Build a Gazebo for Outdoor Activities


Planning to build a gazebo for outdoor activities is a worthwhile project. But, there are many things to be considered and decisions to be made beforehand.

History of Gazebos

The history of gazebos can be traced back 5000 years to the Egyptians. They were also popular with the Romans—especially the more affluent people. The Japanese built elaborate ones—sometimes called teahouses. In Persia they ranged from simple to very elaborate two-story buildings—even converted to tombs when owners died. As American middle class people became wealthier, they began building them in 1800’s.

They may be known by different names and designs around the world.

Types and Designs

19th century gazebo
19th century gazebo

Gazebos range from very small ornamental structures to large luxurious ones. Their use and placement will dictate whether they are functional or ornamental.

The most common construction materials are wood, metal, vinyl, bamboo and canvas. Redwood, cedar, treated pine seem to be most popular of the woods. Aluminum and steel are the most common metals used.

Probably, the most popular designs are the six-sided (hexagon-shaped) or the eight-sided (octagon-shaped). But, there are four-sided shapes, such as square and rectangular.

Usually, these are an outdoor structure that is freestanding, open-sided with a roof. But, they can be closed-sided for windows and doors to be used more seasons of the year.

But you can have a patio gazebo that is either bolted to your patio or sets on it. If it sets on your patio or deck, you want it to be heavy enough to stay in place in a strong wind.

Maybe you already have a hot tub or spa and want to enclose it within a gazebo for more privacy. That is possible.

Another type of gazebo is called a pop-up, which is temporary rather than a permanent structure. You assemble them for use and disassemble them when not in use. Some are easy to put up and others are more difficult. It is possible to rent a pop-up.

Location to Build A Gazebo

First, you need to answer some questions before you can pinpoint the location of your gazebo.

  • What is its purpose or function?
  • Available space that is fairly level and how much space? (No path of water run off during a heavy rain)
  • What style will harmonize with your existing structures and landscape?
  • Year around climate?
  • What is the budget for this project?

Building Permits

Check with your local building codes department to see if you will need a permit for the size and type of gazebo you desire to build. Also, ask if there are any foundation requirements. If so, get all the specifics on that.

Sometimes neighborhood associations may have restrictions that prohibit building additional structures on properties.

Method of Construction

You have made the preliminary decisions about your gazebo. In other words, you have decided on function, type or design, material, location, building permits, budget. Now, how is it going to be built?

BUILDING IT YOURSELF USING PLANS: Are you building it yourself using plans, which you may have purchased? Do you have the time to read and understand the plans, purchase all the materials, cut the construction materials to size, construct the sections or components and erect them? Remember, you may need to prepare a foundation too. Carpenter skills are almost a requirement. Plus, you will need on this project, at least part of the time.

ASSEMBLING A GAZEBO KIT WILL SAVE TIME: These kits are available in many designs. Each contains instructions, pre-cut materials, and fasteners, such as bolts, screws, etc.. When you receive the gazebo kit, everything you will be ready for you to assemble and erect your structure in the location you have chosen. If a foundation is required, that information should be included. Some carpenter skills would be helpful. Here again, you will need an assistant, at least part of the time. This option will require much less time since you will not have to purchase and cut all the materials to specification.

HIRING A CONTRACTOR: After you have reviewed your construction options, you may decide to hire a contractor. If you do, you could have it customized. And it may not be too expensive when you consider the time, money and knowledge you would need to do it yourself.


Before you can decide how you are going to build a gazebo, you still need to know the space available for its location, its function, type or design, materials, whether you need a building permit and other miscellaneous items. Once you know the answers to these questions, you will be ready to proceed with the best way to build.

Enjoy your gazebo when it is completed.

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