No backyard retreat is complete until there's a spot to sit and enjoy it all.
Creating a Garden Getaway
The gazebo is the crowning touch of this backyard makeover, which also includes a goldfish pond and brick steps leading up to the house.
| Credit: Celia Deaton

Located halfway down their sloping backyard, Trish and Pat Poe's new gazebo is the perfect distance away from the home to provide a quiet escape. The structure is just the right size to accommodate a table and four chairs for a casual outdoor dinner. The sounds of the splashing fountain nearby complete the effect of a backyard oasis.

The gazebo has extra creature comforts that allow the couple to get more use out of it; this is especially important with Nashville's long outdoor season. A ceiling fan cools it off during sizzling summer afternoons, and lighting helps extend the hours of use into the cool evenings. To tie the house and garden together, Trish and Pat designed the railing around the gazebo to match a new balcony on the home. The finishing touch was provided by their son, Mason, who painted four triangular canvases and mounted them on the gazebo's ceiling. Playing off the water theme, Mason painted a crane-and-fish motif. The artwork dresses up the structure and also prevents birds from roosting in the rafters.

Trish and Pat can now steal away for a quiet outdoor dinner for two or bring in the extended family for other events. "It seems like now, whenever our relatives want to have a wedding or party, we are voted to be the hosts," Trish says, "because we have the best yard for entertaining--and living!"

Everything in its Place

Deciding on just the right spot to put your gazebo is every bit as important as selecting its style. So before you start construction, take a few minutes to consider the needs of your family and your landscape.

  • Up close and personal--Building a gazebo near the home is a nice way to ease the transition between house and garden. Its convenience makes it a popular spot during parties or for family meals. When built on a deck or patio, it is an accessible outdoor place for elderly or disabled homeowners.
  • In the middle--When placed in the center of the yard or garden, a gazebo becomes a respite from the summer sun and might even offer a view in every direction. It's far enough away from the home to provide a quick escape and close enough to be convenient.
  • In the distance--When placed at the far end of the property, a gazebo makes a peaceful haven from hectic home life. If you have a large lot and don't seem to utilize the back of the property, placing an inviting structure at the far end can draw you out and make your garden live larger.

"Creating a Garden Getaway" is from the July 2003 issue of Southern Living.