Top 5 Tips When Building A Fixed Gazebo in your Backyard
Gazebos are a great addition to your home. They’re functional, giving you a lovely place to sit when the weather is perfect outside. They’re nice to look at and add to the aesthetic appeal of your yard. And, because of that, they can also add substantial value to your home.
Whether you’re building the gazebo yourself from some DIY plans, or getting someone else to erect the structure for you, there are a number of considerations when building a fixed gazebo in your backyard. We’ve compiled the top 5 things you should keep an eye on, from planning through to construction.
1. Make Sure You’re Allowed To Build The Structure
Before any work begins, you need to check if — and what — you can build on your land.
For many homeowners, there is little or no barrier to building a permanent fixed structure on their own property. Garages, carports, and patios are all allowed. However, there are restrictions on where the structure can be built, how large it can be, and most importantly, how tall it can be.
You may find it hard to find gazebos mentioned specifically. For example, Brisbane City Council doesn’t list gazebos in their residential structures approval page. But looking through the restrictions on other structures will give you a clear idea of what limitations may be imposed on your gazebo — or at least, whether you’ll need to bother asking permission.
2. Thoroughly Assess Where You Want to Build
You have a large, sweeping backyard. There’s plenty of space. You contact a builder and tell them you want to put up a gazebo. They come over, take one look at the yard, and tell you it’s probably not going to happen.
Or at least, not affordably.
Your gazebo needs a relatively level, flat area to sit on. If your property is on a steep, sloping hill, it’s still possible to put up a gazebo — but it’s going to drastically increase the cost.
Avoid low-lying areas of your property where water will tend to collect. Adequate drainage is key to the longevity of your gazebo.
Try not to place the gazebo near young trees. As the trees grow, their expanding trunks and root systems could severely interfere with the structure. Either remove the trees, or find somewhere else.
Keep in mind where the gazebo is going, and how that may interfere with foot traffic through the yard. Will people be inclined to make a shortcut through a garden bed to get to the gazebo? Will they need to walk on uneven or less than ideal terrain to get to it? The last thing you want is someone spraining an ankle getting there.
One of the most important things, which many people overlook, is to consider the function of the gazebo. If you want people to use it for social functions or a meeting place, you want it to be easily accessible and centrally located. Perhaps set it next to the pool, or near the middle of the yard, with easy access to the house so food, cutlery and crockery can be taken out for meals.
3. Research Styles
We typically think of a gazebo as a fairly simple structure — a floor, posts, a roof, that’s about it. But modern gazebos come in all sorts of styles, designs, and materials.
Homedit has a great gallery of different gazebo looks for you to consider. From the ultra-traditional to the ultra-modern, gazebos have come a long way from their classical roots.
One of the most striking — if perhaps counterintuitive — designs on the list is the glass cube design. Perfect for protecting you from rain while soaking up the sun rays, it’s certainly remarkable.
Or adding a gazebo as an extension to a porch, adding not just to the aesthetics of your yard, but your home as well.
Don’t get stuck in a rut of traditional designs. Sometimes a few creative touches can make the world of difference.
4. Be Careful With Your Foundations
Gazebos sometimes come with a floor, either in their design or in a prefabricated DIY kit. You cannot just place this floor anywhere.
Ideally, you should place a gazebo on a concrete slab. Whether the gazebo comes with a floor, or the slab itself serves as a floor, it’s the safest bet for security and stability. Unfortunately it also means calling someone from the local council to mark where your power, water and plumbing is so you don’t accidentally hit anything.
Gazebos that come with floors can also be set up on crushed stone pads. These can be easier and more cost-effective to install, and still provide good stability. The crushed stone pad base should be designed a good 12” wider than the floor of the gazebo for stability, and be built with a level frame of 4×4 or 4×6 pressure-treated lumber.
5. Use Roof Shingles For The Roof
Many gazebos in Australia are designed with thatched roofs to create a Bali hut feel. It’s an incredibly popular look across the country, particularly near the coastlines.
But there are a few problems with thatch roofs. They fall apart, they require a lot of maintenance, they often end up as homes for birds, and they’re a major fire hazard in many parts of the county. Considering the intensifying bushfire seasons across Australia, saying goodbye to thatch may be a smart move.
We recommend asphalt roof shingles for gazebos. Partially, because we’re biased — but they do create an aesthetically pleasing finish to your gazebo without the maintenance and fire risks. As a bonus, they’re suitable for almost every design of gazebo — unless you want a Bali hut or glass box, admittedly.
Asphalt roof shingles provide excellent waterproofing, will withstand the harsh environment of Australia, and will keep your structure intact for many years to come.