Base for a gazebo – A good base goes a long way

Its almost time to have your gazebo delivered. Are you ready?  In building a base for a gazebo, it is important to use proper practices for a solid, long lasting installation. Follow these steps to get the most from your new gazebo.

Choose your site wisely

Many times you will not have a lot of options for the placement of your new gazebo. Most of you have a site selected based on proximity to where it will get the most efficent use. It is usually possible to construct a base that suits most any condition. The costs will be escalated by the more challenging sites.

When ever it is possible, try and choose a site that is mostly flat or level in the area the gazebo will be placed. It should be a high spot in relation to the surrounding area to allow water to drain away from it.

Most of the time your site is not going to meet all of these requirements, but try for a site that at least is close to these ideal conditions.

A Gravel Base is the most economical

This type of base is only for use with gazebos that come with a wood or composite deck or floor. Always check with your building department for their requirements.

To start off with a gravel base you will first need to strip off any sod that is in the site. You will surround the edges of your gazebo base with pressure treated 4 x 6 or 6 x 6 timbers. The gravel should extend 6 inch minimum beyond each side wall of the gazebo. In other words the gravel base should be 1 foot longer and wider than your gazebo.

The most accurate way to build this base is to install the timbers first. Mark out your gazebo base to dimensions that meet the minimum width and length conditions. Excavate and place your timber surround lumber’s inside face to the gravel exterior edge.

Gravel Base with retaining wall for slope


The placed timbers should be level and square. It may be necessary to use more than one level or course of timbers on a sloping site. Anchor the timbers to the ground by drilling holes to accept # 4 – #5 rebar stakes at approximate 2 foot intervals.

Fill in the timber  surround with 3/4 ” crushed stone. In some cases it may be base-for-a-gazeborequired or you may wish to lay down landscape fabric beneath the stone to deter weed growth. The depth of this stone should be at least 6 inch. Compact each 2 inch layer or “lift” of stone with a plate compactor for best results. Finish off even with the top of the installed timbers.

A concrete base for more demanding conditions

There may be some instances where you desire a concrete floor. There also may be times where this is the only feasible option. Building a concrete base for your gazebo will definitely require that you contact your building department for more info. This base should extend 6 inches beyond the gazebo’s exterior dimensions on all sides.

Monolihic pour with reinforcement installed and no forms

Start the same as before, by stripping sod from the proposed building site. Lay-out the foundation’s exterior lines with marking paint or lime. In this instance I am going to descibe the procedure for  building a monolithic base.This is a concrete slab of 4 inches thick with thickened edges to just below grade about 12 inches wide. These thickened edges are around the entire perimeter.

Place form boards around the exterior perimeter of the proposed concrete slab. These forms should extend slightly into the earth with the top at your desired finished height. Stake the form boards firmly, about 2 – 4 feet apart. Remove any loose soil from the interior of the formed area down to undisturbed virgin soil.

The minimum depth from the top of the forms to the dirt should be at least 6 inch. Fill in the interior with 3/4 inch crushed stone. The minimum depth from the top of the form to the stone should be 4 inch thick. The 12″ wide perimeter should extend down slightly below the finished grade in that area.

Reinforce and pour the concrete

Run at least 1- #4 rebar around the perimeter in the center of the thickened edge on top of support chairs or brick. Place 6 x 6 – 10 / 10 concrete reinforcement wire inside the form covering all areas. You may substitute concrete reinforcing fibers in the concrete mix for the wire reinforcement if it is permitted.

The concrete mix should be at least 3500 psi. Pour the concrete into your form and finish with a steel trowel to get a smooth floor surface. Let the concrete harden for at least 24 hours before stripping the forms. Your building department may require metal anchors. This would have to be planned for before pouring the concrete.

In some areas it may be required that more below grade work is needed to get below the local frost grade. I believe that for a gazebo, this procedure would be adequate in most areas.


Existing Patios and Decks

As long as your patio or deck have been constructed using approved construction mehods, it should be an acceptable platform for your gazebo. Paver patios should be a combined thickness of at least just over 7 inch. This should be adequate for placing your gazebo on.

Concrete patios have enough solid mass to support most gazebos if done properly. Placing a gazebo on an existing wood deck would need to take in consideration for the supporting joists and beams.

The Favorite

Should you be constructing a base for a gazebo, I feel that the gravel base will work in most instances. Unless you desire a masonry floor, the gravel base should be more than enough to keep your gazebo in place for years to come. Most of these structures are not extremely heavy. A lot will have to do with the area you live in and what may be required from the building department.

Do you have anything you would like to add or know more about from this post ? I would love to hear any comments you may have. Please feel free to leave any below.




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