Patio Umbrellas vs Gazebo: How Do You Choose?

patio umbrella compared to a gazebo
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Adding a patio to your landscape is a wonderful way to extend your property’s living space. When designing your outdoor space, it’s important to consider things like shade and rain protection so that you can get the most out of the area even when weather conditions go south. That’s when the debate over patio umbrellas vs. gazebo begins. Here are five characteristics to consider when deciding between a patio umbrella or a gazebo for your yard and how each option stacks up.

1. Shade Appeal

Interested in spending more time outdoors reading the latest novel by your favorite author or dining al fresco? You’ll want shade. Both gazebos and patio umbrellas are the next best things to mature, overgrown shade trees. Gazebos that are made of wood, vinyl, or aluminum usually have enclosed roofs that offer a good degree of shade and rain protection. Quality patio umbrellas are made of tough fabrics that resist ultraviolet sun rays and rain showers. You can purchase gazebos and patio umbrellas in different sizes to provide shade for an intimate table for two or a much larger area.

2. Installation and Maintenance

When it comes to setting up an outdoor living space quickly, a patio umbrella delivers instant gratification. Patio umbrellas come in several styles and have different features. However, all are easy to install without the help of experts. Maintenance involves securing your umbrella during high winds, and when necessary, washing it with vinegar and mild cleanser periodically per the manufacturer’s instructions.

Gazebos come in kits or are custom designed and built. Whether you choose an off-the-shelf kit from your local hardware store or decide to create your own design, you’ll need the help of someone who knows his or her way around tools to assemble and install your gazebo. Ideally, your installer also understands any building permit requirements that go along with placing a gazebo on your property. If you have a vinyl gazebo, maintaining the structure is relatively easy. Just wash it with a mild cleanser periodically and clear away any debris from its roof. Wash your wooden gazebo with a soft-bristle brush and reseal it every two years to maintain its look and function.

3. Property Value Impact

While a patio umbrella delivers high aesthetic appeal to your backyard, it’s seen as a temporary fixture that complements your personal style and that’ll get packed away with your things once you move out of your home.

Most people consider a gazebo to be a permanent fixture of your landscape, and it can help to boost your home’s market value upon sale. While you could move a well-maintained gazebo to a new home, most people decide to leave it behind for new homeowners to enjoy.

4. Versatility

Both patio umbrellas and gazebos earn points for versatility. Just a look through your favorite home and garden magazine will show the nearly endless styles of gazebos that are available. Gazebos come in round, octagon, and rectangular models, and you can get them with screens or glass enclosures.

Gazebos commonly serve as shelters for these items.

  • Outdoor dining tables
  • Gardening supplies
  • Hot tubs
  • Hammocks

Patio umbrellas are used to shade seating areas, pool-side lounge chairs, or children’s play areas. You can find a style that matches your decor and functional needs with a little research.

Here are some of the most popular patio umbrella styles.

  • Table
  • Off-set
  • Tilted
  • Sail

5. Portability

If portable shade is important to you, you’ll want to consider buying a quality patio umbrella. With a patio umbrella, you can create a comfortable outdoor retreat without regard to time of day. You can even transport and set up some patio umbrellas beachside to provide sun protection while away from home. Patio umbrellas are also great for homeowners who like to regularly rearrange outdoor furnishings to create fresh, new looks.

The Verdict

If you’re looking forward to hosting your daughter’s outdoor wedding ceremony in the future, a well-placed gazebo may be the right choice for you.

However, while these quaint outdoor structures can boost property value, it’s hard to beat a high-quality patio umbrella when it comes to price, versatility, and portability.

Regardless, if you’re planning a backyard makeover with patio umbrellas, you can come to The Patio Expert can help. Check out our reviews of the top patio umbrellas on the market. Ultimately, you get to decide which side wins the patio umbrella vs. gazebo debate based on your unique needs and style preferences.