Gazebo shape and styles
Before you choose the style and shape of your gazebo you should consider how you and your family will utilize the structure. Gazebos can be square, octagon, hexagon, round and rectangular. If you are planning on installing a hot tub or spa inside the gazebo you should take a piece of paper or use a computer to place the hot tub or spa inside the gazebo to ensure that you have sufficient room to get in and out of the hot tub or spa and to place any additional outdoor furniture that you may desire.
Figure 4 - Gazebo with hot tub
Note: If you are placing a hot tub or spa on a raised wood deck, the deck structure will most likely need reinforcement. For additional information see our article
You should decide whether or not you will want to use the gazebo for activities that require lighting, such as reading, after the sun has set. Electrical power may also be desired for entertainment systems, barbeque accessories and a ceiling fan. Secondarily, you may want to have electrical connections for speakers from your home entertainment system and/or communications. Having electrical power available at and/or in the gazebo is best accomplished by a proper planed underground electrical connection before creating the pad and erecting the structure.
In areas that have a high level of insect activity it may be wise to consider the installation of screens on the gazebo openings. Many gazebo models have screens as options, but even with those gazebos that don’t have screens most handymen can produce simple screens that can fit between the support columns.
Gazebos can also be turned into enclosed structures by adding windows and a door, as shown in Figure 5, although in my opinion this negates the benefits and beauty of a gazebo as it creates a standalone building, a solarium.
Figure 5 - Door and glass enclosed gazebo
Permanent or temporary
Although traditional gazebos are permanent structures, new style gazebos can be erected only for the seasons that are applicable to outside enjoyment. These temporary gazebos, as shown in Figure 6, are generally made of aluminum and utilize a weather resistant cloth for the roof. The aluminum structure provides a “modern” appearance and aesthetically fits in well with the more modern type of brick home construction. The temporary gazebo structures are generally much less expensive than the permanent style gazebos and in many cases do not have a floor.
Figure 6 - Aluminum framed gazebo
Note: If you are considering a temporary gazebo you must ensure that when it is erected it is very securely fastened to the ground, deck or patio. Temporary gazebos are light weight and with the cloth roof become kites and will take-off in event the lightest winds.
A gazebo is an enclosure and while a few do have bench style seating most require the addition of outdoor furnishings, as shown in Figure 7, to make them a usable structure.
Figure 7 - Gazebo furniture
It is relatively easy to find the
right outdoor furniture to suit your lifestyle, design and materials of your gazebo. I highly recommend that you build the gazebo before you go shopping for the furniture to ensure that it will fit comfortably within the walls.
Remember that although you want the gazebo to look nice, it is also important that the furnishings are comfortable. You also want furniture that can stand-up to the climate conditions in your area. There is nothing worse than having to scramble to take numerous items inside when an unexpected cloud burst hits your home!
Woodworkers can build their own Adirondack style outdoor furniture from these free plans.
The plantings that you choose should suit your geographic location. In my opinion it is best if they are colorful and should be relatively low with respect to the railings of the gazebo, you do not want them to block air flow through the gazebo nor do you want them to be a haven for insects.
Selection of gazebo kits
Home handymen can build their own gazebos with these free gazebo plans.