There is no denying that the last 12 months has been something of a social drought. So, as the UK prepares for a summer of reunions and (socially distanced) gatherings, many people are looking for ways to improve their outdoor space and make it welcoming for their long awaited guests.
A gazebo will provide you with a place to take shelter from the rain or hot sun and is an excellent social gathering space for your garden or any outdoor area. However, many of the soft top gazebos are known to be quite unstable and might not look as aesthetically pleasing as their hardtop counterparts.
However, when it comes to choosing the right product for you, there are many things to consider. Since this will be somewhat of a considerable investment, it is important that you do your research save throwing your money down the drain.
But that is where we can help. We have reviewed some incredible hardtop gazebos and while some didn’t quite live up to our expectations, there were some that massively stood out from the crowd. So, let’s take a look.
Latest update: May 2021
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The Best Hardtop Gazebos For 2021
As summer comes fast around, we are all looking forward to spending time in the garden with our loved ones and choosing a beautiful hardtop gazebo will create the perfect environment to do this. However, even after you have considered everything we have discussed, you may still feel that the choices are overwhelming.
We have looked at many hardtop gazebos and in our opinion, these are some of the ones that stood out.
OUR TOP PICK
For many people, installing a garden structure like a hardtop gazebo is something of a hefty financial investment. A lot of UK residents may find the eye-watering cost of some products too much, but when you consider that this one is extremely budget-friendly yet just as good as some of the higher-priced gazebos, you might feel as though you have found the right balance.
This is a mid-sized hardtop gazebo that offers enough space for your and your family to dine and relax in comfort. It features a superbly robust frame constructed from a metal and aluminium blend. This makes it a lightweight and durable product that doesn’t compromise on stability. This stable design is reinforced with the inclusion of several ground stakes for maximum security.
What’s more, with a hardtop that protects against water leakage and UV rays, you can enjoy spending time in your garden all year round. The gazebo also comes with beautiful, stylish curtains that offer further protection from the elements as well as a versatile degree of privacy. There is also a mosquito net included for times when the flies are out in force. However, both the nets and curtains can be easily removed should you want a more open feel.
Comes with netting and curtains
Assembly can take some time
Very stable design
Durable aluminium blend frame
Large enough for most families
Outsunny is one of the leading names in the world of gazebos and this hardtop does not fall short of the quality you would expect. Measuring an impressive 3m x 3m, you are getting plenty of space for seating and to move freely around inside.
Since the weather in the UK can go from bad to worse so quickly, you need a gazebo that will stand up to these harsh conditions. Whether it is blowing a gale, pelting down with rain or the sun is blaring, this durable gazebo has been designed to withstand the elements. It boasts a sturdy construction that will remain secure until you are ready to disassemble it. It comes with 12 ground stakes to ensure that it remains firmly rooted to the ground, no matter what.
Furthermore, the Outsunny 3 x 3 comes complete with mosquito nets as well as double-lined curtains for privacy and protection. Even on sunny days where glare is at its worst, you can relax in style. What’s more, with an internal hanging hook, you have the option to install lanterns or lighting to create a homely ambience.
One of the things that puts a lot of people off owning a hardtop gazebo is the maintenance. Thankfully, this one is easy to clean and requires very little maintenance so you can get on with enjoying your outdoor space.
Durable and stable
Tricky to construct
Comes with curtains and mosquito nets
Large size for bigger gatherings
Steel top and rust resistant frame
BEST GAZEBO FOR LARGE GATHERINGS
If you are willing to spend a little more cash, this beautiful and spacious gazebo is ideal. It boasts a huge design with a width of 4.5m making it perfect for when you have the whole family over for a BBQ or Firepit. There is ample room for seating and movement but you should keep in mind that this gazebo will need a considerable amount of space.
Made from a robust plastic and aluminium, this is a gazebo that will stand the test of time and won’t falter even when left standing permanently. The roof is glazed and has been bronze-treated for even greater durability as well as offering UV protection for those sunny days. Furthermore, this feature ensures that light and heat are better transferred even on cloudy days giving you the ultimate shelter.
One of the most outstanding things about this gazebo, however, is that it boasts a maintenance-free design. Once you have erected it (and that’s easy too thanks to the pre-drilled profiles), you can simply sit back and relax. The gazebo won’t gather dust and will remain looking its best for many years. What’s more, thanks to the no-weld design, the metal posts will never rust, making this ideal for any weather.
Excellent for bigger gatherings
Large footprint not suitable for smaller gardens
Reinforced structure will withstand any conditions
Lack of screws in the roof prevents leaking
No maintenance required
Great for heat transfer and staying cool
For anyone with a much larger garden who is looking to install a luxurious gazebo, this incredible product is sure to get you excited. Not only that, but it will certainly be a conversation starter at your next garden party. This extra large gazebo is packed with features that make it ideal as a permanent, low maintenance outdoor structure.
For starters, it boasts a robust design that is suitable for all types of weather - which we know we will get over the course of a UK summer! The rust resistant powder coated frame perfectly compliments the shatter-resistant polycarbonate roof panels for a gazebo that is impressively durable. What’s more, the roof is fully UV resistant offering you excellent protection from the harmful rays of the sun.
The roof is also fully waterproof so even as winter sets in, you won’t need to worry about removing the roof. That being said, if you do need to relocate the gazebo, this has been factored into the design and will be relatively easy.
There is scope to fit curtains and insect nets, although these aren’t included in the package. For the price you are paying, this would have been a nice added extra but they aren’t overly expensive to pick up.
At more than six metres in length and almost four metres wide, the Palman Dallas gazebo offers plenty of room to relax, dine and socialise.
Very large structure may take longer to erect and require more people
Suitable for year-round use
Easy to relocate
BEST WOODEN GAZEBO
For many people, wooden gazebos hold a lot more visual appeal. These beautiful structures can be painted to match your garden aesthetic and offer a much more traditional look. This one comes with a hardtop roof and beautiful trellis posts which would look incredible with some crawlers growing up them.
This is a 3 x 3 metre gazebo that has ample room for a table and chairs as well as giving enough space for the family to freely move around. It offers exceptional shade and protection from the sun and rain making it suitable for use in all types of weather. Once installed, this type of gazebo will require a little more maintenance in the form of regular wood staining to keep its appearance in tip top condition. However, this is only an annual job.
Putting the gazebo up could be a little difficult but the manufacturer offers a full assembly service which is incredibly handy. It is also important to keep in mind that the roof shingles must be purchased separately, so do remember this before you checkout.
The gazebo is very hard wearing and comes with secure ground connections meaning that it is also very stable. The treated timber means that the gazebo will have a very long life so if you are looking for something that will stand the test of time; this is it!
Requires some annual maintenance
Roof shingles must be brought separately
Roomy enough for an average sized family dining set
Installation service is offered
BEST SMALL GAZEBO
One of the major downsides about many gazebos is that they are simply too large to fit into a smaller garden. This can leave some homeowners feeling that they will have to miss out on enjoying everything that a hardtop gazebo has to offer. On the contrary, this 2 x 2 metre wooden gazebo is perfect for smaller spaces.
This beautiful structure is not only aesthetically pleasing but also performs very well as a form of shelter. The timber has been tested and comes with a ten-year guarantee which means you can feel confident that this lives up to your expectations in terms of durability.
It is roomy enough for garden furniture for two to three people so is ideal for couples and small families. Furthermore, the gazebo has a taller than average height making it great for people who are a little larger - you won’t need to duck to get in!
The overall installation is estimated, by the manufacturer, to take between one and two days. You get a roof shingle kit included with the cost which offers excellent water run-off and protection from the UV rays of the sun. The precut wood is easy to put together and with all the screws and nails included, you have everything you need especially since this manufacturer does not offer an installation service.
Treated wood resists fungus and other wear
No installation service offered
Extra strong posts
Requires some maintenance
Great for couples and small families
Easy to assemble
Comes with roof shingle kit
BEST GAZEBO ALTERNATIVE
If you prefer a pergola style shelter then this product will be right up your street. This large and simple design is ideal for family BBQs, relaxing and taking shelter from the sun. It is easy to set up on a patio or deck and has plenty of room for garden furniture.
The gazebo comes with grey curtains which offer excellent privacy as well as protection from the elements should things get a little extreme. The curtains are fixed at the corners so are secure, yet are also very easy to adjust and remove should you need to. What’s more the durable polycarbonate roof offers excellent water-run off thanks to its sloped design.
This product features a very durable yet lightweight frame that is made from aluminium. It is easy to assemble and offers an excellent degree of stability. The powder-coated frame will also resist rust and corrosion giving you the confidence that this will be a gazebo that will serve you for many years.
One of the greatest things about this gazebo is that it is very low maintenance. While you will need to self-assemble, everything is included and once you’re done, the gazebo will almost take care of itself.
Requires ample space outside the back door
Good rain protection and water run off
Fits to the wall of the house for immediate shelter when you step outside
What Is A Hardtop Gazebo?
A hardtop gazebo is an outdoor structure that features a roof made from solid materials. Unlike soft top gazebos, these hardy structures are designed to be erected over longer periods of time and can be used for various outdoor activities such as a covered seating area, barbecuing and covering a hot tub.
They can typically be left up all the time thanks to their improved durability and while they may require a little more maintenance than the temporary soft top gazebo, they do look a lot nicer.
Why Choose A Hardtop Gazebo?
The market is overwhelmed with soft top gazebos and while these are great for temporary use, they do come with a lot of drawbacks. However, a hardtop gazebo is a versatile structure that offers a lot of benefits. If you were in any doubt that a hardtop gazebo is the right choice for you, why not consider some of the following benefits?
- Hardtop gazebos offer a degree of durability that cannot be matched by a soft top. Typically made with robust materials and featuring things like rust-resistance and shatter proof roofs, these structures are made to last. Once installed, you will be able to enjoy many years of shelter without the worry of the gazebo breaking.
- Unlike soft top gazebos that may blow away when the wind picks up, a hardtop offers much greater stability. Many of these are securely connected to the ground with stakes, screws and other methods meaning that they will stay put no matter what the weather throws at them.
- Hardtop gazebos are generally much more pleasant to look at. They come in a wide range of sizes and styles meaning that you can choose something to suit your garden. Once erected, there is the option to install curtains lighting, camping string lights and an array of other decorative items meaning that you can tailor the gazebo to your liking.
- While they may be slightly more challenging to put up, a hardtop gazebo is very low maintenance once it is installed. Many of them come with dust-resistant coatings and are incredibly easy to clean. The fixtures are typically very secure and won’t need to be replaced and with shatter proof roofs, it is unlikely that you’ll ever need to replace it. In the event that you did, replacement roofs can be purchased easily.
- If you install a very large, attractive gazebo that you intend to remain in place even after you leave the property, this could add value to your home.
Choosing A Hardtop Gazebo - Buyer’s Guide
Before you make a decision on the best hardtop gazebo for your garden, there are quite a few things to keep in mind. There is no denying that, once installed, your gazebo will make an excellent focal point for your garden and you will spend many happy hours chilling out here. However, since these are relatively expensive pieces of equipment, it pays to know as much as you can about a product before you commit.
One of the main reasons that many people opt for a hardtop gazebo over a soft top is that the durability goes up a notch. The solid roof provides much better and more secure shelter, but that isn’t to say that every product you look at will be robust. There are, as with anything, some hardtop gazebos that are lacking where durability is concerned and when you are forking out a large sum of money, the last thing you want are defects in the design.
Many of these gazebos are made with materials like aluminium or steel. These are excellent for outdoor use since they are highly resistant to corrosion and rust, regardless of what the weather decides to do. In the UK, you could be sitting in the baking sun one moment and within minutes, the sky could be filled with black clouds and a heavy downpour becomes imminent.
Aside from withstanding the elements, your gazebo frame and roof will need to stay sturdy and secure. There is a chance that the structure could get knocked by children or pets, or perhaps even a wayward adult after one too many glasses of wine at a BBQ - we’ve all been there. But no matter what you put your gazebo through, you’ll need to feel confident of its robustness.
Another common material for a hardtop gazebo is wood. One thing to keep in mind is that, over time, the quality of the wood will deteriorate. Just think about your garden fences and other wooden structures and you’ll know exactly what we mean. However, you might also consider that a gazebo with a wooden frame is vastly more visually attractive and something that a lot of homeowners prefer.
In addition to this, wooden gazebos are typically much more challenging to build and will require a lot of input from the owner. In this instance, you should be confident that you have the relevant skills to safely and securely install the gazebo to maximise its durability.
How Will The Gazebo Be Used?
For a lot of people, a gazebo will be used for chilling out in style in the garden. They are great for covered areas where garden furniture can be placed. If this is your intention, you will need to think about the size of the gazebo in relation to how many people will need to fit inside. If you are a couple that lives alone, you may need something much smaller than a family who regularly entertains.
Another common reason that people install a hardtop gazebo is as a cover for a hot tub. For this, you may need a significantly larger structure and one that features a completely solid roof to prevent debris from entering the water.
Alternatively, you may wish to place your BBQ under your gazebo for outdoor cooking even on rainy days. However, it is vital to keep in mind that not all gazebos are designed for this. While hardtops are generally considered to be safer, you should take the time to look for one that is designed specifically for this purpose.
Size And Placement
While thinking about how you will use the gazebo will give you an idea of the size you will need, you will also need to consider where it will be placed. Many people opt to make their gazebo a centrepiece which is great is you have the space to do this. However, one of the biggest mistakes that new gazebo owners make is installing the structure where there is not enough room.
While you will need to ensure that you have the correct size footprint for the gazebo, you’ll also need to give enough room around its edges for people to move freely in and out. What’s more, it is important to consider that while measurements will be given, these are usually in relation to the frame and not the roof. Quite often, the roof will overhang on each side so you should factor in some additional inches when making your plans.
When you are thinking about placement, it is also important to think about how accessible the gazebo will be. If you have wheelchair users that visit or live in the home, it is crucial that there is good access. But even if all of your guests are able-bodied, you might want to think about how far from the house the gazebo is placed.
For many people, installing the gazebo on a deck or patio directly outside the door means that the area is in easy reach. Rember if you plan to add a fire pit on decking to check our guide
If there is anything in your garden that is going to set you back a pretty penny, it will be your hardtop gazebo. There is no getting away from the fact that these products don’t come cheap but this should be seen as more of an investment than a spontaneous purchase that won’t ever be used.
That being said, there are some lower-priced hardtop gazebos that offer just as much in terms of durability and quality. However, these may lack in space, so it is important to weigh up your options and compare these to your budget.
Easy Of Installation
When you purchase your gazebo, the likelihood is that you will want to start enjoying it as soon as possible. However, depending on the type of gazebo you have, getting it set up could take some time.
As we discussed earlier on, wooden gazebos generally take more work. These hardtop gazebos come as a kit and can take a longer time to erect. That being said, if you’re a fan of a DIY project, then this will probably be an activity that you enjoy. Alternatively, you might choose a gazebo that is made from some type of metal.
In this case, you’ll still get everything you need in the kit but assembling the structure will be as simple as screwing the various components into place. What’s great about these types of gazebo is that there is usually much greater choice when it comes to the style and size of the structure.
You might also consider that some parts of the gazebo could be incredibly heavy and may require more than one person to lift or move into place. If this is the case, you need to ensure that you have the relevant help available. If you feel that you would struggle in any way, it may be a wise idea to hire someone to install the gazebo for you. Another benefit of doing this is that, thanks to lots of experience, the work will likely take less time and you’ll be able to start enjoying your hardtop gazebo much sooner. You should also consider wether a less permanent and easy to move gazebo would be better such as a camping shelter or campervan awning.
Some people prefer to have the gazebo and nothing else. However, for a lot of homeowners having other elements can make the gazebo feel much more luxurious and practical. For example, many hardtop gazebos come with curtains which can act as temporary walls or even enclose you entirely, depending on what you feel the moment calls for.
There is also the option to choose a hardtop gazebo with mosquito nets which is essential on those balmy summer evenings where the biters seem to be out in force.
If you are going to be spending a lot of time in your gazebo, you’ll probably want to make it as cosy and welcoming as possible. While most gazebos don’t come with lighting or soft furnishings, it may be a good idea to look out for these things when you are considering how you will decorate your gazebo. This is especially important if you are going to be using the structure as a garden focal point.
Outdoor cooking beyond the normal barbecue
There are some wonderful stoves that use wood for cooking and would be great for working near a hard top gazebo (make sure you keep things sparks and fire away from untreated wood!) – so you can pick up sticks, pine cones and fallen branches and make outdoor eating even more of an experience. Plus, you don’t need to buy charcoal.
A hardtop gazebo is one of the best ways to achieve a balance between enjoying the outdoor lifestyle and being protected from the elements. While these garden structures are typically more expensive than their soft top alternatives, they offer much more in the way of durability, aesthetic appeal and stability. They can be left up and enjoyed all year round, making them incredibly versatile.
However, since you will be making a significant investment when buying your new hardtop gazebo, it is important to go into it armed with the right knowledge. There are several things you should consider before committing to a purchase including thinking about how you will use the gazebo and where it will be placed.
Once you know what you want, our selection of some of the best hardtop gazebos will give you a glimpse into what is on offer. All you need to do is choose your favourite and start relaxing.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does gazebo last?
Hardtop gazebos range in lifespan from 1-15 years. The average being about 10 years, though a few may last 20 or more.
That's based on exposure to one of three common elements: sun, rain and dew. If you live in an area that gets hard winters or humid summers with little rain, your gazebo will be exposed to the sun for at least as much time as it's exposed to any other element (rain or dew) and so the "life" of your canopy might be shorter than someone who lives somewhere else - because it really does matter how long a canopy is exposed to heat.
Which is better steel or aluminum gazebo?
Aluminum gazebos are more durable and lighter-weight, but steel gazebos can look nicer.
The key factors make their decision on which to select not an easy one: price (aluminum being less expensive), strength (steel having greater overall structural integrity), weight (overall weight of aluminum), weather resistance type (aluminum providing water protection and steel resisting rust). Which material you ultimately choose will depend upon a few factors, including your budget, individual needs and preference.