Two years ago we did a major backyard overhaul. One of the top items on my wish list was some kind of covered outdoor living room with comfy seating. I wanted to lay on the couch and read a book in the shade while the kids played. At first I was thinking a pergola. But the more we talked, the idea of an actual roof sounded more practical. After all this is Seattle. It rained most of last week, and it’s July! I was strolling through Costco one day, when I spotted the gazebo they had set up. It was love at first sight. We bought the last kit they had, borrowed my dad’s truck to get it home, and went to work getting the site ready.
Just for the record this is not an affiliate post and I am in no way being compensated for it:) Just our own experience to help you out if you’re considering getting one yourself.
Preparing The Site
If you’ve already got a nice level patio or deck, then great! This will be easy. If, like us, you want to put your gazebo in a less than level spot, you’re going to have some work to do. The spot we chose on the edge of our yard seemed relatively flat until we got the the level out.
Without going into too much painful detail, we built wood forms and poured four cement blocks to support the gazebo posts. Once the concrete was set, we built a border for the patio using landscape stackers- and we had to build it up at least 18 inches on the fence side. We lined the area with weed paper and filled it in with crushed gravel to create a patio. The gravel comes up to the top of the cement blocks. The gravel was a cheaper alternative to building a paver patio. I cover most of it with an outdoor area rug in the summer. If you’re looking for an outdoor rug check out THIS POST.
All this to say, building the support and patio for the gazebo was a lot more work than putting the actual gazebo together.
We extended the patio out a few feet on one side (top of photo above) because we knew we wanted to add some kind of fireplace in the future.
Unless your friends want to come over and help for a long time, we recommend changing the order of operations from what the directions suggest.
You can build each of the sections separately by yourself, and then have a work party to assemble the whole thing.
A few months after assembly, Peter bolted the gazebo down to the concrete pads. It’s hard for me to imagine the wind picking this thing up, but he sleeps better at night knowing he won’t wake up and find that it’s blown into the pond.
Now of course our gazebo is not just a gazebo, it’s an outdoor living room. I added curtains, an outdoor sofa, chairs, rug, coffee table, chandelier, and fireplace. You can check out my post on the finished space HERE.
This is our third summer with it, and so far everything is holding up great! There are a few small rust marks on the roof and one small crack in one of the cedar posts, but nothing too concerning. I will probably stain it either this year or next to protect the wood.
I absolutely love my gazebo- I would say it’s one of the best investments we’ve made in our home and quality of life. It allows us to put the cushioned outdoor furniture out in April and leave it until October (not something we could do in this climate without a roof!). Peter and I hang out out there after the kids are in bed most summer nights. It’s an awesome entertaining spot too!
Ok I hope that helps if you’re on the fence! Costco’s website is full of reviews too!
Check out my other recent posts on outdoor living: