Gazebos can be a wonderful and beautiful addition to any garden. The gazebo, a small, freestanding, roofed structure with open sides placed in a garden setting, can serve many different aesthetic and practical functions. In addition to providing shade and shelter, many gazebos double as outdoor eating areas, spaces for entertaining guests, or spots for simple relaxation and contemplation.
Gazebos vs. Sheds, a Matter of Design
When considering what type of outdoor structure would best suit your needs, function and design are a primary concern. The main difference between traditional gazebo design versus a shed is the openness of the structure. In most cases, a gazebo has no completely closed walls and very little built-in area for storage of tools, yard implements, toys, or lawnmowers.
The area inside of the structure is usually open, with space for chairs, a table, or other furniture. A shed, on the other hand, is an enclosed outbuilding that can be locked for security and is designed specifically for storage. However, it is very ill-suited for use as an outdoor sitting area, lacking the space and ambiance of an open structure.
For those individuals who want the best of both worlds, a hybrid structure is always an option. While not a true gazebo, an outbuilding like a potting shed with an extended roof allows for storage in the shed section, while also allowing you to sit or work under an open roofed area, just like a gazebo.
While the structural design of a gazebo is relatively simple, the key to an enjoyable garden space is in the details. Gazebos have a long history that stretches back to Victorian England, Medieval China, and Japan. These historical and cultural influences are reflected in design accents such corner pieces, roof type, and construction material.
The most common modern gazebos are inspired by garden structures from Victorian and Edwardian Europe and America. These buildings, and their modern counterparts, are typically painted white with dark slatted roofs. Often, the roof has a central cupola or small structure surmounting the roof. These cupolas are usually ornamental, though in the past, they were placed on barns and Victorian homes to allow better air circulation. They are generally topped by a weathervane.
Modern gazebo design has created many variants to the traditional form. Some gazebos are Asian influenced, and frequently incorporate more natural wood colors. Others are built as extensions to existing structures, covering sections of decks, patios, and even hot tubs. These gazebos sometimes have roofs of open lattice or open slats to allow light and the breeze to filter in.
Depending on the size and complexity of the gazebo you want to build, there are several options available. A skilled do-it-yourselfer can buy or download plans for a gazebo online or at a local hardware store. Pre-fabricated gazebo kits are available for a few thousand dollars. There are also numerous contractors and designers of custom gazebos and outbuildings that can help you design the perfect addition to you backyard or garden.
For further information on uses and types of gazebos see the following article from HomeDoctor.net: Gazebos.