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Home improvement: build your own pergola in 9 steps

Amy Buxton Amy Buxton
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Building your own pergola or gazebo is a surprisingly easy endeavour, provided you're prepared.

The construction of a garden gazebo can be a challenge, requiring logistical, organisational and technical skills. However, the completed installation inspires pride and brings a lot of satisfaction, not to mention a new element of style to your garden! 

Keep your gazebo modest in size and there will be no need for any building permissions, leaving you to focus on the important elements of good design, supply of necessary materials and tools and maintaining a lot of enthusiasm while you complete the project! 

Follow our tips and see how easy it could be to transform your garden!

Choose where to build it

First things first; let's make a decision about where you actually want to place your gazebo. From here you can start considering size, style and everything else! You will no doubt have a spot that you have already pictured a new addition fitting into perfectly, so go out, have a wander around your outdoor space and make sure you are happy with the proposed location.

We love this gazebo from Ecospace España, but given the size of it, you'd have to be sure that you could easily accommodate it and not sacrifice your whole garden.

Select the style you want

 Garden  by Ogrodowy Salon
Ogrodowy Salon

Pergola Tours

Ogrodowy Salon

When you know where you are going to put your new gazebo, you can start thinking about the styles that you really like. Do you want something more open, like this example, or are you keen to build something a little more enclosed? Perhaps you could also start thinking about the colour.

For every garden, there will be a perfect gazebo design, so really think about what you want to look out onto and go from there. There is no need to compromise too much and if you are feeling adventurous, maybe you could design something totally from scratch.

Make sure you have the necessary tools and materials

When getting to grips with a new gazebo build, you need to make sure that you are fully prepared before you start, otherwise the project will take far longer and be more disjointed! With this in mind, you need to make sure that you have all the materials you need, as well as the right tools for the job!

Make a list of everything you will need to complete the gazebo build from start to finish and make sure that you have absolutely everything before you start. That way, when you build up some momentum, you won't have to stop to pop to the DIY store!

Get your wood right

 Garden  by Tabary Le Lay
Tabary Le Lay

Un CUBE dans mon jardin

Tabary Le Lay

If you've decided to use wood in your gazebo, as most of you will have, you need to be sure that you have chosen a suitably hardy and weatherproof variety. Soft pine and wood that is good for interior detailing will not be suitable at all, as it will quickly soak up water and become rotten.

Most gazebos have at least a little wood in them and traditionally, would be all wood, so choosing the perfect hardy material will be vital. If you are unsure, ask an expert in your local DIY store and get some advice, but don't forget to treat your wood anyway, as an extra level of protection!

Build solid foundations

Even a small, temporary item like a gazebo will need to be built on top of solid foundations, especially if it is going to have to support the weight of a heavy structure! The last thing you want is to spend a weekend putting up a fabulous new gazebo only to watch it sink into the grass after the first rainy day, which we are prone to here in the UK!

A small concrete pad will be a quick and simple thing to lay, so don't worry that you need to be a construction expert to get it right. There are even a host of instructional videos on the internet showing you how to do it. Simple!

Take it one wall at a time

 Garden  by homify
homify

Abri de jardin OUTZEN

homify

This might sound like silly advice, but do take heed of it, as if you start trying to do too much too quickly, the structure might run away from you slightly and end up falling apart before you have secured it all. 

When you are adding a pretty new structure to your garden, the key is to be patient, conscientious and if possible, assisted by someone who can hold panels in place for you while they are secured. With a good foundation poured and set, you should be able to attack the gazebo building with a logical mindset, with the floor supporting one wall at a time, while you make sure it is perfectly fixed. We know you are keen to see it finished, but don't rush!

Think about your entrance

If you've been working through your gazebo building project logically, your supporting floor will be down, followed by your walls and then you can begin thinking about the entrance. Are you going to fit a door, will it be totally open, or will you have drapes?

Whatever you decide, you will be best positioned to make it a reality once all the supporting walls are up, as before then, measurements might not be accurate! We like our gazebos super open and inviting, so wouldn't look to add any kind of door, but if this is something you plan to maintain and keep for years, you might want to add one so as to add an element of storage potential, for garden furniture.

Get creative with the roof design

So what have we managed to tick off the list now? Foundations, walls and openings, so there really is one important factor to start talking about and that's the roof! While not all gazebos will have a roof to speak of, those that do always look great when something a little more stylish than basic has been added. 

We love this shallow pitched roof, as it helps to make the inside feel large and airy, but it also adds an element of weatherproofing that could be invaluable in the UK climate! There's nothing worse than sitting down to an al fresco meal, only to have the heavens open, so if you can spare the time, we think a roof is a great idea!

Lay a complementary floor

 Garden  by homify
homify

Abri de jardin KUBHOME

homify

If you are finishing the inside of your garden gazebo like a summer house and making it a fully functioning extra room, we don't think you can afford to overlook the floor that you have. We're not talking about the structural floor here, we mean adding something that looks great and matches the rest of the styling!

A simple wooden floor will be the perfect finishing touch and will add a certain gravitas to your new garden addition, so take an extra hour or two and really finish it off well. 

You see? Wasn't that simple? We bet you are thinking about other garden ideas you can put into practice now and if you are, take a look at this Ideabook: 10 Quirky English Garden Ideas.

Are you tempted to plan a gazebo build for your garden? Tell us what kind of styles you are keen on!
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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