A gazebo is a very versatile structure and can be used for anything from housing a hot tub to serving as an outdoor dining room. Although it can be built in any style and design, complicated shapes like octagons or rounded structures require more advanced construction knowledge or pre-fabricated kits and don’t make a good choice for the average DIY project. Follow the instructions below to construct a simple, square-sided gazebo.
- Post-hole auger
- Soil compactor
- Quick drying cement
- Large bucket
- Fine-grade gravel
- Power drill
- 4 self-securing bolts
- 5 heavy bolts and securing nuts
- Plumb-bob or vertical leveler
- Circular power saw or hand saw
- 4 pressure-treated 90mm x 90mm lumber posts
- 10 45mm x 90 mm lumber planks
- Aluminium roof sheeting
- Roofing nails
Planning the Measurements
Determine the desired ground and height dimensions. Keep in mind that the gazebo should not exceed 4m x 4m x 4m to ensure structural safety and stability. Purchase the posts at a cut length equal to the desired structure height plus an additional 1/3 metre. Purchase four of the 45mm x 90mm planks at a cut length equal to the ground measurements with the remaining six planks cut to 75 percent of that length.
Preparing the Ground
Dig out the ground that will be covered by the gazebo, six to seven centimetres deep. Using the soil compactor, thoroughly tamp down the ground and make it roughly level. Evenly spread the fine-grade gravel within the depression, then use the compactor to tamp it down and level it out. Use the post-hole auger to dig four holes at the four corner points established by the desired dimensions, 1/3 of a metre deep.
Installing the Frame
First install the 90mm x 90mm lumber posts in the holes by placing them in the ground, centred in the hole. Ensure that the post is standing perfectly straight using the plumb-bob or vertical leveler. While one person holds the post in this position, fill the hole with the cement, which should be mixed and ready in the large bucket. Pour the cement up to ground level, and allow it to dry. Because this can take an hour or more even with quick-drying cement, it may be necessary to brace the posts using sandbags or another heavy object while the cement sets.
Prepare the roof frame for installation by creating a half-splice joint. This is accomplished by cutting a 22.5mm x 7mm section out of each end of the four planks that have been cut to the ground measurements. Repeat the 22.5mm x 7mm splice cut on the six planks that will form the roof peak, but only on one side of each plank. The other side of the planks should be cut to a 45 degree angle.
Once the cement securing the posts has dried completely, drill a hole large enough to accommodate one bolt into the exact centre of the top of each post. Mark the corresponding location on the end of each of the four roof frame planks, then drill matching holes. Assemble the four roof frame planks in a square on top of the lumber posts, making sure that their bolt holes match the holes in the posts.
To make the next step easier, pre-assemble the six planks that will form the roof peak, and include one side cut at a 45 degree angle. Do this by joining the ends with the half-splice joint using a heavy bolt and nut, but don’t secure the nut completely in case the angle needs to be adjusted once they are lifted onto the roof frame.
Lift the pre-assembled roof planks onto the roof frame. Then, use a self-securing bolt to firmly attach it to the lumber posts with the same bolt also travelling through the holes drilled in the square roof frame. Repeat this procedure at all four corners so the two outer roof peaks are in place, then finish tightening the bolts at the half-splice peaks once the angle has been set. Mark the exact centre of the roof’s length on the roof frame, and drill a bolt hole in the centre of each plank at that point. Lift the remaining pre-assembled roof planks onto the roof frame, securing with a heavy bolt and nut.
Finishing the Roof
Lay the aluminium sheeting across the roof peak and secure each sheet at several points using the roofing nails. To avoid water leaks, be sure to lay them in a pattern where any overlapping sheets place the top-most sheet higher up the roof than the sheet below.