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28 May 2022

Five tricks to keep your pop-up gazebo standing this bank holiday weekend

Take heed of what we learned during a windy week reviewing gazebos, if you want yours to last longer
Gazebo in the evening

If a pop-up gazebo will be making an appearance at your Platinum Jubilee garden or street party over the bank holiday weekend, beware if the light breezes forecast blow in. Based on our testing of pop-up gazebos, a few gusts are enough to see your gazebo cartwheeling down the street or onto your back fence. 

Five of the eight garden gazebos we tested were destroyed in light wind, and only one survived relatively modest 27mph gusts. 

After some inspiration to make the jubilee weekend extra special? We've got reviews of the best solar lights, pizza ovens, BBQs and more. 

Here are a few important tips we picked up while testing pop-up gazebos to help yours last longer:

A wind damaged gazebo
Here's what the wind did to one of the gazebos we tested

1. Take it down in even light-ish winds

Nearly all gazebos come with a warning: "Don't use in high winds". The Beaufort wind scale classifies a strong breeze as 25-31mph. On day one of our gazebos testing, wind speeds didn't exceed 15mph and five of the gazebos we were reviewing blew over or were bent beyond repair. On the second day when gusts reached 27mph, two of the remaining three gazebos suffered the same fate. 

While manufacturers might warn against use in high winds, unless you buy, or already own, the best pop-up gazebo we found, we'd suggest taking the gazebo down if it's even a little bit windy during your big Jubilee lunch. 

Cheap tent pegs compared to expensive ones
The sturdier tent pegs are those seen on the right

2. Buy better tent pegs

With the exception our Best Buy pop-up gazebo, all the others we tested came with basic tent pegs that were easily ripped out of the ground by light wind. 

You can tell if your gazebo has these more basic tent pegs as they'll have a tendency to bend when you stamp them into the ground.

The heavier duty tent pegs that were part of the package of our top-scoring pop-up gazebo are much more sturdy, penetrate deeper into the ground and will do wonders for your pop-up gazebos chances of staying firmly planted. 

You can buy similar heavy duty tent pegs separately. We haven't tested any of these but among those popping up high in search results on Google for stronger tent pegs are these, which are similar to the pegs that came with our Best Buy:

  • Pack of eight Halfords, Groundhog Tent Pegs, £4, Halfords
  • Pack of six Quechua Tent Pegs, £8.99, Decathlon
  • Pack of 20 Blue Diamond Hard Ground Tent Pegs, £11, Millets
  • Pack of 20 Blue Diamon Power Pegs, £12.89, Amazon

However, you still shouldn't leave the gazebo up in windier weather. Many of the cheap gazebos (and some of the expensive) we tested had flimsy frames that bent or snapped in the wind, even if the feet stayed firmly in place. 

3. Use any guy ropes and weighted bags

Most pop-up up gazebos come provided with guy ropes for each corner and some even have weighted bags for putting the gazebo up on concrete.

Even if space is tight, we recommend using the provided guy ropes. They help enormously with keeping the gazebo stable and take some pressure off each of the legs.

Make sure you position them at a 45-degree angle on each corner, and line them up as straight as you can with the opposing corner's guy rope.  

A gazebo with sidewalls struggling in the wind
Sidewalls struggling in the wind but the legs of this gazebo are staying put

4. Does the gazebo need its side walls?

If you have a pop-up gazebo with sides, as well as a roof, they will act as a kite if the wind picks up. 

Consider whether you need to attach the walls for your Platinum Jubilee event. And if you have the walls attached and it gets a bit breezy, take them off immediately if you can. 

A gazebo in sleet
A gazebo with sides removed is more likely to withstand worse weather

5. Regularly tighten the roof

To prevent water pooling on the roof, causing it to sag and possibly cave in, make sure you've stretched the canvas tightly over each corner. 

You might need to repeat this process a few times throughout the day, particularly if it's raining and the canvas starts to sag. 

Gazebo buying advice

A blown over cheap gazebo
Another gazebo we tested that didn't make it

It's worth paying more

There's an awful lot of cheaper gazebos out there that are tricky to assemble, look tatty even when brand new, and based on our testing, won’t last very long at all.

The best pop-up gazebos we tested cost around about £150, but there was one £30 cheaper than this that we found could withstand light winds. 

Overall though, it's true to say that you get what you pay for when it comes to pop-up gazebos, and a really cheap gazebo is a bit of a false economy. 

a broken gazebo
This gazebo didn't make it through our tests

Cheaper gazebos are more work

Some of the cheaper, and it must be said, biggest selling gazebos we tested, were a nightmare to put up. 

If you're paying less than £50 for a gazebo it's likely that you'll need to spend a lot of time building it. 

It’s worth paying a bit more to get a durable pop-up gazebo that can be put up and taken down in hardly any time at all.

A gazebo with cheap pegs
Basic pegs are less likely to keep your gazebo standing

Buy more pegs

Almost without exception, none of the gazebos we tested came with enough pegs (we felt) to pin down the feet. They generally came with four (one for each corner) but our testing left us in no doubt that eight pegs - one for each corner and one for each guy rope - is preferable.