An outdoor gazebo provides the homeowner with a superb view the home, garden, and the surrounding Houston landscape. Such a structure provides a covering from the sun on hot days and shelter from rain on cloudy days. Mosquitoes can be kept at bay by building a simple screen around the sides.
Outdoor gazebos have been around for at least 5,000 years, going back all the way to Ancient Egypt. There, they were used as pavilions of royalty and luxury. Today’s structure, however, owes its design to more recent historical sources. It is based on something of a fusion of Japanese teahouses, Chinese garden shelters, and small Dutch buildings.
There are several different structural types from which the homeowner can choose. The first of these is the conventional style. It is basically designed as an outdoor room with a floor, supporting pillars, and a ceiling. It can be built as a hexagon, octagon, square, or a rectangle. Many times, however, homeowners prefer to forgo having a floor build and have the structure erected either over a custom patio or a portion of a garden courtyard. There is also the option of building a lightweight, portable equivalent that can be moved to any location within the yard.
Outdoor gazebos are almost always built out of some kind of wood. The most popular woods are cedar and pressure treated pine. Cedar is very beautiful, but it is also very expensive. The advantage that pressure-treated pine offers is that it does not warp and it can be stained and painted to match practically any architectural style or landscape design. It makes for a sturdy structure next to any swimming pool, pathway, natural pond, or custom garden.
However, wood is not the only material that can be used to build these special outdoor rooms. In contemporary landscapes, organic materials must be minimized to support a more Mentalist perspective on the world. In these landscapes, metal, reinforced concrete, or even stone can be substituted for wood.
Regardless of the geometry or building materials, there are features that we always recommend adding to an outdoor gazebo. Outdoor lighting is one of these features. It makes it much easier to have a conversation when seated inside with guests, and it makes the structure itself stand out prominently as a landscape element in its own respect. Another great feature to add is a small bar with a sink and an electrical outlet. This allows drinks to be mixed and served without having to go inside the house. A ceiling fan is also an option, although in Houston it really is not an option because the heat makes it almost mandatory.
As to the actual architecture an outdoor gazebo, style is flexible to a great extent. The only absolute that applies is a necessity to compliment home architecture. Beyond that, a number of styles including Amish design and wrought iron Victorian style can be built as—is or customized to work with a great many outdoor landscaping themes.
Keep in mind, too, that there is no need to restrict oneself to preconceptions of style when working with a professional landscape designer. A design specialist knows how to spot the key motifs that constitute the essence of the landscape master plan and build a gazebo that reflects these motifs. Specific stylistic traits of the structure may vary accordingly based upon its proximity to either inorganic or organic forms. A structure built by the house will emphasize a compliment of building material and geometry.
On the other hand, an outdoor gazebo built in or near a garden, or setback among the trees, will tend to reflect a more organic sensibility. Colors and stains used to decorate will support a sense of life and growth that suggests a unity between the form of a warm, inviting structure and the natural elements of the landscape itself.