A lot of different outdoor structures are referred to as a gazebo. Very generally, it’s any roofed building that offers a view onto the surrounding area. But a gazebo can be shaped like a square, rectangle, hexagon or even an octagon. Simple ones, constructed from kits, can be bolted together in an afternoon while more complex ones, with built in barbecues and fireplaces, may take weeks of professional construction.
However you want to build your nearby getaway, you will like have to answer some questions before getting started.
What will you be using your gazebo for?
If you just need a roof to sit under while you skim a thriller and sip a tall iced tea, you won’t need a very complex build. However, if you’re planning to turn your gazebo into the football night hangout spot with a widescreen TV and a bottomless fridge of beer, you’re going to need to worry not only about where everyone is going to sit, but also how much electricity you’ll need and how traffic will flow throughout the space.
Before you start drilling any holes, think seriously about all of the ideal uses for the gazebo and what you can reasonably afford to do.
How much space do you have?
If you have a spare acre to putter around in, you can construct almost any kind of gazebo you can imagine, from a turn of the century country fair bandstand to an authentic Thai pavilion. Most of us, however, have limited space and funds. Plenty of people turn their carport area into a weekend gazebo setting.
If you’re limited on space, you’ll obviously need to work within the confines of those dimensions, likely allowing for space to navigate around the structure. Also, will you want a grill or cooler space near your hut away from home? All of these decisions need to be taken into account.
Are you going to be building your pavilion on top of a cement slab, concrete tiles or into grass? That location may help determine what you’re going to build as well as the materials you need to use and tools. If you need to bolt down a post to a concrete platform, you’ll need a drill that can easily bore through heavy materials. On the other hand, if you’re planning to plant beams into grass, you will need to not only dig holes, but also pour concrete to keep the beams in place.
What’s your style?
While a gazebo may not be as big of a personal stye statement as your house or your kicks, take a moment to consider if you want it built out of reclaimed wood or imported Brazilian teak. On the other hand, a more practical build of plywood and pressure-treated beams may be just right.
Point and Click to Find Inspiration
On Youtube, you can find a range of videos about building gazebos. Some DIYers give a time-lapse of assembling a pavilion from buying the lumber to staining the roof. Others demonstrate how to put together a kit in an afternoon. Even if you’ve never built a gazebo, you’ll be able to tell if this is a project you can comfortably tackle.
Improvising A Pergola
Charlie DIYte proves you don't need to be construction pro to create a custom pergola for your deck. His process is inspiring because he came up with his own design, sourced the materials from the local lumber yard and put it together with his son. Even if you don’t plan on building a structure like his (a rectangular shape), he explains why he made specific adjustments and some minor problems he encountered such as warping posts. He's definitely concerned about the roof bowing over time and developed reinforcements to ensure it wouldn’t. He also added mini gutters to keep water away from the structure. He also goes in depth into the bolts, tools and glues used for the project.
A Fast Build
If you want inspiration for putting together a structure quickly, Cedar Kings will not disappoint. Their under two minute time lapse demonstrates how they built a gazebo in less than four hours. From setting the posts to attaching the headers and installing the rafters. The finished, shingled structure is impressive, particularly given the time spent. That said, these are definitely pros who know how to use the tools they have. Unfortunately, they don’t link to plans anywhere.
The Kit Build
If you’re interested in building a kit, there are a lot of options to consider. Watching 731 Woodworks put together one will definitely get you thinking about the plusses of going with a kit. The boards are pre-drilled and stained and also set up for electric wiring without you needing to worry about breaking out the router. On the other hand, the particular kit built in the video is so heavy that the deck needs to be reinforced so nothing buckles underneath the weight of it. One of the biggest challenges in the build is sorting out all of the hardware and making sure it goes in the right place.