Install the Hinges
Before you install the hardware, take time to paint the parts. I chose to prime the wood with a good quality white primer and then filled holes and seams with latex spackle and caulk. I followed with two coats of white exterior enamel. You can choose any color that you wish — but that pure white enamel offered what I thought of as a classic look.
With the painting done, you can move on to installing the hinges. Divide the wall panels into pairs and use 8″ strap hinges (pieces 8) to join each pair of panels together. The only exception to this is for the pairing of the entrance panel and its adjacent wall panel. Here, use T-hinges (pieces 10) instead of strap hinges as shown in the Drawings. You will need to bore one hole in each of the 6″ strap hinges (pieces 9).
Install three of these hinges on the inside of one post for each pair of panels.
You’ll use these extra holes you’ve just drilled in the hinges to join each pair of wall panels to one another with bolts and wingnuts. (You’ll also need to bore a hole in two of the T-hinges in the same manner as you just did for the 6″ strap hinges, for the same reason — joining the entrance panel to a paired panel set.) Now drill a pilot hole into the edge of the same rails you attached the hinges to, to install a screw hook (pieces 11) for securing the elastic cords later. Position these screw hooks 10″ down from the top end of the rails. Twist the hooks into place.
Erect the Gazebo Walls
Stand the wall panels on the gazebo site of your choice. Arrange them so the entrance wall faces in the direction you prefer and so you have a perfect octagon. A simple trick to ensure “octagon-ness” is to make sure the distance between opposite corners around the octagon’s perimeter is equal. Once you have it right, clamp the still-loose hinge leaves to their mating posts. Bore holes through the posts at the holes you previously drilled in the hinges. Tap carriage bolts through each pair of hinges and post holes (from the outside face in), and secure the connection with washers and wingnuts.
Raise the Roof
Installing the umbrella (piece 13) is simple. Place the umbrella base (piece 14), as well as the table you want to use, at the center of the gazebo. Lift the top half of the umbrella clear of the walls, open it, and secure it to the lower umbrella post.
Tie off eight loops of elastic cord (pieces 12), one per umbrella rib, and hook them onto the previously installed screw hooks. Now you can proceed with installing the eight vertical trim boards (pieces 7), once again using carriage bolts, washers and wingnuts.
By the way, it pays to buy a patio umbrella of good quality. The gazebo will last many years, and you’ll want an umbrella that will, too. I chose a 10-foot diameter, wood model with eight sides, making the gazebo big enough for four to six chairs and a small table.
The distance from inside wall to inside wall is about 9-1⁄2 feet. You can opt for an 11-foot umbrella—and a bigger gazebo—but you will have to increase the width of the wall panels accordingly.
Here’s a note of caution: just because an umbrella has a listed diameter of 10 feet does not mean it will actually be that size. Sometimes the manufacturer uses round numbers, or measures over the peak of the umbrella. If you buy your umbrella first, you can always adjust your panels to suit.
This project is a nice summer effort that doesn’t take weeks to complete. It can help you enjoy your backyard and your woodworking hobby too.