A traditional gazebo at one time would have been a freestanding octagonal structure that had a floor and an eight-sided, domed roof. It was open to the air, with eight pillars holding up the roof. It generally would have a bench that would sit on one side of the gazebo.
But these days, gazebos come in a variety of shapes. You can have one that is round, rectangular or square, with four sides, or 10 sides rather than the classic eight-sided configuration.
Traditional gazebos utilize wood in their construction. Cedar and redwood have been a popular option because these woods are sturdy and weather resistant. These materials do well painted or unfinished.
Pressure-treated lumber needs staining, but it’s a more economical price so it’s pretty popular too. But more recently, you’ll see them made from concrete, metal or stone.
The gazebo floor can utilize wood in the old style or brick. Additionally, concrete and stone might merit consideration. The roof might be cedar shakes in accordance with the classic style, or it could be constructed with copper or slate. And the roof might have just a single tier, or multiple tiers.
Often, the style of the house will be picked up and echoed in the choice of materials for a gazebo.
What Do You Envision for Your Gazebo?
Picture where the perfect location might be. Ideally, you don’t want it to be too near your neighbor, no matter how friendly you all are. If you can keep away from the sights and sounds from the place next door, that will help you to preserve that friendship.
If you’ll be entertaining and serving snacks or meals, you may want your gazebo near the house. Maybe even put it on your deck, patio or porch.
Consider a ramp for ease of access for those who may be arthritic, in a wheelchair, or using a stroller for children. It’s also handy if you want to use a serving cart.
If you add a cold-water supply pipe, you’ll enhance your ability to entertain, or simply to have a refreshing drink of water while sitting and enjoying the view.
Any furnishings should be weatherproof. That includes cushions and rugs. If you’d like to be able to store some of these in your gazebo, a bench that provides storage would be a smart addition.
Where Do You Want Your Gazebo Located?
You’ll want an attractive view from the inside when you are kicking back and surveying your outdoor domain. So think about the visual strong points of your property and surrounding areas when you choose a spot. You can have your gazebo constructed in your garden, on your deck or your porch. It can be up near your house or at a distance from it.
You don’t want to have your gazebo constructed in a low area or in a spot without proper drainage. Don’t have it built at the bottom of a hill for instance. Water will collect there.
You want an area that is at least level, or better yet elevated to avoid water damage, and problems that arise from mold or mildew. You’ll also get better sun, and a more panoramic view. This will also help to prevent mold and mildew from overtaking your roof
Air circulation at all sides and under your gazebo will help prevent rot and pest infestations. Keep bushes and ground cover back from the base as well. You should have at least 2 feet of space all around.
How Big Should Your Gazebo Be?
When you are deciding how big you would like your gazebo, give some thought to what you would like to do in it, and how much space you have to work with.
Do you plan to feed guests and host parties? You’re gonna need a bigger gazebo. If what you want is a more solitary private space, a smaller building will do the job.
If you just want a place where you can sit and look out over your yard, you might be interested in something like an eight-foot gazebo. On the other hand, if you’d like to do some entertaining or meals out of doors, 12 feet might be necessary to provide you with enough space.
If your gazebo will be less than 10 feet in size, in most locations it can be put on pressure-treated lumber or concrete blocks on the ground. This can be reinforced by the use of shed anchors. Gazebos bigger than 10 feet need concrete piers or concrete footing which has been dug to the frost line.
If you are one of those fortunates who never get frost, your footings need to be at least 18 inches deep. You can otherwise have a 4-inch-thick slab of concrete that will support the sides and roof while it also acts as the floor.
You will probably only need one entrance unless your gazebo is 15 feet in size or bigger. A structure of such dimensions will be containing a lot of people or a lot of furniture or other contents, or both. If that’s the case, you might like to have two entryways opposite each other to keep traffic from getting congested.
Protect Your Privacy
If you’d like some privacy, add some sheers that hang to the floor. You can get sliding lattice-panel sides as well. Consider louvered shutters for greater privacy, as well as protection against the sun, wind and precipitation. Installing screen will make all the difference in the world if you want to entertain in the evenings as it keeps bugs out.
Windows that you can take out and put back in when you want will mean your gazebo will still be good to go when the weather gets colder. Add a system for heating and you’re golden.
Will you have a pathway that leads to your gazebo? Consider path lighting and other exterior light options for night time strolling. Interior lights can also be useful at night. If you install an electrical outlet or two, you can plug in a sound system, lamps, appliances or a computer. Think about the joys of having an outdoor-use ceiling fan in the heat of summer.
Cover All Your Bases
You or your contractor will need to find out from your local building department whether or not you need a permit before the work begins. The local building codes determine the kind of foundation you’ll need.
Photos via Pixabay