Battle of the Backyard: Gazebos vs. Custom Canopies

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, gather one, gather all for the main event of the season! Tonight, we bring you a backyard battle of behemoth proportions as we aim to settle an age-old debate, “Which is the best shade solution for your backyard?” 

In the red corner, we have our contender, the timeless and elegant gazebo. This functional work of art hopes to unseat the custom canopy as the reigning champion of shade solutions in an epic backyard battle to date. Our champion defends the blue corner with all of its bold offerings and modern technological integrations. Indeed, be a sight to behold.

The only question remains, “Who will come out on top?” Let’s get ready! 

Our Contender: The Great Gazebo

Weighing in at an average weight of 1,000 lbs., the gazebo is a shade solution that requires a substantial space commitment. Not all properties can accommodate a gazebo, and specific designs will require a more extensive construction (such as laying concrete). It is essential to factor in all elements and plans to install a gazebo in your backyard space. This process will lead you to the right design for your area, whether that be a more temporary, above-ground gazebo or one built right into the foundation of your home. 

Pros of a Gazebo

Simply put, gazebos add a “wow factor” to your home. The stunning visual nature of a gazebo can be reason enough to build one, but they also add practical value to your outdoor space. Gazebos don’t technically add square footage to your home’s total, but they provide privacy and shade while adding function and form. 

If you have a large family or are into hosting social gatherings, a gazebo can be a great focal point of the party. A gazebo can be used for something as simple as a patio dining table to eat around, or if your space is large enough, a gazebo can be used for its more conventional use, to shelter a bridge and groom during a wedding ceremony. 

According to Realtor.com, “51 percent of buyers surveyed this year expressed that an outdoor living space was the most attractive quality in a home, over even open floor plans and curb appeal”. Installing a quality gazebo in your home is an easy and affordable way to increase the sales value of your home directly, and in today’s market, who doesn’t want that?

Cons of a Gazebo

There are not a ton of cons to owning a gazebo. The primary concerns to consider for a gazebo are cost and space-related. Gazebos tend to be on the higher end of the cost spectrum and require a more significant amount of dedicated space. Even “temporary” or “portable” gazebos will need extra space or materials to weigh them down and keep them in place. 

Depending on the design of your gazebo, you may reduce wind flow in your backyard space. Not only will the large structure block the wind, but a gazebo with enclosed walls will also trap the air instead of letting it pass through freely. If this is an essential factor to you, consider a design that is as open as possible, and for insects, factor mosquito nets into your plans.

A gazebo may also need clearance by local city or community ordinances before being installed. We always recommend checking with your local association or community laws before committing to a build. We also don’t recommend purchasing pre-fabricated units, as they are often not built to last, and avoid metal gazebos as they turn into little outdoor ovens during the hotter months.

Gazebo Materials

The most common material for a gazebo is wood. Different types of woods can be used depending on your budget and design taste, but almost all of these woods are treated with weatherproofing solutions.

You may also come across synthetic plastic gazebos from pre-fab sellers. These have increased in popularity and since the pandemic. People taking advantage of their personal outdoor spaces have turned these affordable gazebo solutions into a quick fix. Metal gazebos are also available, but we suggest you avoid them, less you enjoy the oven-like feel during summer and the refrigerator-like effect in the winter.

Gazebo Types

Gazebos come in all shapes and sizes. The most common shapes of gazebos are round, square, oval, and octagon. Gazebos can be made into public spots for eating and socializing or designed as your private escape from the world. You can even embrace the sun by building a gazebo without a roof if you are so inclined. Gazebos are very flexible and can be customized to your particular tastes. Wood shingles are a popular accent for wooden gazebos.

Gazebo Uses

Gazebos are the epitome of multi-functionality. You can host a wedding ceremony, throw a barbecue, enjoy a picnic with friends, or have a place to enjoy your morning cup of coffee. With a more significant percentage of the population now working from home, a gazebo is a great place to unwind after a long day inside. If you are clever, you could set up your office outside and enjoy the outdoors all day long!

The Reigning Champion: The Custom Canopy

Weighing in at an average of 300 lbs., a custom awning provides shade and protection from inclement weather to larger outdoor areas such as room enclosures, carports, poolside cabanas, extended balcony covers, decks, island barbeque covers, entrances, restaurants, and much more. 

Pros of a Canopy

Canopy awnings supply protection from the sun during the hot summer months, lowering the indoor temperature by 15-20 degrees while creating cooler outdoor living conditions. In most cases, the energy costs reductions will pay for the custom awning in three to five years. The same patio awnings & canopies that offer you and your family protection from the sun will allow you to host outdoor functions regardless of weather conditions.

A patio canopy can encourage children or grandkids to spend time outside rather than in front of the television, on their cellphones, or playing video games. Alternatively, a canopy can be used strategically to protect stored items. A canopy is a practical and affordable solution if you have furniture or other outdoor items that aren’t in use or need protection.

Cons of a Canopy

There are no actual downsides to canopy ownership. There are some constraints to consider when purchasing a canopy, but they are hardly problematic. It is essential to factor in the space and other structures around where to install your canopy. If you live in a community or association with restrictions on home additions, your design and color options may be limited. These are all factors that can be worked around and should not be seen as barriers to canopy ownership.

Canopy Materials

Larger custom patio awning structures typically differ from the regular window and door awnings in that they are more permanent. They often require structural steel, trusses, and posts for added support. Each custom patio awnings canopies are manufactured in our facility to the sizes, colors & design that best fits your requirements, taste & budget.

Most canopy frames are made in aluminum (a lightweight option) or stainless steel (a solid and sturdy choice) and finished with a powder coating. Some companies and DIY builds will utilize wood in the right situation.

When it comes to canopy fabrics, there is only one best choice: Sunbrella. Sunbrella outlasts other outdoor textile brands, is easier to clean and maintain, is more resistant to sun and weather damage, is scratch and cut resistant, and comes in a broader range of colors and designs. Sunbrella fabrics are meticulously made to last up to ten years, which is more than twice as long as other outdoor fabrics from other companies. This means it will keep your patio furniture sets looking great long after most consumer-grade materials have passed their expiration date.

Canopy Types

Canopies come in various styles based on their functional need. There is a practical option for all needs, from free-standing canopies, entrance awnings to the custom canopy of your dreams. Custom canopies are the ideal solution for residential properties, even for rental properties like apartments or condominium complexes.

And the Winner Is …

The canopy! Once again, retaining the title, the patio canopy is the best option for the average backyard space. That said, the gazebo is a close second and should not become an abandoned idea. The important thing is to consider your space, needs, and plans for the covered space and select the best option for you. If you can’t choose, we say you build both! Why not have the best of both worlds if your space will allow it? We’ll see you next time on “Battle of the Backyards.” 

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