From enjoying a fresh cup of coffee to answering the day’s emails, some things are just better done outdoors. And building a screened gazebo is like building an outdoor addition to your home.

Not to mention, we’re spending more time gathering outside than ever before. While we’re all looking forward to a more relaxed year ahead of us, it could be some time before indoor get-togethers are once again the norm.

So if you’re looking for ways to upgrade your outdoor space, a screened gazebo should be the first project on your list.

Here’s Why You Should Invest in a Screened Gazebo

Whether you’re thinking about buying a prefabricated gazebo or building one from scratch, it’s not easy to take the plunge on such a big home project.

Even if your current gazebo just needs a little TLC, it can be hard to justify the time and expense of regular upkeep and renovations.

So if you find yourself doubting the usefulness of owning a gazebo, here are a few things to keep in mind:

They double as outdoor living spaces

You can furnish your gazebo just like any other room (we still recommend using patio-approved furniture). You can use an in-ground extension cord or solar panels to supply electricity.

Sadly, insects and poor weather can easily interfere with your perfect outdoor living space.

By investing in a screened gazebo, you can at least protect yourself from the worst nature has to offer. You’ll be surprised how much more time you want to spend in your gazebo after making such a small change!

They’re great for entertaining

You, like many, are probably tired of hearing that we live in “unprecedented times.” But it’s true.

Whatever the coming months hold, it’s going to be a while before getting together with friends and family looks like it did back in 2019.

A screened gazebo offers an excellent compromise between social distancing and congregating indoors. Having a furnished gazebo at the ready is also perfect if you’re not yet comfortable inviting guests into your home.

Even after things have more-or-less returned to normal, you’ll find countless ways to enjoy your screened gazebo.

Of course, a screened gazebo is still a confined space. So we don’t recommend throwing any patio parties until official health guidelines give the green light.

They add value to your home

Even if you’re not planning on selling anytime soon, your home’s value is an important investment.

Gazebos and pergolas are popular with homebuyers right now. After all, you’re not alone in wanting to get the most comfort and enjoyment possible from your outdoor spaces.

Function aside, a garden gazebo is an excellent way to upgrade your landscape design. There’s no such thing as a backyard that’s too beautiful.

Gazebo vs. Pergola: What’s the Difference?

It’s not uncommon for homeowners to use these terms interchangeably. But gazebos and pergolas are not the same things.

The easiest way to tell these two structures apart is by looking at the roof. While gazebos feature an enclosed roof, pergolas do not.

Pergolas are quite popular, especially in contemporary landscape design. Their open roofs let in plenty of natural light and provide a lovely spot to hang vining plants or string lights.

In terms of versatility, however, pergolas fall short. The slightest bit of rainfall can put your pergola out of commission for hours or even days.

On top of not offering any protection from the rain, pergolas also lack adequate protection from the sun. Lounging under a pergola can mean high temperatures and unnecessary exposure to harmful UV rays.

Can you screen in a pergola?

Technically, yes.

Screening in the sides of a pergola is no different than a screened gazebo. If you want to keep your outdoor living space free of pests, remember that you’ll also need to screen the roof.

If you already own a pergola and wish to add a screen, then this could absolutely be a project worth your while.

Screening a pergola is a great way to combat annoying disease-carrying insects like mosquitoes. You can also opt for a shade screen for your pergola’s roof, which will help cool the space and add protection from the sun.

For homeowners deciding between a screened gazebo or pergola, though, we recommend going with a gazebo from the start. Pergolas may be stylish and on-trend, but the versatility of a gazebo just can’t be beaten.

Which Type of Screened Gazebo Is Right for Your Home?

Distinguishing gazebos from pergolas is just the first step. Gazebos come in all shapes, sizes, and styles, some of which lend themselves to being screened in better than others.

Hardtop vs. soft top

When you think of a traditional gazebo made of wood, metal, or similar material, you’re picturing a hardtop gazebo. The term “hardtop” just refers to the fact that the gazebo has a hard, permanent roof.

On the other hand, soft top gazebos are essentially structured tents. While they are affordable and easy to take down for storage, soft top gazebos lack the aesthetics and versatility of their hardtop counterparts.

Some soft top gazebos are permanent structures. You typically see these models in mild climates where heavy rain, snow, and wind are of little concern.

If you do decide that a soft top gazebo is the best option for your home right now, look for one with built-in screens included from the start.

We typically recommend investing in a hardtop gazebo, especially if you want to add value to your home along the way. But not all hardtop gazebos are the same.

Open-air vs. walled screened gazebo

While there are countless designs and styles out there to choose from, you can group most gazebos into one of two categories.

Open-air gazebos consist of little more than a roof and support beams. Some hardtop gazebos fall into this category, along with almost all soft-top models.

Other gazebos have walls and “windows.” These windows can be left open, screened-in, or filled with glass panes.

Because of the semi-enclosed design, these gazebos often rely on a door for entering and exiting. Others leave the entrance completely open.

you can make a screened gazebo by adding screening to an existing structure

Tips to Permanently Screen in Your Hardtop Gazebo

Adding screens to a hardtop gazebo can be as simple as firing off a nail gun or as complex as building large panels from scratch. Before you dive head-first into this DIY project, take these tips into consideration:

Hire a professional

A screened gazebo is a project that requires hands-on experience and the right tools. If you or someone you know isn’t a skilled handyman, it’s best to hire a professional for the job.

The more complex your gazebo is architecturally, the more important the help of a professional will be to your project’s success.

Opt for a square gazebo

Starting from scratch gives you the freedom to build the perfect screened gazebo from the very start. You might not want a screened gazebo now, but it’s best to anticipate upgrading in the future.

Whether you’re constructing a hardtop gazebo out of wood, aluminum, or something else, keep in mind that a square gazebo will be easier to screen in than an octagonal one. The fewer sides your gazebo has, the fewer screen panels you’ll need.

Add a screen door

If your enclosed gazebo lacks a door, the screens won’t do much good. A simple screen door will ensure no insects get into your hardtop gazebo while also offering protection against nasty weather.

5 Best Screen Kits for Open-Air and Soft Top Gazebos

Not all homeowners want to permanently install screens in their gazebo. And if you own a soft top gazebo, permanent installation isn’t a viable option in the first place.

Many companies offer screen add-ons for their gazebos. You can also purchase an after-market screen kit that is compatible with your gazebo’s dimensions for similar results.

If you built your open-air gazebo instead of buying it, there’s a good chance you can still find a screened gazebo kit to fit its dimensions.

1. ABCCanopy Gazebo Mosquito Netting Screen

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The ABCCanopy Gazebo Mosquito Netting Screen fits gazebos measuring 10-by-12 feet or 11-by-14 feet. However, some users claim it fits gazebos with slightly different dimensions, as well.

The screen features zippers on each side for entry and requires hooks along the gazebo roof for hanging. The material is flame-resistant for added peace-of-mind.

2. WindscreenSupplyCo Heavy Duty Knitted Mesh Tarp

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The WindscreenSupplyCo Heavy Duty Knitted Mesh Tarp isn’t specifically designed for use in a screened gazebo. But it does the job well.

You can purchase this tarp in several different dimensions to fit your exact needs. Each edge features durable grommets that can be secured with hooks, rope, or even zip ties to create a screened gazebo in a pinch.

Because this mesh tarp is so heavy-duty, it also works well for screening in pergola roofs.

3. PROHIKER Mosquito Net

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The PROHIKER Mosquito Net is another ready-made option for creating a screened gazebo. This net fits most 10-by-10 open-air gazebos and includes a zippered entrance on one side.

The PROHIKER Mosquito Net does rely on cotton tie-downs to attach to your gazebo roof, so it’s not the most durable solution out there.

4. Yescom Universal Replacement Mesh Netting

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The Yescom Universal Replacement Mesh Netting comes in two sizes: 10-by-10 feet or 10-by-12 feet. It features plastic rings for hanging, tie-downs to prevent blowing in the wind, and a zippered entrance on each side.

This screen kit is designed for use with pop-up, soft top gazebos. But you could use it with a hardtop gazebo, as long as you have somewhere to attach the hanging loops.

5. Casualstay Mosquito Netting with 4 Side Zipper

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The Casualstay Mosquito Netting with 4 Side Zipper is another screening kit designed for soft-top gazebos that can be jury-rigged to work with most hardtop ones, as well. It uses quick-release plastic rings for hanging and fits most gazebos around 10-by-10 feet.

Each side features a zippered entrance. This kit also includes Velcro tie-backs for those days when you want to enjoy your open-air gazebo without screens.

Alternatives to a Screened Gazebo

Screens aren’t the only way to stop insects, wind, rain, and debris from entering your gazebo.

It’s possible that screening in your gazebo isn’t a top financial priority right now, and you’re looking for a quicker, cheaper fix. Or maybe adding screens to your gazebo walls won’t offer the level of protection you want.

Here are some alternatives to a screened gazebo you might want to consider instead:

Curtains

Lightweight curtains are nowhere near as effective as traditional screen panels at keeping out insects or bad weather. But they are one of the best ways to mimic a screened gazebo on a budget.

For the best results, anchor your curtains using hooks, tie-downs, or even strips of Velcro. This will reduce gaps that could let in bugs or moisture and prevent gusts of wind from blowing the fabric around.

You can always add curtains to a screened gazebo, as well. Curtains can help keep in heat and provide a degree of privacy that most screens lack.

RELATED READ: Gazebo Curtains: 12 Best Options for Your Outdoor Leisure

Windows

Some homeowners skip the standalone screens and jump straight to adding windows to their gazebo design.

In many ways, windows do everything that screens do — only better. With higher quality, though, comes a higher price.

While many screened gazebo kits and DIY plans are simple enough to complete on your own, installing windows to a gazebo is a bit more complex. There’s a good chance you’ll need to hire a professional for this project, which drives the cost up even further.

Plus, not all gazebo styles are compatible with windows. Installing windows in your existing gazebo might require going through some renovations first.

Expand Your Functional Living Space with a Screened Gazebo

The events of 2020 made many of us painfully aware of how much time we spend indoors.

Even as indoor activities become safe again, it should be our collective goal to continue spending more time outside. And investing in a screened gazebo is a great way to achieve that goal.

How are you making the most of your home’s outdoor spaces this year? Do you have any upgrades planned for the near future? Let us know in the comments below!

Last update on 2022-12-05 at 00:13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API