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Garden Transformations – Outdoor Shelters Perfect for Al Fresco Entertaining

Garden Transformations – Outdoor Shelters Perfect for Al Fresco Entertaining

With spring most definitely in the air, many of us are eagerly awaiting the time when we can spend afternoons and evenings entertaining in the garden. However, even the most committed optimist needs to add a little bit of realism when it comes to the Great British weather! From March until October, you are as likely to see torrential rain as you are glorious sunshine. However, the unpredictable weather doesn’t have to put a damper on your outdoor socialising plans! Invest in a garden shelter now to make sure that you are ready for outdoor activities as soon as possible.

In this series, we take a look a the different types of outdoor shelter, and what you need to consider before making your decision.


If intimate gatherings are your thing, then an arbour might be the best garden structure for you. Traditionally a simple seating area with cover, an arbour can offer shelter in less clement weather, or a sun trap on brighter days. Although they are not as weatherproof as some of their larger counterparts, they are perfect for smaller gardens.

Pergolas or arches

Pergolas and arches mean broadly the same thing. Imagine a semi-roofed structure with beams across the top that provides some cover – but not complete protection. Usually this protection comes from trailing plants – clematis, vines, or jasmine, so if you fancy a lush pergola in your garden, you may need to wait a while before it offers shelter from the rain.


Very broadly speaking, if you put a roof on a pergola, you have a gazebo! The traditional gazebo is hexagonal or octagonal and offers full roof coverage as well as some side covering. However, over the years, the modern gazebo has evolved and you can now get them in a range of styles across price points, from cheaper, temporary, pop-up gazebos to handmade gazebos crafted by skilled local carpenters. Gazebos are great if you have a little more space, want full protection from the elements, and are likely to use the gazebo as an additional outside room. For added versatility, you can choose a gazebo with removable sides and even a removable roof, so you can make most of the sun when it shines, but keep you and your guests dry should it rain.

If you do decide to invest in a larger garden structure, it may be subject to planning permission; usually, garden structures are limited to 2.5 metres in height. If in doubt, ask your builder or carpenter.

Now you know your arbours from your gazebos, you are ready to consider different points to determine which will be best for you. Follow Trust A Trader on Facebook or Twitter to join our community of happy customers and trusted traders, and to stay up to date with our latest news and inspiration!


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