You only have so much backyard space, so don't squander it on any old structure. Do you really need a tool shed? Is that empty space next to the tree serving any purpose? What about a place for entertaining? To really maximize the use of your landscape consider getting a gazebo.
These outdoor shelters come in a variety of sizes and styles, and provide shade and shelter while still allowing the gentle summer breezes to cool you off. As you're brainstorming some backyard landscape design ideas, here are some things to consider with gazebos.
Gazebos can range in size from seven feet square to rectangles and ovals over twenty feet long. If you want covering for a small, intimate bench or loveseat, that seven foot square should be enough. If you want something big enough to handle a dinner party crowd, you will want to get something larger. You will also need to make certain that the size you desire can fit easily within the rest of your backyard landscaping.
Gazebos traditionally have an octagonal (8-sided) shape, so if you have a more traditionally styled and landscaped home, you may wish to go with this shape. On the other hand, if you have a modern house, you may wish to go with the more modern, angular look that can be found with a square or rectangular gazebo. There are also round and oval shapes which can blend more easily with a curving walkway or flowing garden landscaping.
Gazebos are traditionally made from wood, but be warned that if you purchase wood you will spend a lot of time on wood treatment and sealing over the years. Vinyl is another option, but while it is easier to clean and will not require maintenance, it will probably be more expensive to purchase, and wouldn't blend in, style-wise, with older homes. You can also spend even more for a custom designed stone gazebo.
Gazebos can be roofed with a variety of materials, including asphalt, architectural or rubber shingles, cedar shakes, or metal or polycarbonate plastic. You could also choose a lattice roof and grow vines to cover the top of the gazebo with cool, living shade, but you would be likely to get wet with a summer like this one has been.
Once you've made these important choices and you want to integrate this dream gazebo into your backyard landscape design: