Wednesday, June 25, 2008

What to Do with a Gazebo

My home came with a gazebo. It sits along the edge of the woods and one is berated by mosquitos when paying it a visit. I wouldn't have chosen it as a garden element myself. Reminiscent of an old town bandstand, the gazebo is much smaller. It's not a comfy place to sit thanks to the bugs and lack of seating. The structure blended in with the woods and was easy to ignore. However, inspiration hit this summer and I am rethinking this gift in my backyard.

The first thing I decided to do was paint the structure white. Armed with bug spray and citronella I have spent about a total of four days in the woods power washing, painting, using wood filler, sanding and repainting. All of this has been between violent rain events. We have had incredible storms here in New England for the past week. (We've had incredible lightning, heavy rains and hail.)

The original owner of this house showed it with window boxes of annuals hanging from the rails of the gazebo. I am generally unimpressed with annuals. See my rants in this blog.) I also thought the white plastic boxes hanging off the dilapidated wooden structure with rusted wire looked, well...kind of tacky. Luckily, this year I have been learning a lot about shade plants. I am building my daughter a shade garden around the other side of our house. I hope to make this a garden with duplicate plantings of hydrangea, bleeding heart, hostas, jacob's ladder, holly and other plants that can tolerate the lack of light. I'll get in the color without the cheap window boxes.

The white is located toward the top of my hill that is visible from my driveway. The eye gets pulled right to the structure when one exits the car. Now I just need to get rid of the mosquitos and we'll be all set. (Do bug zappers really work? What about plants that discourage insects or some kind of sound gadget?)

Here are the top ten ways to make use of my new gazebo:

10. Create a sitting area. Perhaps making some kind of built in bench seating.
9. Use it as a woodland office hideout
8. Pipe music out here and use it as a place to relax
7. Put a mini fridge here to hold juice boxes and other drinks so the kids can get out of the sun when playing
6.Keep a yoga mat out here for another kind of quiet time
5. Hang holiday lights on the structure
4. Put a brick deck in front of the structure for a larger inviting sitting area for visitors
3. Put in a pond to the right of the structure and use it as a sitting area for perfect garden portraits
2. Use it as a pre-staging area for plants, potting and other garden activities
1. Purchase silky fabric that can be hung from the rafters during parties and dress up times. I figure this would be a great stage for the budding thespians and dancers in my daughter's circle of friends. As soon as the paint is dry we are going to bring down the box of dress up clothes and set up a dress up playdate!


Amy said...

What a transformation! I love your old gazebo's new look. Don't even get me started on those awful plastic window boxes...shiver...let's just say I share your opinion :)

Mary Ann Archibald said...

I love what you did with your gazebo -- so inviting.