Backyard-ICON-4

    4. Five Ways to Incorporate a Gazebo into Your Landscaping

  • Blog-Images---Fisher_s-Backyard-ICON-5

    5. How to Install your Gazebo

What Is a Gazebo?

A gazebo is an outdoor structure that provides shade and shelter from the elements while ornamenting the landscape.

Gazebos are typically octangular in shape. The classic gazebo design consists of a shingled roof supported by eight posts, with a rail all the way around. They also usually have a cupola on top.

While not all gazebos follow this traditional shape, they contain enough of these classic design elements to be immediately recognizable as gazebos.

Difference between gazebos, pavilions, pergolas, and cabanas

When looking for outdoor shade options, it can be confusing to understand the difference between different outdoor structures.

Pavilions are typically square or rectangular instead of octangular and don’t usually have a rail. There is some overlap between pavilions and gazebos, however. Many people take design elements from both to create hybrid structures that could be classified as either.

Pergolas are distinguished by their lattice roofs that offer partial shade.

Cabanas are typically found on beaches or beside pools. They come in various shapes, but they often have walls or curtains to provide a sheltered place to change into swimwear.

Gazebos are beautiful outdoor structures

History of the gazebo

Gazebo-like structures have been used in many cultures throughout history as garden decorations, outdoor living spaces, and temples. Having a shaded structure in a garden is not a revolutionary idea.

But the modern gazebo traces its roots to Chinese temple pavilions

In the 16th century, Europeans became fascinated by Chinese culture. They began drinking tea and using china dishes. And they also started decorating their gardens with structures made to look like Chinese temple pavilions.

Eventually, these pavilions took on a European look and began being called “gazebos.”

Why is a gazebo called a gazebo?

Originally, gazebos were referred to as “Chinese temples” or “pavilions.” 

We don’t know when the term “gazebo” entered widespread usage, but it appears in print for the first time in William Halfpenny’s New Designs for Chinese Temples, published in 1752. 

Did Halfpenny make up the word? 

No one knows for sure, nor why exactly Halfpenny chose the word “gazebo.” Some think he based it on an east Asian word, but the most popular theory is that Halfpenny was trying to make a Latin-sounding word.

For example, the Latin word “lavabo” means “I will wash,” so “gazebo” could be intended to mean “I will gaze.”

Modern uses for a gazebo

The purpose of gazebos has not changed much since Europeans first adopted them. Today, they’re primarily used to ornament an outdoor space while providing a shaded pavilion for someone to relax and “gaze” upon the beautiful outdoors.

However, there are some ways to modernize the gazebo experience, which we’ll get into in later sections!

Is a Gazebo Right for You? (Three Factors to Consider)

Now that you understand what a gazebo is, do you think a gazebo is a good fit for your backyard?

To answer that question, here are several factors to consider:

What are your backyard needs?

As indicated by the name “gazebo,” a gazebo provides a tranquil place to “gaze” on the beauty around you. It also works as an ornamental feature in your landscape.

But that might not be what you’re looking for!

Maybe you want an outdoor living space close to the house to blend indoor and outdoor living more seamlessly. In that case, a porch may be a better fit. 

Or maybe your main goal is to host more, in which case you might want to look into getting a patio, and consider putting in an outdoor kitchen.

But if you’re looking for a sheltered place to get away from it all and enjoy nature, or if you’re looking for something that will fit gorgeously into your landscaping, a gazebo may be just what you need!

Gazebo with a patio

Is the layout of your yard conducive to a gazebo?

Unfortunately, not every yard looks good with a gazebo.

Gazebos work best in larger yards that don’t contain a lot of structures. They add visual interest to a large expanse of lawn, and they help you take advantage of natural beauty by offering a calm space to sit and appreciate it. 

However, if you love the look of gazebos, there are ways to incorporate the design into many different types of yards.

For instance, if your yard is dominated by a pool, you can make your gazebo double as a cabana. Or, if you don’t have a lot of extra space, you can incorporate a gazebo design into your porch.

But we’ll get into that more later!

Do you prefer classic or modern styles?

Gazebos typically have a classic Victorian look, so if you’re into classic, timeless, or old-fashioned styles, you’ll probably love the look of a gazebo.

Gazebos can also have a down-to-earth, woodsy look. If you’re interested in more natural designs, you can buy an unpainted wood gazebo or construct something with a rustic look

If you love the modern look, a gazebo may not be the best fit. You’d probably be better off with a pavilion or a structure that combines elements of a pavilion and a gazebo. 

Five Popular Gazebo Styles (And How to Figure Out What Works for Your Situation)

Although gazebos have a distinctive, classic look, there are multiple styles of gazebos!

Let’s discuss a few of the most popular gazebo styles and how they may suit your situation. 

Classic white gazebo

You can’t go wrong with the classic gazebo shape.

A white, eight-sided gazebo with elegant braces and a graceful railing will look charming in numerous backyard, garden, or park settings.

Customize your classic gazebo with a cupola, a pagoda roof, or a bell-shaped roof, or vary your railing and braze designs. In fact, if you’d like to play around with a few different options to see how they’d look, you can design your own custom gazebo here!

At Fisher’s Backyard, our vinyl gazebo kits come in classic white or almond shades. The vinyl-covered wood ensures durability and ease of maintenance.

Customize your gazebo

Wood gazebo

If you like a rustic, tranquil, less “showy” look, a wood gazebo may be right for you.

Wood gazebos look gorgeous tucked away by a stream or pond, but they can also be given a place of honor in your yard. 

Our wood gazebos are made from pressure-treated southern yellow pine and will provide a sturdy, serene shelter for years to come. 

Oval gazebo

If you’re looking for a gazebo that’s a bit larger, or you favor a unique look, you may be interested in an oval gazebo.

Oval gazebos are irregular octagons. They still have the typical eight sides, but the octagon is elongated into an oval-like shape.

Oval gazebos are popular with people who like the look of traditional gazebos but are looking for a bit more space. Many people choose to furnish their oval gazebos and use them as outdoor living spaces.

Oval gazebos are also popular as park pavilions. 

Screened gazebo

A gazebo is supposed to be a retreat, sheltered from the elements, where you can gaze upon nature’s beauty.

But that’s difficult to do when flies are buzzing around your face, mosquitos are biting your legs, and a wasp comes flying around looking for somebody to sting.

That’s why many people choose to add screens to their gazebo.

With a screened-in gazebo, you have all the benefits of a gazebo without the frustration of dealing with bugs.

Screened in gazebo

Attached gazebo

Traditionally, gazebos are free-standing structures.

There’s a reason for this: gazebos were designed to be a retreat from the main house. The idea was to get away from it all and escape to nature for a bit.

But this traditional gazebo design may not be practical for your needs. 

You may want your gazebo to be close by so you can use it to host guests without having to trek across the lawn. You may not have space for a traditional gazebo. Or you may find that, with a gazebo at the other end of your property, you just don’t bother using it.

If this is the case, an attached gazebo may be right for you.

An attached gazebo is a gazebo either directly connected to your home or affixed to a porch or walkway. It allows you to easily access your gazebo without getting your feet wet or dirty and makes it more usable.

It also adds a unique flair to your house.

Three Ways to Incorporate a Gazebo into Your Landscaping

Maybe you love the gazebo look but have no idea where to put it.

Don’t worry; we’re here to help!

Here are some essential questions to keep in mind:

  • What parts of your property do you want to be able to “gaze” upon?
  • What parts of your property lack dimension and could use an ornamental feature?
  • Do you want your gazebo to have a practical purpose?

With these in mind, let’s explore three ideas for how to incorporate a gazebo into your landscaping.

Overlooking a water feature

Many gazebos throughout history have been built to overlook water features.

If your property contains a pond, a babbling brook, or a view of a river or lagoon, consider building a gazebo as a place to comfortably appreciate the beauty.

If you don’t have a water feature on your property, consider if you have any place of exquisite beauty that would make an ideal setting for a gazebo.

Adding dimension to an open space

Another popular use for a gazebo is to use it to break up and add dimension to an open space.

If you have an expansive lawn with little visual interest, you can fix that with a gazebo. Surround your gazebo with flowers and shrubs to create a little backyard oasis.

Use a gazebo to give visual interest to your lawn

While this adds beauty to your lawn, it doesn’t necessarily give you something beautiful to gaze on from your gazebo. If that’s important to you, you may want to build an intentional garden area around your gazebo, with plenty of flowers and maybe even water features such as a fish pond.

Serving a practical purpose

While we’d all love to have a picturesque property with a delightful gazebo tucked away next to a breathtaking pond, that’s not the reality for many of us.

We can’t all afford to have structures on our property that serve no purpose but to gaze at something beautiful.

If that’s your situation, think about how your gazebo can add beauty to your space while also serving a practical function.

For instance, you could:

  • Hang curtains in it, place it by the pool, and use it as a cabana
  • Use it to house a hot tub
  • Use it as an outdoor dining space
  • Place a barbeque grill inside for outdoor cooking
  • Place it near a swingset, pool, or another place where you wish to comfortably supervise children playing

What do you think? Does a gazebo seem like something you could use on your property?

If so, let’s get into the next step: gazebo installation!

How to Install your Gazebo

Maybe the idea of purchasing and installing a gazebo feels daunting.

If that’s you, don’t worry!

We’re here to go through the gazebo installation steps one by one.

Step 1: Evaluate the location you’ve chosen. Ensure it has proper drainage and no tree roots will interfere with the structure.

Step 2: Decide what size of gazebo you want. Keep in mind the available space, as well as what type of things you’d like to use the gazebo for. Remember to keep vertical space in mind as well—if you want your gazebo near or under a tree, make sure you have adequate space for the roof!

Step 3: Design your gazebo. At Fisher's Backyard, we have an online tool that allows you to digitally design your gazebo and then get a quote on what it will cost. 

Design your own gazebo

Step 4: Get any permits you may need. Some municipalities require gazebo permits, so make sure you have all your legal ducks in a row before continuing the purchase and installation process.

Step 5: Figure out who will install your gazebo. Our gazebo kits come with instructions, pre-drilled wood, and every piece of roofing and hardware you’ll need. It can then be installed by:

  • You, if you have construction experience
  • Your local contractor
  • Our installation crews

The choice is up to you. Since we have experience putting our gazebo kits together, we can usually do it quickly and easily compared to a contractor, but if you’re more comfortable using your contractor, that works too!

Step 6: Purchase your gazebo kit and schedule delivery.

Step 7: Prepare the ground for your new gazebo! You can install your gazebo on a crushed stone pad or a concrete foundation. 

If you choose to go with a concrete pad, pour it at 4” depth, with additional depth around the outside edges to keep the weight distribution even and add stability.

For a crushed stone pad, create a level frame of 4/4 or 4/6 pressure-treated lumber, 12” wider than the dimensions of your structure. Then fill the frame with 4 to 6 inches of gravel or crushed stone.

Step 8: Receive the delivery and install your gazebo!

If you purchase from Fisher’s Backyard, our team will contact you ahead of time to schedule delivery. If you choose to have us install it for you, we can get it done in just one day!

But as long as you buy your gazebo from a reputable gazebo kit manufacturer, they will provide detailed installation instructions, so you can either install it yourself (if you’re handy or have construction experience) or hire a contractor to do the work.


You’ve done it! Your new gazebo is installed and ready—a place of tranquil relaxation for years to come.

Here at Fisher’s Backyard, we aim to provide you with sturdy, gorgeous outdoor structures that will brighten your outdoor spaces.

Besides our line of gazebos, we also sell:

And guess what?

Our kits are customizable, so feel free to contact us today about whatever you’ve been dreaming up, and we’ll see if we can make it for you.

We can’t wait to hear from you!

Leave a Comment