Make Your Garden Gazebo Your New Outdoor Living Room

An outdoor gazebo is a roofed structure-open, latticework, or screened on all sides-that is, according to Webster’s dictionary, “built on a site that provides an attractive view,” and is sometimes used for entertaining or dining. The term gazebo can also apply to a pavilion, a bandstand, a summerhouse, a belvedere, or a cabana, even a vendor’s booth. It is a centuries old concept, the idea of making a comfortable place to relax or entertain outdoors.
Outdoor gazebos come in many shapes, sizes and materials and can be installed to be permanent structures or temporary or seasonal structures. Some types of gazebos are extremely lightweight and portable. Many styles can be bought as do-it-yourself kits.
Your new gazebo may well become your room of choice all summer long once you have designed it for maximum comfort. With any type of gazebo, the decorating options are endless. You can furnish your covered outdoor living area any way you please by installing side panels, curtains, or mosquito netting to keep out the elements and the bugs. You can install electrical wiring to your gazebo for low voltage outdoor lights and iPod speakers. You could purchase a portable patio heater to extend the season. You could create your own spa by installing a hot tub in your gazebo! Your imagination and budget are all that determines how involved your outdoor gazebo can become.
Outdoor gazebos on the market today are made from aluminum, coated steel and iron, wood, vinyl, and resin. They come in a variety of sizes, from quite large (room size) to small trellis like structures big enough only for two. Aluminum gazebos are commonly erected for special occasions or seasonal use, and there are models light and compact enough to take to the beach or use as a vending booth. Aluminum and other metal gazebos are easy to customize and can be a terrific way to create privacy for small urban rooftop or courtyard gardens. The “roofs” of aluminum gazebos are sloped and ideally made of waterproof canvas coated with UV protection.
Consider the idea of creating a stunning greenhouse using a small gazebo made out of pvc resin. You can purchase models that come with clear vinyl sides and a zippered doorway and enough room for shelves. Using a greenhouse like this is a great way to start vegetable and annual plants for an early start to the growing season.
Wrought iron gazebos, and every type of brand new garden accessory claiming to be wrought iron are actually made of other types of metal such as steel or bronze and then coated with a matte black finish. The term “wrought iron is used in a loose way to mean something that is made to resemble “wrought iron” or what we think wrought iron should look like. In reality, wrought iron is not used much today. It is quite heavy and can be very brittle. The only true “wrought Iron” around these days is old and antique, and valuable. The beautiful wrought iron fence surrounding the Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts was being stolen at an alarming rate until they were forced to replace parts of the fence with chain link.
Wooden gazebos are probably what most people think of when they picture a gazebo. Wood can be carved, shaped and constructed into the decorative gingerbread gazebos that we associate with Victorian houses and gardens. But really any style, from modern contemporary to Japanese is possible with a wooden structure.
The best woods for outdoor building are Southern yellow pine (Pinus palustris), Northern white cedar (Thuja Occidentalis) and redwood, all American woods that weather beautifully without the need for staining, painting or pressure treating. There are also new products that mix wood particles and polymers to create a wood like material that is almost impervious to weather. A wooden gazebo is more likely to remain as a permanent structure in your garden or landscape and is therefore the best kind of outdoor gazebo to get if you like the idea of using it as a comfortable outdoor living area.

http://www.outdoorlightsandfurniture.com Kate Wilkins lives around Boston, Massachusetts and writes about landscape design and gardening.