Gazebo Building Tips
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Today, we thought we’d answer a question or two from previous articles, and also offer you a few tips on building or buying your own gazebo (or pergola, arbor, cabana, sun room, etc.)

Siting & Size

There are two major factors here, other than the obvious one that you need enough space.

Firstly, experts have found that the closer your gazebo is to your house, the more use it will get.

Now, you can’t get closer than having an attached sun room, although this won’t have the the same feel at all as a separate structure would have.

However, close to your house may not allow you to build or buy the size of gazebo that you really need, of course, and it’s also recommended that you don’t skimp on the size, as gazebos do make ideal gathering places for larger groups of people.

Materials

As we’ve already seen from many of the structures we’ve reviewed, gazebos, etc. come in a variety of materials, including treated pine, redwood, Dura-Temp and vinyl.

However, the best material, and the most popular, for these structures is cedar.

Cedar is not only an attractive wood, with a rich, natural colour, and the aesthetics are obviously important, but it’s also very durable.

It has outstanding physical characteristics, including a fine grain, dimensional stability and an ability to withstand the ravages of insects and weather.

Western Red Cedar fibers also contain natural compounds, known as “thujaplicins”, that act as natural preservatives, making this wood extremely long-lasting.

It will therefore last a long time, without the need for any chemical treatments (which is good to know, as we’re definitely anti-chemical).

The even, consistent grain and low density make cedar less likely to swell, warp, cup and twist than other soft and hard woods.

Securing Your Gazebo

Now, on to a question that Michael Walker asked when we reviewed the Treated Pine Pergolas – what stops these structures blowing away in high winds?

Stainless Steel Post BracketThere are two main ways of securing your gazebo, pergola, etc. to the ground – sunken posts or post brackets.

Many of the structures we’ve reviewed on this site use stainless steel post brackets, which you can see illustrated to the right.

These specially-made brackets securely hold the post for your pergola (ideally, in at least 12 places to eliminate the possibility of the post twisting).

The bracket is attached to your concrete footers using a wedge bolt, or directly to your deck with a lag bolt. The bracket is then covered by the baseboard trim, deluxe post trim, or simply a vinyl sleeve.

It’s important to note that the bracket is invisible once your pergola is complete.

Why stainless steel?

Stainless steel is a steel alloy that is made by adding chromium to steel. Its uses range from everyday items such as cooking utensils all the way up to massive structures like The Gateway Arch in St. Louis.

Stainless steel will not rust, corrode, tarnish or streak – ever! What this means to you is that, although you won’t see the custom bracket that holds your pergola, say, to your deck or patio, you will know that it is doing its job for decades.

Post HoleNow, the other system of securing these structures is to embed the posts in concrete.

First, you need to dig a hole that is one third of the height of the exposed post, plus an additional six inches.

Once the hole has been dug, place a six inch layer of gravel in the bottom of the hole. The gravel is to allow for drainage and to prevent the bottom of the fence post from sitting in water during a wet spell.

The easiest way to do this is to take a thin piece of wood (e.g. a paint mixing stick) and mark a six inch spot on it, then stand the paint stick in the hole and add the gravel until you reach the line.

Concrete is then poured into the hole, but you must make sure the post is perfectly vertical, of course. One way to do this is to nail a couple of cross-members to the post until the concrete fully hardens.

Building A Gazebo In Action

We have a couple of very quick videos for you, both of which were shot using time-lapse techniques, so that you can see the entire building process, from start to finish, in a matter of minutes (or less):

And Finally…

Ultimate Guide To Gazebos And Other Outdoor StructuresWe highly recommend the book, The Ultimate Guide to Gazebos & Other Outdoor Structures, if you want to learn more about building your own gazebos, pergolas, etc.

This is the one book you’ll need to build an outdoor retreat that perfectly suits your yard and lifestyle. You’ll find thoroughly illustrated step-by-step instructions with complete materials lists for the most popular gazebos, pavilions, arbors, and more.

You’ll be lead through the building techniques, as well as customisation options and using colour.

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4 Responses to ““Gazebo Building Tips”

  1. Hi Rae and Mark,

    I really like the video helping us to put together the “some assembly required” gazebos. Great post and very educational!

    Happy Dating and Relationships,

    April Braswell
    Dating After 40 Expert

  2. This is great practical information for the DIYer.
    Christian

  3. Bryan says:

    The book definatley looks interesting…but I think I prefer using experts like you for something like this..

    Sales Success Expert

  4. Dennis Perry says:

    I have always felt that there was somethng special about using your own two hands to create something magnicent. Thanks for these great tips.

    Dennis
    Create and Live the Life of Your Dreams

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