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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 lumber floor. This means that a floor is not necessary - grass will do quite nicely! However if a floor of some description is preferred, then concrete, tiles, slate or lumber can easily be added later without affecting 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 10ft diameter to give you room to work.

Make a template for the footing holes and posts out of four straight pieces of 1x4 lumber 85" long.
The width and thickness of the lumber are not important, however the length (85") must be measured correctly. The type of lumber is not 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 lumber (fig 1) and drill a 1/8" diameter hole all the way through the center mark.

gazebo layout plan

Stack the four pieces of lumber on top of one another. Hammer a 4" nail into the center hole and through the four pieces of lumber 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 lumber template boards around until all ends are an equal distance apart. Each piece of lumber should be at 45 degrees to one another.

Get eight lumber fillets approximately 1x2 and about 44" long. (These measurements are not crucial, as the lumber fillets will only be used to brace and hold the template boards in place.)
Lay the fillets on top of the template boards about 12" 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 template board

Mark out each of the eight footings with a spray can using the dimensions as in drawing: 14" diameter and set back 5" from the end of each template board. (See drawing.)

When all eight footings are marked the template can then be removed to allow for digging the holes. Dig all holes 20" deep.

Before any concrete work commences, make sure all your posts are in a handy position. The posts will be sawn treated lumber, 4x4 and approx 10ft long - 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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