What Is A Gazebo?

Good question. There are various types of gazebos but a general definition would be that a gazebo is an outside structure, often octagonal, found in gardens, parks and public areas. Typically, they’ll have a roof, but some designs have sides and others don’t. They are meant to be placed in positions to admire the view.

They were designed to both give shelter from the elements and to be decorative or ornamental. They were originally made from stone or wood, so a permanent fixture, but these days, they come in a variety of materials, including poles and canvas, similar to the materials of a tent.

Their history is a little unclear. Traditionally, influenced by Chinese architecture and their temples, they were introduced to the world, by William and John Halfpenny, in their book: New Designs for Chinese Temples, way back in 1752.

Where they came up with the word gazebo, experts are not sure of. There is an assumption that it’s oriental because the concept of the gazebo is, but as we trawl back through the history books, there is no mention of this word or any word like it.

The most common idea is that it’s William or John being a little tongue-in-cheek. In Latin, ebo is the future tense. Because they were originally described as a structure to protect you from the weather as you enjoy the view from the garden, the theory is that they just tried to make the word gaze sound Latin and important. So that came up with gaze-ebo or gazebo.

What’s the difference between a gazebo and a pergola?

Essentially, they serve the same function, but structurally they are a little different. They are both designed to offer you a place to site whilst being sheltered from the weather, but only a gazebo has a solid roof, the pergola has wooden slats.

This would suggest that a pergola is better suited to protect you from the sun and are more common in hotter climates, whereas a gazebo could offer you protection from the midday sun, but also from showers and wind, which we’d expect here in the UK, throughout the summer.


Gazebos come in all different shapes and sizes, materials and cost. We have handpicked our favourites across a host of different types from waterproof gazebos to gazebo weights. We’ve also selected our favourites across a host of price ranges too because we appreciate that most people have limited funds.

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