Add A Shaded Entertainment Area to Your Garden

on 7th March 2017

If you are blessed with a large outdoor space, you are likely spoiled for choice with things to do with it. A particularly good idea is to add an open-air structure to provide a shaded entertaining area during the summer months. These simple, yet effective buildings have been used for centuries and come in a wide variety to suit all gardens and landscapes.  Most well-known are structures such as gazebos, pergolas and summer houses. Yet, there are many new ways that you can add a striking and useful feature to your garden.

Pros & Cons of Open Air Structures

Before deciding on whether to add an open-air structure to your garden it’s useful to know that pros and cons that come with it.


  • Communal outdoor space for the whole family to enjoy
  • A wide range of optional extra’s such as fire places, or kitchens can be added
  • Simple design means a simple construction
  • Perfect for the summer months, through all hours of the day


  • Can be expensive depending on the size and complexity of the structure
  • You may need planning permission to build an outdoor structure, so it is important to get some advice from your local council before you start
  • Your structure will reduce the useable space in your garden, so an outdoor open air structure may not be suitable for smaller gardens
  • Depending on materials used for the build it may need protection through the winter

A choice of structure to suit all gardens


A gazebo is a free-standing structure, that provides shade and a lovely ornamental view to any space. The gazebo is usually built in a tent shape, and provides welcome shelter from the summer sun or short showers. Easy to install, gazebos provide a lovely space to relax with a good book or to entertain friends and family.

Outdoor wooden gazebo with roses and summer landscape background



Pergolas are typically seen covering pathways from one area of a garden to another. These simple structures, make the ideal framework for climbing plants, helping it blend with your overall planting scheme.  Available in a variety of shapes and designs, pergolas are a great way to link your home to certain areas of your outdoor space, or to provide a simple covering to a patio area.

Beautiful pergola passage in the summer garden


A Cabana is a traditional thatched cabin, usually built in tropical climates. The word ‘Cabana’ comes from the Spanish word for Cabin. These structures are perfect for adding a small lounging area in your garden with additional extras such as electricity, a fire or cooking facilities. Furnishings do not need to be extravagant for this minimalistic structure, so lounge chairs are more than enough for a hot summers evening.

modern family outdoor cabana


A Ramada is a structure that consists of support beams and a roof, but no walls.  They have been used for centuries as a way of sheltering people and objects from the sun. By having no walls, air flow is unrestricted, keeping the temperature nice and cool.

Ramadas protecting benches from the sun


A Lapa (pronounced Larpa) is a traditional South African open-air structure, made of wood supports and a thatched roof. It is widely considered a variant of a Gazebo, and is perfect as an entertainment area thanks to the range of optional extras you can add such as cooking facilities, additional walls, brick roofing, bespoke seating, and many more. This open-air structure is ideal for those looking for a contemporary finish to their garden. Thames Valley Landscapes have already designed and built a Lapa for a customer in Marlow. For more information on the finished product and how we achieved it, please read our article here.

The Completed Lapa

Garden structures are a great way of adding that little something extra to your garden. They are practical, they have been used for centuries, and can be enjoyed by the whole family. For more information on adding an open-air structure to your garden, please feel free to contact Thames Valley Landscapes on 01628 629720 for a quote.

Or, if you are after something that offers a little more protection from the elements all year round why not consider a garden room.

Add A Shaded Entertainment Area to Your Garden

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