Tips for gussying up the gazebo
After a long afternoon of gardening, you’re itching to escape the humidity, nurse your sunburn and rehydrate yourself. But rather than having to wearily make your way back into the house, consider the benefits of a closer backyard retreat with all the comforts of home.
Gazebos are a great solution — the perfect place for sliding out of those dirty gloves, putting your feet up and sipping a glass of cold lemonade.
For ideas on how to integrate a gazebo into your landscape, get inspired by Noel and Dale Schultz’s gorgeous Batavia, Ill., outdoor haven.
The Schultzes’ pavilion is encased in glass, but the thick panes positioned behind the decorative spindles easily can be switched out for heavy-duty screen panels.
“We use the gazebo eight or nine months out of the year because we can keep the windows closed,” Noel Schultz said.
“Windows let you make it more of a three-season space,” said Paul Boehlke, general manager of Gazebo Junction in Geneva, Ill. “If it rains, you can close the sliding panes, or if it’s 40 or 50 degrees out and you don’t want to go back inside yet, you’re in the clear. At the same time, you can enjoy the warmer weather without the mosquitoes all through the summer and bees in the fall.”
For a more interesting architectural element, the Schultzes decided to go with a two-tiered roof.
“It’s just beautiful — especially from the inside,” Noel Schultz said. “Visually, it helps balance the structure by breaking up the bulkiness because we decided to go with a big, 18-foot gazebo.”
An elegant white fan hangs from the cathedral ceiling to cool off gazebo inhabitants. Track lighting also lines the interior walls.
“It really extends the hours we’re able to use the space,” Noel Schultz said. “I work from home, so I go out there all the time. These added details really make it set up more like a home.”
Some gazebos even incorporate stereos to up the entertainment factor.
To help stir up a breeze, check out Fanworks Inc., which has several outdoor fan lines. Tommy Bahama models — appropriately named Castaway, Pineapple Lane and Bahama Breezes — offer bamboo-framed blades that look like leaves, adding some Caribbean flavor to your ceiling. Visit www.CeilingFanOutlet.com to browse a selection of traditional and tropical options.
Although the gazebo was built to connect to the terrace and deck rail, which helps give the backyard a more seamless look, the Schultzes wanted to apply the same concept to the landscaping. So potted flowers and shrubbery line the structure, but it’s the window boxes that really do the trick.
“They add so much character,” Noel Schultz said. “It was always my dream to have this kind of storybook-looking gazebo outside, and those boxes are very picturesque.”
The gazebo’s color palette also works to convey a cottage feel. The homeowners decided to stain the western red cedar frame white to match the main house and terrace posts. But the darker wood tones in the planters and roof provide nice accents.
If you can’t spruce up your gazebo’s exterior with built-in boxes, shop for attachable ones with mounting brackets or opt for hanging planters. OutdoorDecor.com has some simple mountable window displays for $67.50.
For a cozy interior, the Schultzes skipped the standard benches and opted for wicker furniture, a dining table and a futon for napping, where even the family cats lounge.
“We wanted to make it homey, so it actually functions more like a second family room or kitchen. We eat out there on a weekly basis,” Noel Schultz said. “The interior has more of a Florida vibe because of the whites, blues, yellows and greens, and the cool, clean, crisp look. All of the chairs have fun, striped cushions, and I have my little Crate & Barrel set on the table.”
A large blue rug covers the concrete floor, adding more color to the room and lessening the assault on bare feet.
For more maritime-themed decor, try Pottery Barn. The chain carries a nautical rope serving set for $20 on sale and Regatta Melamine appetizer plates decorated with anchors, ship wheels, the No. 6 and stars in a set of four for $12 on sale. Visit www.PotteryBarn.com.
Crate & Barrel has a plantation-grown eucalyptus hardwood arbor dining table for outdoor dining for $499. Matching chairs with Sunbrella cushions are $218.95. Visit www.CrateAndBarrel.com.
For a flashier floor, try HomeDecorators.com. The saddle stitch all-weather area rug is offered in a variety of colors and sizes and ranges from $19 to $299.