Gazebo Side Panels! Which is Best for your Needs?

Gazebos, pavilions, pergolas, pop up canopies, and the like are extremely useful outdoor structures. They provide some shelter, visual interest, and a sense of place outdoors. However, they are typically open to the air, sun, and rain on the sides. By using Gazebo Side Panels, one can enclose part or all of one of these structures in order to increase privacy, improve shelter, and make outdoor living and working easier. After a thorough review of several of the best side panels for gazebos on the market today, we have determined that the Apex Garden Gazebo privacy panel is the best side panel overall. It will fit 10′-12′ long gazebo sides, has a central zipper for easy entrance and exit, and is suspended by metal rings in the same manner as a shower curtain. Made of UV-resistant polyester, it will provide shade and protection to those inside the outdoor structure. This side panel is not waterproof, but it will keep some rain out.

For a complete overview of this gazebo side panel, please see below.

Runner Up: Best Velcro Gazebo Side Panels

For those would prefer to use a Velcro system with their gazebo, the AbcCanopy line of gazebo panels has a lot to offer. These units are 10′ long, and typically are used with pop up gazebos. They attach with Velcro ties along the top and sides, which secure the panel to the primary structure, and have zippers along the edges to allow multiple panels to be zipped together. Unfortunately, they do not have a central zipper, so if you want to enter, you’ll have to detach the Velcro from one side and pull the panel back.

With a very wide array of colors to choose from, and rain and wind resistance, these are a great option for many who need 10′ panels. For more information on these panels, please see below.

Runner Up: Best Budget Side Panels for Gazebo

For those on a budget, the NINAT 10′ gazebo polyester panels are a nice choice, with one (to us) significant downside. The 10′ long panels are made of waterproof polyester, which is ideal for those who need protection for craft goods, farmers market products, etc. They attach using a mix of plastic hooks along the top of the panel, and velcro ties at the sides, which secure the panel to the side posts. All of this is good. The downside is the availablity of only two colors, green and blue, and neither color is compelling, or even neutral. Getting the look to work may be difficult, but if your primary attributes are price or water-resistance, these may be an excellent choice.

For more information, please see below.

Measuring for Replacement Gazebo Side Panels

Assuming your gazebo already has a rod in place for hanging a side panel, you’ll want to measure from the rod down to the ground for height, and measure from rod end to rod end for length. For the height measurement, you’ll need to figure on a few inches to accommodate the rings that suspend the panel, and for the length measurement, if you have some extra fabric that’s ok, but you don’t want your fabric to be too short to enclose the entire area you wish to cover.


How To Install a Typical Gazebo Side Panel

There are two major categories of gazebo side panels, ring and grommet panels (which work like shower curtains) and Velcro gazebo side panels.

Ring and Grommet Side Panels

Panels With Zippers

Apex Garden Gazebo Side Panels, Zipped Closed

Apex Garden Gazebo Side Panels, Zipped Closed

If your side panel has a zipper in the middle, you want to zip the panels up, and then hang the rings closest to the zipper, on each side, first. Keep the zipper aligned with the center of the side of the gazebo. Working from the center out, add more rings to each side until the whole panel is hung fully, and even.

If your gazebo has curtain panel rods on all sides, add the last two rings along the wrap-around side for additional security, and for a great look when the panels are open.

Panels Without Zippers

Installing a solid, zipper-free gazebo panel is pretty simple, assuming it uses the shower curtain-style system. Start from the middle of the panel, and work your way to the edges on both sides, attempting to keep the panel as even as possible and centered in the space.

If your gazebo has rods around the corners, and you have enough fabric to do so, it is a good idea to wrap excess fabric around the corner to create an overlap. This help secure the fabric, and create a nice, finished look.


Velcro Side Panels

Velcro side panels are usually designed with either Velcro straps or a continuous strip of Velcro. These are attached either by looping the straps around a rod, and looping the corners around the gazebo legs, or by securing the Velcro strip directly to the canopy itself. Depending on the gazebo you have, you’ll want to choose the Velcro style you need.

Canvas Gazebo Privacy Panels Reviews and Comparisons

In this section, we look at several side panels for gazebos, and compare the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Sunjoy Gazebo Privacy Panel Side Wall fits 10′ and 12′ Gazebos

Sunjoy Privacy Gazebo Side Wall Panel

Sunjoy Privacy Gazebo Side Wall Panel

The Sunjoy gazebo privacy panels are attractive side panels made from fire retardant polyester (but we wouldn’t suggest testing their fire retardant properties!). These curtains help keep the sun and the rain out of the gazebo, and have a handy zipper in the middle.

The fabric is pretty high quality, and looks quite nice when suspended from an outdoor structure.

Each package consists of one set of panels totaling 11’10” long, with the zipper in the middle. They are designed to fit 10′-12′ long gazebos and pergolas.

Key Points at a Glance

  • Dimensions: 11′ 10″ long x 6′ 6″ tall
  • Fits 10′-12′ panel sizes
  • Includes zipper for ease of entry and exit
  • May be used in conjunction with mosquito screens
  • Covers a total of 10′-12′ of length (i.e. 1 side of a gazebo, typically)

How This Panel Attaches

Sunjoy Side Panel Material and Gromets

Sunjoy Side Panel Material and Rings

The Sunjoy privacy panels attach to any gazebo or outdoor structure that has a top rod for curtains or screens. Suspended like a shower curtain, these side panels come with plastic rings that are used to attach the privacy panel to the gazebo rod.

If your gazebo or pergola does not have a rod, you’ll need to either attach one or choose a different type of privacy panel.

The Details

These units total 6’6″ high, and depending on your circumstances, may not be the exact height you’re looking for. If you need more than 6’6″, consider the Apex Garden panels below.

If you only need to gain a few inches to get a flush look, you could consider picking up larger shower curtain style rings, which would gain you a couple of inches. The plastic rings that are included are not exactly super high quality, nor are they very attractive, so it may be sensible to get nicer looking shower curtain rings anyway.

Of course, for the most part these curtains need not fit perfectly height-wise, as they are not designed to keep mosquitoes and other bugs out.

The zipper is a helpful feature, but some buyers have reported it as a significant point of failure, especially when used too forcefully. It is nice to be able to open these curtains and have a balanced look on each side of the outdoor structure, and having a secure access point when the curtains are closed is good as well. That said, be gentle with the zipper, and hopefully it will function well for a while.

Inclement Weather

If the wind is really howling, you should plan to take these curtains down. Excess wind will almost certainly cause the curtains to whip around and likely tear. It is even conceivable that, should your gazebo or pergola not be mounted extremely well, these curtains (especially when they’re only on one side) could act like a sail and cause your gazebo to topple over. It’s best to pop these off and store them in a deck box when the weather is really bad.

You could also consider adding weights to the bottom of the curtain to help keep them in place during mild winds, but again, even with curtain weights, we still suggest taking these down if the weather gets nasty.

The Bottom Line

The Sunjoy gazebo privacy panel is a great choice for those whose gazebo or other outdoor structure fits the dimensions Sunjoy supplies. They are pretty similar quality, though perhaps a little step down, to the Apex Garden discussed below. Regardless, if this panel works for your gazebo’s size, and you treat the zipper with care, you’ll be happy with these panels for years to come.


Apex Garden Universal 12′ Privacy Panel Curtain for 10′ and 12′ Gazebo

Apex Garden Zipped Closed

Apex Garden Zipped Closed

Apex Garden’s Universal 12′ Privacy Panel has a great deal in common with the Sunjoy panel on this list, though it is slightly taller. The dimensions and color are similar, and the zipper mechanism is essentially the same as the Sunjoy.

Key Points at a Glance

  • Dimensions: 12′ long x 7’2″ high
  • Fits 10′-12′ panel sides
  • Made of UV protected, fire retardant polyester material
  • Includes a central zipper for access
  • Enough material to cover one 10′-12′ side of a gazebo
  • Includes ties for each panel to tie to posts when open

How This Panel Attaches

Apex Garden Ring Detail

Apex Garden Ring Attachment Detail

Similar to the Sunjoy pergola privacy panel on this list, the Apex Garden privacy panel attaches to a curtain rod on the outdoor structure, in a similar manner to a shower curtain. Metal rings are included with this privacy panel, though like the Sunjoy, you may want to upgrade to a higher quality, more attractive ring.

Additionally, by purchasing larger rings, you can play with the height of the panel to get it as close to the ground as possible. If this panel is too tall for your needs, consider the Sunjoy, as it is a bit smaller.

The Details

Apex Garden Panel Dimensions

Apex Garden Panel Dimensions

The Apex Garden privacy panels for gazebos and other outdoor structures has a 7′ 2″ height (86″). Ideally the bottom of the curtain will be essentially flush with the ground for the cleanest look, though that can be a challenge when retro-fitting a gazebo. However, since these are not insect screens, and not much light gets in through the very bottom of the panel, even if it’s off by a little bit, it’s probably not a big deal to most people.

The dimensions of these panels fit many gazebos, pavilions, and pergolas sold as kits on the market, which is helpful. They happen to fit very nicely the Lowes Allen + Roth Gazebo, which is ubiquitous.

The Bottom Line

In the end, these panels are similar to, but a small step above, the Sunjoy panels mentioned above They are very similar, with a slight variation in height, better zipper material, and metal rings as opposed to plastic (but still not very attractive). If one is a closer fit for your gazebo, go for it, but these two are pretty equivalent in terms of quality and price.


Alion Home Sun Shade Privacy Panel with Grommets on 4 Sides for Patio, Awning, Window Cover, Pergola or Gazebo – Banha Beige (8’x 10′)

Alion Home Sun Shade Privacy Panel with Grommets on 4 Sides for Patio, Awning, Window Cover, Pergola or Gazebo - Banha Beige

Alion Home Sun Shade Privacy Panel with Grommets on 4 Sides for Patio, Awning, Window Cover, Pergola or Gazebo – Banha Beige

In contrast to the Sunjoy and Apex Garden, which only have one size, Alion Home decided to go big in the size department! They offer 12 standard sizes, and custom sizing for those that need it! With options for sizing from 6′ x 8′ to 10′ x 12′, the Alion Home collection will almost certainly have the size you need. And if they don’t… they’ll make it for you custom!

It’s hard to beat that.

Key Points

  • 12 Different Sizes, from 6′ x 8′ to 10′ x 12′
  • Grommets placed every 24″ on all sides, so these can be suspended in either dimension.
  • UV protected high density polyethylene mesh fabric
  • Includes rope or bungee balls to attach the sun shade panel to the frame
  • Not water proof, but will slow water coming in through the sides
  • Lowers temp significantly when in direct sun
  • Each panel is designed to fit on one side of a pergola, gazebo, or other outdoor structure

The Details

Alion Home Sun Shade Privacy Panel with Grommets on 4 Sides for Patio, Awning, Window Cover, Pergola or Gazebo with ties

Alion Home Sun Shade Privacy Panel with Grommets on 4 Sides for Patio, Awning, Window Cover, Pergola or Gazebo with ties

There is no zipper on this panel, and it is generally meant to be left in the “closed” position, as opposed to functioning like a curtain. Because they aren’t designed to be opened and closed as needed, these panels may be less useful than the Apex Garden or Sunjoy above. And if you do open them up, the look will be off balance, as all of the fabric will be gathered on one side of the gazebo elevation. The units with a zipper will be much more balanced.

These gazebo side panels can be rolled up like blinds, and suspended, or put aside for later use. By rolling the panel up, there’s no imbalance of fabric, but it does result in a large mass of fabric by the curtain rod, which may create its own visual issues.

Inclement Weather

Alion Home Sun Shade Attachment Detail

Alion Home Sun Shade Attachment Detail

These canvas gazebo panels handle the wind and weather a little bit better than the Apex Garden and Sunjoy panels above. The mesh material allows wind to travel through the privacy screen material at least somewhat, limiting the “sail” factor. That said, it is still wise to take these in when the weather gets really bad. If you don’t want to do that, be sure they are secured as tightly as possible, and anchored on multiple sides.

The shade comes with a few short bungee cords with balls on the end for security, and a couple of lengths of white rope to aid in securing the privacy panels.

The Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a privacy panel that you aim to leave up most of the time, then the Alion Home system is a really great option. With such a large variety of size options, you’re guaranteed to find something that fits. And the price is quite good, given that the bungee cords and rope are included as well. The woven mesh shade panels look nice, and do a good job of letting air pass through, but rejecting (most) of the UV rays from the sun.

However, if your gazebo panels need a zipper so that you can access the interior, these are not for you. Other options on this list will serve that purpose better, even if they don’t fit perfectly.


AbcCanopy 10′ Sun Wall for 10’x 10′ straight leg pop up canopy Tent, 10′ Sidewall kit (1 Panel) with Truss Straps, (Black)

AbcCanopy Sun Wall for 10 x 10 straight leg pop up canopy Tent

AbcCanopy Sun Wall for 10 x 10 straight leg pop up canopy Tent

The AbcCanopy 10′ Sun Wall is a gazebo side panel primarily for pop up gazebos. The panels are made of polyester, and are attached with eight Velcro ties, designed to secure the side panel to the top and side posts of the gazebo. These walls also have a zipper on the end, to enable one side panel to zip to another side panel for additional security (note, these zippers are on the end, not in the middle like the Sunjoy and Apex Garden above)

One important feature of these canopies is the wide array of colors they are available in. Of course, if your gazebo is not made by AbcCanopy, the color shade may be different from the green on your canopy (for example) to the green on your side panel, and that may look wonky. So you may want to stick to a neutral color or white, unless your actual gazebo is from AbcCanopy as well.

Key Points

AbcCanopy Side Wall Information

AbcCanopy Side Wall Information

  • Measures 10′ long x 7’2″ high, which is a fairly standard measurement for straight leg pop up gazebos
  • Available in 12 colors
  • Secured with 8 Velcro ties, colored the same as the panel
  • Water resistant, but not water proof. Will help keep the rain out, but eventually water will get in if the storm is heavy enough
  • Four panels would be needed to fully enclose a 10′ x 10′ pop up gazebo
  • Be sure to properly secure gazebo, as these can become a sail when windy

How this Panel Attaches

The AbcCanopy panels feature Velcro straps along the top, and also along the side corners. These attach to the top rail of the gazebo structure, and to the side posts. Additionally, zippers are included on the ends which allows one side to be zipped to another side (note, each package includes only one panel, so to do this, you’ll need to purchase multiple panels.)

To open, you just remove the Velcro straps on one side and enter through the opening.

The Velcro straps are not actually positioned directly on the corners, but rather they are set in a few inches to allow for differences in panel sizes. However, this results in a fit that is not super tight at the corners, as the corners don’t have anything to hold them up unless they zip to another panel.

The Details

AbcCanopy Velcro tie and Zipper Edge

AbcCanopy Velcro tie and Zipper Edge

Once these panels are up, there’s no way to go through them, so if you have four panels up, you’ll have to enter at one of the corners, between two panels. This is rather awkward, and having a panel with a central zipper, or a roll-up panel that could be opened for access would be helpful.

The color selection is nice, though as we mentioned above, if you are trying to match a colored gazebo, there’s no guarantee the color you choose will be the same shade as the color you have. So be prepared for some color variations. Also, the beige color choice is almost a mustard yellow color, so beware if you’re looking for beige.

These panels will get wrinkled when folded up, but typically after being suspended for a little while, the wrinkles will disappear on their own.

The Bottom Line

The AbcCanopy Gazebo Side Panel collection is a good privacy, sun, and rain panel positioned at a good price point. They work better when multiple panels are zipped together, so consider wrapping more than one side for better security and looks. If you need a velcro-style side panel, these are a good choice, and you can get creative with color to add some character to your gazebo.


NINAT Side Sunshade Privacy Panel Wall for 10 ft Gazebos / Canopy Tent Waterproof, Green

NINAT 10 x 10 Gazebo Side Panel Blue

NINAT 10 x 10 Gazebo Side Panel Blue

The NINAT Side Sunshade Panel distinguishes itself in that it is waterproof. It is made of 300D Oxford Polyester, and will completely keep the rain out, which is very helpful for those using these panels at craft fairs, farmers markets, etc., where products cannot get wet.

They are also unusual in that they are suspended by plastic hooks along the top of the panel, and velcro straps on the sides.

Key Points

  • Dimensions: 10′ 5″ x 9′ 6″
  • Uses plastic hooks on the top, and Velcro straps on the bottom corners to attach to side poles
  • Fabric is polyester, and is waterproof
  • Available in two color choices, blue and green
  • Also available with NINAT gazebo included

How These Waterproof Gazebo Side Panels Attach

As mentioned above, these panels use a mix of plastic hooks along the top of the panel, which secure to the gazebo frame or to a curtain style rod, should your gazebo include one. On the sides, velcro straps are included which allow the the panel to be secured to the poles along the sides of the wall panel. To open, you just remove the straps on one side.

The Details

NINAT Green Side Panel for Gazebo

NINAT Green Side Panel for Gazebo

The primary selling point of these side panels is the waterproof nature of the fabric. Many buyers will find this to be an irresistible feature, and will want these panels because of that aspect.

The big down side to us is the color selection. With only the green shown here, and the blue above available as stand-alone panels, many will be dissatisfied with the look. If you want to purchase a whole gazebo with a side panel included, you can, but the lack of easily available black, white, or tan is a significant negative.

The Bottom Line

If your primary need is for your side panel to be waterproof, then the NINAT side panels are a great choice. They fit typical 10′ pop up gazebo sizes, and secure with a mix of plastic hooks and Velcro ties. The color choices certainly need attention, but the price point is good, and the quality is there.


 

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