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How to build a gazebo [Table of contents below]

Footing and Post Layout

This gazebo has been designed with eight posts concreted into the ground rather than bolted to a concrete slab or timber floor. This means that a floor is not necessary, since grass will do quite nicely for a floor. However if you prefer a floor of some description, then concrete, tiles, slate, or timber can easily be added later without compromising the structure of the gazebo.

As the posts are to be concreted into the ground, no other bracing is required for the gazebo. Any arches or corbels (the fancy bits between the posts and the head beams) are solely decorative rather than structural.

The setting out of the eight posts is the most crucial requirement of this project. It is important to spend time on this and to do it properly. This is how:

Making a footing and post template

Find or create an area of even ground where you intend to construct the gazebo. The area should have at least a 3000mm diameter to give you room to work.

Make a template for the footing holes and posts out of four straight pieces of timber 100mm wide, 25mm thick and 2156mm long. The width and thickness of the timber are not important, however the length (2156mm) must be measured correctly. The type of timber is not particularly important either, as this template will be discarded once the posts have been concreted into the ground.

Measure carefully and mark the centers of each piece of timber (fig 1) and drill a 3.5mm diameter hole all the way through the center mark.

gazebo layout

Stack the four pieces of timber on top of one another. Hammer a nail (100mm x 3.5mm) into the center hole and through the four pieces of timber we will call the template boards.

Fan the template boards out using the nail in the middle as the axis pivot (fig 2). Rotate the timber template boards around until all ends are all an equal distance apart. Each piece of timber should be at 45 degrees to one another.

Get eight timber fillets (approximately 1100mmx50mmx25mm). These measurements are not crucial, as the timber fillets will only be used to brace and hold the template boards in place.
Lay the fillets on top of the template boards about 300mm in from the end (fig 2) and clamp the fillets to the template boards. Double check that ends of the template boards are all equal distances apart. If not, loosen the clamps and make any necessary adjustments. You have now built your template.

Place the template flat on the ground where you are to build the gazebo.

Once the template is in place you can then mark out the footing hole positions.

gazebo post positions

Mark out each of the eight footings with a spray can, using the dimensions as in drawing, i.e. 350mm diameter and set back 125mm from the end of each template board.(See drawing.)

When all eight footings are marked the template can then be removed to allow for hole digging. Dig all holes 500mm deep.

Before any concrete work commences, make sure all your posts are in a handy position. The posts will be sawn treated pine, 100mmx100mm and 2800mm long, i.e. slightly longer than needed, but the tops can be trimmed when the concrete is hard. Once holes are dug, place the template back into its original position and check once again that the ends of the template boards are equal distance apart.

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