It’s easy to see how the notion of relaxing undercover in the great outdoors has stood the test of time.
A man's (or woman’s) garden has historically always been a place of relaxation.
The very word Gazebo, a combination of the English word ‘gaze’ and the Latin suffix ‘box (’I shall see’), is translated as ‘I shall gaze’. That makes perfect sense as casually gazing at the natural surroundings of your garden - perhaps with a little glass of your favorite wine - is the perfect way to unwind while surrounded by nature.
The mere mention of the word calls to mind restfulness and beautiful surroundings, and that’s what the history of the outdoor garden gazebo is all about.
As long as there have been gardens there have been garden gazebos. In the age of the Pharaohs, garden kingdoms were designed as ancient Egyptian paradises with the belief that they would accompany their royal owners into the afterlife.
The ancient Mediterranean civilizations in Rome and Pompeii also loved to build garden structures as relaxing getaways. The moneyed higher echelons of those famously decadent societies created gazebos and summerhouses to help them indulge their outdoor pleasure.
Gazebo-style structures using colorful tents and floor mats became very popular in Persian gardens around the tenth century.
Larger more detailed structures complete with huge cupolas, marble columns, and golden seats adorned the gardens of high society.
Some of the ancient structures were erected over running water to provide a cooling effect for those relaxing within. Other gazebos had a more morbid use as tombs for their owners.
As Europe dusted off the dark ages and moved towards the light of the Renaissance, gazebos became the decoration of choice at religious sites of note.
They were used for shrines by religious Orders while monks would look to gazebos as places for meditation and relaxation.
Four gazebos were constructed at the Louvre in Paris during the 1300s. Elizabethan England saw garden gazebos become commonplace – they were frequently used as focal points in high society garden parties.
By the late 18th century gazebos had become increasingly popular all over Europe as the perfect places to relax in the garden.
In the Far East, gazebo-like garden pavilions were known as tea houses in China and Japan. Chinese and Japanese-style gazebos were treated as spiritual places where one could meditate and take in the beauty of the outdoors.
Although gazebos had been around in Europe for quite some time, it is the Far East that influenced the architectural writer William Halfpenny (and his son John) to coin the word gazebo in a book entitled: ‘New Designs for Chinese Temples’ in 1752.
The modern gazebo may look very different from that of Ancient Egypt, Rome or Pompeii but the idea of a place of serenity holds true many centuries later.
Today people use their gazebos to relax and unwind just like the ancients, to entertain guests like the Elizabethans and Victorians, and to simply have lunch, dinner or drinks with family.
The most popular gazebos are self-supporting and open on all sides without any windows or doors.
Beaver Log Cabins Ireland’s garden gazebos can be used the whole year round and make a fantastic addition to any garden. With a beautifully designed gazebo, you know you have protection from the elements, a place to gaze peacefully on your garden kingdom and something in common with ancient royalty.