You consider yourself lucky to have a sun-drenched backyard, but do you often feel like that picturesque canvas looks a little blank? Landscaping is a great way to jazz up an outdoor space, but it can be expensive up-front in time and cost. Maybe you’ve already got a pool or don’t want to or can’t add one. If you’ve got space and don’t know how to use it, is there one simple aesthetic addition that can totally transform your backyard—and in one afternoon?
The tall, communal space of a gazebo or pergola might be just the thing. Such a structures can provide an enchanting location to lounge and enjoy nature from beneath the shade of its roof. Contrary to what you might think, there are ways to achieve that look that don’t require calling in the services of a carpenter or artisan woodworker and like a piece of furniture, might fit in a box.
What is a gazebo kit?
Maybe you can figure out what it is from the name, but a gazebo kit is the name for a box or several that comes filled with all the materials and instructions you’ll need to build your very own gazebo. It might come with pre-fabricated and assembled parts that need to be joined and put together or it might be more complex and the instructions might call for assembling individual beams and slats one-by-one. You’ll get what you pay for in that respect, and the more intricate the design, the less likely you’ll want to rely on your own skills to put it together. You’re also going to have to have some of your own tools to finish the job, though specialty jobs might come with cheap versions of tools to help finish the job.
Where can I find them?
The short answer for where to look for such a kit would be online. “Big box” home improvement stores certainly may sell them, but even then you’re likely to only be able to place an order for delivery. Depending on the size and materials used, the boxes may not fit in even the largest of personal vehicles, the store may not maintain a stock, and if the price is significant enough, delivery may be built into the price. Your best bet may be to do some shopping around online beforehand anyway.
What do you need?
When shopping for a gazebo kit, decide how much labor you’ll be able to put into its assembly before purchasing. Some kits are work-intensive, arriving with holes pre-drilled in appropriate places but requiring more labor than simply screwing a handful of parts together. Some kits may be much more simple and depending on the materials, might not be truly permanent structures. If you’re looking for something that’s going to stand up to weather exposure and time, then you’ll most likely be in for more work.
Before the gazebo kit arrives to your home, prepare the space in your backyard where you’d like to place your new gazebo. It’s best to select a clear, unrooted area that does not have trees near its radius. It’s also wise to check your local building code requirements for outdoor structures before you begin construction of your gazebo to ensure that you will not require a permit. You can be almost sure that if your gazebo is going to connect to the house, you’ll need one. There may also be homeowner association rules to follow in some cases.
When the gazebo kit arrives, open the box and examine the materials to make sure you have every piece you need to assemble your gazebo properly. Though there’s usually a built in overage to account for some of the smaller parts, wood can sometimes be damaged during transport or a key piece of the structure might have an unfortunately placed knot that slipped past quality control. Make sure there aren’t splits and be sure to read the instructions in case there’s some outdoor acclimation that the wood needs to go through before assembly.
Each kit will be different from the materials used to the instruction steps to put it together. If you’ve got the proper tools and done the proper prepping, most kits (since gazebos are traditionally open on many sides) can be put together in just one afternoon, but it’s a good idea to work with a partner to make the work go more smoothly and to help hold parts together properly for assembly.
You can often find additional instructions and tips online for further customization of your new shade structure, but be sure you’re not adding weight to the roof improperly or removing support. There may not be much of a warranty, but it’s the safety of people enjoying it that’s more important.
One nice addition doesn’t often come as part of the simpler kits. Living in an area with a heavy pest problem might make placing screens on the sides a smart idea. Rather than add them yourself, it might be wise to spend the money you saved by putting together the kit on a professional installation. If it’s a less temporary structure, like a canopy or gazebo incorporating fabric, there might be netting attached or as part of a kit option.
Make sure you take climate into account before the final purchase. If it’s hot and humid, wood won’t last without treatment and tropical climes often mean windy weather, so making sure the gazebo doesn’t become a lethal projectile is also something to consider. Some kits may even come with tie downs, but even the best of home jobs might call for a safety check-up when inclement weather looms. If there’s heavy snowfall in the winter where you are, the gazebo you buy should be designed to stand up to it and not collapse under the weight of wintry white stuff. Fabric gazebos may fade and fall apart under constant exposure to salt air and the sun.
In any case, your budget and your needs will determine what’s best to buy, but one thing to consider is a gazebo kit for a quick fix to your backyard boredom blues!