Building a Gazebo with a living roof. Part 1.

We live in the West of Ireland. It rains a lot here and we wanted somewhere to sit under cover in the garden. After we built our Gazebo, we discovered it was also a lovely place to sit in the shade on a hot summers day. When we moved in to our home it was surrounded with thick, tall Leylandii hedges. There was no light in most of the garden and the whole place felt very enclosed and cut off from the surrounding country side. We decided to replace the hedges with espalier Apple trees, Oak, Beech, Hawthorn, Hazel, Chestnut, Elder, and some other varieties. This is much better for wildlife.


It left us with lots of cut down trunks and smaller branches. We mulched all the small bits for paths and the Gazebo floor. We used much of what was left to construct the Gazebo, choosing the most interesting shapes. This is a project much easier than it looks, so anyone can have a go. The main construction was finished in four days with only two of us working. A few of you could do it over a couple of weekends, giving you time for the concrete in the bases to set.

Start of by deciding how big you want it. Ours is about 3.5 meters across on the inside. Remember that a big Gazebo will require thicker wood. Put a stake in the middle and mark out a circle using a piece of string. Divide it into eight equal parts or any number you choose.


Getting ready.

We put our uprights on bases as our original trees were trimmed to 1.8 meters. This left our timber a little short. You could do this or dig holes for your small concrete foundations. We put our bases straight on the ground using cardboard moulds. We lined these with stones and poured concrete in the middle with a piece of reinforcement-bar in the center protruding about 10 cm. We drilled a hole in the base of each post and just stood them on the bases. The next step is joining all the tops of the upright post with a ‘henge’ piece.

Concrete base.

In our next post we will tell you how we made our roof.

Posts up.

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