If you have a green patch in your garden, it would be a shame to let it go to waste. You can, of course, plant flowers or vegetables there, but wouldn’t it be great to also have a place to sit and enjoy a bit of fresh air?
A gazebo can be a smart addition to your garden. At first glance, it may seem like a big expense. But with moderate carpentry skills and some pallets, you can build a gazebo without headaches—and enjoy the whole experience.
Why pallets? They’re inexpensive, easy to find, and putting them together won’t take much time either.
So, where do you start?
How to build a gazebo out of pallets step by step
To build a gazebo from pallets, you’ll need—in addition to the pallets—some extra lumber and some shingles.
Pallets are perfect for building the gazebo deck, but they’re not suitable for the whole structure. You will have to get wooden beams for the posts.
This is what you’ll need to build a square gazebo, which is also the easiest model. You can put it up in less than a day.
Materials you’ll need:
- 4 pieces of lumber 100” long for the support posts
- 4 pieces of lumber 144” for the joists
- Galvanised screws
- Tar paper
- Shingles for the roof
Tools you’ll need:
- Circular saw
- Utility knife
- Electric screwdriver
Now let’s take things one step at a time.
Step 1 – Find the right spot
Before you get to work, you need to prepare the spot. Don’t place your gazebo in a spot that gets too much direct sunlight as you’ll likely find it too hot inside. UV radiation will also damage the wood before long.
Don’t forget about the view either—aim for a good one. It would be great if you have some shrubbery in the vicinity so you can also create a sense of privacy.
The most important part, though, is that you choose a flat surface. Uneven terrain will make building a gazebo much harder.
Finally, measure the surface area of your chosen spot and see if it would fit a decent-sized gazebo. Will you have to clear some space around it and maybe sacrifice some plants?
We say go for it as a gazebo is a good long-term investment. Just try not to upset the whole garden in the process.
Step 2 – Gather the pallets
Where can you find pallets? You’ll have to ask around, mostly at large department stores in your area. Many of them have stacks of pallets that are not reusable and they frankly don’t know what to do with them.
They probably won’t pay you to take them off their hands, but they might be nice enough to deliver them to your door. Otherwise, you’ll have to find someone who can deliver them to your home.
Tip: Take as many pallets as you can. Some might be broken or have various defects, and you don’t want to run out of usable materials. Plus, you can use them later for other DIY pallet projects around the house.
Step 3 – Build the gazebo deck out of pallets
Examine the pallets and select those that look in the best shape and don’t require much cleaning. Depending on the size of the pallets, lie them on the ground and make a square shape out of them.
Important: The sides of the square should be smaller than the lengths of the rim joists you bought.
Once you’re satisfied with the shape and size of the deck, screw the pallets together.
If there’s too much space between the planks in the pallets, you’ll want to add an extra layer to your deck. You can do this by cutting planks out of the rest of the pallets.
Once again, you’ll have to fit them over the deck area, making sure it’s completely covered and there are no gaps. Nail the planks to the pallets underneath.
Step 4 – Put up the support posts
The four posts that support the roof go at the corners of the deck. You’ll have to anchor the posts so the whole structure can withstand strong winds.
The best way to do that is to dig holes at the four corners of the deck, place the posts inside, and pour some concrete to fill the holes.
At this point, you may need some help to plumb the posts and check that they are perfectly perpendicular before the concrete starts to dry. You will attach the posts to the decking later.
Important: You’ll need to allow 12-24 hours for the concrete to be perfectly dry. So you might as well take a break and start planning the upper part of the gazebo.
Step 5 – Build joist and banisters
This is the part where you get to show how creative you can be. Examine the pallets you have left and identify the parts that would look best as joists.
For that, you’ll have to break some pallets apart. Make sure all the parts are the same height.
Use screws to attach the joists to the deck. If the upper part looks good enough, you can do without banisters.
Step 6 – Build the roof
Remember the beams you bought for joists? Measure one side of the square and cut the beams to measure. Fix the rim joists on top of the support posts, using galvanised screws.
You have two options for the roof. You can make it flat if you want to be done quickly. Or you can build a real roof, a slanted one, which is better as it allows the rainwater to drain fast.
You can use parts taken from the pallets for this purpose. Or you can have four beams that go from each corner and attach to a central wood piece.
Normally, gazebo roofs are made with plywood boards, but spare planks from the pallets can be used just as well.
Nail the planks to the roof beams making sure there are no gaps. Cover the planks with tar paper and then you can do the shingling.
Your gazebo is now ready.
Some extra tips for building an amazing gazebo from pallets
Here are some ideas to make your new pallet gazebo not just good but great.
- Stain the wooden planks. Pallets tend to look a bit dull and they’ll probably be different colours. Staining the planks will fix these problems. There are various types of stains on the market so you can choose your preferred colour.
- Waterproof your gazebo. Pallets aren’t made from the most resistant wood, and humidity can damage them before long. Deep penetrating stains make the wood waterproof so your gazebo will last longer—another reason to stain the planks. You can use a sealant for the job.
- Use spare pallets to make furniture for your gazebo. You can build a small table, as well as benches or chairs. Stain those as well or apply a coat of paint. To make the furniture more comfortable, buy some cushions for outdoor use.
- Hang some small flowerpots from the banisters or the roof. Try using colourful flowers to brighten your new gazebo.
In the end, building a gazebo from pallets can transform your garden and keep your hands busy in a good way. So go ahead and do it.