The gazebo. Sounds fancy like a doily or an olden time bonnet that women used to wear way back in the day. You would think something so fancy would be made of anything but some frilly, lacy material — this would be very far from the truth.
Modern gazebos have five main types and their influences can be traced either to their actual purpose or their country of origin.
The Folly gazebo is a strictly decorative piece of ornamentation — not constructed for any other purpose. They can be large or small and is often placed in a flowerbed or in another area to improve aesthetics.
Rotundas are large gazebos which are circular and usually have a domed roof. While this design has a European origin, it has also been used as an influence in architectural design — as in the White House roof was based on the rotunda design.
Pagoda style gazebos are based on Japanese architecture. While the original pagodas are too large to serve as effective garden elements, the typically wooden gazebos based on the pagoda style are beautifully intricate and consequently very popular.
The Pavilion design is open-sided, usually simple and placed fairly close to a main building. Variable in size, these gazebos are found in all types of terrain and climate.
The Pergola is a long, functional type of gazebo. The roof may be open or closed and is supported by pillars on all sides. Often, vines and other climbing plants are allowed to cover the gazebo.
Gazebos can be built from a variety of materials — including various woods, metals like aluminum and steel and less common materials like bamboo. The type of material used to build a gazebo can change how you use it and it can also have an effect of to the surrounding area and you.
Cedar and redwood are two types of wood used very often in the manufacture of gazebos because of their natural moisture resistance and strength. Simple to work with, these wooden gazebos can be very decorative and can last a long time before having to be replaced. Treated pine is an alternative wood but is much softer and therefore not as durable as a hardwood like cedar.
Metal is one of the most durable gazebo construction materials — typically, the two types of metal available for use are aluminum and steel, each with its own advantages. Aluminum is a lightweight metal and therefore much easier for a homeowner to install than a steel structure. It’s affordable and can be painted in any colour to match the existing buildings and outdoor accessories. Aluminum gazebo kits often come with man-made fabric roofing material or a canvas canopy. Steel is a heavyweight metal alternative for a gazebo. Because steel is extremely heavy, it’s well suited to a public area like a park or the land on a larger property. Depending on the size of the gazebo, a crane may be required to aid in the assembly process so having sufficient space is very important. Steel is also a more expensive metal bit if a homeowner can afford it, a steel gazebo will withstand many years of heavy use and can be repainted when the mood strikes.
Fabric is commonly used as a gazebo component, making up a large proportion of the roof in some structures. Commonly used types are canvas or polyester for added durability. Canopies can be put on seasonally or left up all year round, depending on the climate.
Modern plastics like vinyl are also used to create gazebos. These thermoplastic composites are generally much cheaper than metal frames, are long-lasting and can be made to look quite convincingly like stone or brick. Because they’re lightweight, they can also be installed by non-professionals quite easily.
Another non-traditional material for gazebo construction is bamboo. In certain areas, bamboo is readily available and the results can be a very beautiful and very durable structure. Equally beautiful but much more expensive, is a stone or brick gazebo. These permanent structures can be as simple as red brick or locally gathered stone or as complex as a custom-carved marble art piece.