DIY: Plans for a Gazebo

Overview

When it comes to outdoor projects, building a gazebo can seem like a challenging endeavor. This is especially true if you decide to build a traditional gazebo with a hexagon or octagon shape. But there are gazebo designs for all tastes and skill levels. If you are up for the challenge, a gazebo is a great way to add charm and interest to your outdoor space.

Decisions

Gazebos are great gathering spaces for outdoor parties or cookouts. They are also great just to look at. First, decide whether you want your gazebo to be purely functional. If that is the case, choose a simple four sided-design. If you want to add some additional flair and have the carpentry skills, take a shot and build a more geometrical gazebo. Several gazebo books will not only show you the different choices out there, but the plans and instructions to build it on your own. Also, gazebos don't have to be built from scratch. Several home improvement outlets sell gazebo kits. These kits will provide all of the accessories and tools you will need to build the gazebo on your own. While this makes the construction easier, these kits can be quite pricey. If you want to save some money and want the satisfaction of building a gazebo on your own, track down building plans that will work for you and start planning. If you decide to build your gazebo piece by piece, you'll need pressure-treated wood. Your wood choice is also important. Consider softwoods like cedar. Not only are they easier to cut and form, but they actual hold up well outdoors and repel insects. You'll also need plenty of nails, brackets and concrete if you decide to build footings.

From the Ground Up

The first step in building a gazebo is excavating the site. Your designated area must be flat and easy to build on. Next, mark out the dimensions of the gazebo on the ground. For a simple square or rectangle design, add posts into the ground at each of the four corners. Make sure the sides of the gazebo are equal lengths. Then use wood planks to connect the four posts. Once the posts are connected, lay out the grid for the gazebo and lay down the deck flooring. Another option, which works best with more geometric gazebos, is the use of footings. Footings are concrete circles that are created at each end of the gazebo. For example, if you have an octagonal-shaped gazebo, you'll have eight footings around the perimeter. One more footing will go directly in the center. These footings are created by pouring concrete through cardboard tubes. The footings are the base for the decking and where the posts will be attached. Laying the decking for an octagonal-shaped gazebo is also challenging because the wood must be cut at angles. Decking is laid from the inside out. Place a wooden octagon in the center of the floor. From the center, lay out angled pieces of wood and nail them into the floor joists. Lay out these angled pieces until you reach the end.

Topping It Off

Once the decking is all done, begin thinking about the roof. The shape of the gazebo will dictate the shape of the roof. For square gazebos, add a typical angled roof by connecting your posts with 2-by-4s. Next, lay out a series of rafters. Leave the roof as is with the rafters or lay out a trellis pattern over the top. You can even place shingles over the rafters if you want a completed ceiling. Other things to consider are the stairs and the railings. Add a basic step to the entrance of the gazebo or create a series of stairs that connect to the deck floor. Railings can be easily connected by running 2-by-4s between each post and running lattice work from the railing to the floor of the gazebo.

Keywords: Gazebo, Footings, Posts

About this Author

James J. Siegel is a journalist with over ten years of experience. He graduated from Bowling Green State University and works as an editor for a trade magazine. His freelance work has appeared in San Francisco Apartment Magazine and Meefers.com.

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