Gazebos: Interesting Facts about Our Favourite Outdoor Structures

We Aussies are quite the outdoor loving bunch, aren’t we? So no wonder gazebos are an everyday sighting. You can find them in a variety of forms – from permanent structures enhancing the beauty and functionality of residential gardens and public spaces to portable gazebos providing shade for camping trips or outdoor events. They’ve become such a ubiquitous part of our lives that we rarely question their existence. So, if you’re looking for some obscure facts to impress your friends with, here’s some interesting information about gazebos you probably didn’t know.

Gazebos vs Marquees -What’s the Difference?

You’ve probably heard what you thought was a gazebo being referred to as a marquee. Both gazebos and marquees are waterproof structures used as outdoor shelters against sun and rain. However, there’s some difference between the two. For one, gazebos can be fixed and portable. Fixed gazebos are made of metal or wood and found around gardens, parks and public spaces. On the other hand, portable gazebos are usually made of strong metal frames and waterproof PVC coated polyester and can be used for recreational purposes such as camping. The main difference between gazebos and marquees is spaciousness. Gazebos can provide shelter for only a small number of people, whereas marquees are used for large-scale gatherings such as parties, weddings and commercial events.

The First Gazebos

The history of the gazebo is closely connected with the history of the ornamental garden. The first ornamental gardens appeared back in ancient Egypt. The Egyptians were also the first that invented the gazebo, some 5000 years ago. Although no remnants of Egyptian gazebos were ever discovered, murals found in ancient tombs clearly depict a structure similar to the modern gazebo. Gazebos were also popular in ancient Rome and Pompeii as part of aristocratic summerhouses built along the Mediterranean. During the Renaissance, gazebos began to be used as shrines and places for meditation and worship.

Middle Age Gazebos

During the 14th century, there were four large gazebos built at the Louvre palace. This resulted in the spike of the popularity of gazebos in many European countries. Particularly in England, where they soon became an integral element in Elizabethan gardens and were used for entertainment of guests.

The Origin of the Name

There are two stories surrounding the origin of the word “gazebo”. One version is that the name originates from the French expression “Que c’est beau” which means “How beautiful”. On the other hand, according to the Oxford Dictionary, the name dates from the 18th century and is a combination of the English word gaze and the Latin verb ending for future tense -ebo (I shall).