A Gazebo In Your Garden

Our garden, like all gardens, is much more than a retreat.  It is also a place where we encounter the world.  ~Allen Lacy



This post was originally published in an online magazine 3 years ago.  I thought it would be a great time to repost it as the gazebo fits prominently into my garden’s design and redesign.  The pictures here, that feature the gazebo, are of the garden in all seasons 3 years ago.


Gazebos have a rich history around the world.  As far back as ancient Egypt, tomb murals showed gazebos in gardens.  Ancient Rome and Greece built gazebos of marble and used them as part of a temple as well as using them in gardens at their large summer homes.  In 10th century Persia, ornate gazebos were built often near streams or ponds.  During the Renaissance, gazebos were found in monastery gardens, as a quiet place for meditation and prayer. In Asia, especially China and Japan, gazebos have been used for centuries in gardens, for teahouses and places to meditate.  In English gardens, gazebos have been used  since the late 1700s and early 1800s.

Here in the United States, gazebos have been around since the founding of our country.  George Washington had an eight-sided garden structure at Mount Vernon, and even Thomas Jefferson’s writings included references to gazebos which he called a summerhouse or pavilion.  Their popularity soared in the mid-1800s especially among the middle class.  At the turn of 20th century they lost popularity once houses became smaller and porches were the style.  More recently around the 21st century, there has been a resurgence in their popularity.

So it is no wonder I have loved these garden structures and have always wanted one in the garden of my dreams.  When we built the garden at our new house, it was a priority.  It had to be carefully placed to take advantage of the views and the existing landscape.  I wanted to have a 360-degree view of the gardens I was planning including the meadow behind the fence.  I also wanted to take advantage of the shade from established trees so it would be a refuge from the summer heat.  And it had to be placed on higher ground so as not be in line with drainage issues.  So there was really no better place than the back right corner especially when considering it as the focal point of the garden.

When you are planning where to place a gazebo, you also want to consider the color, size and style of the gazebo depending on the size and style of your garden.  I chose a screened in natural wooden style to complement my gardens which are a cross between English and country cottage style.  And since we have a white picket fence, I did not want a white gazebo.  It would be lost in the landscape and would no longer be the focal point I was looking for.  Having the gazebo screened in was essential, due to the swarms of large mosquitoes we are known for here south of the lake.  These mosquitoes have been known to carry off small children and animals and they just love me.

Planting around a gazebo is really easy as it complements so many garden styles.  I have a white garden to the left of it, a more natural native garden to the right, with a new rain garden to help with drainage, and then the meadow behind it.  

The gazebo has  other perks as well.  It allows me to watch the wildlife that visits the garden without disturbing them.  And the cool breezes that blow so gently through it make it the perfect place to relax.  Because we placed it facing the pond and waterfall, you can also hear the wonderful sound of water.  A surprise bonus has been the ability to watch the sunrise, sunset and moonrise from the gazebo.  What better place than a gazebo to while away the hours in meditation and quiet conversation.


“It is good to be alone in a garden at dawn or dark so that all its shy presences may haunt you and possess you in a reverie of suspended thought.”  James Douglas





Update:  The gazebo remains integral in the design of my backyard gardens. And as I consider some redesigns, I will be looking to use the gazebo even more.  I have found recently we were using it more as a shed than a place in the garden.  So we are thinking of adding some pots and hanging baskets inside and outside the gazebo, clearing out everything that is being stored there as well as adding some comfortable furniture.  And I want to make sure the surrounding gardens are delightful for both the critters and us.  


gazebo collage

I am planning to do a new series this spring called, A View From The Gazebo, where I will be viewing what is going on around the garden as seen from the gazebo.  These pictures are some of the views seen from and through the gazebo this past year.



In A Vase On Monday 



I thought I would do a bit of a themed vase for the upcoming Valentine’s Day.  I have a Belleek vase with hearts on it…perfect!  And I decided to fill it with the thorny Barberry branches (Berberis thunbergii ‘Helmond Pillar’) full of red berries that are right off my front porch.  It is a bit of an ironic twist to have these thorny branches in a heart vase for Valentine’s Day.  Oh I wonder what that says about me?




berry vase collageI first placed the vase in the green living room as I liked the contrast of the green walls.




berry vase brd hse collageThen I placed it on the bookshelf against the rose-colored walls almost looking gray.  I liked the combination of the ivy and pink birdhouse with the vase.  The birdhouse was a gift from a friend who hand painted it herself.




berry vase poster

Finally, I was playing with the editing app and liked how it “posterized” the picture.   

I am joining in with a few memes this week:  Cathy@Rambling in the Garden for her wonderful meme, In a Vase on Monday, and Judith@Lavender Cottage who hosts Mosaic Monday.



Next up on the blog:  

Next Monday, I will be profiling another flower I grow from seed each year.

I am linking in with Michelle for her Nature Notes meme at her new blog just for Nature Notes.  It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every Tuesday. 



I am also joining in I Heart Macro with Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday.

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Gardens Eye View, 2010-2015.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.




103 Replies to “A Gazebo In Your Garden”

  1. envy your gazebo – even as a child I dreamed of such an exotic hideaway. Great idea for the views from here – stuck-foot-post in comfort. p.s. like the way you focused on the context of your monday vase instead of just the contents though the singularity adds to a striking display

    1. Thanks so much Laura. I hope to do a Stuck Foot perhaps from the gazebo. I have really enjoyed the vase posts….they allow me to be play more and be creative.

  2. I too love gazebos but until now I never thought of having one in my own garden. It would be wonderful to have a shelter for meditation and socializing that would protect you from rain and sun. Melbourne’s Botanical Gardens have several historic and lovely gazebos, and with this post you have given me the idea of posting about them. Views, to my mind, are always enhanced when viewed through a frame. And I appreciate the ironic symbolism of the thorns in a heart vase. Life is always filled with contradictions. It may be Valentine’s Day but Happy Ever After is for fairy stories.

    1. How wonderful that you enjoyed the gazebo….I would love to see the gazebos at the Botanical Garden there. And I thought the thorns were a great irony in the Valentine’s Day vase.

  3. Your gazebo looks beautiful in the snow / love the vase and arrangement !

    I have a neighbor about two blocks down with a gazebo in their backyard garden. I always enjoy seeing it surrounded by their various plants and flowers in the summer months.

    1. So glad you enjoyed the gazebo Deb…and hopefully with a few changes in plantings it will be even more of a stand out in my garden!

  4. I love your gazebo, it draws my attention right away.. I would love to have one in my yard.. Your vase and arrangement is pretty, a lovely display. Have a happy Monday and week ahead!

  5. A gazebo is an added benefit to a garden for structure isn’t it? That is what I wanted but my husband built a simpler structure that became my tea house. I love the homes that have a gazebo attached to the roof at a corner, have you seen these?
    The barberry makes a pretty arrangement for February with the red berries.
    Thank you for linking to Mosaic Monday Donna.

  6. Every good sized garden deserves a gazebo Donna. I think yours is situated in the right place, well done on getting that right. Sometimes these structures can appear ‘dumped’ into a garden and don’t often sit right but 10 out of 10 for your design.
    Love the stark red berries on the Berberis against the plain walls. Very fetching.

    1. Thanks Angie….I knew exactly where I wanted it when I planned the garden. It feels just right there. And so glad you enjoyed the barberry vase!

  7. Enjoyed the history of the gazebo and love the way yours is integrated into your back gardens–in winter and the other seasons.

  8. Great info about the gazebo, and the snowy picture is lovely (worth having all the snow for!) – loved the quote about being alone in the garden at dawn or dark too …. I had to smile at your thorny red berries and the Valentine’s connection, but they look great in the Beleek vase and I really like the effect of the posterised picture. Thanks for joining in

  9. I’ve been waiting for this post! Waiting to see all the pictures of the gazebo, which I just love. Beautiful. I have a gazebo too, but I filled it with a hot tub. I wanted to watch the birds feed and the morning arise from the tub with my coffee in one hand above the water. LOVED your berries.

    1. Now that is a gazebo Susan….I should have run electric to mine, but we opted to go natural with it. It is a fab spot to watch the sun rise.

  10. I have a friend with a gazebo very similar to yours. Hers sits in the middle of a labyrinth. Just by chance, discovered when it was being installed, it is right on a huge quartz boulder with all its spiritual energy. I look forward to further views.

  11. Kudos for going out in that weather to cut the barberry Donna! I hope the winter weather isn’t as bad where you are as it seemed in the TV coverage I saw coming out of Boston this morning. The barberry complements the vase perfectly I think – every good relationship has a few thorns. Happy Valentine’s Day!

    1. Oh it has been pretty intense this February here in my garden Kris….lots of snow and very cold. But hopefully in about a month we will see it all start to melt. Happy Valentine’s Day to you too!

  12. I love your gazebo, the way it fits into your garden and makes it more interesting in all seasons. I suffered from severe Gazebo Envy until I finally got mine two years ago. Now I’m planting around it and will continue to work on this when spring comes. Thanks for sharing your gazebo with us, and I look forward to seeing the views from it this year. -Beth

    1. Beth, I also look forward to seeing yours with its new plantings…..gazebos are wonderful and perfect for watching the hours ease on by.

  13. I love your gazebo too – it’s picture perfect whatever the time of year, even feet deep in snow! I don’t, however, envy you those massive mosquitos, although our Scottish midges are a force to be reckoned with despite their tiny size.

    Your vase is beautiful though I think it was immensely brave of you to cut the Barberry stems … I’ve yet to discover a pain free way of doing that … but they were well worth the effort as they look just right in the white vase.

    1. Elizabeth, the gazebo is perfect for bug free viewing…and I have heard about your midges….I think they could be quite a force.

      I have become pretty adept at handling the barberry although it is less stabbing when it is dried by winter. I also wear my rose gloves which helps.

  14. I am looking forward to your new series Donna – I am sure you will see lots to share from your lovely gazebo. I guess it will be a few weeks yet before you can sit out in it! The berberis is inspired – both for a Monday vase and to use as a Valentine arrangement – we have both been using thorns this week!

    1. Oh definitely a few weeks…probably more like 8 weeks as we are getting more snow Julie. The garden is covered 4-5 ft deep with snow. I saw we both decided to us thorns this week….we are both brave!

  15. A lovely post about your gazebo. I always thought that it was an Italian word until I read somewhere that it is a corruption of the words ‘ gaze about’.
    What a great idea using Berberis berries in an arrangement. I never thought of doing that. They look stunning in your lovely Beleek vase.

  16. The gazebo looks so attractive in all the seasons. I like the winter one as well as the shots during the lush growing seasons.

    1. Thanks Carver….I agree the gazebo really is stunning in winter. It is the main focal point covered in snow in winter that I love to see.

  17. Your gazebo really is a lovely focal point Donna. We also have plans for something like that in the future, but no time at present. Having it screened is an excellent idea, as we also get a lot of mosquitoes if the weather is humid. I am so glad you found something for a vase again! Your photos are all fabulous, especially against the green wall. Our barberry (we call them berberis) berries dropped or were eaten long ago. They need pruning and dead wood removing. Aren’t those prickles horrible though!

    1. Cathy, it seems the birds leave this berberis alone in my garden which is surprising especially with berry-eating birds hanging about.

  18. Donna, I really enjoyed this post. Your gazebo is beautiful and a real asset to your garden. I enjoy the broad views of your garden and like the white picket fence and arbor, and your pond. Your garden is a dream! 😉

    1. Oh thank you Beth….It has been a dream come true for me, and I loved designing it….now I have time to tweak the plantings.

  19. I think what the thorny bouquet says about you is that you are no pushover: your love must be earned. The posterizing is fun.

  20. Oh I love it and could picture one across the pond…but we can’t build there as it is protected except I am the only person really protecting it letting the milkweed grow..Love the pond too…Michelle

  21. We have a Summerhouse Donna, that we used to use a lot until new neighbours were allowed to put in roof to ground windows and a balcony looking directly into our Summerhouse. The garden and orientation is too narrow to resite it, but we are very tempted to put in a gazebo facing away from their windows and love the design of yours. A place to sit and reflect in privacy is paramount in a garden.

    1. Oh Julie that is awful. To have the summerhouse and not be able to use it in privacy. A gazebo might be a great alternative.

  22. I use gazebos is design often, yet my yard is too small to have one. They have such a cottage feel and romance is in their repertoire of appeal.

    1. Glad you enjoyed the gazebo Denise. I am looking forward to putting the new series together. I’d give you a view from the gazebo in winter, but there snow is almost as tall as me now in the garden.

  23. Donna, your garden is absolutely AMAZING!! I just love it; it’s exactly the kind of garden I would have if I had the time, money, and a helper(s) to create it. 🙂 I love English gardens, especially English cottage gardens, and yours is reminiscent of one for sure. I love the variety and colors of your flowers, and my other favorite aspect of your garden is the white picket fence and arbor-style gate. Lovely!! You must spend many happy hours here adding to and enjoying the beauty of this garden. Thanks for sharing with us — your heart-shaped mosaic is so pretty!



    1. So glad you enjoyed the garden Denise. I have had little time in recent years for maintenance but now in retirement I will be working more on the garden with my sometimes helper, my husband. It is amazing the work it does take to maintain it.

  24. I love your vase you have set for valentines day! And the gazebo is so pretty tucked back there among your garden! Such a beautiful space to take in the views like you were saying!!! Wishing you a wonderful week ahead! Nicole

  25. I have always, always wanted a gazebo! Thanks for sharing this, Donna; I feel as though I have just spent a relaxing time enjoying the sights and sounds from yours. What a perfect place to enjoy your beautiful garden!

  26. Wonderful Donna! I would love a “tea house” but I have the shed and hopefully, the little used greenhouse I picked up last year, if it is still standing when I return. I suppose our new back porch is my “gazebo” as it is my garden viewing room although sometimes I like to sneak out back and be in the center of it all! Who knows maybe I can fit in a little “tea house” one day – anything is possible isn’t it? Although I really hate barberry I have to concede that your bouquet of thorny hearts is stunning! I also like that you are playing with photo effects – it is fun – you could get lost for hours doing that but better to spend hours in that beautiful gazebo of yours. I enjoyed seeing the view from inside!

    1. Definitely your new back porch is your “gazebo”. This the only barberry I have left, Kathy, as it is on the proposed no sell list in NY and has become invasive. I am hoping once the weather breaks that I can get out there in the gazebo again.

  27. Lovely post Donna – I’ve always noticed how pretty your gazebo is, so it’s nice that you’ve focused on it. And thanks for the fascinating information about gazebo history (and Chloris’ comment concerning ‘gaze about’). Lovely vase too – makes me go all hearts and flowers – but, as you point out, berberis isn’t the most loving thing close up!

  28. The gazebo would be lovely for entertaining. I have some thunbergii, I hadn’t thought of cutting branches to enjoy the berries, very pretty.

    1. Thanks Hannah! I see the berries daily as I look out the window…. and I love how it looks so it just made sense to use it in a vase.

  29. Your gazebo looks like is in a lovely spot. We have so many projects around our place, I think getting some well placed benches will be the best we can do for this year. The barberry is so bright, a welcome sight at this time of year.

  30. So beautiful, and so functional! How great to have a place in the garden to sit, shielded from the bugs! My last house had a screened-in porch, and I find that I miss it tremendously. Your gazebo is gorgeous.

    1. Thanks Indie. We almost had a screened in room at the back of the house but decided instead to have the patio, pond and gazebo.

  31. Donna, Thanks for visiting my blog and your kind comment. I love gazebos and find they are a place of observation and much more than a shed, it’s a great idea you complete your with pots and make it more like an outdoors room where you can spend time, I will be looking forward to your new series in spring!

  32. Donna, I have always loved gazebos! They have such an air of romance about them. The photos of your gazebo in the garden are wonderful. I also like your Barberry vase, thorns and all! As always, I enjoy the way you have accented the vase in your collages. Happy Valentine’s Day!

  33. your garden looks lovely every season. And the gazebo is certainly a lovely place to sit and view it from. Your garden is so different in spring to winter! We don’t have these massive changes in Australia. I always wanted one of those arches with seats either side. Have a wonderful weekend and thank you for stopping by my blog this week.

  34. Your gazebo looks like a peaceful place to sit and enjoy your beautiful garden, Donna. It will be fun to see your new series of photos form it when summer arrives.
    I’ve collected some Belleek china pieces and I never saw this pretty heart design before–it is perfect for Valentine’s Day! Your photo collages are lovely!

  35. I have always wanted some kind of gazebo like structure in the garden..sadly if it’s not screen in it won’t be getting any use at all. The mosquitoes dominate the garden…all day and night, so it would be for naught…

    But yours looks amazing! I will live vicariously.


  36. Maybe someday Jen…. I agree without screens it wouldn’t work here so having it screened has been great. Glad you really liked the gazebo!

  37. Hi Donna, thanks for still being there despite my long absence! I also am so impressed for the half of 98 comments and amazed that you can still reply to each and every one of them. I might not be able to do the same if that happens to me, haha!

    A gazebo for temperate climes will do good in summer, but for us it can be lovely for the colder months coinciding with your winter with just lower 20s degrees C here in the tropics.

    1. Always Andrea I will be there…you go back to the beginning of my blog and have always been there for me. I love the comments and the conversations that come from them.

      And I can imagine a gazebo being perfect for your lower temps day….a refreshing sanctuary! Right now it is being buried by all our snow….Stay well my friend.

  38. I simply loved your Gazebo! A Gazebo is a freestanding structure with a roof and open spaces, making it possible for you to add doors, windows and several other furnishing products like benches, coffee tables, etc. Doors and Windows are a great addition to Gazebos in colder regions.

    1. Thank you Robert for your comment….we love our gazebo too. It is now almost 12 years old. Here in the Ne where we get lots of huge mosquitoes, it pays to have a screened in porch or gazebo.

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