Introduction: Log Gazebo
Are you looking to spend some time with friends and family in the garden? Good old grill party or just a simple evening get-together. No matter the occasion it is good to have some protection from the elements. This is where a gazebo comes into play! A simple structure with a roof is what best describes it. Of course, one can build it as complex as needed by adding glass walls, swings, storage, etc.
The one you see here was built by me and my brother in the summer of 2021. It took us around 4 days to build. Of course, it is far from complete. The gazebo still needs some finishing touches. The owner also wants to add wal l curtains for wind protection and the furniture is temporary as well. I will update this ´ible once the project is finished.
If you wish to see how the gazebo looks when it is completely done I recommend you also follow me on Instagram. I post other builds there as well!
PS: Please note that I am not a professional - I do this as a hobby. It was my first time framing a roof. If you notice any mistakes, please do let me know as well. We are all here to learn!
Step 1: Tools and Materials
For this build I used:
- 160x160 mm logs. These were halfway processed logs for building log houses. In total, I used around 30 meters of this material.
- 5x10 cm (2X4) lumber for building the roof framing. If I remember correctly around 60-80 meters was used.
- 5x5 cm(2X2) lumber for purlins. (50-60 meters)
- Screws and wood bolts
- Roofing sheets and everything that comes with it.
- Wood finish (should be weather resistant)
- Concrete (we used seven 25kg bags of dry concrete)
- Angle brackets (x8)
- 4 large buckets (for concrete footings)
The wood we used was Pine (Pinus sylvestris). It is the most common and readily available construction lumber here in Estonia. I can not really give out an exact number of how much this project cost as most of the material the owner already had. I reckon it would be somewhere between 1500-2000€ if everything needs to be purchased.
Tools I used:
- Cordless drill with different wood bits
- Impact driver
- Marking and measuring tools
- Chisels and a planer
- Hand saw, chain saw, circular saw, mitre saw, jig saw
- Angle grinder
- Electric planer
- Logging tongs
- Protective gear
- A crane with a good operator
- Concrete mixer
I have also added a picture of the gazebo that the owner used to have there. It was a cheap one from thin metal. They had to replace it pretty much every year as it was just so fragile. Building a gazebo from lumber might be more expensive and time-consuming, but it really pays off in the long term!
PS: The Sckeetchup file (and photo) are really rough - it is nothing like the final product. I do not really like spending hours drawing a project - I like to figure things out as I go.
Step 2: Cleaning the Logs
To start it off me and my brother cleaned the logs. I used a draw knife to remove most of the bark and my brother went over each log with an angle grinder and 40 grit sandpaper to make them look nice. Then I cut both ends on each log nice and square. I first used a speed square and a cordless circular saw to go all around the log and finished the cut with a hand saw. I was pretty happy with the results I got that way.
Step 3: Building the Frame
Then it was time to build the main frame. Half lap joinery was used to connect the logs. I really took some time to get it nice and I think it turned out great. I did also add wood glue because why not and bolted the joint tightly with four wood bolts.
Step 4: Starting the Roof Joinery
Building the roof construction on the ground was much easier than 3 meters high up in the air. I started by levelling the whole frame and adding two supports (for the ridge beam) on both of the shorter sides. It is important to get these supports perpendicular to the frame.
Then I glued and screwed together two 2X4 to form a 4X4 that would act as a ridge beam. 3 rafters on each side followed. I did not really aim for any specific roof pitch - I just visually set it with the owner. After that, I cut the ridge beam and turned the cutoffs into rafters as well. Everything was screwed together with 5x100 mm screws and I later added bolts as well. Although it felt really strong by then, I added two collar ties. I did not bother gutting birdsmouths on the rafters as they were only 2X4 and the frame logs did not have a nice edge.
Step 5: Roof Joinery Continues
Hip rafters and jack rafters followed. As it was my first time building a roof frame all the angles gave me a headache. I am not too good at maths nor logical thinking so I was left with trial and error. Somehow it worked out nicely once I got the hang of it. I used a string to make sure everything was nice and straight. I managed to build most of the frame on the ground. As I ran out of material and the crane was already booked I turned my attention to the corner posts.
Step 6: Prepping the Porch
First, we did a layout on the porch with a string making extra sure everything was square (measure the diagonals!). Using a jig saw I cut a hole in every corner for the logs. A construction this big weighs a lot and you do not want it to be supported only by the porch. It really has to be supported from the ground.
After the holes in the porch were cut we could set the exact location for the concrete footings. We used four old varnish buckets for it. My brother crawled under the porch and dug holes for them and set the buckets while I mixed the concrete and poured it. Luck me that my brother was so willingly ready to crawl under there because I am definitely too old for that. :)
Note that the ground under the porch had already been replaced with gravel and sand. Footings this small would probably not work on regular soil as they would sag. The soil under and around the bucket has to be replaced with gravel and sand.
Step 7: Adding the Posts
After the concrete footings had been set we installed the posts. The first task was to submerge the end of the log in a wood finish. It was some kind of oil-based finish that is normally used on log houses. This finish has to be weather resistant as the end closest to the ground tends to get the most moisture (from the ground).
Setting the posts was pretty straightforward. A little pad was added between the concrete and the log to stop moisture from rising up into the wood. Then we made sure the post was plum and attached it with two angle brackets to the concrete and with wood bolts to the patio´s frame. We also added blocks of 2x4 around the log so that the decking boards could be supported as well.
Step 8: Trimming the Posts
As I left all the posts too long it was now time to trim them. The lowest one was cut to length and all the other posts were referenced off of that. To cut the log I used my small battery-powered chainsaw. The key to making a nice cut with it is to mark the line all around the log and well, experience helps as well.
To transfer the line to other posts I used the straightest piece of timber I could find. It laying on one of the already cut posts I made sure it was level using a long spirit level. Scribed a line, marked it all around, cut it and I was done. This method is not the most precise but it turned out OK. It would be much better to use a laser level but mine was not powerful enough to be used in daylight.
Step 9: The Big Guns
I managed to finish the post just in time as the crane was arriving at 6 am the next morning. It was quick work as the crane operator was really experienced. To attach the roof frame to the log I used 300mm M10 wood bolts. One in every corner was used. These bolts would assure that the posts would not shift under the frame. The real strength would come from the diagonals I was about to attach.
My tape measure tattoo came in really handy as well making sure the bolts were in fact 300 mm :)
Step 10: The Diagonals
As imagined the structure was a bit wobbly. It was missing diagonal bracing. To fix that each post got two diagonals between the post and the frame. These were cut from the leftover material and were exactly 1 meter long. I started getting really nice cut quality with the chainsaw and it made me happy. The diagonals were attached with four big bolts. After these were attached there was no sign of the structure being wobbly anymore. Well, to be honest, I did not manage to add all the diagonals straight away as we ran out of material once again.
Step 11: Admire the Work
Unfortunately, this was the end of this project for me. At least for now. My summer was really busy and my brother got into a bit of an accident as well. It meant that the owner had to finish the gazebo themselves.
I can't describe how happy I am with how it turned out - especially considering it was my first time framing a roof.
Step 12: The Roof
To add the roof 2X2 purlins were added perpendicular to the rafters. The spacing between those was 400 mm. Everything was covered with protective wood finish before adding the roof sheets. Great in theory, but as you can see it did not turn out so good. The problem was that that the person, who installed the roof sheets was really inexperienced. He installed the sheets by nailing them in the low seam. This is a big mistake as water flows in there and leaking is inevitable. Also, the nails protruded through the purlins as they were too long. The correct way would have been to nail the sheets through the high seam.
This video gives a great overview of how to install a corrugated roof. It is also super important to follow the manufacturer's instructions!
Step 13: The End!
I hope this project has given you some ideas on how to build a gazebo. I am not a professional - I do this stuff as a hobby so there are probably some mistakes in the way I did it. If notice some, please do inform me as well. We are all here to learn!
I would appreciate your feedback on this project!
If you wish to see how the gazebo looks when it is completely done I recommend you follow me on Instagram. I post other builds there as well! I will also update this instructable, once the gazebo is finished.
As always, thanks for reading and see on next one!
First Prize in the