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Create an Outdoor Suite by Adding a Gazebo

When you hear the word gazebo, you probably picture a nostalgic scene of an intimate summer evening. A contemporary gazebo, however, is also perfect for the home owner who wants to enjoy an outdoor living area that's shaded from the sun and covered in the event of rain.

First used by British architects in the mid-1700s, the term gazebo refers to a pavilion-type structure that's commonly constructed in warm, sunny climates. Gazebos were popular in such classical civilizations as those in Persia and China.

Built in the late 16th century, the earliest European gazebo-like structure exists on the property of the late Elizabethan Montacute House in Somerset, England. A square brick-and-stone gazebo lies among the brick-walled gardens at Elton on the Hill in Nottinghamshire, also in England.

A small octagonal garden structure was located on George Washington's Mount Vernon residence. Thomas Jefferson wrote about such structures, which in early America were known as pavilions or summerhouses.

A type of gazebo, a pergola can refer to either a shaded passageway or walkway or sitting area covered by a lattice with intertwined vines. The word pergola means "projecting eave" and is of Latin origin. Contemporary pergolas are constructed of weather-resistant wood or low-maintenance aluminum, fiberglass or vinyl.

Whether you call it a gazebo, pavilion or pergola, consider applying some of the following tips when you create your own custom-planned outdoor haven:

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