The Many Uses For Gazebos

Gazebos have been around for a long time. They were common in Egyptian gardens 5,000 years ago, and have also been found in ancient Rome, as early as the 10th century in the Middle East, and in early China as well. They did not become popular in America until the mid 1800's. Popularity waned briefly when large porches became popular, and again with the advent of patios. They are very much back in style now. In the past, they were primarily found on the grounds of large estates or in public parks; now gazebos can be found in many back yards. Gazebos can be large or small, plain or ornate, elegant or rustic, and come in many shapes and sizes. Gazebos can be used as a housing for your hot tub or spa, a covering for your patio area, a retreat from the cares of the world, and more. Hold picnics or weddings or other celebrations, use it as a summerhouse or a guest house--its uses are limited only by one's imagination. If you are considering a gazebo for your yard, here's information you can use to help you decide on the type that's right for your needs and your budget.

Gazebo Sizes, Styles and Materials

Common styles of gazebo include round, oval, octagon, rectangular, or square. Their sizes range from 6 ft. in the round or square sizes, all the way up to 20 ft. by 40 ft for a rectangular, octagon or oval styles. Standard building materials are wood, vinyl, or wrought iron. We located many good sources online for gazebo kits, which include everything you need to assemble your gazebo yourself. We'll cover those sources a little later on.

Planning Your Gazebo

Before getting very far in your plans, check with your local officials to see if a building permit is needed, and obtain that when you are ready to go forward with your plans. They'll tell you what information you need to provide to get your permit, and the cost. If you have a specific plan for your gazebo, such as using it to enclose your hot tub or as an alternate to patio space, you should determine the size of the gazebo, and at the same, what style you would like You will find photos on the above sites to give you a general idea of what your gazebo will look like. And along with planning the gazebo, take into consideration what site preparation you'll need to do. It is recommended that you prepare a base for your gazebo to sit on. This can be made from gravel, concrete pad or patio bricks or stones. If you plan to enclose your patio with a gazebo, this part of your preparation has already been done for you. If you are enclosing your hot tub, again this work should have already been done. But if you are building one out in your yard somewhere, keep this part in mind as you prepare for construction.

Gazebo Manufacturers and Distributors

As we did our research for this article, we discovered many great sources online for more information, and to order your gazebo kit. That's right--it comes in kit form if you order online. Instructions are included, but if you feel like you aren't up to the challenge, you can easily contract the construction out to someone else. You should save money by ordering direct from the manufacturer, even on shipping charges. Several manufacturers do not add extra for shipping. Here's just a few of the manufacturers we found online:

Gazebo Creations
This web site had excellent information on all aspects of gazebos, particularly those they manufacture. They offer a "Design Wizard" to help you customize your gazebo to your wants and needs. Choose your gazebo by size, style, and material. The Wizard allows you to change things around to suit yourself, and you can save your designs for future reference. You'll find a wide range of sizes and styles to fit your needs and your budget. Material choices include western red cedar, treated pine, vinyl (which is a treated pine with a vinyl coating), and wrought iron.

Gazebo Depot
This company is located in Montana and has been around since 1998. They offer many styles and sizes of gazebo for your needs, including free shipping on some models. They offer wood or vinyl, shapes include oval, rectangle and octagon. Price ranges are from $3,000 for the smallest pine wood gazebo on up to about $12,000 for their largest, (12 ft) vinyl model.

Amish Country Gazebos
With shops located in California and Pennsylvania, this company offers nationwide delivery to the continental US. You can order a free catalog and DVD from their web site. Their gazebos come in kit form and are delivered to your door by their own trucks. They will even install your gazebo for you if you'd like. You can design your own gazebo using their "Design Your Gazebo" program online. They did not offer any prices online, but those are available in their catalog.

Sunshine Gazebos
If your gazebo budget is under $3,000, Amish Country Gazebos recommended this source for your gazebo. At rock-bottom prices, they don't offer customized gazebos, but if you want a gazebo but can't afford a whole lot, consider these guys. Prices range from $1,695 for an 8 ft. wood gazebo, on up to $3,495 for a 12 ft. vinyl one. And they offer free shipping, too.

Better Gazebos
Another fine manufacturer, they offer gazebos in a variety of styles and sizes. The gazebos come in kit form, and are advertized as being simple enough for an unskilled person to assemble. You can get information on most all concerns for building your gazebo, including permits, siste preparation, care & maintenance, and more. And there was even mention of free shipping on the web site.

This is by no means all of your choices when it comes to selecting your gazebo. And if the prices you see are a little more than you want to spend, or if you prefer to see your choices "in person," go to your local Lowe's or Home Depot to see what they have to offer. Just a quick look on Lowe's web site doesn't turn up anything nearly as nice as the above sites offer, but if you're just looking for something pretty basic and are on a tight budget, you might find what you are looking for at one of these retailers, or another local company.

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