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Landscape Gardening

Fun with Gazebos

Garden gazebos have a long history, and have even been appreciated by sultans and Shahs in their time, but these days they still have their considerable uses for the average homeowner. Their function as ever, whether in palace grounds or a humble back garden, is to provide a social and aesthetic focus to an open space and protection from the sun or rain. The term gazebo covers many forms of the same essential structure: open-sided, roofed, and known variously as a pergola, summerhouse, bandstand, pavilion, belvedere… The list goes on, but we’re all familiar with them in one form or another.Well-heeled purists might prefer a hand-made-by-craftsmen, permanent structure, with thatched roof and using traditional coconut wood, as inspired by their African counterparts. Most folk, however, opt for one of the many economical but perfectly satisfactory versions available to suit their pockets and garden requirements.A small, wrought-iron arbour situated at the far end of the garden can transform it and provide a much-needed focus and talking point. A canopy gazebo can be easily and neatly stored and erected within minutes, and would suit the requirements of a summer party where the house is too small and the garden needs its own centre of gravity rather than being simply an overspill area.Hot tub gazebos can be great for more intimate occasions, when you’re looking for something a bit different from the TV and sofa, and patio gazebos are an economical alternative to house extensions in a troubled economic climate.

What are Gazebos Made of?

Gazebos run the gambit from the prestigious red cedar ones to the simplest of canvas. The material you choose for your gazebo is important for its longevity and durability.Red Cedar is expensive but maintenance costs are low because red cedar naturally resists damage and decay because of weather and insects. Grade One Western red cedar is preferred above all others.Southern Yellow Pine is the next choice in gazebo materials. This pine creates a wooden gazebo of superior strength and resistance to environmental changes. This wood is pressure treated and kiln dried twice to avoid cracks and shrinkage of the garden gazebo. The cost of Southern Yellow Pine is about 10 percent less than the Western Red Cedar.For people on a budget, vinyl is a very good choice of material. It is designed to mimic the wood appearance of the more expensive gazebos. Because it is made in the factory, there is no painting, staining or sealing that needs to be done. A vinyl gazebo can withstand severe weather conditions such as heavy rain, snow or the beating of a hot sun. The vinyl garden gazebo is durable and still looks beautiful. The roofing materials chosen for an outdoor gazebo is one of the most important elements to consider.  Most gazebos have a layered Japanese or slate shingled roof. The most economical is the asphalt shingles because they are easy to manufacture, readily available and prepared in a rainbow of colours, but thatched gazebo roofs are also popular due to their ease of construction and waterproof properties. Most hardware stores carry asphalt shingles so repairs are easily made. For a classy looking outdoor gazebo, you can use the cedar shingles at a higher cost or use copper for the roofing. Copper is an expensive option but it can make you the talk of the town.

How to Build a Brick Barbeque: Part One – Preparation

Nothing adds a bit of posh feel to your back garden or yard like a beautiful brick barbeque and building one isn’t all that hard to do!Before you begin, there are two things to consider: placement and size. It’s important to think carefully through the positioning, because once there, it cannot be moved. So take stock of the surrounding area, views from the house, and other factors before starting to build.*Don’t select too remote of a location; it’s generally best to build close to the kitchen.*Ensure your barbeque won’t be a fire hazard by selecting a location away from trees, fences, hedges, etc.*Consider your views; you may not want to select a position in direct view from your house.The size of the charcoal pan and grill will determine the size of your frame, so you will need to purchase those first, taking into consideration how much area you have and how big of a barbeque is feasible for that area. The last thing you want is a behemoth in your back garden.With size and location determined, the next thing to consider is foundation. The barbeque will be heavy and you will need a firm and a level foundation to support it. If you are building on an existing patio, this may be already taken care of. However, if you’re building in your garden, you will need a concrete foundation. Once your foundation is built, then you are set to build.

Garden Gazebos - enjoy your garden this summer

Gazebos have a rich and colourful history stretching back through the millennia, and were particularly prevalent in the Islamic Eastern Mediterranean civilisations of Anatolia and Iran, which placed so much aesthetic emphasis on gardens as earthly, albeit jaded, intimations of Paradise.A gazebo is essentially any open-sided structure, freestanding or abutting a wall, and roofed. It can serve as a shelter from the sun or rain in a public space or private garden, and Turkish Sultans, Persian Shah’s and Jane Austen heroines have alike found them places of repose and reflection.The most familiar form of outdoor gazebo in England is the bandstand, a feature of most public parks, although the term covers a multitude of structures, with kiosks, belvederes, pergolas and rotundas all being examples of the gazebo. They are often referred to as summerhouses or pavilions. The term gazebo was first used by two British architects in 1750 to describe a Chinese viewing tower.These days, anyone can install a gazebo in their garden, and they make a great place to laze away the sunny summer weekends with friends, providing shade from the sun on those rare occasions in Britain when it becomes intolerable, and more often shelter from the rain. They come in all shapes and sizes and can be folded away when not in use, although many prefer a permanent wrought-iron, ornate structure that gives a focal point to the garden.Whatever your predilection, a gazebo can make a great addition to your garden.

How to Build a Patio Wall

Building a low brick wall to edge the patio requires slightly higher than average DIY skills. But it’s hardly the stuff of architects and other experts. When the sun arrives, few of us want to be indoors painting, decorating or plastering: constructing a garden wall is an ideal summer job.Begin with the foundation, or ‘footings’; if your wall is to be about 450mm high, it’ll need a trench at least 300mm by 300mm. Pour pre-mixed cement or a mix of one part mortar to six parts ballast into the trench to a depth of about 150mm, using a fence post to bash any trapped air out of it. To keep everything straight, stretch a bricklayer’s line along the footings at precisely the top level of the first row of bricks (allow 10mm for the first layer of mortar on the footings). Mix ready-made mortar with water on a protective scrap board until it’s smooth and thick enough to hold its shape when you make a hole in it with a trowel. Apply a 10mm thick layer of mortar to the footings and then, just like buttering toast, spread some mortar onto the end of the first brick. Lay the brick onto the mortar, hollow (or ‘frog’) uppermost, and carry on until you’ve got your first layer. Keep checking with a spirit level to make sure it’s horizontal.Build up from the corners, using a wooden batten at the ends to ensure vertical accuracy. Stagger the bricks, using half-bricks at the end of each alternate layer. Complete by laying a row of bricks sideways to protect against rain. Stand back and admire your craftsmanship.

Garden Gazebos – adding a focal point to your garden

A garden gazebo can be a fantastic feature for any garden. Gazebos are used as a quick and easy way to keep people dry and warm in the face of our varying outdoor weather.  They also of course provide an ideal outside covered space for entertaining.Garden gazebos are popular for their ease of use and how simple they are to erect. A gazebo purchase will not mean breaking the bank as many popular models are made of a simple support structure and inexpensive materials. However, higher quality gazebos will of course cost more, but they will last a lot longer and be a more permanent fixture in the garden. The most common use for a garden gazebo, of any type, is to have somewhere to relax and be protected from the elements, be it rain or very hot sun.  Another popular use is to place one over a barbeque area during the summer. There are many good reasons you should consider purchasing a garden gazebo. Gazebos have become much more popular over the last decade as a way of ensuring that any outdoor activity can be enjoyed whatever the weather.  The only real enemy of a gazebo is a very high wind, which can be problematic for any light outdoor structure. Manufacturers produce a whole range of different sized gazebos and the materials used in construction vary in type and quality.  Have a good look around the various models before you make a purchase.

Tips for Your Wooden Gazebo

Wooden gazebos can create a stunning centrepiece for any size of garden or outdoor area. As they are meant to be long lasting it is important that they are cared for properly in order to prevent wasted time and money.Think carefully about where you will erect a wooden gazebo, because once the garden gazebo is up, it is unlikely you will be able to take it apart easily to move it somewhere else. If you do not feel confident enough to tackle putting up a wooden gazebo by yourself, you can hire a contractor to do it for you - they should be able to inform you as to the best place to put it and how to maintain it properly. You may also be able to hire them to actually design the wooden gazebo from scratch, so you can have a unique and exciting feature for your outdoor area. There are many different designs, styles, shapes and sizes available. There are also many different types of timber available to build your gazebo, which you pick may depend on your personal taste or what is available at the time of purchase. Although a wooden gazebo takes a minimal amount of maintaining once it is built and treated, it may need small repairs or a re-coat of wood treatment as it gets older. As it is exposed to sustained and different weather conditions, it will need basic maintenance as time goes on. A wooden gazebo is a great addition to any outdoor area and will transform the look of your garden or patio. 

The history of gazebos

Gazebos have been part of gardens for thousands of years; the earliest historical gazebos were in use in Egyptian gardens 5,000 years ago.  The architecture of gardens was drawn on the tombs of Egyptian royals, murals depicting the complete plan of the garden.The earliest known plan belongs to an Egyptian courtier whose garden design in Thebes has shown that gardens were probably enclosed and had freestanding architectural structures similar to pergolas or gazebos.Gardens in Egypt were built close to a body of water, either a river or a canal, and were normally used for producing food.  The rich, however, as well as growing crops, could afford to grow trees and flowers, the flowers used to make garlands to wear at festivals and to be harvested for medicinal purposes, the trees to provide welcome shade.  Pools were filled with fish and guinea fowl while pergolas were built in order that vines could grow, producing wine and raisins.Some historians speculate that early gazebos were actually used as temples; temples were the representation of heaven and the Egyptians believed was the home of a god.  Thus the garden was designed so that sacred trees were planted in front of the gazebo and certain flowers were grown to be given as a sacrifice to the god.Egyptians believed that when they died, their garden including the gazebos, followed them on the journey to heaven.

Gazebos – creating a focal point for your garden

To ensure years of enjoyment from your garden gazebo, it is important that it is cared for and maintained properly.  Of course, it depends what material your gazebo is made from.If your gazebo is made from vinyl then all that is required is an occasional wash with soap and water.  Vinyl gazebos are the easiest to maintain.  Another low maintenance choice is a gazebo made from wrought iron.  Like a vinyl gazebo, wrought iron is maintained with soap and water but benefits from an annual spray of polyurethane spray to preserve the newness of the gazebo.The most popular choice for gazebos is wood.  To maintain your wooden gazebo keep the structure clear of pants and bushes, trim them regularly to prevent them dampening the wood.  Keep the outside of your gazebo clear of clutter to ensure a constant airflow.Gazebos that are built from pressure treated wood need the minimum of looking after; apply a water-repellent sealer every two or three years.  Make sure that you apply the sealer to all the exposed wood.  The sealer can be used immediately on buying the gazebo to keep its newness or applied at a later day to allow it to take on a more weathered appearance.If you decide to paint your gazebo rather than leaving it natural, then wash it with warm water and a mild detergent.  Use a soft bristled paintbrush and be careful especially when the paint is few years old and is starting to peel. 

Persian Gazebos – a brief history

For thousands of years, people have viewed the peace and beauty of a garden and surrounding countryside from a gazebo.We know that gardens have been a central factor for wealthy members of society for thousands of years.  In modern day Iran, The Persians designed gardens filled with lush plants of striking colours at odds with the hot dry environs of the landscape, the most famous being the Hanging Gardens of Babylon renowned as one of The Seven Wonders of the World.  They were able to achieve these marvels because of qanats, an underground engineering system of aqueducts that brought melted snow from the mountains down onto the plains.  Water was a major feature of a Persian garden with pools and fountains inserted into the geometrical design.  A wealthy Persian would escape from the heat and make his way to a gazebo situated in his own bit of paradise.Gardens were built to be viewed aesthetically and to raise the spirits, but Persians did not only relax under their gazebos; gardens were also areas where politics and business took place, treaties were signed, diplomats greeted and were central to Persian life.Persian gazebos were influenced by Islamic architecture and were called kiosks that could range from a tent with mats scattered inside to buildings made from marble with cupolas.  Some gazebos were constructed with running water underneath the floors to maintain a cooler temperature.  Occasionally, gazebos were used as tombs.

Gazebos – great for giving shelter and shade to your garden

A gazebo is a structure that is built in parks, public spaces and private gardens, but away from the main residence.  They can be freestanding, or attached to a wall, roofed and open at all sides.  They may be used as a rain shelter, to provide shade, to provide a place for solitude and reflection or just as a decorative features in a landscape.  They key element of a gazebo is that they are situated strategically to offer beautiful views of the surrounding area.Structures that are included in the umbrella-term gazebo are alambras, belvederes, follies, kiosks, pagodas, pavillions, pergolas and rotundas.  Archaeological evidence shows that gazebos have been in use for thousands of years in the ancient societies of Persia, Egypt and China.  They were used as a means of shade, for spiritual meditation, for worship and for concluding business deals.The origin of the word is unknown and it has no cognate in any European language.   Several theories have been put forward that it may have its origins in Islam, Latin Hispano-Arabic or French.  It first entered the English language in the middle of the 18th century when an architectural writer, William Halfpenny, published a book on Chinese architecture.Gazebos were common in Western Europe during the Middle Ages but did not gain in popularity in the United States until the middle of the 18th century when a new wealthier middle class began to emerge.

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