Your gazebo can be more, much more, than an elegant lawn decoration or a shady spot in summer. By choosing the right furniture and features, you can transform your pergola into gazebo for all seasons.
The first step is mental, a shift from thinking of your gazebo as a warm-weather hangout to recognizing it as extension of your living space you can enjoy year around. You simply have to remember that turning that vision into reality involves planning with an eye to all kinds of weather, the various ways you might use the space, and how you might want to tweak your decor to reflect any given season.
Selections for any season
If you feel the itch to decorate in keeping with each season, you may want to choose furniture you can freshen up in a snap and at no great expense—furniture that can go from summer to fall with a quick switch in seat cushions, for example, or a fixed-cushion love seat in a neutral color you can redress simply by adding seasonally themed pillows.
Gazebo screens are a terrific year-around idea. They block pests during spring and summer, provide privacy and protection from the elements no matter what the season. Partially private screens will block UV rays and up to 37 percent of air flow. Perfectly private screens block all sun, wind, rain, sleet, and snow. You can even have these screens printed with the scenery of your choice!
You’ll also want to think about lighting. If your gazebo is wired, lighting is no problem. Outdoor chandeliers come in a wide range of styles, from sleek to rustic to downright elegant. If your gazebo isn’t hooked up to the grid, lighting is still no problem—you can go for solar lights or battery-powered lanterns or chandeliers. Tiki torches spaced around the perimeter provide a warmer, gentler aura any time of year.
Finally, think about placing a fire pit nearby. They’re great for warming up cool nights or roasting hot dogs and toasting s’mores on a warm one.
Capture the spirit of spring by decking your gazebo in white: wicker or wrought iron, or white chair cushions topped by pastel throw pillows. Put pot-trained yellow-rose trees or a pink mini-bougainvillea on either side of the door and hang a humming bird feeder or ferns between posts.
Water features evoke peace and serenity. That makes them a perfect spring (or summer) addition to your gazebo. Place an environmentally smart fountain that’s solar powered and recycles the same water, right outside and close enough to enjoy. Depending on the size of your gazebo, you may opt for a tabletop and/or freestanding fountain inside.
Dress your gazebo furniture in bright, bold colors for summer and replace chairs with comfy chaise lounges surrounded by potted palms and other tropical plants. Beat the heat by adding a mister that works off your garden hose and standard water pressure. If you live in an area where water is a concern, you might want to go for a solar-powered ceiling fan (with optional AC adapter for cooling after dark) instead. If cash is a concern, you can cool off with battery-powered portable fans.
Switch your colors to eggplant, gold, brown, or rust and scatter potted mums atop tables and/or around the floor. Speaking of floors, an indoor/outdoor carpet can complement your fall decor and add comfort underfoot. A wicker chest/coffee table combo will look great and give you place to store throws or afghans you can bundle up in on those crisp autumn nights.
In most climates, a privacy screen or heavy winter curtains will be key to your cold-weather gazebo fun, because they’ll keep the elements out while you and the family are in. Of course, a good heater—whether hanging or freestanding—will always be a welcome winter addition. If your gazebo isn’t wired for electricity or close enough to another power source to plug in a heater, check out propane powered models or heaters that run on batteries.