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Create a Great Summer Space with an Outdoor Gazebo!

Updated on June 27, 2012

Create a Great Space!

I love being outdoors. I love to garden and grow herbs, flowers and vegetables. I love summer bar-b-ques and picnics! I do not love getting sunburned - or ants, pests, or the company of other insects that seem to be drawn to me.

I do have a large deck but with temperatures reaching 100 degrees Fahrenheit it is impossible to stay outside for very long. I had a table with an umbrella but it always seemed kind of silly, everyone all crunched up together hiding under that little circle of shade.

I have a concrete patio that was a terrific use of otherwise empty space. The previous owner added it and had patio furniture on display. I used the space for the first few years as a spot for a 3 foot pool for my little girls. They have outgrown the pool so this year, I knew that space would be perfect for one of the outdoor gazebos. All I had to do was convince my husband that this was a good idea.

My husband works a zillion hours a week so I knew this "project" was going to sound like a huge hassel to his ears. With a little gentle pushing and a tiny bit of manipulation I knew I could convince him this was going to be easy!

Outdoor Retreat!

Everything snaps into place!
Everything snaps into place! | Source
Keep the sun out of your eyes!
Keep the sun out of your eyes! | Source
A great space for gardening and growing seedlings.
A great space for gardening and growing seedlings. | Source

Why Add an Outdoor Gazebo?

I liked the idea of using empty space for something useful. I looked at different canopy/gazebo's that were on sale. I went to all the home improvement stores and dragged my husband, casually pointing out all the displays.

"Wow! Now, that would really look good on that concrete patio space in the back, don't you think Dave?" I asked as if I'd just thought of it.

"Umm, in back of what?" he says slowly, as if he senses a trap.

"The patio we used to keep the pool on?" I say in question form, to jog his memory.

"Oh, yeah. Well, I have no idea what size that patio is. It is nice though." He says as if that is the end of the conversation.

"Well, I noticed, when the guy was working on our deck, he used pieces of wood that were 12 feet long. They just fit inside the edges of the patio across both ways so I am guessing that means it is about 12 x 12?" I say as if I am not sure. (I don't want him to think I am being too smart.) I try not to laugh but I totally screwed up. So here's where old Dave realizes he is being set up.

"I see. The picture is getting clearer now. You just 'happened' to notice the dimensions of the patio?" he asks me, smiling that knowing smile. "How are we going to secure it? Drill holes in the patio?"

"I don't know that much yet! I assume we can get the handyman over to drill holes in the concrete? Other people have them so it's totally possible!" I say all excited.

"Well lets just wait and see, I can't do it this weekend anyway," he insisted, but I knew I had him!

I explained how nice it would be to have a space where I could keep my outdoor plants partially shaded, we could add a screen so the kids could eat outside without being attacked by insects. The days are hot here but in the evening we have had little humidity so it has been gorgeous. Perfect weather for sitting outside if the mosquitoes can't dine on your flesh.

I also like the idea of making the space more attractive. Patio furniture looked nice there but kind of blah.

Actual Project Cost

Outdoor Carpet
Patio Furniture Set
Marble Chips
Outdoor Pillows


40lbs of Marble Chips
40lbs of Marble Chips | Source

So easy - even a girl can do it!

I shopped around town going to all the home improvement stores. I looked for quality but reasonable prices. I did not go to one spot for everything. I manged to build the entire thing for just under $500.00 american dollars.

My husband and I have gotten into the habit of going outside to enjoy the evening every night. It's really peaceful and it's been really great to have a quiet spot to chat. Last night as we sat there Dave admitted he was really glad I was so persistent and added the canopy. "It is really like having an extra room on the house," he admitted.

I love it! Every morning I have had my coffee outside. Even if it rains, the screens keep me perfectly dry. It is close enough that I can take my laptop and the wifi works. I love reading or just watching the birds while I wake up each day. It is so pleasant. I added a portable green house and it is the perfect spot for using this as a work space for my seedlings and flowers.

The kids love this new space also. They like to have their friends over and it is a great spot for them to socialize after dark. All of them have been very excited to have a new hang out. For just a few hundred dollars this has been an awesome addition to our home. The outdoor gazebos are very reasonably priced, durable and so easy to assemble - I slapped this together myself!



Submit a Comment

  • RealHousewife profile imageAUTHOR

    Kelly Umphenour 

    5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    I was looking at hammocks the other day Lela - I am gonna have to get a freestanding one...I do not have two trees close enough:) haha. Or heck maybe Dave could just drive a big steak into the ground?

  • Austinstar profile image


    5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

    Be sure to add a spot for a hammock!

  • RealHousewife profile imageAUTHOR

    Kelly Umphenour 

    5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    Hi anndango - tell me about it! In St. Louis, the weather is like summer one day and freezing with tornadoes the next! I just want summer to come and stay!!

    I loved the gazebo - so did my husband. He just couldn't get over how nice it made the outside:)

  • RealHousewife profile imageAUTHOR

    Kelly Umphenour 

    5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    Thank you so much Crystal!! I did love that Gazebo but this year - I'm adding a house of ALL glass! I'm sure ill be writing about that too!

  • RealHousewife profile imageAUTHOR

    Kelly Umphenour 

    5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    OH NOOOOOOOOOOOO! Well guess what? I should have taken mine down in winter and I didn't. I went to Mexico to have the house sitter call me and tell me there was an awful storm here and it took the gazebo with it!

    We're building a new one next weekend that won't be going anywhere:) haha

  • profile image


    5 years ago

    What a great hub RealHousewife! We recently renovated the interior of our house and now need to concentrate on the outside. I love the gazebo idea and now that I've read your hub and see how easy it is, I have my summer project - that is if our snow ever leaves, haha.

  • RealHousewife profile imageAUTHOR

    Kelly Umphenour 

    5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    Ha! Not good enough - this summer Wayne the guys are building a 4 seasons room so it can be temperature controlled! The nasty neighbors (here's the sad part it was the father of the group) video taped my daughter and her friend sitting out there. He put a camera on his air conditioner...I went out there to find my daughter humiliated and crying on her shoes. It was hard to turn my back but I did, what a big jerk! Then HE started crying and apologized to her...! Wacko! I said nothing. Just shook my head in disbelief! Ha!

  • Crystal Tatum profile image

    Crystal Tatum 

    5 years ago from Georgia

    Saw your link on Facebook and came to check this out. This looks absolutely heavenly. It just goes to show, you can have a sanctuary anywhere. VOting up and sharing.

  • Melovy profile image

    Yvonne Spence 

    5 years ago from UK

    How did I miss this hub?! Your gazebo looks so sumptious. You did such a good job of it!

    When living in the south of England we once had a garden with no shade at all, and so got a (much smaller and much less prettily arranged than yours) gazebo. My excuse for lack of pretty arrangement: I had a toddler at the time and was pregnant. Of course as you know, 2nd baby came along somewhat earlier than expected and in all the pandemonium of hospital visits the gazebo got forgotten and we didn't notice that summer had disappeared into autumn.

    Until one day a neighbour came to our door. "It's in our garden," he said.

    "What's in your garden?" I asked.

    "Your gazebo."

    So that was the end of that. Then we moved back to Scotland, where you do not need gazebos to shade you from the sun.

  • Wayne Brown profile image

    Wayne Brown 

    5 years ago from Texas

    Oh, and don't forget, it works wonders on that nosy no-good neighbor! LOL! Great idea and a beautiful little sanctuary in which to withdraw from the day. Thanks for sharing. ~WB

  • RealHousewife profile imageAUTHOR

    Kelly Umphenour 

    5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    I really love that Gazebo Phil! I encourage you to do it too because it sounds like you have a perfect spot for one as well. We have really gotten our money's worth out of it. I have had several really bad storms and so far - she still stands! lol My portable green house was wiped out but thank gosh I didn't have a lot in it.

  • Phil Plasma profile image

    Phil Plasma 

    5 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

    We have a deck that spans the length of the back of the house so to now I haven't really thought of putting one in. However, with the success you've had in doing yours, you've made me consider the idea of installing the gazebo on the deck, against the house, adjacent to the patio door. This way I could have the patio door open and have easy access to this 'outdoor' room. You've done a great job with yours, thanks for the inspiration!

  • RealHousewife profile imageAUTHOR

    Kelly Umphenour 

    6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    Aw Hi Dexter!! Thank you so much! I wanted one of those things so much:). I kept mentioning it to the Mr. But he didn't really pay attention. Every time I saw one in the store I could imagine it on my perfect patio space...that's Dave's issue - no imagination! Lol

  • RealHousewife profile imageAUTHOR

    Kelly Umphenour 

    6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    Hey Tammy - now you COULD do this yourself without hurting anyone:). You a way more crafty than me and I sure would love to see how you'd decorate yours!

    The prices aree getting cheaper as the season closes - I saw one for $125.00! (a 10 x10). Oh and you'd be proud of me for thinking of this - rather than buying the very ultra expensive "curtains"? I bought cheap shower curtains! I faced the pretty fabric inside and the rain repellant outside...ha! And they look like the real ones don't they??

    It is a great space to write...I go out and water everything each morning and then read hubs and drink coffee while I wake up! I do love it and it was worth every cent!

  • RealHousewife profile imageAUTHOR

    Kelly Umphenour 

    6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    Haha hi Drbj - yeah I didn't want to seem all knowledgeable or anything! Lol. That would have been a dead give away!

    And my plan B was to just buy the damn thing and put it up before he got home! Lol. Hey he was pretty impressed I constructed it myself correctly, so since all the work was done he just gets to pay for it and enjoy it - now that's a bargain! I am happy it all turned out right though and wasn't too difficult. I can't believe how nice it turned out for so cheap! Thanks very much!

  • RealHousewife profile imageAUTHOR

    Kelly Umphenour 

    6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    Hi Entourage - thank you! I really love the space and it was so easy to do! My garden is what I work on when I need to's a little large this year:) maybe I DO think too much? Haha

  • Dexter Yarbrough profile image

    Dexter Yarbrough 

    6 years ago from United States

    Hi RealHousewife! This is a fascinating idea! You certainly have done an awesome job. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • tammyswallow profile image


    6 years ago from North Carolina

    What a gorgeous retreat. I looks so cozy. I would set up my computer out there and let everyone else keep the house. This is a gorgeous and highly inspiring project. Well done!

  • drbj profile image

    drbj and sherry 

    6 years ago from south Florida

    Brava to you Kelly, you are the practical handywoman. Love the way you played that 'smart but not too smart' card with your hubby just happening to know the dimensions of the patio. You are a woman after my own heart. You go, girl.

  • Entourage_007 profile image


    6 years ago from Santa Barbara, CA

    I really like the idea and I really liked the pictures. You have a really beautiful garden. Looks like fun

  • barbergirl28 profile image

    Stacy Harris 

    6 years ago from Hemet, Ca

    Wow - it looks like it was made for that spot. You did an amazing job. I know you were posting pictures of your garden and everything you were doing but I am glad to see you got it all done and together. I could use one of those. We don't have much shade in the back of our house and it gets hot. Not to mention we don't have shelter either. Now - you may think it is odd that I want shelter from the rain... after all, I live in Southern California... we don't get rain often but there is nothing I enjoy more than sitting outside and watching a good rainstorm! Great hub - I love how you have to "convince" the hubby to do your projects!

  • RealHousewife profile imageAUTHOR

    Kelly Umphenour 

    6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    Hey Princess - thank you! Sounds like this would be a great idea for you too! This patio isn't as close as walking out the back door but now I kind of like that because it is super quiet! Also my neighbors have no windows on that side of their houses so it is really private too.

    I have noticed all the prices really dropping as the season continues. I knew my husband would love it when it was done...he is a procrastinator! So many times he gets a bit miffed when I have a new home improvement but when it's completed he always says "I am glad you pushed for it"! lol It is nice to hear from him though because all I was getting in the beginning was the eye rolls! lol lol

  • RealHousewife profile imageAUTHOR

    Kelly Umphenour 

    6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    Hey Susan - this was pretty cheap and very easy to construct. I do zip the screens if the mosquitoes are out and it is awesome! Also - I hate when you are eating outside and flies are trying to land in the food! EW! So this way the kids can relax and eat and leave the messes outside!

    This only had pictures but all the pieces just snapped together. I decided not to drill holes in the concrete so I could take it back down before winter. I almost bought sandbags but then I spied the heavier marble chips! So far it has stayed put!

  • prairieprincess profile image

    Sharilee Swaity 

    6 years ago from Canada

    This is gorgeous! I noticed this on Pinterest this morning. You've done an amazing job on this. What a gorgeous little retreat. This is good timing for me because I've been longing after gazebos myself the last little while. We have a deck at the back of our house, with no immediate access from the house. We barely use it because of the mosquitoes but a gazebo would solve that problem!

    Thanks so much for sharing your project! And by the way, your conversations with your husband remind me a lot of the ones I have with mine. Trying to be sneaky! That was really cute.

  • RealHousewife profile imageAUTHOR

    Kelly Umphenour 

    6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    Thank you Vellur - I love the space...I'm already worried about missing it when it gets cold out! Maybe I'll add a little heater:) if not I'll stow the top until freezing weather is past and toss it back out there!

  • Just Ask Susan profile image

    Susan Zutautas 

    6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

    Great job the gazebo looks fantastic! I have the perfect place for one and was looking at one quite similar to yours a few months ago. We need to get one as the mosquitoes have gotten worse this year with the decline of bats.

    Good idea with the marble chips!

  • Vellur profile image

    Nithya Venkat 

    6 years ago from Dubai

    I loved your idea and the way you have made it is amazing. Am sure your girls and their friends are having a ball of a time there now. Your gazebo must be very beautiful. Voted up.

  • RealHousewife profile imageAUTHOR

    Kelly Umphenour 

    6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    Thank you so much Susan! I am seriously not a good decorator - so I just chose lots of tans because I knew the flowers would add plenty of their own natural colors.

    I am so excited with the way it turned out! We have found we like sitting out with the screens open. The candles keep the bugs away and on rainy nights - it is so nice to have it! It rained super hard one night and we stayed out just to see how it would hold up. After a while it collected in next to the upper support rods on top of the tent and pooled there. I just dumped it off and that was the worst of it. Those marble chip bags are perfect though - I am pretty sure it would have blown away without that weight! lol

  • RealHousewife profile imageAUTHOR

    Kelly Umphenour 

    6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    I can understand why since I was just there and it was already hot as hades in the sun! To tell you the truth I am already considering the same thing - I don't want to lose my little spot when winter comes along!

  • RealHousewife profile imageAUTHOR

    Kelly Umphenour 

    6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    Hi Effer! Yeah can you believe it? My husband is pretty pleased with me right now:) lol Especially because I was able to pretty much do it myself! Thank you so much - oh wouldn't it be so cool if you could come have a cup of coffee with me under my little canopy??

  • fpherj48 profile image


    6 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

    Kelly.....Damn, girl! That is fabulous!! $458.00??? OMG. Unbelieveable! Will you come right over and help me do it?? I've got COFFEE!!! UP +++

  • sholland10 profile image

    Susan Holland 

    6 years ago from Southwest Missouri

    Wow! Would you come decorate my sunroom?? I know how you feel about your gazebo! It looks beautiful. I would want to have my morning coffee there, too. Now don't get carried away with "even a girl can do it." I don't want my husband to find out. LOL He is so good at creating things. (Thanks for adding my sunroom link! That is a real honor! :-))

    I absolutely love your gazebo space! GREAT HUB! Votes and shares! :-)

  • Austinstar profile image


    6 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

    At first I wanted a gazebo with a hot tub, but now I know a gazebo won't work in the Texas heat. We are looking at a portable building we can afford and insulate.


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