Before you start

Things to Think About

  • Budget
  • Goal/purpose of your finished project - expanded living space, entertaining, private retreat
  • Size and shape
  • Location - terrain of area, slope grade, rain flow
  • Placement - accessibility (point of entry)


  • Call 811 for underground utilities (water, gas, sewer)
  • Check with homeowners' associations, insurance and municipal code officials on building, permits, inspections and existing requirements
  • Check the depth of the frost line in residential area

Tools Checklist

  • Hammer, Nail gun/Screw Gun (rentable)

  • Circular Saw / Mitre Saw (rentable)

  • Framing Square

  • Tape Measure

  • Drill and Drill Bits

  • Circular Saw

  • Jigsaw

Material Checklist

  • Above Ground Pressure Treated Wood 18-2x8x10, 21-3/4x6x10. 8-2x4x8, 8-2x4x10, 12-2x6x10, 8-2x6x12, 8-2x8x10

    Use Above Ground treated wood in applications six inches or more from the ground.

  • Ground Contact Pressure Treated Wood 4-6x6x10

    For use in-ground applications and within six inches from the ground.

  • Shingles 12 bundles #2 cedar shingles
  • Fiberglass Screen 100 square feet
  • Weatherproof Wood Glue, Epoxy, Anchoring Adhesive 1
  • Light Chain 6'
  • Hinges 4
  • Roofing Membrane 1 roll
  • Stainless Steel Screws or Galvanized Deck Screws 300 #10x3-1/2"
  • Galvanized Nails 6.5 lbs 1-1/2" for shingles
  • Bolts, Washers, Nuts 8 #8x10"
  • Plinth Blocks 1-2x10x12' spruce
  • Plywood 3 3/4x4x8 sheets of spruce plywood" storage box, cupola
  • Galvanized Screws 50 #8x2"
  • 6x6 post saddles 4
Location and Posts

Use environmentally advanced treated wood, Ecolife® and Preserve® CA for long term protection-- available from lumberyards in your area.

  1. Choose a flat spot, if possible, to simplify the build. With a gazebo's hip roof, building your own gazebo involves much work that’s not at ground level—you may want to rent scaffolding to make the job safer and faster. As well, when you’re working on the roof, a helper or two on the ground is really essential. Safety first.
  2. Dig holes so that the posts seat in concrete filled 10” concrete tubes and below the frost line. Position the saddles accurately (before you epoxy them,) so they’re plumb and square.
  3. Adjust the posts for plumb and square. The easiest way to do this is by doing a test run with short pieces of 6×6 in the saddles, in most cases, you can use the offcuts from the posts. Ensure to calculate for a margin of error (leaving an extra 6 inches on the post until the fitting stage). Check your own situation carefully before cutting. Shift the short pieces in the saddles as needed to get everything square and plumb, and then replace with the full-length posts, duplicating the adjustments made with the short stubs.
  4. Add temporary diagonal braces to hold the gazebo posts in place (keeping the bottom 2′ clear to allow room for the floor).
Floor Structure
Free Gazebo Plans 13
  1. Start building the gazebo floor structure by trimming the 2×8 beams and joists to 10′ and cutting the optional scalloped end detail (see figure 1C) It’s simply a 4 1/2” radius quarter circle, easily made with a jigsaw. If you intend to stain or paint the beams and joists, this is the time. It’s much easier to do this now rather than after the gazebo is built.
  2. Clamp the beams to the posts so their tops are about 9” above grade (see note below). Level and drill 3/8” holes to bolt the beams through the posts. For each pair of beams, screw or nail three short pieces of bridging in place (see figure 2).
    Note: If the beams are more than 2′ above ground, a railing is needed around it to conform to the Local Building Code. If on a sloped site, use longer posts and a railing on the downhill sides to prevent persons from failing.
  3. Click here to enlarge Gazebo Diagram 1.
Storage Box
  1. Cut the 3/4” plywood parts for the storage box and screw together (see figures 2 and 3). Before cutting, check that the box bottom does not touch the ground; adjust its depth if needed.
  2. Set the storage box framing joists on the beams and toenail in place. With a helper, position the box between the joists so that the top is 3/4” below the top edges of the joists and screw in place (see figures 2 and 3). (Hint: Place the box near the most accessible side of the gazebo, adjust the location so that the gap is between the deck boards and it aligns with the middle of the headers.) Screw the headers and the trimmers to the joists, then the storage box to the headers. Secure the short joists to the headers and the beams. Place the uncut lid on the storage box.
  3. Fasten joists to the outside and inside of the posts with #10 x 3” screws. Be sure to use galvanized or steel screws approved for pressure treated wood. Position the remaining two joists on the beams and toenail in place. Cut bridging to length and nail or screw in place: three pieces between the joists straddling the posts and two between the others.
  4. If you plan to enclose the gazebo with screen or mosquito netting, staple fiberglass screen over the joists, cutting out the opening for the storage box.
Free Gazebo Plans 14
  1. Attach the 5/4 x 6 deck boards to the joists with #8 x 3” deck screws. Note that you’ll have to trim deck boards to fit the posts. As well, the deck boards covering the storage box will need to be cut to allow the lid to open.
  2. Once the boards are cut, screw the appropriate pieces to the lid, with #8 x 1” deck screws. Remove the lid assembly and cut the plywood through one of the deck board gaps to split the lid into two manageable pieces. Install the handles and hinges, recessing the hardware. Two short lengths of light chain stop the lid halves from opening more than about 120°; if the lids open all the way they’ll tear out the hinges.
  3. From the offcuts of the boards that fit between the posts, cut four 6” pieces to project out on either side of the posts— where, without a lot of support, they need a solid connection. Drill two clearance holes in each piece and screw to the joists (the plinth blocks, to come, will add strength from above).
  4. Click here to enlarge Gazebo Diagram 2.
Free Gazebo Plans 15
  1. Measure 91” up from the deck and cut the posts off at this length. I also used the jig to cut out the 1” deep notches for the headers (see figure 2b).
  2. Cut the 2×8 outer headers to length, as in figure 2, mitering the ends. Set them in the notches and screw to the posts with three #10 x 3” deck screws on each end. Cut the inner headers, then screw or nail to the outer headers, followed by the 2×4 corner brace nailers (see figures 1b and 2).
  3. Cut the 2×4 top plates to length, mark the location of the gazebo rafters (figure 14), and nail or screw to the headers, flush to the outside face.
  4. Cut molding strips for the headers by ripping 10′ lengths of 2×4 to 1½” by 1½” (2×2 finger jointed spruce is a good choice, too). Rout a suitable profile, cut to length (mitering the ends), and nail to the header face.
  5. Click to enlarge Gazebo Diagram 3.
Brackets and Braces
  1. From 2x4s ripped to 3” wide, cut 16 bracket pieces, eight 32” long and eight 27” long. Cut eight corner braces from 2x6s, using the gazebo design shown or customizing your own. Note the miter angles in figure 1a—they’re not all 45°. If you like, rout the inside and outside edges, excluding the ends. Glue (with weatherproof glue) and screw (#10 x 3½” screws) the assemblies together.
  2. Drill clearance holes and, using six #10 x 3½” screws, secure the bracket assemblies to the gazebo structure.
  3. At this point, you can remove the temporary diagonal braces holding the posts and paint or stain the basic gazebo structure.
Free Gazebo Plans 16

A hip roof can be a real challenge to lay out, cut, and assemble. A lot of the work is in the calculating and measuring. While a majority of the calculations are completed that part, be careful to ensure that all of the cuts are correct, as it is easy to cut something backwards. Review the rafter measurements and angles in the plans. Each rafter has the same basic cuts — an angled end at the peak and a bird’s mouth where it hooks over the top plate (the hip rafters also have angled cuts at the tail end) — some key measurements differ with each type of rafter. The plans give you those specs. One trick to speed your work and improve accuracy: Each rafter tail and bird’s mouth is identical for all the common and jack rafters, so cut one piece and use it as a pattern. Also, the four hip rafters match one another. Work step by step, cutting and installing the common rafters and hips, and then cutting the jacks. Stain or paint the pieces before you install them.

  1. Start by cutting the four common roof rafters, as these are the simplest. Note: That two are shorter by ¾” (half the thickness of a 2×6,) at the peak end, because they butt up against the first two at the peak (see figure 14a). Use your framing square to lay out the bird’s mouth cut.
  2. Cut the flared tails on the rafters (figure 11). Screw the diagonal piece, making the saw cut from the corner of the tail end to the corner of the bird’s mouth, as shown. Put a screw through the rafter to hold it down while you saw. Number to cut pieces so that they match later.
  3. Hip rafters have the peaks tucked into the corner which is formed by the common rafters, they will need a double compound angle, (made by cutting from one side and then the other). For aesthetics, there’s a double compound cut on the tail end too. Ensure that you adjust your jig before cutting, as the pieces will need to be longer. Install the tail pieces on the hip rafters by gluing and screwing them to the top edge as in figure 10.
  4. Begin rafter installation with the two longer common rafters by toenailing them to the center of the top plate and screw together at the peak. Add the two shorter common rafters (note the position of their top edges, figure 14a) and then the hip rafters, adjusting them as needed to fit by trimming at the peak end.
  5. Cut the jack rafters, remembering that peaks for corresponding pairs must be reversed.
  6. When installing the jacks, keep a long, straight board handy to check that their top edges are flush with the tops of the commons and the corners of the hips.
  7. For the flared tails, snap a chalk line from the end of one hip rafter to another, atop the jack and common rafters. Glue and screw the remaining tail pieces, aligned with the chalk line, then trim the little pointed ends that stick out.
  8. About halfway up the common rafters, measure across for collar ties. Cut two (with or without the decorative bottom notch) from 1×6 pine and install with #8 x 2” screws. Measure, cut, and install the other two. See figure 14.
  9. Installing the 1×4 spruce roof boards will go faster if a helper on the ground cuts while you measure and nail. Start at the bend at the top of the flared eaves, work down to the rafter tails, then up to the peak. Miter the boards at the hip rafters. Note: The miter angle changes slightly on either side of the bend rafters.
  10. Click to enlarge Gazebo Diagram 4.

Safety Handling Practices

Pressure-treated wood has chemicals impregnated deep into the fibers. They should always be handled properly to ensure safety. Follow the safe practices listed below when working with pressure-treated wood. Specific work practices may vary depending on the environment and safety requirements of individual jobs.

  • Wear a dust mask and goggles when cutting or sanding wood.
  • Wear gloves when handling wood
  • Wash hands thoroughly with mild soap and water after working with treated wood.
  • Wash work clothes separately from other
  • Pressure-treated wood should not be used where it may come into direct or indirect contact with drinking water, except for uses involving incidental contact such as fresh-water docks and bridges.
  • Do not use pressure-treated wood in circumstances where the preservative may become a component of food, animal feed or beehives.
  • Do not use pressure-treated wood for mulch.
  • All sawdust and debris should be cleaned up and disposed of after construction.*
  • Do not burn pressure-treated wood.*

*Pressure-treated wood may be disposed of in landfills or burned in commercial or industrial incinerators or boilers in accordance with federal, state and local regulations.