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Build a Backyard Gazebo from a Kit in Six Easy Steps

If you have a large back yard, a gazebo will provide a beautiful focal point for your landscaping and entertaining outdoors. Depending on your level of carpentry skills and patience, you can find plans for gazebos either online or at your local library. This will require that you calculate the materials for the size gazebo you want, purchase the lumber and hardware, and cut all the pieces to fit.

An easier route is to purchase a gazebo kit, which provides all the prefabricated pieces you will need. Determine what materials you want to use (pine, redwood, cedar, and vinyl are the most popular). Pine is the least expensive material, but should be pressure-treated and/or painted; redwood and cedar can be stained, but this must be renewed periodically; vinyl will require no additional finish or maintenance and will keep its look for years. Order your kit in the material of your choice. If it does not include all the hardware and supplies (nails, screws, adhesives, etc.), purchase those at your local home improvement store. You will probably want to enlist the help of one or more friends, relatives, or neighbors to help with the construction. Then follow these steps:

1. Prepare the area where the gazebo will go. Clear away rocks, debris, and vegetation. If your kit requires concrete footings for corner posts, locate and pour them. If your kit requires a slab floor, this must be laid out and poured.

2. Unpack the kit when it arrives and do an inventory to verify that all the parts are there. Lay out the parts, keeping the floor, walls, and ceiling separate. Carefully read the instructions in the kit all the way through before you do anything else.

3. Assemble the floor according to the instructions in the kit. The number of parts will depend on the shape of the gazebo.

4. Assemble the sides, following the kit instructions. Corner posts will go in first, followed by the rest of the walls.

5. Attach the roof as directed in the kit instructions.

6. Once the gazebo is completed, paint or stain as required. If you have selected a vinyl kit, this step is unnecessary.

When you are finished, your gazebo will give your back yard the look of a classic park with a band box in the middle, right out of a Norman Rockwell painting. Invite friends over to share it with you.