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How to Create a Gazebo

By: Lucy Debenham BA (hons) - Updated: 21 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
How To Create A Gazebo

A gazebo provides a more dramatic focal point to your outdoor landscaping than a patio or deck alone. More than just a design element, gazebos are functional too. They provide a covered space for eating outdoors and a protected place for leisure and relaxation in a natural setting.

Some sources suggest that the gazebo was originally conceived as a place from which to "gaze" at the garden. Whatever the origins, a gazebo provides a way for you to personalise your garden whilst creating a sheltered retreat.

Gazebo Construction

Gazebos are a much less daunting construction task than a garden room or conservatory. In fact, there are DIY gazebo kits that can be assembled in a couple of afternoons or less. The work will require a few basic power tools and a ladder, but pre-cut kits won't need an additional cutting. It's possible to assemble a gazebo kit alone, but the process will go more smoothly and quickly with a helper (or two).

Of course, you aren't limited to kits, as you can have a fully constructed gazebo delivered to your garden. Or you can choose to have it built from scratch on site. However, the gazebo kit seems to offer the best of flexibility and cost.

Gazebo Design Choices

When doing your research on how to create a gazebo, you'll find a wide variety of design choices are available. Gazebos are commonly constructed using teak or cedar timber, with cedar shingles for the roof. If you plan to paint your gazebo, pressure-treated pine will suffice.

Wrought iron can be used for increased elegance and endurance, with steel and aluminium available as alternative metals used in gazebo construction. One advantage of using metal is the ability to paint it in almost any shade you desire. Vinyl gazebos are inexpensive and light, but won't last as long or look as good.

Roofs can be constructed with pressed aluminium (made to look like greened copper). Thatched roofs, depending on the design, can lend the style of Old England or a tropical beach, but may need higher levels of maintenance. Feather-edged boarding is an economical choice for your gazebo roof, and kiln-dried cedar or redwood should last for many years. If you decide to use softwood, it should be factory treated to increase its useful life.

The most common shape for gazebos is a polygon (normally six or eight-sided), but square designs are also available. Traditionally, gazebos are built in Victorian style and these fit in well with most landscapes. However, if your tastes run toward Oriental gardens, you may want to look for a pagoda-style gazebo.

Another point to consider when deciding how to create a gazebo is size. The optimal size of your gazebo depends primarily on how you intend to use it. For personal relaxation, a six to ten-foot diameter structure should suffice. But entertaining needs more room, perhaps sixteen feet in diameter. Putting a hot tub in the gazebo is becoming more popular. If you have this in mind, plan for space in addition to the size of the hot tub.

Find a Suitable Site for your Gazebo

Finding a good site for your gazebo depends primarily on aesthetic considerations. Construction will be much simpler if the area is level. Finding a site where the land slopes away on all sides would be idea. Beginning with a concrete foundation will make sure your gazebo stays level. By distributing the weight of the structure evenly, you lessen the chances that one side or the other will sink into the ground.

Other gazebo foundation options include patio stones or pressure-treated timbers. Depending on your soil's drainage characteristics, you may need to add a layer of gravel or crushed rock before laying the foundation.

A gazebo is much less likely to require planning consent. Your main regulatory concern when considering how to create a gazebo on your property is structure height. Pitched roof structures under four metres tall don't require permission. However, the proximity of your proposed gazebo to the nearest public highway could have an impact.

It's always better to verify with your local planning agency before beginning construction. Normally, the only remedy for a structure that does not comply with regulations is to dismantle it. You certainly want to avoid that possibility.

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