Gazebos are pavilion structures most often found in gardens or large public open spaces. Gazebos come in all shapes and sizes and budgets. But at their simplest the provide a simple and modest focal point in the garden as well as being a welcome haven for garden visitors to shelter from the extremes of weather, be it rain wind or even strong sun.
Gazebos is something of an umbrella term that covers many garden structures such as follies, pagodas and rotundas. In the past and for many households today, gazebos are usually constructed as modest circular or hexagonal structures of brick and wood with bench seating inside an open-sided perimeter and a domed roof on top.
By comparison, the biggest and most expensive are exotic-looking colonial-style insulated, double-glazed, weatherproof outdoor buildings in their own right, that complete with the comforts of heating and air conditioning for use according to the season. A very popular project are gazebo plans or gazebo kits for covering covering your hot tub – hot tub gazebos!
Back to the outdoor gazebos plan and its construction. During the winter of 2002/3 a large self-build extension of two bedrooms and their respective en suite bathrooms had been completed.
The cement mixer had been located on an 8x8ft square of concrete that was once a dog kennel when we first arrived at the house. Not being dog owners the kennel had been knocked down upon our arrival and the blocks used as foundation in the garden footpaths.
This picture shows the base awaiting the concrete sections that would transform it from square to a more interesting hexagon. But I digress.
In March 2003 it was decided to break up the concrete kennel base. Big Mistake. My God! The 12lb sledgehammer just bounced off! The concrete edges were ‘investigated’… No idea why a couple of dogs needed a bigger foundation than the house! It was so thick, that anything short of a pneumatic jack hammer was unlikely to make any impression! And we weren’t about to get one of those either because getting it in would do more damage to the finished areas of the garden.
Some thinking had to be done as to what could be done with such a chunk of concrete in the garden. The solution was simple. Extend the existing square concrete area and disguise its mundane shape with new additional concrete ‘fillets’ to make a hexagonal base, then build a garden gazebo on top. Nowadays, gazebo kits are a familiar sight.Easy. Oooooff!
Unfortunately, the ground around the proposed gazebo site was so bad that I had to first improve it if we were ever going to have our garden gazebo surrounded with garden plants. So, the top 4″ of the remaining dead turf was removed and put aside. Next, the earth floor of what had once been a chicken house was dug up and spread across where the turf had been. Then it was all rotavated in, and the turf returned grass-side down and the whole lot rotivated once again.
Above: ‘Senior Management’ discussing gazebo plans.
Great slabs of blue slate had been discovered in the old gardens and the plan was to recycle them in the new garden design. This photo shows the slate slabs being ‘mocked up’ prior to cutting them and matching them to each other.
The blue slate has been cut to size, the edges sealed with silicone sealer and concrete laid inside and out to support the slate bubble fountain that will provide the sound of cool trickling water on hot days. The sleeve for the electricity supply is visible in the lower right. A recycled Victorian floor grating would make a substantial table top inside the Gazebo.
Pressure-treated gazebo timbers were ordered from the local builder’s merchant, as were the 4″ square steel ‘shoes’ that can be quickly and easily bolted to the concrete base for the posts.
A word about this gazebo design…
In the past, my own personal experience of small gazebos was they would provide the shelter from the hot sun I needed, but after a surprisingly short time, I would quickly feel chilled due to the solid roof that blocked all sunlight, so much so that I actually preferred to face the sun’s heat once more. As such I was determined to create a gazebo design that would not chill me to the same extent. I wanted cooling shade but I was at pains not to obliterate the sun completely.
Furthermore, since we were intending to grow plants in our proposed ‘gazebo garden it was decided to build an open gazebo design. The benefits of such a design meant it was cheaper, quicker to build, did not provide ‘total shade’ in summer, and proved to be a very useful wind break from the prevailing westerly winds.
Above: The slated sides are going up! Treated timber lathes of the type used for roofing were used. They are as cheap as chips, ready treated, and readily available at any builders supply store.
This innovative and economic design is easy to build and provides a solution that is both pleasing to the eye, gives dappled shade whilst allowing cooling breezes to pass through. In winter, the design helps to filter winter gales in the surrounding gazebo garden. Garden climbers have no problem meandering over this gazebo design!
A ring-bench follows the perimeter, windows face the new garden planting while a small submersible pump provides the ‘bubble’ beneath the Victorian grating table top. In future times, the grating made a very safe location for portable B-B-Qs. At other times the gazebo provided a welcome place for tea and coffee.
If you desire more grazebo plans to consider – or even a ggreenhouse, arbor, deck and shed plans to name just a few – why not try Ted’s Woodworking plans.