Gazebo & Canopy Buying Guide

Gazebos and canopies protect your family from the elements and enhance your outdoor decor. This gazebo and canopy buying guide will help you find the right fit for your family, and your yard.

Backyard Covers 101

Whether you’re looking to keep your BBQ dry or create an elegant centerpiece for your garden, a backyard cover can get the job done. From sturdy, decorative gazebos and pergolas to portable screenhouses and pop-up shelters, a backyard cover lets your family enjoy the summer while keeping them safe from the sun (and rain). Add walls to create a private oasis — a plus if your yard is closely overlooked by neighbours. Top it off with a roof and you'll keep the bugs out, even if your cover is located in the garden. With a little information, you’ll be ready to pick the model that works best for you.

Types of Backyard Covers



An outdoor gazebo is an attractive and effective way to keep sun, rain, and insects off your family. It can also serve as an outdoor entertainment centre, hot tub enclosure, or just as a relaxing retreat. Wood and vinyl gazebos offer the most permanent shelter solution and can be an impressive decorative feature in your yard or garden. Choose an open-air model for taking in the views, or an enclosed one for increased privacy and protection. For smaller yards (or rental properties), cloth canopies and hardtop gazebos are smaller and also less expensive. 

Portable & Pop-Up Gazebos

For budget-friendly coverage, try a portable or pop-up gazebo. Canopies are available in a variety of colours to complement your outdoor decor, and you can even add screened walls or curtains for more privacy (and fewer insect visitors). Portable gazebos can be easily taken down and stored off-season, freeing up yard space for other activities. Their convenience and ease of set up also make these gazebos handy for tradeshows, garage sales, weddings, and even a family day at the park. 


With their open concept design, pergolas protect you from the sun while still letting you enjoy it. Their distinct columns and lattice roofs are excellent for showcasing shade plants like clematis, trumpet vine and even grapes. Like the style but not a gardener? Consider choosing a model with a retractable canopy to keep the sun and rain out. Often used to frame walkways, cover decks or create seating areas, pergolas can be purchased as freestanding structures or built as an extension to your home. 


Bugs not invited to your BBQ? A screenhouse will keep them out. A great option for campgrounds, cottages or your own backyard, screenhouses can be easily assembled with a limited amount of tools. Screened walls allow your family to enjoy summer breezes while comfortably dining inside. Roof grommets will prevent rainwater from settling on your screenhouse, and galvanized metal framework resists rust for durability. Set one up over your patio furniture and enjoy; then when summer winds down, simply fold it away for convenient storage.

Patio Covers

With a patio cover, you can extend your outdoor living space for all seasons. Patio covers block harmful UV radiation while still allowing plenty of natural light through for your family to enjoy. They also provide overhead protection from rain, hail and even snow. A patio cover is a permanent, durable shading solution, adding value to both your home and your outdoor experiences. Patio covers can also offer the added benefit of brightening up adjacent indoor rooms with reflected light.

Gazebo Site Selection Tips:

• Choose a flat, level location where water will not collect
• Measure out the gazebo dimensions in your yard to visualize the space
• Ensure you leave enough room in your yard for other family activities
• Account for roof overhangs of both gazebo and your home if placing near outside wall
• Check that you do not require a building permit or permission from your condominium board

Backyard Cover Features

Size +

When selecting a size for your gazebo or canopy, make sure your eyes aren’t bigger than your yard. Consider what you’ll be using your backyard cover for. A furnished sitting area? A hot tub? A dance floor? Remember to leave enough room around the gazebo for your other yard and garden needs. Opt for something large enough for visual impact yet small enough not to overpower your entire space.

Shape +

Gazebo shapes include square, circular, octagonal, oblong and rectangular. Oblong and rectangular gazebos tend to offer more space for dining tables, swing sets and other larger items. Conversely, octagonal, square or round gazebos leave you with less usable space once furnished, but offer a cozy informal setting for lounging and work well as ornamental yard pieces.

Material +

With its traditional charm, a wood gazebo is always a popular choice. Wood is less expensive than other durable materials like vinyl, but it requires more maintenance to keep it looking great and protect it from the elements. A cloth canopy gazebo is an affordable option, with the benefit that you can easily update your colour choices when purchasing replacement canopies. Cedar is a great option for pergolas, not only for the rustic look but also for keeping insects at bay.

Roof Type +

Roof type is an important factor in your gazebo purchasing decision. You’ll want something that protects you, but also looks good. Fabric options are affordable and can be replaced and updated as needed. Hardtop metal or plastic roofs are durable and easy to clean. Wooden and synthetic roofs can be curved to provide more interior ceiling space and come in double- (pagoda) or triple- (cupola) tiered styles. A lattice roof is an affordable option that helps block the sun, especially when overgrown with plants.

Walls and Screens +

While a roof keeps rain and sun off your family’s heads, you may require more coverage. Walls, curtains, screens or netting add privacy and help to keep insects away. These additions can be permanent or temporary, depending on your needs. For housing hot tubs, choose gazebo kits with fixed walls to keep children and animals safely outside. Drapes and netting can be added to temporary structures, increasing their visual appeal.

Design Details +

Once you’ve decided on your basic backyard structure, you may choose to spruce it up with various design details. Maybe a skylight for stargazing from your hot tub, or planter boxes filled with colourful flowers to welcome guests. Other features such as decorative hand rails, built-in benches, ornate metal poles and screened windows can enhance and personalize your choice. Add some gazebo lights for even more decorative impact.

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Gazebo Maintenance Tips:

• Add sealant or two coats of vinyl latex paint to increase durability of wooden structures
• Pressure wash and re-stain wooden structures every two to four years
• Clean vinyl, plastic or wrought-iron structures with soap and water
• Regularly check screws on portable gazebos for tightness
• Wipe down your canopy with water and mild soap to keep it looking fresh
This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



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