Costs and Considerations When Building a Gazebo

gazebo under construction

If you enjoy the great outdoors from the comfort of your backyard, a gazebo can be a great investment for you and your family. Outdoor structures like these can transform a space while providing shade and cover from inclement weather.

Gazebos are typically square or rectangular but can be easily customized, especially if you are willing to DIY or hire someone to build the gazebo of your dreams.

Even if you are planning on a simple design, there are many things to consider before investing in a gazebo. We'll go over some of the main costs and give an overview of the most important factors to consider when building and designing a gazebo.

Types of Gazebos

People often mistake gazebos for pergolas or pavilions. While all three are similar and serve the same purpose in some ways, there are differences that set them apart.

Pergolas are used to provide shade but have an open roof with boards running on the top. Although the roof is technically open, the boards are spaced in a way that provides partial shade.

Gazebos and pavilions have closed roofs that completely protect you from the sun, rain, and snow, but pavilions are typically larger and used in public spaces. Typically, both are built with four posts in a square or rectangular design, and the sides are left open.

Gazebos stray from this generic design and come in different shapes like circles and octagons, with steps and built-in seating, and fancier woodwork and detail.

Gazebos are given more creative license than a pavilion, and are often the term used to encompass any kind of outdoor overhead structure for seating.

Building Your Own Gazebo

If you have some DIY carpentry skills (or are willing to learn), you can build your own gazebo. This is the cheapest way to put up a gazebo in your yard since the materials will be less expensive to purchase raw compared to what a gazebo kit costs upfront.

Labor is another big factor when it comes to cost. If you're willing to do the work yourself, you can save a lot. It's not a one-person job, however, so you might need a buddy when it comes time to put it all together.

Do a walk around the site and think about where you want your gazebo to go. This is a personal choice, but there are also logistics to consider.

Make sure you have an open, flat area to build on. Patio stones, deck boards, concrete slabs, and grassy areas can all be worked with as long as they are sturdy and level.

If building on open grass, you can pour concrete footings for the posts to sit on, or set them on deck blocks. This will depend on the size and weight of the gazebo, as well as your climate.

You'll need to anchor the gazebo by screwing the posts into the base to keep it strong and prevent it from being lifted up or falling over in high winds. Make a plan before buying any lumber or gazebo kits, as the materials are heavy and you don't want to have to return them because you didn't measure the space properly.

Choose a cost-effective design without the need for a lot of cuts. Lumber is sold in 8-foot, 10-ft, 12-ft, and 16-ft lengths.

Always use pressure-treated or weather-resistant wood like cedar, acacia, bamboo, or redwood. Galvanized steel and rust-proof screws and nails are also recommended.

gazebo with roses

Where to Purchase a Prefab Gazebo

Big box hardware stores like Lowes, Costco, and Home Depot will have a decent selection of gazebos. These aren't going to be intricate structures, but more of the pavilion and pergola-style gazebos with four posts and various kinds of rooftops and accessories.

A 12-ft x 16-ft cedar post gazebo with a metal roof goes for around $3000-3500 at a store like this. Keep in mind that this will be sold as a kit, so you're still on the hook for assembly and installation, as well as making sure there is a proper foundation.

If you want something cheaper, a 10-ft x 12-ft metal frame with a soft top is sold for around $700. These materials make it more affordable, but note that the overall structure won't be as sturdy.

Depending on your climate, this might be all you need, but harsh winds, heavy snow, and other inclement weather will eventually cause this kind of gazebo to deteriorate.

Many of the tops can be taken off after the summer, but keep in mind that they are difficult to replace if they become damaged, especially if the manufacturer is no longer making them.

Check with local companies that specialize in building and installing gazebos, and ask for a specific quote. Compare the cost with large retailers, and shop around before making a final decision.

When to Enlist the Pros

You can enlist the skills of a pro at any step of the project, but labor is costly. Buying a pre-made kit and having someone else install it may or may not be cheaper than paying someone to build it from scratch—it depends on the design.

If you want a simple rectangular design, buying the wood is cheaper than a kit. For larger projects, pre-fab gazebos may end up being more cost-effective than having one custom-built.

Hiring someone yourself will always be cheaper than getting the store to set up installation services for you. It may seem like an efficient way to do it, but you often pay for the service of a middleman making calls to a third-party company.

You'll save money by doing this yourself, and will also have more control over scheduling the service.

You can also save on some of the costs by constructing parts of the gazebo yourself, whether it's a raw build or kit. You only need some basic DIY knowledge and patience to assemble the different sections or build parts of the frame.

The hardest part is putting it all together, especially the roof, which can be a heavy job that requires at least two people.

Picking up the kit or lumber yourself will save on delivery, as well, but you'll need a proper vehicle like a truck or large van. SUVs and minivans don't have the space to fit anything bigger than eight feet.

Gazebo FAQ

gazebo with table in center

What is the average price to build a gazebo?

On average, a gazebo costs between $500-700 to build yourself. This largely depends on the design and size of the structure, but a basic wooden gazebo will be the easiest, most cost-effective to build yourself.

What is the average price to assemble a gazebo?

Hiring someone to assemble a gazebo from kit can cost anywhere from $200-2,000. Low-end models that are simple to put up will be the cheapest, whereas larger-sized gazebos with a lot of accessories will take longer and cost more to assemble.

How much does a wooden gazebo cost?

The total cost of constructing a wooden gazebo will depend on the size and design, but you can estimate the total yourself by looking at the cost of lumber in your area.

Wood is the most popular material to use when building a gazebo from scratch, as it's the most accessible and customizable material to use compared to metal or plastic.

How much does it cost to build a 10x12 gazebo?

The cost of materials can be bought for as little as $500-800 for a simple wooden pavilion-style gazebo. The total cost will be higher when you factor in labor to pay someone else to construct it. 10-ft x 12-ft gazebo kits can be purchased for around $700-1200.

Does a gazebo add value to your property?

A gazebo that's placed in a good spot in the backyard will increase property value, but not as much as some might expect. It's always beneficial to add outdoor square footage to homes, and a gazebo can do this while also adding protection from the elements. Gazebos add to overall curb appeal, which can add value to the property.

Is it cheaper to build your own gazebo?

It's always cheaper to build your own gazebo since the cost of labor can be a significant part of the total cost. Raw lumber is affordable compared to buying a gazebo kit and hiring someone else to do the assembly. Choose a cost-effective design that's simple and uses standard lumber sizes like 8, 10, 12, and 16-foot boards.

What is the ROI of building a gazebo?

Return on investment or "ROI" on building gazebos is usually between 50-90 percent. This makes them a great addition to your home, and one of the smarter outdoor projects to take on. Gazebos can also be constructed alongside new decks and patios for even more value.

Is a 12x12 gazebo big enough?

A 12-ft by 12-ft gazebo will be large enough to host a regular-sized family and some friends in a patio space. Most patio tables are six feet long and can seat six people. For larger tables and other pieces of furniture, consider extending the size of the gazebo. 80-120 sqft

What is cheaper, a pergola or a gazebo?

On average, a pergola will be cheaper than a gazebo since there are less materials. Pergolas have an open roof with boards running overhead, whereas a gazebo is covered with either a metal roof, shingles, or weather-proof fabric. Both pergolas and gazebos can be built with simple, affordable designs in mind.

Which is better, a pergola or gazebo?

Gazebos provide more protection from rain, snow, and sun, but they usually require more space than a pergola. If you want an open-slatted roof, opt for a pergola style, but you can also draw inspiration from both kinds of structures when building your own gazebo.

Do you need a concrete slab for a gazebo?

A concrete slab is a sturdy foundation for a large gazebo, but they can also be built on top of decks and patios as long as they are level and can withstand the weight. The foundation must also be big enough in width and length, with enough space along the edge for anchoring the gazebo.

What is a good size for a backyard gazebo?

The best size gazebo for your backyard is one that fits in with the space. Large gazebos may look cluttered in a small backyard unless you want the entire patio space covered. Think about how you want to use the gazebo and then choose the size that will not only fit in well with the landscape but will also be cost-effective to construct.

Can you leave a gazebo up all year?

Some gazebos are portable, or "pop-up", and some are permanent structures. Portable gazebos will need to be taken down when winter comes or in any big storms. Permanent gazebos are anchored down to a base, but there may be accessories like mosquito netting or a soft top that should be taken down and stored away over the winter.

Is a gazebo better with sides on or off in wind?

For light wind protection, consider adding a fabric privacy screen to the sides of your gazebo that can be rolled up and down as needed. Some gazebos that you'll find in hardware stores come with this design already in mind. Consider the placement of your gazebo carefully in order to avoid damage from wind tunnels on your property.

Can a gazebo withstand heavy rain?

Well-constructed gazebos will be able to withstand heavy rain and wind. Materials that are durable, like wood, steel, and aluminum, will ensure that your gazebo can handle bad weather, but your gazebo must also be anchored properly. Pop-up gazebos or ones with fabric roofs will not stand up to heavy rain, snow, or high winds.

Does Costco offer installation for gazebo?

Most big box stores offer installation for any gazebos that you purchase from the store. It's best to call or visit your local store to verify as there can be restrictions on delivery and installation services in your area.

How long does it take to assemble a gazebo?

If you're paying for installation services, assembly of typical gazebo kits can take two people anywhere from half-a-day to a full day to construct. This assumes there is already a proper foundation ready and that the kit or lumber is already on site. DIY assembly of gazebos may take longer depending on the skill set and size of the kit.

Whether you build your own, purchase a kit, or enlist the help of the pros, a gazebo can be a great investment for your home and backyard space.

There are many costs and considerations to think of when building a gazebo, but if you take your time with this project, you can have some fun designing a cool place for your family to hang out during the summer.