Gazebos can make beautiful as well as functional garden features, as long as you position them correctly and choose the right style, shape and size for your garden.

Let’s look at how you find the perfect gazebo and position in your garden…

Gazebo purchasing and placement tips

  1. Make sure the size you choose is in proportion to the rest of the garden.
  2. Make sure you position it in a way that works with the layout of the whole garden, don’t just place one wherever there’s a bit of a gap!
  3. Pay particular attention to the roof material (more on that in a moment!).

1st – Is a gazebo is right for your garden design?

Much of your decision will come down to space. Gazebos do tend to be at least 2 metres wide. Yes, you can get them a little smaller than that, but they must be the right size so that they look good in proportion to their height.

In tiny gardens, a 2-metre wide gazebo may dominate too much.

As long as you choose a gazebo that is in proportion to your garden, it can make a very attractive addition, as well as being a useful place to store the garden furniture during winter months.

Design wise, they draw your eye down the garden and entice you to go and relax in them with a good book and a snack. But how do you know if a gazebo will look right in your garden?


Gazebos look great at the end of garden, either in a corner or at the end of an avenue or line of sight. The key to placement is to position it in a place that works with the whole garden layout.

Not having a design layout is the biggest mistake most people make. A great garden flows from one area to another so any element you add needs to work with the whole.  Without a coherent overall design it won’t matter how much money you spend, it’s unlikely to look right…

Although most gazebos tend to be a hexagonal shape, on your plan or out in the garden, first draw or peg out a circle in the area you’d like it to go. How does that work with the rest of the space? If even a circle looks out of place, then it’s only going to get worse once you add the gazebo.

When I’m designing any garden, once I’ve designed the lawn and main patio area, I am in a better position to judge space in the garden. If it looks like there’s room at the end of the garden, I’ll insert a circle to represent a gazebo for a secondary seating area.

I also take into account the surrounding garden, its overall size and existing structures such as sheds and pergolas, before making a final decision.

If nothing else is vying for attention, then it’s nice to make your gazebo into a feature – a circular brick edge with gravel or paving in it makes the area all the more attractive.

Placement is key

Here’s an example of a gazbo/pavilion that’s a little off postion. A lot of money has been spent on this garden structure, yet does it look right to you?

From this angle it does rather look like it’s fallen out the sky and just landed in the middle of the garden. It doesn’t look like it belongs there.

Perhaps in the view from the house it looks better, but I suspect it still doesn’t quite look like it belongs there. And while I’m being hyper-picky, it bugs the hell out of me that it’s off centre with the house door and doesn’t properly line up!

What type of gazebo should you choose?

First, look at the style of your garden and your budget. Gazebos, unfortunately, do tend to be quite expensive.

The open style gazebo is the least costly because it involves less timber and construction. Open gazebos look something like those open bandstands, but smaller.

Scots of Thrapston Gazebo

You can really go to town on features and styling with gazebos including anything from copper roofs to shutters curtains, built-in seating and cushions.

The best value and prettiest ones I’ve found in the UK are from Scots of Thrapston with their wide variety of styles and colours to choose from. I’m sure there are many other types that you can buy so do your research online.

Gazebo roof

This might seem a somewhat odd thing to focus on, but the roofing material makes or breaks how good your gazebo looks. A lot can have a plastic roof – these never tend to look that great and can downvalue the feel of even quite an expensive gazebo.

If budget allows go for a tile or copper roof, if you really want to make a feature of it!

Where to buy gazebos online?

One company I’ve come across recently (though I’ve not actually purchased from them yet) is Greenfingers. They are a UK based company and occasionally have sales on some of their gazebos. They also have an excellent range of garden furniture and features.

Gazebo-timberThis timber gazebo is very versatile and can be painted or left in plain wood. See more details here:

Timber Gazebo details.

They also have this very cute wicker gazebo that would look great in any cottage or natural style of garden. See more details here:

Wicker Gazebo details.


What’s the difference between a gazebo, summer house and a pavilion?

I feel I should have come up with a witty punchline, but alas no. As far as I can tell there isn’t a great deal of difference between summerhouse and a gazebo except, perhaps, the shape. Most gazebos tend to be hexagonal.

To me, summer houses are more like glorified sheds with windows, while gazebos seem to be more elegant in shape and design, often with built-in seating. Pavilions tend to be more of a band-stand style where you can walk right through them (like the white and grey one pictured earlier).

Left – summer house, centre and end – gazebos.

Is a gazebo worth the expense?

Think about how much you are likely to use it. If you’re someone who likes to read, write or paint in the garden, then a gazebo gives you opportunities to do so when the weather is not a hundred percent perfect – all the more so if you add electricity. Equally, if you never use it, a gazebo still makes a very attractive focal point in your garden.

From a design perspective, having a solid structure in between the planting areas, especially if it’s painted an attractive colour, visually breaks up the garden and creates added interest.

BUT be warned: garden features alone will NOT create a stunning garden! You must get the design layout right first. To help you do this…

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Rachel Mathews
Rachel Mathews

Professional international garden designer for over 30 years. My mission is to de-mystify garden design and make it easy for people to successfully design their own garden - without needing to spend a fortune!

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