Well it looks like the heatwave is well and truly over, and we’re back to a normal British summer combining sunshine, clouds and rain. For some it’s a relief, for others it’s a shame. But however you feel about the super-hot spring and summer we’ve just experienced, the return of rain means it makes sense to place your chiminea somewhere sheltered… but never, ever so sheltered that the fumes from it can’t safely escape. You need an open-sided structure, and that means pergolas and gazebos.
What is the difference between pergolas and gazebos?
You’ve heard of pergolas. You’ve come across gazebos. But what, exactly, are they and what’s the difference? We thought we’d look at the pergola and the gazebo, what they are, and how to make the most of them for alfresco fun in your garden.
What is a pergola?
The word pergola comes from the Latin word pergula, which is simply a projecting eave. These days it means an arched garden structure made of a framework, often covered with climbing or trailing plants. A popular garden feature, it can create a cool, shady passage-way or place to sit, with vertical posts or pillars supporting crossbeams and a pretty open lattice for vines and climbing plants to attach to.
Some people don’t plant greenery over their pergola. They leave the wood plain, then drape fabrics over the top to create a sort of outdoor room, shaded from the sun. The ‘roof’ area can be left open or swagged with curtains, fitted with a sheet of weather-proof material or overgrown with beautiful vines to make a cool, green haven from the sun. You can even add hanging baskets crammed with glorious flower arrangements. Your only challenge is making sure you chim is kept away from all of this flammable wonderfulness and not setting the whole thing on fire. It’s just a matter of common sense.
If you want your petgola to look fabulous all year round, plant it with evergreen climbing plants to create lush year-round greenery and scatter deciduous planting here and there for extra oomph in spring and summer. Scented vines are wonderful, as are exotic flowering climbers. If the weather’s warm enough and you love sleeping outdoors, a large pergola can easily become a stunning four poster bed in your garden.
What is a gazebo?
A gazebo is a small outdoor building that gives a wide view of the surrounding garden. In stately homes they’re scattered around vast gardens, often on top of rolling hills with views across water to the house itself. Sometimes they’re octagonal or turret-shaped, often frilly and intricate with highly decorative railings. Think mini-bandstand and you get the picture.
For extra privacy, you can stand tall potted plants around the edge of your gazebo. You can plant flowering climbers and trailers too, which will eventually grow around the railings, and highly scented climbers are even better, things like apple-scented evergreen clematis, grapevines and and chocolate scented creepers.
If the sun’s annoying or too hot, you can drape pretty voile net around the edges to shelter the inside and keep insects at bay.
Again, your challenge is to create an attractive and comfortable sheltered space for your chiminea without setting everything on fire or smothering yourself with fumes. It’s all about being sensible and careful, something that’s often a lot easier when there are no kids running around!
As you can imagine, solar lights make a gazebo or a pergola into a stunning fairy tale for outdoor parties and celebrations. You can paint it any shade you like, of course – bright pink, sky blue, sunset orange… and you can even decorate pergolas and gazebos with Xmas baubles and lights for seasonal garden décor drama.