Summerhouse Gazebo & Arbor Projects

Written by cathy welch
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Summerhouse Gazebo & Arbor Projects
Add a roof cupola to your gazebo for a decorative touch. (bandstand image by graham tomlin from

A gazebo is an open post-and-beam building that has five to eight sides and is topped by a peaked roof. Derived from a mock-Latin word meaning "I shall gaze," gazebos originated in the Victorian period. Design elements, just as in your home's interior, can add flavour to your summerhouse gazebo. Arbors can be stand-alone projects, but can also serve a specific function in your landscape.

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Rustic Gazebo

For the home by a mountain lake or in the middle of farmland, design your gazebo with rustic elements. Roughly-hewn log posts and railings, set under a cedar-shake roof with a natural slate floor, blends into the landscape. Furnish with Adirondack chairs. A wagon wheel chandelier and a few crocks spilling over with annuals finish off this simple and peaceful setting.

Summerhouse Gazebo & Arbor Projects
Adirondack chairs are just the right touch for a rustic gazebo. (Adirondack Chairs by the ocean image by Penny Williams from

Mediterranean Gazebo

Start with a cobblestone floor and add a Mexican tile dining table and wrought iron chairs. Set in terracotta stepping stones as a walkway to your Mediterranean summerhouse gazebo. Surround the structure with a wrought iron railing and add window boxes of the same material, planted with bougainvillea or bright red geraniums to finish off this building with a Spanish flair.

Summerhouse Gazebo & Arbor Projects
Mexican tile on the table chairs or floor adds Spanish flair. (Tile image by Kerry Adamo from

Tropical Gazebo

Add a thatched roof in the style of a palapa, or Caribbean umbrella, on top of a bamboo post and beam structure. Build in a tiki bar with hanging paper lanterns and a woven ceiling fan to bring a tropical feel to your backyard landscape. Surround the gazebo with a garden of broken shells, hibiscus and beach grasses. Roughly hewn bar stools and a few shells gives you the next best thing to a trip to the Bahamas.

Palm leaves are most commonly used to craft a palapa.
Palm leaves are most commonly used to craft a palapa. (sous le palapa image by rachid amrous-spleen from

Swing Arbor

Build a white-painted wooden arbor and add simple scroll work for a taste of the Victorian in your yard. Train grapes, clematis or wisteria to grow and intertwine, providing shade and visual interest to your arbor. Hang a porch swing from the arbor and set it at the end of a walkway to make it a special destination your guests will want to visit.

Porch swings are a great way to relax.
Porch swings are a great way to relax. (Resting on the Swing! image by TMLP from

Covered Walkway Arbor

Bring a long, boring walkway out of the mundane by building a covered arbor the entire length of the walk. Train grapevines, wisteria, honeysuckle or English ivy to provide shade on a hot day. A brick walkway under your feet and a bird feeder or two complete the look.

Summerhouse Gazebo & Arbor Projects
A wisteria structure must be strong to hold this sturdy plant. (wisteria image by wiladayvo from

Rose Arbor

Set an arched-top, wooden arbor as a gateway where your rose garden and sidewalk meet. Train climbing roses to grow over the arbor. Keep the rose vines that grow up and out either trimmed back or weave the vines into the structure itself for a neat and full look.

Old-fashioned climbing roses add a delicate touch to an arbor.
Old-fashioned climbing roses add a delicate touch to an arbor. (wild roses image by TMLP from

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