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Past Articles Library | Gardening Design | Gazebos, Garden Pavilions

Using Gazebos and Garden Pavilions in Landscape Design

One of the best things about having a covered garden structure in your yard, such as a gazebo or garden pavilion, is that you have a private getaway from the regular household activities and noise.

You have a place where you can sit quietly, read a book, take a nap, have outdoor meals, or even sleep overnight during the warm summer nights.

The great thing about gazebos is that they come in many shapes, sizes, structures, and forms to fit your needs and to match your style and yard.

What makes a gazebo or pavilion unique is that it is placed away from the house and it changes how you perceive and enjoy your outdoor space giving you a different focal point and even affecting how you walk around your yard area.

Finding The Best Place

To find the best site to put a garden gazebo in your yard, walk around and view your entire garden area from different angles and consider these questions:

  1. Do you want a view out over the surround area or would you prefer a secluded niche?

  2. What kind of sun exposure do you want?

  3. Is the site level and have good drainage or will it take preparation?

  4. Are there any setback or zoning laws that you need to be aware of?

  5. Would you like it near the kitchen so you can easily access it during meal time?

  6. Do you want it by your poolside so you can relax in it after taking a swim or soaking in the hot tub?

Now that you have the ideal location, what kind of gazebo or pavilion do you want?

What is the Best Gazebo or Pavilion Style For Your Home?

As we have talked about before when considering adding any kind of garden structure to your property, you should be very aware of the relationship between your garden pavilion or gazebo and your house architecture and any other garden structures such as fences, arbors, or decks.

This doesn't mean everything has to match exactly, but it does mean that you should give some thought to how the new gazebo will best complement its surroundings.

For instance what style might best fit your garden area:

  • An old fashioned Victorian-style
  • A timber or wooden-framed structure
  • A metal or wrought iron gazebo
  • A thatched hut style
  • A portable style that can be moved
  • A teahouse style

In general, garden or patio gazebo designs are classified into two different styles: Closed Roof and Open Roof.

1. Closed Roof Garden Gazebos and Pavilions

The "traditional" gazebo brings to mind a white, octagonal garden pavilion with delicate lattice ornaments on the walls - the classic Victorian gazebo

The closed or roofed gazebo however is not limited to a hexagonal floor plan. Modern gazebos can be made of metal with a fabric canopy and roof; they may also be screened to ward off mosquitoes and flies; or be an exotic Bali gazebo draped with sheer fabrics that is very chic when placed by a poolside.

In addition, closed roof gazebos can also be made of marble or stone and are reminiscent of Greek architecture; or a Japanese style gazebo that gives your yard a tranquil Zen atmosphere.

2. Open Roof Gazebos and Pavilions

A good example of an open roof gazebo is the metal gazebo that became popular in France in the 14th century. This type of open roof garden gazebo is made of metal with arches and trellis to allow vines to climb and give a rustic and romantic feel to your garden.

The good thing about an open roof gazebo is that you can always cover it with a canopy to keep you dry if it rains or provide protection from the sun if it becomes too hot.

How Are You Going To Use Your Gazebo?

The gazebo or garden kiosk is versatile; it can be made into anything from a potting shed, sitting room, hot tub shade, pool lounge, or something else, the list is really endless.

So you'll want to decide what the main purpose of your gazebo is.

For example: A lawn gazebo is usually made as the focal point in a landscape, while a patio gazebo is mostly an extension of the main house.


Once you have determined the purpose of your gazebo, take some time to think how you would like to accessorize your gazebo according to your needs.

For example: If your area has tons of insects, mosquitoes, or flies, you may want to use garden gazebo screens.

For hot summer climates, you may want to add a ceiling fan or an air cooling system along with glass panels.

If you intend to put up a mini bar in your gazebo, consider adding water taps. For night parties, install light fixtures, etc.

Consider Size

Make sure to figure out how big or small your gazebo should be. Walk around the area you want to put it and visualize your gazebo to make sure the space isn't too small or too large. The structure should be in proportion to the area it is going to be placed.

To help do this, use a can of spray paint to outline your gazebo�s floor plan - the footprint - and see if it fits your location properly.

Materials and Costs

When you have chosen the type of gazebo or pavilion you want, it will help you to choose among a variety of building materials.

Most garden gazebos are made with traditional wood planks (teak, mahogany, birch, cedar, etc) and shingle, but Bali gazebos call for exotic materials like coconut lumber and thatch roofs, while metal gazebo designs use wrought iron, cast iron, or tin.

As to cost, wooden gazebo designs tend to be more costly than those made of metal and vinyl.

Portable Gazebos and Pavilions

Lastly, if you don't want a permanent structure in your yard, but just something for the summer months you may want to consider a portable gazebo since they are easy to install and care for.

They are typically made of a light framework structure and can be covered with canvas, clear material or screen material that is quickly put on and taken off.

A portable pavilion is easy to assemble, break down, and put into storage - giving you versatility without the expense.

Gazebos and Pavilions Are So Versatile

The best thing about adding a garden structure to your yard such as a gazebo is that it gives you an entire new area to use.

Sometimes just a few minutes away from the house to do a puzzle, have a cup of coffee or tea, or do some coloring or crafts with the kids can be like a mini vacation.

It can also help give you a different perspective and help you relax - even if it's just a little, and that's what combining nature and structures is all about!


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