The Gazebo: Plans and Designs for Your Backyard

Building a gazebo is usually high on a homeowner’s to-do list. The romantic and serene feel of a wooden gazebo makes even the smallest back yard feel comforting. With the plethora of do-it-yourself instructions and kits available, even a beginner can build a beautiful outdoor space with little effort.  Since this is just one of several options of patio covers, there are some things to consider.

Before running to the nearest hardware store to buy supplies, there are several points to investigate further. Size, shape and color are only some of the decisions that need to be planned out before construction begins. There are a wide variety of available sizes and styles which makes it easy to find one that works well with your space.  If the gazebo feels too enclosed or formal, look into using a pergola to fit your backyard space.
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Here is a classic looking, wooden gazebo design.


The traditional octagon shape is the most popular option, but rectangles and squares are also highly requested (see below). When shopping for gazebo designs, you will likely need to decide between a four; six; eight; ten or twelve-sided model. The four-sided version is best if you plan to set it over an object, like a Jacuzzi. The other shapes work well for pavilion-style seating. Keep in mind that the ten and twelve-sided gazebos are very large and will not work well in a cramped space.


Choosing the right size is key to making your backyard look welcoming rather than crowded. An over-sized structure will look out of place in a tiny yard. Measure the proposed area carefully to see which shape will best fit the location. If you plan to use the pavilion over a hot tub or play area, be sure to use a kit that will give ample space for people to enter and exit.


square gazebo

Here is an example of a square gazebo that is screened in.

A gazebo differs from other outdoor structures because it includes a roof, ‘wall’s and often times, more detailing.  You’ll find this especially true when looking into Victorian styles. Screened gazebos, like the one in the photo, make for a great place to relax without worrying about bugs.

Unlike pergola designs, the gazebo will typically include some type of built-in seating. Couple this with your own patio furniture for plenty of seating in the open-air structure. For those that want the comfort of an indoor space with the feel of the outdoors, the use of mesh on the windows will make it feel more like an enclosed deck or sun room. With some paint and other detailing, you can fashion your gazebo to match your home perfectly.

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Wood is the typical material for traditional gazebos, but it is certainly not the only choice. The gazebo canopy can be made of various fabrics, like nylon, polyester and vinyl materials. These canopies are more common with the pop-up style gazebo. If you are unsure of which materials you would like to use, consider the typical weather for your area and your dedication to upkeep. While wood is sturdier than the fabric options, it will need refinishing and maintenance every few years. However, in areas with extreme weather, wood will survive the elements better than other options.

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vinyl gazebo

This is a vinyl gazebo kit.

If you are looking into gazebo kits, you’ll find a variety of choices, too. Wood, steel and even vinyl gazebo options exist. Much like the pergola kits, these are made to be easier and quicker to assemble. If you’d rather spend more time under yours than working on it, consider one of these (more expensive) choices.


Planning out your budget may be the least enjoyable activity when building a gazebo, but it also the most important. While it’s certainly possible to find a cheap gazebo, the trick is to have it look as elegant and well-designed as a more expensive choice.

Everyone has big dreams when it comes to home improvements, but looking at that ten thousand dollar structure is not going to help when your budget is half of that. Look objectively at your finances and decide what you can devote towards building a space that fits your yard. Fabric models will cost considerably less than wood, so keep that in mind if your budget is tight. We’ve discussed shade structures and shade cloth and how they can be used in ways that might give you what you’re after. Remember to include the costs of smaller items if you would like them, such as mesh screen for the windows or new patio furniture.

Once you have taken all of these factors into consideration, then you are ready to start shopping using your gazebo plans. Visit any major hardware store to get a first-hand look at your desired model and talk with construction experts. This will help you get a better feel for how it will look in your yard and give you the chance to ask questions.

Before purchasing all the materials separately, you may find that any of the manufacturers of gazebo kits have models that will save you quite a bit of work. Most DIY plans are found online and are as simple as print and go. Download the plans, then take the included materials list to the hardware store to make sure you get everything you need in as few of trips as possible – we all know you can’t ever make just one trip! Whichever route you choose, you will be on your way to spending lazy afternoons in the comfort of your own gazebo.

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