Tips for Designing Gazebo Columns and Panels

Congratulations on your decision to design the columns and panels on your gazebo. They are two of the parts of a gazebo that can really make it your garden retreat. I have listed here a few tips that my husband and I have used over the years when designing the gazebos that we have built; and I think they will prove very helpful.

Careful Planning to Keep the Time Spent to a Minimum

An intricate design to your gazebo columns and panels will definitely add to the amount of time spent in building your gazebo. Make sure, ahead of time, that you have the time to put in.

Most of us today live very busy lives, and nothing can be more frustrating than to only be able to work on a project a couple of hours at a time.


Decide on a budget, then plan your wood and design for your gazebo columns and panels. This way, you will know what to do when tools are needed that you do not have

Exhaust Your Resources

Next to the roof of the gazebo, the columns and panels are the most important. They are what is most visible; so exhaust your resources before making your final decision on a style. There are a lot of different books and magazines on the market that deal specifically with outdoor living and structures. If you can’t find exactly what you want, try the library. I think you might be surprised at the helpful selections that most libraries have for the DIYer.

Putting Your Style on Paper

I find it very helpful when I am designing a style, to put it down on graph paper. You can make each square any measurement that you want; it just makes it so much easier.

Do You Have The Tools Needed

If you want just the basic run of the mill columns and panels on your gazebo, chances are you already have the tools needed to complete their styling. If you get intricate in your design, and you don’t already have the tools; then you are looking at purchasing at least, a router and/or a lathe. If purchasing is needed, you are looking at a considerable chunk of the budget going.

Options to Buying Tools

Buying a router with the bits needed for a design can usually be bought for under $100, and they can be used for any number of other projects. A lathe on the other hand is used for turning wood to achieve the rounded pattern desired. Unless you do a lot of woodworking; they aren’t used much. You might consider renting one. If you have all of your materials ready, and you don’t have more than six or eight columns for your gazebo, you could probably get by with renting it for a day or two.

Another Option

If you want intricate columns and panel pieces for your design, but don’t really have the time to do the work yourself, try your local high school.

My husband and I were building a gazebo for an older couple once, and we were getting absolutely swamped with work and family responsibilities. My husband went down to the high school and talked to the woodshop teacher. The teacher was thrilled to have an extra credit project for his students, and we had our columns in no time. In fact some of the students asked if they could come and help put the gazebo together. They needed, and wanted the experience; while we for sure the help.

Pizza, and a lot of coke and donuts was what it cost us to get our gazebo columns and panel pieces with the pattern we wanted.

Make Sure Your Design Blends

If you make sure that the design of the columns and panel pieces blend in with your garden area and home, you will ensure that your gazebo is the picture frame for your beautiful garden and yard. If the design does not blend with existing structures and yard, it could end up being an eyesore.

Painted or Stained?

Normally, if the columns and panel pieces are stained and sealed the design on them is left quite basic. The beauty in these pieces is the wood itself. Intricate columns and panel pieces are usually painted. It helps to bring out the design.

Do You Need a Permit?

Especially if you live within the city limits, it is best to check with your local planning office to see if a permit is required. You don’t want to get a fine if a permit is required, and you didn’t get one. Each town is different with it’s requirements, but it is always best to check first.

If at all possible, design your gazebo columns and panel pieces just exactly the way that you want them. That way you will be insuring that your gazebo will indeed be your garden retreat.

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