How to Build a Gazebo

How to Build a Gazebo

How to Build a Gazebo

Many people build gazebos in their yards or fields for holding dinners and gatherings. Your gazebo can be plain or complex depending on your skill and imagination.

Required Materials

  •  2×4” building stock
  •  4×4” post stock
  •  2×10” joist stock
  •  pre-cut stairs
  •  columns
  •  deck stock
  •  joist hangers
  •  post anchors
  •  roof decking
  •  shingles
  •  railings
  •  cement
  •  foundation tubes
  •   sand
  •  water

Required Tools

  •  hammer
  •   nails
  •   table saw
  •  circular saw
  •   drill and bits
  •  portable cement mixer
  •  shovel
  •  chalk
  •  string
  •  stakes
  •  pencil/paper
  •  power cords
  •  eye protection
  •  2 ladders


1. Design – A gazebo can be of any shape, although most people picture gazebos as circles or pentagons. The steps are essentially the same for a rectangular or circular gazebo. A circular gazebo will require a bit more attention when measuring and cutting.

2. Layout – Find the center of your circular gazebo. Drive a stake to mark the center and attach a string. Use the string to rotate through the circle, driving a stake for each foundation location (the bigger the gazebo, the more foundation holes you will need). Boards that are 8-10” long usually require a foundation location at the end of each board.

3. Foundations – Even though a gazebo is a free-standing structure, you may need a permit. You should check with your local registry for requirements. Dig the required foundation holes. If a frost line is applicable, dig to a depth below it’s usually about 4”. Place the foundation cone in the hole so that it rests 3” or so below the surface. Mix the cement and fill the foundation tube. As the cement dries, place a post anchor into the cement. Repeat for all foundation holes.  Attach your posts to the foundations, checking that they are all level. Use a joist and level if necessary.

4. Framing – Attach joist hangers to the posts and check that they are level at every step. Install 2×10” floor joists and again check that everything is level. For a larger gazebo, a more complex framing system may be needed. For a smaller gazebo, a single intermediate cross brace will be needed for lateral stability between the main floor joists.

5. Decking and Columns – Install floor decking, leaving a nail’s width between boards for drainage and possible swelling. Install columns at all foundation points. Toenail the columns to the foundation points and decking. If there is no attachment point at the top of the column, install a piece of wood to better accept facing boards and roof joists.

6. Roof Frame – Use a pole to raise the roof key block. Cut joists to length and nail to column top and key block. A few extra pairs of hands and an extra ladder or two will enable three joist to be connected at the same time to the key block and columns. Several cross braces may be needed to complete the roof framing.

7. Railings and Roof – Each locality may have different building codes, but railings generally come in stock sizes and lengths. You may choose to build your own railings, but pre-built railings are a real time-saver. Roofing materials consist of plywood, a membrane-like roofing paper, and asphalt shingles. A gazebo roof is a difficult item to cover. Make sure your measuring tape is handy and measure everything a few times. Angles can get confusing as you go about cutting plywood and paper. Nail everything down well.

Tips and Warnings

  •  Be careful when climbing ladders and navigating the roof of the gazebo. If possible, have an extra person around to hold the ladder and spot you while you are climbing. For more information on How to Build a Gazebo, read:

How to Build a Gazebo


  1. one
    Comment by Heath: Aug 26, 2012 at 6:57 PM

    Gazebos are a great idea for extra shade in the garden, plus they look so stylish!

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