The word “gazebo” often brings to mind an octagonal white garden building at the end of a long sweep of green grass. While many do fit this traditional image, today’s gazebos are just as likely to be square, rectangular, or round. They may sit close to the house, too, to encourage outdoor dining. They can even be built right onto a porch or deck, patio, or swimming pool area.
Gazebos provide shade in the summer and protection from rain when the weather isn’t cooperating. It’s a great place for entertaining and having one in your home increases its desirability and may even increase the market value!
You can have one in your yard by buying a kit, but some of you might find this very expensive. A better and cheaper option is to build your own. This will require a lot of planning, but it allows you to lessen the cost as you have the choice of what materials to use.
You might not find the right design you desire if you choose to buy a prefabricated gazebo. By building it yourself you have control over the design and other details. And being involved in building your own gazebo ensures its quality. You’ll also have the satisfaction of being able to say, “I built that!”
Want your own backyard getaway? Why not learn how to build a gazebo?
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- Lumber – sizes will depend on the size of your space
- Thin Wood – roofing
- Metal Bars – square, T- and L-shaped
- Very Big Screws – long enough for the thickness of 2 pieces of wood
- Silicone + Tar
- Tegola Canadese – roofing tile
- Welding Machine
- Metal Cutting Tool
- Electric Drill
- Table Saw
Start building your gazebo
The first thing to do is to design your gazebo. You can use SketchUp which is one of the easiest 3D modelling software there is.
Since I don’t have the right tools, I printed some images of the gazebo design with quotes and gave them to someone that cut wood for work. It cost a little bit more than DIY but is cheaper than buying the tools and more precise than doing whit cheap tools.
The first thing you have to do is a flat floor surface made of concrete matching the desired size. This will be the floor of the gazebo and the anchor of the entire structure. To add strength to the concrete you can add some metal bars to the concrete floor.
Metal pieces used for the structure were recovered from trash and adapted (welded and cut) to fit the wood structure. To avoid water dropping inside gaps between metal and wood I filled the gaps with silicone and tar (usually used to insulate RV windows). I also do a hole on the bottom of the metal supports to avoid water condensing to stay in contact with the wood for too much time. Metal supports are covered and protected from rain by the gazebo roof so the bottom holes should not be a problem.
Put the wood traverse on the supports. Be sure that the traverse is centred measuring on both sides of the traverse. Once the traverse is right in place, fix it to the supports with long screws. I used a screw length twice the width of the traverse.
Countersink screws to avoid it from interfering with other pieces of the gazebo.
Now you have to fix the wood traverse a side traverse (tagged in the photo). As explained in the previous step, fix the wood traverse with the same big screws. Do this step on both sides.
The triangular shape is a very special structure of the roof of the gazebo. It must be flexible and sustain all the weight of the roof (especially when covered with snow). The purpose of the 2 diagonal wood pieces is to distribute the weight on the sides instead of on the centre of the wood traverse (a weak structural point). Actually, the centre piece and the traverse do not touch!
To strongly fix the diagonal pieces I used a metal bar that pass through the two wood pieces. When the roof will be covered with snow, the pressure of the weight will push on the sides (so you have to strongly fix the diagonal pieces to the traverse) and on the centre (in this case the centre will get closer to the traverse without putting pressure on it).
The top side traverse is where the roof will be fixed. Since it’s a very heavy piece I used some ropes to keep the piece in place while my dad was slowly pushing the piece in position.
The roof is needed to distribute the weight on the roof to the structure of the gazebo. I put a support every 55cm (21 inches). The width of the wood used is 4 inches. Every support is fixed to the structure with screws.
The first layer of the roof is made of thin wood. Its purpose is to support the watherproof layer. After installing it, I walked on to test its capability: if it can support my weight it ‘should’ support a lot of snow. The next layer will storm-proof the roof and will acts also as anti-slippery layer. I will use a very light roofing tile named “tegola canadese”.
Would you and the rest of the family be up to building your own gazebo? 🙂
Thank you derte84 for the great tips for building this gazebo!