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Building a Gazebo
Are you handy? Think you can build a gazebo from scratch? There are plenty of gazebo plans available free in libraries and online. There are also blueprints available for fees ranging from $8 to $200. The more expensive gazebo plans are architectural blueprints, which are much more specific and best suited to the experienced contractor. But a talented home improvement buff can make good use of the less expensive options available.
A good free gazebo plan is available from the Build Eazy website. There you will find links to complete plans for 5 basic gazebos of varying sizes and styles to suit most tastes and uses. There plans are free.
There are several things to think about before starting to build a gazebo. You will need some basic carpentry tools such as a level and a screw gun. You will also need a compound miter saw or sliding compound miter saw. These machines afford the angular cutting abilities you will need when fashioning the various sections of the gazebo. The sliding version is best for larger pieces of wood.
You can either bolt the gazebo to a concrete slab or pre-existing wood floor, or you can create the gazebo with a built-in floor. In the latter case, you will need to pour one concrete pier for each post. Contact your local building department to find out how deep the concrete piers should be, and whether there are any underground cables you should try to avoid.
Three kinds of woods are commonly used to build outdoor structures: pine, cedar, and redwood. Pine is the softest and easiest to work with, but it decomposes the fastest. Cedar and redwood are harder and more expensive, but age well.
Alternatively, you can build a metal or vinyl gazebo. But unless you have all the heavy machinery for fabricating the parts, you’ll need to buy a gazebo kit. These come in sections for you to assemble using the included hardware. A level and a screw gun are usually all that are needed. You might need help from a buddy, especially for the roof sections.
There are lots of options when it comes to building your own gazebo, and you don’t have to be a carpentry star to get really good results. And just think, when you’re done building your gazebo, you can sit inside it and just enjoy the shade.