You are using an unlicensed and unsupported version of DotNetNuke Professional Edition. Please contact email@example.com for information on how to obtain a valid license.
Made for Shade: Stylish Gazebos, Canopies, and Pergolas
Summer means spending a lot more time outdoors and having a little fun in the sun. But if you’re spending any length of time outdoors during steamy summer days, you’ll probably want some shade to get a break from the heat.
Deck, patio, and table umbrellas are a simple option, but if you’re looking for something more permanent to add both shade and style to your backyard, consider a gazebo or pergola. Check out these stylish structures for ideas.
Gazebos come in all different sizes and materials and are the perfect structure to add beauty, shade, and seating to your backyard. Many come with built-in benches for seating, although many homeowners will furnish with outdoor furniture. Since they can stay up year-round, they become a permanent fixture in your backyard.
Left: Set in the middle of a private grove, this large gazebo features a red tiled roof and has an ornate architectural style. Boulder accents and beautiful landscaping give this pool a natural look, while the bridge adds charm to the entire poolscape.
Photo courtesy of Geremia Pools, Inc.; photography by Dick Hinkley
Portable Gazebos with Canopies
Portable gazebos with canopies are a great way to provide shade and create an outdoor room. These can be set up and taken down seasonally or left up year-round. They can be anchored to your lawn or bolted to your deck or concrete slab, making them a versatile option for any backyard.
Add an outdoor area rug, a weatherproof living room set, and a few planters, and the entire space becomes its own relaxation spot.
Left: This gazebo's Sunbrella canopy offers shelter from the summer sun and rain protection. It also features a vent for wind escapement. The gazebo is easily assembled and spans 130 square feet creating the ultimate space for an outdoor living room set.
Photos courtesy of Hayneedle.com
Pergolas and Awnings
Pergolas provide partial shade and add a lot of style to your backyard. Pergolas can also be ideal to provide shade over an outdoor kitchen or to define the space for an outdoor family room. Many homeowners will mount a weatherproof TV in the corner.
Above: To complement the Pennsylvania flagstone patio, a custom blend of stone was used for the fireplace and sitting walls. The curved pergola, made of laminated mohagony, offers just the right amount of shade. The plants include cryptomeria, sweetbay magnolia, and pale pink, kooper king hibiscus, as well as heavy metal switch grass and dwarf fountain grass.
Photo courtesy of Walnut Hill Landscape Company; photography by Michael Prokopchak
You can increase the amount of shade provided by a pergola in a few ways. You may wish to have ivy growing across the wooden beams of the roof, creating a natural plant canopy. This also makes the pergola feel more like it’s a part of the garden.
Another option is a retractable awning. Available in many different colors and patterns, retractable awnings add to both the function and décor of your pergola and the outdoor room your are creating.
Above: The lattice panels add a bit of privacy and a whole lot of style to this pergola set on a beautifully landscaped property with a pool. The retractable awning provides homeowners with the option of full or partial shade. The awning’s striped pattern matches the cushioned outdoor couch and throw pillows creating a unified outdoor room.
Photos courtesy of ShadeFX Canopies
This pergola adds elegance and definition to this outdoor kitchen, surrounded by colorful landscaping. The roof provides partial shade, but heat and smoke from the grill can still escape through the beams.
Photographed by LandMarksPhotography.com for Walnut Hill Landscape Company, Annapolis, Md.
You may also like...
Types of Awnings, Canopies, and Patio Umbrellas >>
Natural Boundaries: Trellises, Arbors, and Vines >>
Gazebos: Enclosures for the Garden >>
Gazebos make a great addition to any backyard landscape. Placed poolside, in a corner of the garden, or on the patio, these attractive stand-alone structures define the perfect spot for relaxing or entertaining outdoors while offering shade from the sun and shelter from the rain. Gazebos come in a range of sizes, shapes, and materials. Consider these factors to help decide the best gazebo design for your outdoor space.
Use – Some people use a gazebo as a place to relax and enjoy a beautiful day with their loved ones, while others use it as a dining area for entertaining outdoors. A gazebo can also be used as a shelter for a hot tub or serve a purely ornamental purpose as a focal point in the landscape. Knowing how you plan to use the gazebo will help determine what size and shape to look for.
Location – The location will also decide how big of a structure—and possibly what shape—you can accommodate. It’s important to place the gazebo where it will best suit your needs. If using the gazebo for outdoor dining, you may want to consider a location near the house for easy access to the kitchen. For quiet relaxation, an open spot in the back of the yard may be a better choice.
Style – A gazebo is as much a decorative item as it is a functional item, so it’s important that its design blends with the rest of your home and landscape. To complement the simplicity and clean lines of a contemporary style home and garden, select a square gazebo with minimal adornments. A traditional hexagon-shaped gazebo with a cupola and intricate detailing on the railings and arches will match the Old World elegance and architectural style of a Colonial or Victorian home.
Maintenance – Some types of gazebos will require more upkeep than others. Wood, for instance, requires staining every couple years while wrought-iron needs a protective coating to prevent rust. Vinyl is nearly maintenance-free, needing only a periodical spray with a hose.
Photo courtesy of Backyard America Outdoor Structures
Four Products That Extend Outdoor Living
The arrival of fall means the days are getting shorter, the nights are growing longer, and the weather is beginning to cool down in many areas of the country. But your time spent outdoors doesn’t have to end. Enjoy your backyard well into the fall season by adding one or several of these items to your outdoor space:
1. Fire Features – Outdoor fireplaces and firepits bring the warmth and ambiance of your living room to your backyard, creating a cozy place for your family and friends to gather on a chilly fall night. An outdoor fireplace is permanently installed as either a stand-alone structure or built into an existing wall. It can be surrounded with brick, stucco, stone, or concrete to complement the architectural style of your home and can use wood, natural gas, or propane for fuel.
Firepits range from a permanent pit in the ground enclosed by brick or concrete to a portable bowl-shaped structure made of metal. Firepits can use wood or natural gas to create a controlled bonfire in your backyard.
(Note: Be sure to check with your local municipality office before adding a fireplace or firepit to your backyard. There may be regulations regarding the type of fireplace you can have or the type of fuel that can be used.)
For a list of firepit companies and resources, visit our Outdoor Heaters & Firepits Buyers' Guide.
2. Outdoor Heaters – Outdoor heaters radiate a pleasant circle of heat so you can relax or dine al fresco amid the vivid fall foliage. Tall, freestanding patio heaters with an umbrella-style top are the most common type of outdoor heater. They’re often used at restaurants with outdoor seating, but these are also available for at-home use. They operate on natural gas, propane, or electricity and can heat an area of up to 20 feet in diameter. Though made of stainless steel, these heaters are available in several different finishes—including bronze, copper, black powder coat, and custom paint—to fit the style of any deck or patio.
Tabletop heaters are a smaller version of the traditional freestanding units and come in a variety of finishes and designs including decorative styles that look like lamps. Available as gas or electric units, tabletop heaters provide a heat radius of up to 8 feet and work well for patios with small outdoor seating/dining areas.
Wall-mounted patio heaters are typically powered by electricity and concentrate heat in a small area using infrared technology. Though limited in style, a wall-mounted heater works well for small decks and patios because it doesn’t occupy floor space. Most patio heaters feature manual heat adjusters and an automatic shut-off that turns off the heater when it reaches a set temperature.
(Note: Outside heaters are not designed for indoor use. Installation of an outdoor heater must confirm to your local codes and ordinances.)
3. Gazebos – Another way to extend the season is with a gazebo. Gazebos create a beautiful focal point in your backyard and provide an inviting place to relax with your coffee on a crisp autumn morning or host a tailgate party with your closest friends. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials, including wood, vinyl, and metal. Though gazebos are traditionally open-sided structures, newer models allow for removable vinyl or plexiglass windows that extend their use in cooler weather by offering protection from chilly winds. Window options range from simple roll-down vinyl panels that are fastened to the gazebo’s wall posts with Velcro to track-style vinyl or plexiglass window panels in an aluminum frame that mount to the wall sections of the gazebo.
4. Lighting – As the days get shorter, proper lighting will keep you and your guests out of the dark on lovely fall evenings. Place path lights along walkways, driveways, and other small areas of your backyard to provide an illuminated route to your patio or deck. Add both beauty and function by lighting up the perimeter of you deck with lantern-style solar LED post lights. If you have a covered patio or gazebo, try hanging a wrought-iron chandelier or string lights for sparkle and ambiance.
Photo courtesy of The Outdoor GreatRoom® Company