How To Build a Garden Gazebo

Photo of garden shelter

A gazebo is a type of structure commonly found in gardens and parks that offers shade and a place to rest. It can be freestanding or attached to a garden wall. A gazebo can be large or small, open on all sides or enclosed. It is normally octagonal in shape, but in recent years a number of different shapes have been used as well. In movies, gazebos tend to be magical places that evoke romance. Installing an awning or a canopy on your patio probably won’t give you the same romantic and relaxing ambiance as a gazebo in the middle of your flower garden would. A gazebo tent, made of polyester fabric and metal, won’t cut it either.

Gazebos are relatively easy to build. In fact, some companies offer pre-fabricated gazebo kits just like shed kits. If you plan to build a gazebo, here are some guidelines:

  1. Location. Decide where you want to situate the gazebo. Do you want it right in the middle of your garden or against the garden wall?  Some gazebos can be installed on a patio or a deck, but never on the front porch!  The location will determine the size and shape of the structure.
  2. Materials and floor plan. Decide on the type of material you want to use. There are many to choose from including different types of wood, wrought iron, and vinyl. Remember that a gazebo is an outdoor structure and the material you use should be able to withstand the different climate changes in your area. Together with the materials, decide on the floor plan: 8-sides, rectangular, square, oval or a customized shape perhaps.
  3. Design the gazebo and gather the materials. If you are a master builder, then you already know what goes into designing and acquiring the materials for your gazebo. However, for the weekend builder, it’s best to choose from a wide variety of gazebo kits offered online. Purchase your gazebo kit and simply wait for its arrival.
  4. Prepare the site and install the posts. Gazebo kits come with detailed instructions for building. You normally start with leveling the ground where the gazebo will stand, taking out stones and rocks as well as plants. Mark the deck area according to the floor size and shape. Next, mark the holes where the posts will be using a posthole auger. Install the posts in the holes.
  5. Install the floor of the deck. Assemble the rim or frame of the deck and attach the joists that would support the floor of the gazebo. Screw the support posts into the rim of the deck. Attach the floorboards to the frame and joists.
  6. Assemble and install the gazebo. It is much easier to construct a gazebo using a gazebo kit. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to the letter as you assemble the walls and floors of the gazebo. Once assembled, attach the assembled gazebo to the deck with the appropriate screws.

Once your basic gazebo is done, decorate it as you wish. Add lights, plants, flowers, a bench or a rocking chair. Enclose it with screens to keep the bugs away. A gazebo is a nice place to spend lazy summer afternoons. It can be small with just a wooden bench, or it can be big enough for a band to play in during a wedding. Whatever size and design you choose, a well made gazebo is an asset to your home as well as your life.


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In areas of the country where the average summer day tops more than 100 degrees, even a gazebo made of polyester fabric, metal and fishnet screening, is a welcome respite from the scorching sun. Additionally, in areas where you are prohibited from installing a permanent structure, such as building a solid gazebo described above, these portable, removable, seasonable gazebo's work wonders on rental property or when funds are limited.

By Michel Hobson