Gazebos are perfect for entertainingThe summer season in the Dakotas was meant for spending time in the outdoors and enjoying the great weather. The days of warmth and sunshine seem to pass by so quickly and soon the cooler temperatures of winter fall upon us once again. One of the most peaceful ways to spend some time outdoors is by relaxing in a gazebo.
By: John Zvirovski / The Sun, The Jamestown Sun
The summer season in the Dakotas was meant for spending time in the outdoors and enjoying the great weather. The days of warmth and sunshine seem to pass by so quickly and soon the cooler temperatures of winter fall upon us once again. One of the most peaceful ways to spend some time outdoors is by relaxing in a gazebo.
Many of us have spent time relaxing with friends in these great structures and some of us even have gazebos of our own to enjoy. Gazebos are typically octagonal or round in shape with a roof and open sides. Some are screened in to keep out the summer pests, which is very handy in our part of the country. Some simpler designs even come in the shape of a square or rectangle.
The gazebo has been a fixture in many gardens for well over 5,000 years. Originally built on rooftops, they were meant to obtain the best views from high up. Eventually they became an element of the garden on the ground level.
The early Egyptians and Romans used to build these structures as they were thought to be a portal to the heavens and the afterlife. Gazebos during that time were enjoyed strictly by the royals and upper class, who built them out of expensive stone, marble and golden-covered seating. It wasn’t until many centuries later that all people were allowed to enjoy these relaxing structures with more modest design elements.
In China and Japan, the early gazebos were known as teahouses and pagodas — a place to enjoy as a sanctuary to get in touch with one’s spiritual side and be at peace within one’s life. This design style has been highly influential in many gardens around the world and continues to be strong even in today’s gardens.
Gazebos were not popular in the Americas until the middle of the 19th century, but faded from the scene for a period of time when large homes began building grand porches for entertaining. They became a desired element again during the 1930s, when they were built as a component of parks and city centers. These became meeting places for public events and some were even used frequently as outdoor bandstands. Eventually, they lost their influence once again but enjoyed a new renaissance in the 1980s and have been a strong garden feature ever since.
Familiar in our area is the gazebo at Zonta Park across from City Hall. It was originally the cupola that sat atop the roof of the old City Hall building across the street, which was used as a lookout tower during World War II. When the building was demolished, the cupola was saved and moved to its current location. As a public place, it is a pleasant setting to have a quick break and enjoy a relaxing moment.
In today’s market, gazebos range from very ornate to the most simple of structures. Some of the more simple structures are collapsible and resemble a tent or screen porch commonly used when camping. Although they are not our first thought when it comes to imagining a gazebo, it is yet another example of a different style.
The ones we are all familiar with are the permanent structures that are rounded with a solid roof and open sides to enjoy the summer breezes. Designs can be created by one’s own imagination and drive, limited only by one’s construction abilities. For a more created design, try using one of the many kits that are available through the hardware stores, magazines, or via websites. They can be as inexpensive as a few hundred dollars to as costly as a few thousand dollars.
Most are built out of wood materials, but some are created out of steel or iron and others out of stone or rock. Each material type fits well into different settings for the user —whether it is for personal or public use, the choice is up to the builder.
When buying a kit or plan through a hardware store, check out the many plans that are available on the internet to get the design that works best for your needs and visual desires. Some can be quite small to entertain a group of four people where others can be large enough to house two dozen. Do your research thoroughly before making your decision and you will be very happy with the final result.
A gazebo is the perfect amenity to have in the garden to sit back and relax on your own or enjoy with your friends and family. There is no better way to spend some time and get to know others than by inviting them into the sheltered outdoors for good conversation and the smells of the garden. Add a little music and watch the day fade into an evening of fun and enjoyment.