Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Outdoor Gazebos

Target Madaga Gazebo

(from Target.com, the Madaga gazebo)

Do you have one of these pretty things and do you like it? We are seriously considering adding one of these to our back deck so that we can enjoy the nice weather and stay out of the sun, but before we invest in anything, I’d love to get some opinions on how these things hold up. I got online at Target and they have many to choose from and there are so many different opinions, in that some of the frames are fairly stable, but big gusts of wind can create havoc with these gazebos and it was mentioned that the canvas tops are not particularly long lasting. I saw some reviews where the thing blew over and crumpled the frame and the canvas tops were torn to shreds. I would probably go ahead and purchase a replacement top, since it seems that they do not last more than 2 to 3 seasons at most. They aren’t cheap, so I don’t want to waste my money. I definitely want one that can be bolted to our deck for stablity.

BHG Tent Show May 09

When I saw this article in Better Homes and Garden’s May edition, called Tent Show, my wheels started turning and I thought it would be really great to have a version of this on our deck. I already have lots of wicker stored away in the garage just waiting to be used again. The ideal situation would be to build a screened porch on our existing deck, but that will cost thousands of dollars and it’s not in the picture right now, so I’d love an alternative.

BHG Tent Show May 09.2

Isn’t this dreamy? I would love to have just a simple version of this feel on our deck.

Any opinions on these? If you have one, I’d love to hear about it, pros and cons. Our deck is about 9 1/2 feet by 13 feet, so not too big. I’d love to get a 10x10’, but I don’t think it will work, since the frame has to bolt together and our deck is not 10' wide, just under that. Ideally, this would be bolted to the wood deck for stability, but I don’t want it to be a throwaway thing after only one season. I know that taking the top down at the end of the season is a must. I’ve been online doing some research. My hubby wants me to find one with a hard top, but I’m not sure that exists.

So, let’s talk about gazebos! I’d love to hear your thoughts. What do you have on your deck to keep the sun out and to enjoy the Summer months outdoors?

Also, don't forget the Burlap Par-tay on Thursday! (click the sidebar button for details) Get your posts ready to go and I'll get Mr. Linky up early.

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Anonymous said...

Hi My sister has one from Target. They used very heavy cement blocks to weigh it down. The tops only last 2-3 seasons.(She lives in Ohio and takes it down for the winter.) Have you considered and automatic awning from the side of your house or an awning. It lasts forever. Can still hook curtains up to it, to get the look. Just a thought. Nancy from OHIO

Cherdecor said...

We bought ours from Walmart at the end of the season. Our patio is probably the size of yours and the canopy is 10X10. If I can find a picture of how we adjusted it, I will send it to you. We took the canopy off during the winter. We love it, and we hope, hope, hope, that we do not get strong winds.

Cherdecor said...

I cannot find your email so if you want a pic, just send your email address or make comment and I will reply with pic.

melissa said...

I bought one a couple years back from Target. It was great at first but, after a couple storms and pecan season I had to throw it out.
The wind could bend the metal and made it so it did not sit flush on the ground.
If you do buy one I suggest buying the top of the line. I went with the middle of the road and now have nothing to show for it. Good Luck! :)

Chris said...

I have a very simple gazebo , even so it is a nice place to sit , I love the roller shades I can do that to mine too.

Tammy518 said...

I've always wanted one of those gazebos too, but I've always heard of how flimsy they are. When we bought our house seven years ago, it had a fairly small, existing screened porch. We'd like to build something nicer eventually, but as you said, that takes lots o' $$$! We added some sheers and that kind of gives it that gazebo/curtain look.

Here are a couple of links to posts about my porch:

http://tammy518-mamaison.blogspot.com/2009/05/porch-patio-party.html

http://tammy518-mamaison.blogspot.com/2009/05/strawberry-lemonade-on-porch.html

Living With Lindsay said...

I like them, but a neighbor across the street has one and had to cut these HUGE ugly holes in the top of the cover because it was blowing over with every gust of wind. Maybe it's not as windy where you are, but we can't have anything like that here.

g.suzie said...

I love the outdoor gazebos. . .I hope to make this one of my projects this summer. Thank-you for planting more ideas!!!

EKM said...

let the buyer beware! definitely pay for someone to install it right if you do get it! my mom wanted one for mothers day so dad got it for our backyard by the pool. well we thought we put it together right. one bad thunderstorm and the whole thing fell in (in the middle). it wasn't strong enough at all! it was pretty for the whole 2 weeks we had it up, though. i would suggest using weights or even duck tape to ensure it stuck together at the top hah! i hope you have better luck. and i'm in alabama if that helps give you an idea about climate/weather.

Randall @ Happy For This Moment said...

I love the look of them but understand the hesitation of it lasting. We have friends in Vegas that have commercial awnings across their back deck - so good looking and solid. They love the protection from the hot desert sun!

Lady Katherine said...

I had 10x10 one It was so great to sit outside by the pool. For one day! The next day the wind came and got up under the canvas, it was as if it was an air balloon for it twisted the metal, as it took off. I use to have a pergola made from wood. It lasted for years. I had planted vines around it. It was so wonderful. I am now hunting the metal, from the air balloon,lol for I think I can make a trellis out of it. Hubby thinks he kept it. I love to have a wooden one again. You can put curtains up around it. Hubby made a metal gazebo, out of condo pipe for my daughter's outdoor wedding, I placed scarfs on the top and sides. Just simple. I am thinking for now it maybe the way I go, for now.

SILVIA said...

well Rhoda i havent had any luck with these gazebos, we got and the same day we put it up the wind came and took the whole thing away , so i have to say NO, NO,i rather save the money and have one built...but thats just my me..have a great day..

silvia

Tammy said...

I had one made by better homes and garden out by my pool and loved it. Hubby anchored in the ground very well so we thought, but about the third thunderstorm we had just broke the metal frame to pieces, it didn't mess up the canopy so hubby claimed he would try to weld the metal back together, still waiting on that one.

Jen - Balancing Beauty and Bedlam said...

They do have hard top ones at Sam's Club. Beautiful, but you pay for it.
I saved up my pennies and bought a huge one year. Same as the others, we had a tornado watch and I didn't have it nailed down. Came home to the thing on the other side of my yard.
My brother got just a cheap one and did nail the whole thing into his deck. They have been loving it for three years and it MAKES their deck. They learned after ours blew away.

Nina Diane said...

The first one we had, we did not bolt down to the deck and came back from vacation with it blown over and all bent up! Lesson learned....so we bought another one and bolted it to the deck. We take the canves top off during the winter and the frame stays up. Not that attrative but, it works. Now we do not have one as we built a new deck.

morethanthestarsinthesky said...

Hey Rhoda,

I love both of these, but I think I like the 2nd one the best. It looks like it would shield you better, of course privacy and possibly these Bama mosquitos. Can't wait to see what you pick.


Amanda

The Quintessential Magpie said...

There's something romantic about a tent. I say go for it, Rhoda! :-)

Carrie said...

We had a 10' by 10' one. We bolted it to our patio and it last 3-4 summers (we took the fabric off in the winter). The canvas on top finally just shredded because it got so old and brittle. I think the key is to get one of the ones that has the hole in the middle of the canvas with the little extra tent part on top (like the one you have pictured). That allows a place for the wind to go through during storms. Our first one had a steel frame that held up fairly well but we could not find a replacement cover for our gazebo. We replaced our old gazebo with a new one this year. We went for a sturdier aluminum frame (aluminum doesn't rust) this time. The cover is sturdier, thicker type canvas than our old one. I just did a post on my blog (with pictures) about my "new to me" gazebo (we found it second hand). Because our yard is south facing we have to have some sort of shade structure to get any use out of it.

Kathysue said...

Hi Rhoda, We bought my Mom one and it has lasted 3 yrs and now the canvas needs replacing.It has been a great addition to her sunny backyard but it does not last as long as my Market Umbrellas.If you want to see a gorgeous one go to Zgallerie web site and look at the black and white with the greek key border, I was salivating but I am sure it would not be very practical but Oh so Pretty. I think the gazebo is a temporary fix but for 3 yrs until the money tree grows again,it is worth it. Can't wait to see what you do. Hugs kathysue

Melissa Miller said...

They are all gorgeous!
I would love to have one as well. :)

Elizabeth said...

I saw one not too long ago that was fabulous and was PVC. It was the type that had beams across the top and a retractable canvas "roof" that almost looked like a roman shade that was mounted horizontally. I just can't remember what catalog that I saw it in....I live on the gulf coast in Texas and it looked like it could withstand the weather as long as it was secured into the ground properly. We ended up going with a vinyl patio cover that we had professionally installed for about $1200. I love it and it has been windstorm certified, which makes me feel even better.

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

Okay, so I love that you looked for a thrifty alternative to a screened-in porch. :) I think there are so many ways that you could make an amazing outdoor room, and wicker can be so versatile in colors/pillows, etc. :)

ursula said...

my neighbors have the first one from Target......it has held up remarkably well! There was only one incident in which it blew over into the swimming pool but that was because they had not secured it properly in a windstorm. After it was chained down to their fence, it has withstood the elements! It also looks very nice....

Rose Broadway (Rosie) said...

Rhoda, I bought one from Walmart four years ago and it's the best thing ever! It's like the first pic you have, only a little more beafy with wrought-iron corners coming around each corner (if that makes sense.)

It was originally $299, and I caught a sale of $199. We put it on our deck and bolted it in at the bottom corners.

We get a lot of wind, but it's never moved. We do take the top cover off in the fall and store it for the winter.

You can't go wrong with one of these things!

Victoria@WhimsybyVictoria said...

Hi Rhoda! Having an outdoor Gazebo is in my "Someday" wish list! lol. We are military and move around so often, that one day we will buy or build and plant some roots. When we do, this is part of my vision! Great post! I wanted to invite you to stop by and see my great giveaway I am having! I think you will like it!

Hugs to you,
~Victoria~

Robyn said...

sounds like you need to get your hubby to build a pergola...google that and you will see many long lasting ideas

Kim @ Manning Family Tree said...

We had one from Home Depot that we bought about 4 years ago on after season clearance for $150.00. It even came with mosquito netting to zip up on the sides. We didn't secure it down. It just sat on top of our cement in one little corner of our yard. We live in southern California but we do get some wind. But we don't get the real strong wind very often. Our yard is down in a valley from the neighbors so that helps. The neighbors above us did have one blow over their fence & get mangled, but ours never moved. We put a bed in ours & have slept outside in the canopy many nights in the summer time. It was fabulous!!! Finally the canvas roof tore to shreds a few months back. We never took the cover off in the 4 years we had it. I found a replacement top online for $100 but hubby decided he wanted to take down the canopy & make a raised bed garden instead. We loved ours (we at least I did), but we were lucky it lasted as long as it did. We do have a covered patio on the other side of the house that hubby built that we have now moved the bed too. And our back patio area we have one of those retractable awnings by Sunsetter. Hubby loves this the most. But I loved the intimate feeling of the gazebo. Hope that helps some.

Judy said...

Hey Ro! We got our gazebo at Target about 3 years ago. Last year the "top" part was in shreds so I ordered one on line. My gazebo is a 10x10 and fits perfectly on my patio. But we have a hard time keeping the new top on the frame. We have enjoyed the gazebo in the past but haven't even put the top on it this year. The wooden supports will probably last one more year and then it will need to be replaced. I feel the cost is worthwhile as they are so pretty (like your pictures). We'll either get another one next year or build some kind of structure.

Well, that's my 2 cents worth!

Judy

...Mrs. Southern Bride... said...

I love gazebos! Hopefully we can get one someday.

Swampgirl said...

We looked at a hard top gazebo at Sam's last night. It looked quite sturdy but it was about $1000! That is not in our budget this year!!!

Blondie's Journal said...

Rhoda,

I agree that durability is the key to this, especially since you live in a warm climate and will probably keep it up year round. I just don't think you will find that in a free standing gazebo. If you look past the beauty of the wicker shades and curtains in the BH&G photo, you will see that the supposts are somewhat flimsy.

My opinion would be to find someone to draw out plans for a frame, find someone with handy carpentry skills to build a frame that stakes in and cements in to the ground. Use durable tarp for the roof. Screening material is cheap and simple to staple gun on (plus, your pretty curtains and blinds will cover that!).

I would rather spend a little extra than have the disappointment of having it blow into the neighbors yard!!! Good luck, Rhoda!

xoxo
Jane

Beth said...

Hi Rhoda - love, love, love your website. Personally speaking, I've not owned one but I think thess look best in the store and in catalogue pictures only but you get what you pay for and I would hold out (and save your $$'s) for the real thing and your ultimate dream. Just my 2 cents, but I'll be anxious to see where you land on this one. Good luck and Blessings to you always!

The Cherry Family said...

Hello! I LOVE your blog! We bought one from target 2 years ago. Hubby bolted it to the concrete pad and it stays up year round, we just take the fabric cover off. We LOVE it! it is our shade in the summer. It did get tears and holes the first year from the wind. We were able to order another one and I reinforced it with outdoor fabric. We just take the cover down with the weather get windy or stormy!

Bonnie said...

We purchased one this year that a co-worker of mine had on his property for about 5 years and would still have except we had a horrific winter (exceptional amounts of snow and some strong wind storms). He just took the cover off each year. It's the Anchor model at Home Depot. I'm hoping we have as much fortune with ours as he did with his. One thing I should mention - I live near Seattle so my summers are not particularly hot or long so that might actually help extend the life of ours.

Just me~ Bobbie Jo said...

I know SAM's club had one with a hard top-kind of like metal. Not sure if it is online or not but I do know they do make them.

Gena said...

I have never owned one, but my neighbor has gone through 3! We do get quit a bit of wind here and strong summer storms (we are a bit south of Atlanta).

She now has a new one and has started taking the top fabric off when they predict high winds. The problem is that it is very time consuming to do that and it takes 2 people. They are awesome to be able to sit under, though.

I want one, but I haven't even been able to keep an umbrella through one season.

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

Thank you ALL for chiming in on this one. All of your comments really help me a lot. I'm probably going to be on the lookout for one & hopefully in June they will start putting them on sale & I can find a deal on one. After telling hubby about the $1000 hardtop one at Sams (there's a pic of it online), he said that one is not in the budget either right now. But, maybe I can find a sturdy one that I can bolt down and I'll def. take the canvas off at the end of the season. It seems like that is key: bolting & taking the top off.

You know I'll keep y'all posted on what we end up with.

Barbara said...

I saw this same BH&G issue and wanted one for Mom's backyard. I found a lot of different models at Old Tyme Pottery, from really basic and cheap, to fairly nice, but more expensive. I don't know if you have an OTP close to you, but it may be worth checking their selection. We haven't been able to get Mom's together for all the rain, so I can't offer any feedback from there. Good luck!

Funky Junk Interiors said...

I have never had one of these, but I did have a wooden one built for over the hottub and LOVED it!

Donna

Becky G. said...

We bought one from Wal-mart about six years ago. It was a cheapy, about $120. I absolutely loved it! It had curtains which would close you in on all four sides. We ate dinner under it every night. Then the winds came and I had to sit and watch the wind come between our canopy and house and literally push the canopy down. The frame completely bent. So we returned it and got another one. It lasted for the rest of the summer, we had it bolted to the deck but when the winds came, it did the same thing. All this being said, this was several years ago and I would think the frames are sturdier now. Also, even with having the wind tear the canopy up, it was worth it. When we built our new house, we added a roof over our deck!

Deb said...

If they're anything like the swings with canopies, then they won't last very long. I would go ahead and spend the extra $$$ and just get an awning....what about a retractible awning??? Just a thought...I know you're all for saving $$$!!!

Linda said...

I commented on twitter that i thought gazebos were out of date. I didn't realize you were talking about the canvas type (I was picturing the old fashioned ones). I do like them and love the look of an outdoor sitting room. I'll be anxious to hear what you do! and what you create! A side note...we splurged and had a screened porch built and we have NEVER regretted it. Just bought a "sitting room" of wicker and we are loving it!

Julie said...

We have one. We purchased it last year. We have it secured down to our deck with lag bolts as well as strapped to the posts. We live in the midwest and get some super strong winds. Ours has a vented two layer top and this really helps it to be durable. We purchased it at Menards and it was about 500$. We do take the top down in the winter as well. I love ours. It has the a zip up screen as well as canvas sides.

Julie said...

I should also say that we reinforced the top structural portion with metal conduit. It was 45 minutes well spent if it keeps it secure for another season!

Lauren said...

Oh i'm so glad you posted on this!!! I was considering the same thign & now after reading all the comments, think I'll go with a more permanent structure. (unfortunately not on the budget for this summer!! :)
xoxo,
lauren

Blue Castle said...

I love those outdoor gazebos! I was blessed enough to find one 75% off at Target around July a couple of years ago. We put it up and then took it down in the fall as we have extreme winters here. We used it again the next summer too, but it was destroyed in a big windstorm last year. I'm heartsick over it. The connecting bars bent and broke apart, so now all I'm left with is the four corner towers and the cover. We used cement blocks to hold down each corner - which worked great to keep it in place. I would recommend getting the best gazebo you can afford. The heavier, the better. Especially if you have wicked wind like we do. :)

KarenB said...

I asked my girlfriend who has one how she liked hers. Hers is probably the top of the line from Target. She's had it a year and it was given to her by a neighbor that probably had it 2-3 years. It still looks perfect. Hers is not bolted down and stays put. We have heavy duty winds at times too. It's pretty big, so I don't know if it would come in the smaller size you need. But, it's wonderful and provides great shade for her back yard.

Cena @ Unexpected Necessities said...

I actually had an 8x8 gazebo that I got from Lowes....I think that it's no longer available, though. Also it survived Katrina, except for the cover, which had 1 tiny little rip. It was definitely well-made.

Elizabeth said...

Check out this PVC pergola that can be detach or attached at Plow & Hearth. I just love it. http://www.plowhearth.com/product.asp?section_id=2004&department=3059&search_type=category&search_value=3974&cm_val=&cm_pos=&cur_index=&cm_type=&pcode=10373

Anonymous said...

Several years ago, my wife bought a Colonial Estates 10' x 10' Gazebo from WalMart instead of waiting for me to build the pergola for the new stone patio I was building. I had planned ahead during the patio construction, and dug four 2-foot deep holes at the corners of a 10 foot square, anticipating needing footings for a pergola. The holes were each filled with concrete, and the surfaces shaped to blend in with the limestone flagstone.
I drilled and set two concrete anchors in each footing, matching up with holes on the bottom of the Walmart Gazebo frame. The frame is bolted securely to the four footings with 3/8 expandable anchors for concrete, nuts, and large washers (the washers are VERY important).
The fabric faded in the Texas sun in about 3 years, and by the fourth year the fabric had developed tears where it wore against the metal framing. The frame itself was never damaged, even in winds exceeding 50mph during many, many severe storms. It still stands today and is remarkable shape...it far exceeded my expectations!
I plan to purchase a replacement fabric canopy from www.gardenwinds.com.
My advice is to make sure that all the fasteners on your gazebo frame are tight during assembly...a few loose ones will allow the frame to flex excessively, causing other fasteners to work loose. Also (and this is the most important part) PERMANENTLY anchor the gazebo to the ground. The provided stake kit or even cinderblocks are simply not enough to hold the gazebo down in strong winds. If you want the frame to last, you need to have a truly secure base...either footings like I used, a concrete slab, or a wooden deck. You wouldn't build a house without a foundation, so why would you expect your gazebo to last without one?
Finally, if all four corners are not secured to the ground or patio equally, then the frame will twist and flex unequally in high winds...resulting in the twisted heap of metal and fabric other folks have written about.
Good luck everyone!

Sarah @ Different Dog said...

This is a great post, I was searching for gazebo stories and found yours. I am hosting a blog party about building your own outdoor garden room out of tent gazebos and other things like pergolas etc. You should check it out and add what you've done to create an outdoor room.
I'm also having a giveaway at the end of July!