Gazebos, Temporary Shade Structures

Suggesting a Choice Test on temporary shade structures. Quick to erect, they are popular for the local Club putting on a sausage sizzle, Sporting events, the family party, or in our case temporary shade while we work on a pump. Choice has tested tents, but not these gazebos. 2.4m or 3.0m square seem to be the most popular for families.

  • Ease of erection (some require 2 to 4 people, and a tall person)
  • Tethering system (some have nothing, a thin cord, holes in the feet for pegs)
  • Weight - for one person to carry, some require 2 people, some have wheeled carry bag
  • Packed Dimension - some are too long to get into a car
  • Canopy - surprisingly some say they are not waterproof and not to be used in the sun! Some pond water to the point of bursting under the weight of the elephant’s bum.
  • Canopy & rope material - durability. Ours tore in 5 places after 4.5 months and is brittle all over. The thin rope de-gloved to reveal an even thinner inner rope without chaffing (just disintegrated in weather) - this was a long way from the coast. Friends report mould.
  • Cost & availability of replacement parts - several friends have frames but can’t get canopies. For ours the cost of a replacement canopy is 90% of the full purchase price.
    Price Gouging? - I note that the model we bought from the local hardware for $249 RRP Dec 2019 is now on the company site at $325 (Oct 2020) up 30%.

Ours has become so useful; but when friends ask, we could not recommend our model because of the poor canopy (we use a tarp & stronger ropes). I really struggled to fully erect it myself due to my short stature (4’7"), my husband (6’) could get it up and click it into place. I can carry it easily (25kg), but would be a challenge for those not used to heavy lifting, it packs compactly, but can’t get it into a small car like a Toyota Corolla hatch with the seats folded down, we had to get it home in the truck.


I have had very poor results with cheap products in this category. If you want to put it up and down reliably for years look carefully at the strength and quality of components; poles, joints, canopy and fastenings can all fail in a product made to a price and the whole thing can become useless with just one failure.

There is a trade off between some desirable qualities. For example strong construction is likely to increase the weight unless using exotic materials. Using exotic materials will increase cost. Out of strong, light and cheap you can have any two but not all three.


For securing the feet - was at an Open Garden and saw the owner with long screws and cordless drill, zap them into the ground through the holes in the foot. It withstood the windy conditions and he simply unscrewed with the drill. Certainly beat tent pegging for time and ease.
Agree with the cheap - these are the ones I suspect don’t have replacement canopies or parts. Probably because I have been asked several times about them, that I have seen so many forlornly sitting behind sheds in the weeds (or for sale cheap on Gumtree) that I have been thinking more about them. And been asked because people see ours.


I would also like to see such a rest done by Choice. I had one of these things several years ago and it did not withstand the strong winds that hit our back yard. I always wish that I had one now, especially with summer coming, but my previous experience dissuades me from buying one.


Welcome to the community @CharlevilleCharlie

Our last and only portable shade shelter self destructed during one windy storm. I was not surprised. I’d previously resorted to driving 1.8m star pickets into the ground to tie it down reliably.

Hopefully if Choice takes on a review the experts can make sense of the wind ratings or capabilities and durability of same.

As far as a I’m aware none are designed to be used permanently. They are really only intended to be put up on the day, and then taken down at the end of the day. Perhaps some might stay erected for a week or so while camping or on holidays. In which instance user beware that neither the tie down systems nor shade structures are designed for strong winds. I think the fine print advice is to take them down if strong winds are expected.

Some I looked at previously seemed to have heavier frames and fabric. While not a perfect guide, the heavier the contents of the box the stronger the product and likely the more expensive.

I can vouch for one of these though if that is what was originally asked re temporary shade structures. There are various manufacturers and sizes for all needs. Council approval may be required, along with a 5kg sledge hammer to drive the temporary anchors into the ground.


Are they the brand that one sees providing shelter for livestock in paddocks in Western Qld?


In lieu of the trees that were cleared???


One of. They have competitors.

There are council planning exemptions for certain types and classes of “temporary“ or relocatable structures on rural properties.

You can get various sizes of framing from garden shed size up to somewhere to park the tractor. The sides can also be semi open, as a great option for keen gardeners needing a semi open but covered work area, nursery etc. The brand I’m familiar with can be made permanent using concrete style post footings and a tie down bracket. Most urban blocks have council planning guidelines for small structures and garden sheds. It’s relatively straight forward in our council area. Most reputable suppliers know what is permitted in their area and will assist with documentation required for council.


I come from Western Qld and was often asked by tourists “where did all the trees go?” In a lot of places there were none to start with. There were none on the Mitchell Downs Grass Plains, there were some along the major channels in the Cooper Basin (channel country) and a some new ones that sprang up along the man-made bore drains, most of which have been capped and turned into pipes and troughs and they died back. I did a 65km road job which had only one “tree” - a prickly acacia (a declared weed) - trees just did not grow there naturally. I don’t know about shelters in Western Qld. The cattle are so spread out that a shelter wouldn’t be used much unless it was near a watering point. Shelters closer to the coast, yes, I have seen them on dairy farms. Shady Characters have the odd one in paddocks near the road as an advert. Sorry, I took a long time to reply, I had to go down the back paddock.

We bought a Shady Characters portable shade structure for the plane. Gave them the measurements and it came in parts that you plugged together and it sat on the ground. We then put a large tarp over it and tied everything down. Not very portable, but came apart with an afternoon’s work and fitted on to a car trailer. No Council permits required.

The structures I am asking for a “test” on is the concertina type or “dining fly” temporary, transportable type of shade structure. I think large semi-permanent ones might present too many variations for a test, but maybe a buying guide.


But Queensland does have (by far) the worst record of large scale land clearance in Australia…


My wife uses an OzTrail gazebo for her weekly stall at the local Growers Market. At only 1.53metres tall she can quickly erect it by herself- more easily by herself than with a helper! The model is called hydroflo, which has arms which prevent water pooling. She has a commercial grade roof for it, which lasts much longer than the standard roof. She made good use of the gutters in the pouring rain this morning, and holds the whole thing down with heavy sandbags, as Tamworth Council wont allow them to hammer stakes into the ground, due to some shallow pipes in the area.


It’s likely worse than stated. The ABC has tried to cover off on that in the report. It’s also important to more reliably assess ‘re-clearing’. Off topic for this conversation, but not as a new one in the ‘Planet Earth’ category.


A good news story for you.


Ours is OK EXCEPT for the poor quality joins made of plastic. One of these broke and it doesn’t seem possible to get a replacement part. So a whole item becomes a waste product because of a very minor part within it.


Is it possible to fit a nut and bolt to it to replace the plastic join? I’m not sure what joint you are talking about so my advice may not suit your circumstances at all. For us it was between the expanding “scissor” parts which gave out so we used small nut and bolt replacements.

No, I don’t think that is possible. We even showed it to a robotic engineer friend and he couldn’t come up with a solution.

Can you post a photo of the problem area and some others may be able to offer advice or a solution??


Gosh, thanks for the offer. I’ll try to get the chance to take a pic of it tomorrow.