The Guide to Outdoor Dining

Hello everyone, Meg here-

We’re quickly approaching summer. Days are feeling warmer as the evenings get brighter, but we aren’t quite in the Summer season yet – That also doesn’t mean that spring isn’t a good reason to have fun. I’m sure you’ve heard of the term “Dining alfresco” although it’s not a direct translation from Italian, it’s often referred to as “Dining in the cool” or “Outdoor dining”. Although if you were to use the term “al fresco” in Italy, you could be asking to dine in jail – So be careful!

We’ve seen plenty of our customers use our products to create the ideal outdoor dining scene. Since Spring is the ideal season for Al fresco dining, I wanted to create a collection of examples to inspire you on the essentials for outdoor dining.

The Shelter

Of course, Al fresco dining can be done without any shade – But it’s a known health benefit to stay in the shade if you’re outside for long periods of time. Our gazebo range covers a range of styles and sizes:

Barbara Log Cabin Gazebo

Our Barbara Log Cabin Gazebo is one of the few in this style of gazebos, perfect for transforming your garden corner – The Log Cabin Gazebos are the ideal size for a corner sofa and coffee table. Perfect for the more casual dining events.

Tourist 3.4m Gazebo

For those that don’t have a lot of space in their garden – The Tourist Gazebo measures 3.4m x 3.4m and is perfect for providing shelter for you and your loved ones. Featuring a traditional apex roof design, it’s easy to see why this Gazebo is so desirable.

Our team here at Tuin can all agree that the warmth from Larch timber is very aesthetically pleasing, that’s why a fair amount of our Gazebos also have a Larch twin – For those that want to bring warmth in their garden.

Samos Larch Gazebo

This Samos Larch Gazebo has been modified with the Larch Cladding wall infills, but it’s an ideal way to add some privacy to your outdoor dining set up.

We also understand that not everyone desires the apex roof type, for a more modern garden we also have some Modern Pent Roof Gazebos.

Excellent Modern Gazebo

Get all the family around the table with the Excellent Modern Gazebo – Measuring at 5.92m in length, you can host your alfresco experience for everyone, while gaining the envy of the neighbours. This Gazebo had been modified with See Through Walls for an extra level of privacy and sun shading.

The Seating

Now that we have our shelter covered – What about the seating? We offer a range of Garden Dining Sets from rustic/shabby chic styles to wicker furniture. Here’s a select few that would look both stylish and provide comfort.

Beverly Wicker Dining Set

Beverly Wicker Dining Set is one of the four wicker options we have in this range, featuring a glass topped table – You can dine in the ultimate comfort with these cushioned reclining chairs that are included in the set.

Montgomery Aluminium Dining Set

A perfect pair with our Modern Styled Gazebos, the Montgomery Dining Set is extremely sleek in design. It also features a comfortable but powerful combination of Textilene and Quickdry foam to ensure years of use- even with the unpredictable weather.

Create Your Own Dining Set

Or, if the other styles in our range just doesn’t quite suit your taste – You can find the ideal set up with our Create Your Own Garden Dining Set. This product page allows you to pick either a modern or rustic styled table in a number of styles. As well as choosing the number and style of wicker chairs to complete the set – Ideal for when you host large dinner parties.

The Heating

Even in the summer evenings, a chill may dampen the dining atmosphere, so why not think ahead with a heating solution? We have a range of Garden Heaters that would be compatible with your gazebo, from free standing to overhead heaters.

The Decor

Now that you have the essentials for your outdoor dining space, now it’s time to decorate it. A lot of our customers stick with a theme when decorating our garden buildings and gazebos. From traditional shabby chic to Bohemian Fantasies- Here are a few of my favourite decor examples:

Samos Larch Gazebo Seating

Soft furnishings like cushions or blanket throws are an easy say to subtly sneak a theme in. For example, these customers who wanted to continue the warmth brought from the Samos Larch Gazebo with the uses of a soft yellow, green and those rich teal flower pots.

Kos Larch Gazebo

Alternatively, you could use the soft furnishings to add a pop of colour to your setup. Reds, Oranges and Blues would make a bold contrast against our wicker furniture.

Curved Lattice Gazebo

Another idea is to introduce more natural elements to blend the scene in with your garden – Like with this Curved Lattice Gazebo where the customers introduced both planters and hanging baskets for subtle, but definitely effective pops of colour.

Mitch Log Cabin Gazebo Lighting

Or for our all-night events, why not experiment with some lighting? We do not offer electrics in our own installation service, but with the help of a qualified technician- You could certainly upgrade your wooden gazebo with a touch of modern technology. Imagine colour changing light bars that you could set the ambiance with?

The Menu

So now that the area has been set up, with all the finishing touches – I’m certain that your dining area looks great… But what to serve alongside it? I personally would go for this Teriyaki Salmon Noodle dish to get those taste buds in action, paired with a fruity Pinot Noir to complement the dish.

Is al fresco dining not just for you? Why not take a look at our Log Cabin Pubs inspiration post, or maybe you would prefer looking at how our products can be utilised for Hot Tub Covers.

Larch Garden Building Installation

Due to the way the Larch Garden Building kits are sent out, we tend to advise that experienced DIYers or carpenters/builders should tackle the challenge. These are a ‘proper building’ as we describe them. They are a timber structure which can be adjusted and modified to suit your requirements, various modules in larch timber can be added to them such as extensions, walls, framing etc.

A recent customer sent in this picture set of the Larch Pent Garden Building Seven, this is the basic structure and to this walls, doors, windows etc can be added in a variety of materials to create open barns, carport, summerhouses, offices, in fact any structure your require. The Larch Building Structures are a VERY economical alternative to the traditional oak garden building.

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It is recommended, as with all timber that you pilot drill your screw holes with a durable, trustworthy power drill.

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Once your main frame/body is installed, the next step would be installing and securing the roof purlins, again ensuring that everything beforehand has remained to the required level for the desired pent roof.

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If the purlins are nice and level then installing the roof boards should be simple, given that their tongue and groove design allows you to simply slide them together and nail them to secure them. Please note that the use of steel nails is not really recommended for larch as in oak.

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In this case, the customer installed a downpipe at the lower end of the pent roof to which a drain pipe will be attached, cutting the required section through the roof board and securing it from above:

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Then to finish off the building the customer used EPDM roofing material to cover the roof boards. EPDM is ideal for flat or low pitched roofs due to its durable rubberised material which lasts for years and years. The EPDM is finished off with a metal roof edging trim.

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And here is the completed building:

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Thank you to the customer who sent these in! They are truly stunning and we hope that you’ll enjoy the Larch Pent Building Seven for many years to come!

Superior Gazebo Review

It is not often we get a detailed review on one of our gazebos and the review below is very much appreciated.

This is our customers account of the Superior Gazebo, some is good, some not so but it’s a good story and worth a read of Mr P-K’s story, it also helps us greatly.


Dear Tuin,
I have put together this account of my experience in building my gazebo, which I am very pleased with. I wondered if it would be of any interest to you to put on your website for other potential customers to read. I have attempted to include several pictures of the build, though some or all of these may not arrive due to my very limited proficiency at the computer.
Regards, 
Mike P-K
 
Gazebo Installation
 
First impressions:
After a delivery that proved slightly problematic (the carrier refused to even attempt my narrow lane and off-loaded three-quarters of a mile from my house, which meant 4 trips up the lane with my trailer to transfer it all here) I laid everything out as advised by Richard’s excellent blog. I was impressed by the obviously generous coating of Tanalising material present and also by the general straightness and solidity of the timber. I was less impressed with the post holders that I had ordered as an extra. These were not only a poor fit – 120mm square for down posts that measured 112mm square, but also quite thin at 2mm and only tack welded. I voiced my doubts to Tuin who immediately arranged their collection and refund with no deductions for carriage. As I knew I would be unable to start the construction for at least 4 weeks, I stacked everything under cover in the way suggested by Richard in his blog.
 
 
Laying out the Site
On my return from holiday I started the construction by laying out the Ring Beam to determine the position of the post holders. These were made specially for me by the ever helpful Weldspray Engineering at Liskeard. They worked out a bit more expensive than those supplied by Tuin, but were a good fit (115mm square), fully seam welded and constructed of 3mm steel (galvanised).
Taking advice from the blog, I spent a lot of time doing this in order to achieve a perfect rectangle. I happened to have a large builders square (a 3ft/4ft/5ft Triangle) available and this proved invaluable in keeping the corners at 90 degrees. (You can see this leaning against the rear wall in some of my photos).
After the best part of a day (mostly spent drilling 24 holes into the hardest concrete I have ever encountered) I was happy with the positioning and solidity of the post holders, each being held down by four 10mm rawlbolts. Diagonals were measured and found to be within 2mm of each other, which I though was pretty good!
 
 
Starting the build
Putting up the 6 posts was child’s-play. My post holders easily held the posts upright while I attached the six pieces that formed the ring beam and the twelve bracing struts. Again, I made good use of my 3-4-5 triangle to ensure everything was true and square, sometimes clamping this triangle in place before screwing in the braces.
So far I had carried out all the work single handed, but for the next bit, fitting the corner rafters, king pins and ridge beam I needed the help of my wife as I could not have held the ridge beam in place on my own while I fixed the rafters in position.
Once this was done I reverted to working on my own again, fixing the roof boarding in place.
At this point I was glad I had spent so much time getting the basic frame square, as the roof boards required minimum cutting. I differed from Richard’s recommended procedure here. Because of the site I had chosen for my gazebo, setting up trestles outside the structure was difficult – though I did manage to do so later on in the build – so I set up my trestles inside the building and worked from the eaves upwards and the ridge downwards for as long as there was room for me to get my body between the two areas of boarding. This left me with a narrow strip in the middle to fill in, which I did using one of the many extra boards supplied by Tuin, working off a ladder.
 
 
The Roof
For me, this was the most difficult bit! Indeed, to be honest if it had not been for the encouragement and physical help provided by my very able wife, I might have given up and called in professional help. Obviously I could no longer work from within the building, so I had to put up my trestles and boards outside as well as I could. Neither myself nor my wife are very keen on heights, which didn’t help. (neither did managing to fall off a ladder at one point, definitely not recommended for one in their late sixties). Nevertheless, we managed to rig up a tolerably safe system and set to fastening the waterproof membrane in place. I used an electric staple gun for this, which by and large worked quite well, except for hitting the occasional knot, which resisted the staple.
Finally, we started the tiling, which proved a slow and tedious business. The first few rows were easy enough as I could fix them from the comparative safety of the scaffold boards alongside, but as I got towards the ridge I obviously had to work off a roof ladder with my wife passing up the tiles, nails etc to me as I went. At this point I experience my first slight disappointment in the design of the gazebo. Because there are only 12 rafters in total, the span is sometimes as much as 4 feet, which is just too much for nailing into such thin (15mm) roof boards. Bounce is inevitable, making it very difficult to accurately nail the galvanised clouts that hold the tiles in place. It took us almost a week to complete the tiling, though we were not working full days on it, a few hours at a time was enough! I was fairly liberal with the tile adhesive as I knew there would not be much warm sun about in October to melt the glue strip on the back of the tiles. I was unsure as to how exactly to finish the ridge line and the hips, but a call to the very helpful advice line provided by Tuin soon sorted us out.
 
 
Conclusion
Ikea Flat-Pack it’s Not! (neither, thankfully, is the quality – no MDF here and not a comb-joint in sight!)
At times the task did seem a bit daunting, but providing you have ay least a modicum of DIY skill and a healthy dose of common sense there is nothing really too difficult here. The whole thing took us just over three weeks to complete, but most days we only worked 4 or 5 hours, regularly knocking off for a visit to the gym or one of our Pilates lessons (Yes, they really do work, I’m sure I couldn’t have done this if I was not already reasonably fit!) A week after completion I celebrated my 70th birthday, which gave be a considerable sense of satisfaction.
As you can see from the picture, my Gazebo is intended as a car port and I am already contemplating partially filling in the end and the sides. The extra roof boards supplied by Tuin (I had 12 left over) will make a good start for this! 
Custom made post holders as the ones supplied were not suitable.

Custom made post holders as the ones supplied were not suitable.

Gazebo posts located in the post holders

Gazebo posts located in the post holders

Gazebo main ring beam

Gazebo main ring beam in place

Gazebo angle bracing and ring beam

Gazebo angle bracing and ring beam

Superior gazebo roof

Superior gazebo roof

Superior gazebo roof boards being fitted.

Superior gazebo roof boards being fitted.

Superior gazebo roof boards being fitted

Gazebo roof shingles being fitted

Gazebo roof shingles being fitted

Gazebo roof shingles install

A good use of trestles and ladders to install the gazebo roof.

A good use of trestles and ladders to install the gazebo roof.

The completed Superior Gazebo

The completed Superior Gazebo

The install is very impressive and especially applauded due to its height and age of installer, even I struggle these days so perhaps I should take up Pilates like Mr P-K.

Thank you Mr P-K for sending us this report, it is so helpful for us and other customers, we hope you enjoy the present we sent you, thank you again.

Other customer experiences, build and ideas can be enjoyed here: Pictorial Tuin Reviews

Gazebo Installation Advice

I love our gazebos, I think you are hard pressed to find a comparable product for the money and in the materials that are offered. They are now in pressure treated, tanalised timber or the cracking Larch timber. This page shows our full range of gazebos.

Price of course is always a consideration when looking at products but I highly recommend you look at Larch, yes it’s more expensive but the benefits may just outway the extra outlay. I wrote an article a little while ago on larch timber, please see this page: European Larch Timber.

The gazebo I am featuring in this article is the Samos Larch Rectangular Gazebo.

This post is about my advice about the installation of Gazebos, please note it is ONLY my personal view, other people fitting these gazebos may have a better way of doing it.

Gazebo Plans

Plans are supplied with every Gazebo such as this, the picture links to the plans, as an example these are of the very popular Grande Gazebo. The Grande Gazebo is the pressure treated pine version of the one I’m featuring here.

Gazebo plans

Gazebo plans example of what it sent with your gazebo order.

Personally I have never had a problem with these plans, the same as I haven’t with our log cabins plans, this is from day one of my first ever install. But a few customers have had some problems and need a little extra help. I wrote a post on installation advice for log cabins.

This post will be similar for customers that need a different point of view and may need help with some questions while installing.

My perspective on the installation of a Gazebo

The plans are good, they show you exactly where the parts go. They then leave you to your own skills and interpretation according to your base, requirements and final finished product. The Gazebos are a full on building and need to be treated as such. It is impossible to give every possible instruction on how to install these, some common sense, DIY skill and understanding needs to be applied. That’s the bit I enjoy when installing all our buildings – The ability to change and adapt to what I require and what my customer wants.

So, with that said, lets deviate from the plans that come with the gazebo, this is my personal way of doing things and NOT the way I am instructed to do it by the plans (other than ensuring the correct parts are in the correct position) Here’s some information and tips from my experience. Of course you can follow the plans, follow my advice or devise your own method, this is a building and it’s up to you how you want to accomplish the install.

How does the Gazebo Arrive ?

The gazebo will arrive exactly like our log cabins, on a really big lorry with a really handy forklift attached to it. Please see this page for more details: Delivery of Large Tuin Buildings.

This is the pallet that will be delivered.

Gazebo pallet

Gazebo pallet, on top of this will be the final roof covering you have chosen be it felt or IKO roof shingles (sometimes we offer these FREE)

Please note a tanalised, pressure treated gazebo will be similar to the above.

There is a difference though, the Larch gazebo pallet is packed slightly different and each layer is kept apart by slats to allow the wood to dry more and to be kept straight and separate from each other. This is not found in the pressure treated gazebo version and nor does it need to be.

Slats

Slats are present in every layer in the Larch Gazebo. They are stapled on and staples may need to be removed by means of a set of pliers, I find fine point nose pliers the best to remove them.

Removing the slats which separate the layers of timber in the larch gazebo.

Removing the slats which separate the layers of timber in the larch gazebo.

Unpacking the Gazebo.

Nope, it’s not labelled and why would it need to be? It’s very simple to see what are the roof boards and what is the structure simply by the size and shape of the timbers.  As I’m unpacking I will sort out the various parts as I come across them in the pallet. Please note sometimes the pallets can be wet if it has rained during loading or brief storing. We tend to keep the tanalised gazebos outside but protected with weed matting to act as shade to prevent discolouration. If you find your gazebo is wet as you unpack please do not let this be of concern as of course it is designed to be outside in all weathers for the next 20 years.

As I come across the roof boards in the pack I will put them in the sections of roof I’m expecting: for square roofs each side will be the same, for a rectangular roof I am expecting two triangle roofs and two extended triangles. It is far easier to do this as you unpack.

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Two sets of end roof boards laid on top of each other. For a square building you would of course have four sets. This is the end roof triangles of the Samos rectangular Larch Gazebo

Extended triangle paid out, two sets for both sides.

Extended triangle roof boards laid out, two sets for both sides in the case of a rectangular gazebo.

As well as laying out the roof boards in order I’m also identifying the other parts as I go, the posts and ring beam are very easy to spot.

Layout the ring beam as you go. Putting it into it's rough position.

Layout the ring beam as you go. Putting it into it’s rough final position.

It's easy to spot the posts. On a rectangular gazebo there will be two types. Four for the corners and two for the long edge

It’s easy to spot the posts. On a rectangular gazebo there will be two types. Four for the corners and two for the long edge

Roof rafters are easy to spot as well. Please note there will be some difference in sizes depending on their location in the roof.

Corner braces are easy to spot as well.

King pin blocks which are used where the rafters connect at the points. A rectangular pyramid roof will have two.

King pin blocks which are used where the rafters connect at the points. A rectangular pyramid roof will have two.

The corner rafters can be easily spotted by their length and also by the notch which will sit over the corner of the ring beam.

The corner rafters can be easily identified by their length and also by the birdsmouth notch which will sit over the corner of the ring beam. Note the rafters that form the sides are not notched.

The Gazebo fitting kit. It's pretty simple, the long nails are for the thickest bits of wood, shorter ones for the thinner and the very short ones will be used for the lateral bracing slats of which there are two in a rectangular roof gazebo. Nails are supplied for the roof boards. Felt tacks are for your final roof covering.

The Gazebo fitting kit. It’s pretty simple, the long nails are for the thickest bits of wood – the rafters. The medium ones for the ring beam, legs and corner supports and the very short ones will be used for the lateral bracing slats of which there are two in a rectangular roof gazebo. Nails are supplied for the roof boards. Felt tacks are for your final roof covering. I differ from the advice in the plans of number and placement of screws, you will see from the following pictures. For instance with the rafters I will only use one screw but use double screws elsewhere. It is of course up to you. You may also want to add additional fixings as you see fit.

Advice on fitting the Gazebo

From this point I only use the plans to check that I am using the right parts in the right place. I am not following the construction method or the particular location of screws, this is the way I have found it to be easiest over the years. With this method:

  • You only need two people to carry out the install.
  • It is easier to find the EXACT location of where post holders should be fitted while accounting for timber not being an exact product to work with.
  • It is safer, stronger and quicker.
  • No strain is placed on any joints, some plans will show building the gazebo on its side and then lifting into position, I have found this method very hard to do and can put strain on the joints.

Tools required for fitting the Gazebo

You only really need basic tools for fitting the gazebo. Two battery powered drills helps save time and clamps are essential really to make a good job, we use them a lot in fitting both gazebos and also log cabins. A very useful tool!

Tools include: Two Step Ladders, Two drills,

Tools include: Two Step Ladders, Two drills, hammers, pliers, long spirit level, marker pen, tape measure and the all important clamps. You will also need a saw for trimming roof boards.

Ring Beam of the Gazebo

I had already laid the main ring beam parts in the location that it will be installed in, now I will carefully check the measurements against the plans. Please note that with square roofs there will be two shorter parts and two longer parts so it can form a square.

Measure the beams carefully against the plans and check they are in the right position.

Measure the beams carefully against the plans and check they are in the right position.

Regardless of what I am installing I will always use pilot holes every time a screw is used. This is particularly important when working with Larch. ALWAYS pilot hole!

Always piot hole

Always pilot hole every location that a screw is going to be used, it creates a far tighter joint and generally stops a screw head being buried for a better finish and easier to take apart. It’s also a lot easier!

Screw the ring beam together, I use the medium size screws, two in each joint.

Screw the ring beam together, I use the medium size screws, two in each joint. For square roofs all of them will be joined. For the rectangular roof this is not possible until the center post is installed.

Using clamps we will temporarily fix the center joint together. Using a tape measure we check they are the same distance apart using the end beam as a reference. We then make sure the ring beam is 100% square. (If you are not sure how to square please see the relevant section our log cabin installation advice page).

Measuring and squaring the ring beam. The center joint is temporarily held with clamps.

Measuring and squaring the ring beam. The center joint is temporarily held with clamps.

Ensuring the ring beam is square and in the final install position.

Ensuring the ring beam is square and in the final install position. Note we are using a block in the middle to stop sag of the tape for a more accurate measurement.

Posts and Post Holders

With the ring beam of the gazebo square and in the final position of where it will be we can now mark exactly where the legs will be. This saves a lot of measuring and takes into account the fact that timber is not always millimeter perfect.

Putting the post in upside down in their finished location we can then mark around the post to get the exact position of the posts in relation to the ring beam.

Marking the location of the corner post.

Marking the location of the corner post.

In the case of rectangle gazebos you will also mark the location of the middle post.

In the case of rectangle gazebos you will also mark the location of the middle post.

With marks in place you can then exactly position your post holders.

Post holder location can be marked for exact location according to the position of the main ring beam

Post holder location can be marked for exact location according to the position of the main ring beam

 

Post holder location

Post holder location marked and can then be secured knowing it is 100% accurate.

We have several types of post anchors available for use in soft / hard ground. It is very important to secure the posts and the holders do help with this. Without securing the posts if they are knocked during its lifetime you could well have some problems.

Of course there are also other methods which you may wish to use or devise yourself. Like any of our buildings it is essential the gazebo is held square and 100% straight in both plains.

Post holders are handy if the area is not 100% level as we have with this install, we added packers inside the holder to get the post level as it was not possible in our install to break ground

We hid packers inside the post holders to help level the gazebo as breaking the ground was not possible.

We hide packers inside the post holders to help level the gazebo as breaking the ground was not possible.

Here’s another example of using the ring beam to locate the post holders accurately

Using the ring beam to find the exact location of the post holders when concreting them in.

Using the ring beam to find the exact location of the post holders when concreting them in.

If you don’t like the look of the post holders you can always box them in as was done here.

Boxing in the post holders to hide them.

Boxing in the post holders to hide them.

Using our clamps again we will fit two posts into the corner of one section of the ring beam.

Clamping the post into one end of the ring beam.

Clamping the post into one end of the ring beam.

Using the clamp to hold the post

Using the clamp to hold the post

Screws into the posts through the ring beam.

Screws into the posts through the ring beam. We’re still using the medium size screws.

Post screwed into position. I am using more screws than the plans may show for strength.

Post screwed into position. I am using more screws than the plans may show for strength.

Next we clamp the center post to hold it in position. It is easier at this point to take the second part of the ring beam apart again clamping and fitting each section as you go.

Center post which supports the join of the two parts making up the ring beam.

Center post which supports the joint of the two parts making up the ring beam in a rectangular gazebo.

Clamping and fitting each post as you go.

Clamping and fitting each post as you go.

Fixing the center post. i am still sing the medium size screws.

Fixing the center post. I am still using the medium size screws.

Post and ring beam sections using the clamp, pilot holes and finally screws.

Post and ring beam sections using the clamp, pilot holes and finally screws.

Clamps are VERY useful in the installation of a gazebo.

Clamps are VERY useful in the installation of a gazebo.

Gazebo Corner Braces

With the posts and ring beam fitted we can now add the corner support bracing. I deviate from the plans here as well. I prefer to set the bracing inside the ring beam. This is what it should look like, you will see as per the plans it is under the ring beam and against the post.

Corner brace on the underside of the ring beam.

Corner brace on the underside of the ring beam.

I will do it slightly different and set mine inside. I do this because:

  • I feel it makes for a stronger joint and more stable.
  • I can make minute adjustments easier to make sure the post is at a perfect right angle and 100% upright.
  • If there is any slight deviation in the cut angle I can allow for this and still have a lovely tight joint on the leg for aesthetic reasons.
  • It gives greater head room at the corners and less chance of bashing your head.

It is of course up to you and what you prefer when fitting the corner braces, this is only my personal preferred method.

Corner brace, my preferred method is to set them inside the ring beam.

Corner brace, my preferred method is to set them inside the ring beam.

Preparation always makes it quicker so consider pre-drilling the braces before installing them all together.

Pre-drilling the corner braces

Pre-drilling the corner braces, doing them all together helps to speed up the install process.

It's a good idea to brace the center section until the roof is being fitted and while you are fitting the corner braces.

It’s a good idea to brace the center section until the roof is being fitted and while you are fitting the corner braces as it keeps everything nice and straight.

Ring Beam and Post Complete on the Gazebo

You may see from the plans depending on your particular gazebo that they show it being built and then lifted on to the three posts. As I have shown my method is an alternative that you may wish to consider. I find it easier and you only need two people. It is of course up to you though how you think it is best to do. This method is of course also highly relevant for the flat roof gazebos.

With the ring beam, braces and posts fitted we can now move on to the roof install.

With the ring beam, braces and posts fitted we can now move on to the roof install.

Gazebo Roof Installation.

I’ve decided to do the roof install in a separate post as much of it is also very relevant to our log cabins so there will be combined advice.

Please see the Pyramid roof installation advice post.

Installation advice for pyramid roofs.

Installation advice for pyramid roofs.

The flat roof installation is a doddle once the main structure is up and doesn’t need any further explanation.

Flat roof modern gazebo installation is very straightforward.

Flat roof modern gazebo installation is very straightforward.

Pyramid Roof Installation Advice

This post follows on from the Gazebo Installation Advice post. It will feature mainly pictures of the gazebo roof but the method is highly relevant to the install of a pyramid roof on a log cabin.

Storage of the roof parts

Wood is a bugger and you really need to think about this when you are unpacking. The roof is always the last part to be installed and while you are mucking about with the walls of your log cabin or the posts of the gazebo the roof parts will be lying around doing all sorts of things behind your back. We failed to follow our own advice during the install and had a bit of a problem.

Rafters were perfect when we unpacked.

Rafters were perfect when we unpacked!

When we unpacked the pallet everything was perfect. Come the afternoon when it was time to install the roof we found the rafters had bowed all out of shape. If we had stored them flat, out of the sun etc they would have remained straight. One was a cracking banana shape!

If you find the same thing don’t panic. You have two options when faced with this:

  • Call us and shout down the phone that it’s really bad and all our fault demanding replacements whilst holding up your install for several days. Or ……
  • Carry on using it knowing that you were a bit daft not to keep them safe. You will of course be able to sort this out and is not a problem at all. You don’t need to demand replacements at all, it’s easily resolved.

Please note that this does happen with wood, it cannot be helped when it is unsupported. This will happen in a matter of half an hour so please watch out for it and follow our advice like we didn’t!

We left them all leaning against another building so as the day wore on we had some bends and warps to contend with. Always lay parts flat, supported and shaded from the sun. If these are being left for over a few hours you can consider adding weights to the top to keep everything flat.

We left them all leaning against another building so as the day wore on we had some bends and warps to contend with. Always lay parts flat, supported and shaded from the sun. If these are being left for over a few hours you can consider adding weights to the top to keep everything flat.

This could have been avoided with the correct storage.

This could have been avoided with the correct storage.

Here’s an example from a log cabin roof, these could still be used with some adjustment as I’ll show later in this post, or, look after them properly so it doesn’t happen at all.

Bowed rafter for a log cabin roof. If looked after properly after removal from the pack this will not happen.

Bowed rafter for a log cabin roof. If looked after properly after removal from the pack this will not happen.

These could be used within the build, replacements are not necessary if you know what you are doing.

These could be used within the build, replacements are not necessary if you know what you are doing.

Base and support

It’s always important to have a 100% level base and to make sure the building is 100%. With normal apex roofs you can get away with it a little if it’s not but with a pyramid roof it is REALLY important. If you are not 100% level and square you will pay for it when installing the roof so please check this. Please see this page for more advice on bases.

Pyramid Roof Construction

Other people will do it differently but this is the way I prefer to make a pyramid roof. The secret with a roof like this is:

  • 100% square and level.
  • Be methodical and have a system.
  • Preparation – batch piloting holes
  • Don’t worry about it. Sometimes things don’t look right but it will all come together, you can spend a lot of time worrying about it.
  • Realise that wood is wood, it cannot be precise by it’s nature but it can be worked with.
  • Keep an eye on your safety as you will be working from stepladders. You may also want to consider using a scaffold tower.
  • Make sure you identify all the parts correctly using a tape measure and the plans.

Before you start it’s a good idea to run a tape measure over the various parts and compare the parts to the plans. Some log cabins, mainly when there is a dividing wall or a gazebo to the side, will have a few subtle different sizes of rafters, identify all the parts first and be sure of their positioning from the plans.

King pin and corner rafters

In this example the rectangular gazebo has a king pin that joins the end rafters to the ridge. ALWAYS use pilot holes before screwing. It’s a good idea to pilot everything that will be screwed into the top of the roof first as a batch. DO NOT pilot the bottom ones yet.

Always use pilot holes before using screws.

Always use pilot holes before using screws.

Preparation is key to this, I also like to find the center point of the ridge beam, if it’s a longer roof there maybe more marking needed, it’s easier to do it on the ground rather than a head of a ladder.

Find and mark the ridge beam according to how many rafters that will be against it.

Find and mark the ridge beam according to how many rafters that will be against it.

In this gazebo my center rafter will be here.

In this gazebo my center rafter will be here.

For bigger roofs you can also mark the ridge beam for the exact positioning of the side rafters.

For bigger roofs you can also mark the ridge beam for the exact positioning of the side rafters.

Fix the corner rafters to the king pin if applicable to your build. Some will be larger than others but the principle is the same when a pin is supplied.

Screwing the corner rafters together.

Screwing the corner rafters together. he rafters will normally sit to the top of the pin. If there is a chamfer on the pin it can go either way but looks nice facing down.

Use a prop of whatever material you like to get the rough roof height, this helps greatly in your build. I tend to tack the corners of the rafters into the ring beam until I am certain they are in the correct position.

Corner rafters lightly fixed with the kingpin being supported with a prop.

Corner rafters lightly fixed with the kingpin being supported with a prop.

Another example of using a prop. A customers ingenuity with his step ladder.

Another example of using a prop. A customers ingenuity with his step ladder and a fishing rod?

Another example of a prop being used, it really does help your install.

Another example of a prop being used, it really does help your install and in bigger roofs such as this it keeps things level.

Now go to the other end of the building and again using a prop fit the corner rafters.

The opposite end of the gazebo fitting the second set of corner rafters. Again we are using a prop.

The opposite end of the gazebo and fitting the second set of corner rafters. Again we are using a prop lightly screwed into the side of the pin.

Both sets completed and stable.

Both sets completed and stable. note the bracing we are using across the middle to make sure we keep everything inline.

Fix the ridge beam which you will have piloted beforehand.

Fix the ridge beam to the king pin which you will have piloted beforehand.

Props removed

Props removed and all four corners in place the ridge beam fixed.

Don’t worry at this point that it isn’t level or straight. If the measurements of the parts were correct according to the plan and you are sure you have used the correct parts then this will come good when you add the remaining rafters, at this point you can spend a lot of time worrying, please don’t.

Log cabin corner rafters in place. It can often look wrong and not level but don't worry about this at the moment.

Log cabin corner rafters in place. It can often look wrong and not level but don’t worry about this at the moment.

Wood and roofs can play tricks with you!

You’ll notice that we’re using the wonky banana parts we accidentally made at the beginning by not following our own advice. We’re still not worried about them either as it will all work out – we had considered calling ourselves to make a complaint and ask for replacements but decided we wouldn’t get too far!

 Side Rafters

Now you can start to add the side rafters into the king pin if applicable. I only fix the top ones first, don’t fix them to the walls or ring beam yet. You may want to check the fixings in the corner rafters at this point and fully send the screw home as we know they were in the right position as the ridge beam was reached and has been fixed.

Fix the corner rafter as we are happy with its position

Fixing the corner rafters as we are happy with its position, it’s roughly level and has been spanned without a problem. Note, regarding the gazebo we are installing here we are using the longest screws through the rafter into the ring beam. For log cabins I also recommend screwing all rafters into the ring beam. It is strictly not necessary but I prefer to do it for extra strength.

Log cabins will have notches created by the ring beam of the cabin and there is only one way to locate it. Technically you don’t need to screw through the rafter into the ring beam but I ALWAYS do this, weighing just short of 16 stone I like to make sure the roof is as strong as possible when I get on it to shingle.

Log cabins will have notches in the main ring beam so location is easier. You don't have to but I recommend you source some longer screws and fix all the rafters into the top log.

Log cabins will have notches in the main ring beam so location is easier. You don’t have to but I recommend you source some longer screws and fix all the rafters into the top log.

The side rafters screw to the king pin, level with the top of it.

The side rafters screw to the king pin, level with the top of it. Don’t let the fact that the ridge beam is slightly higher, it will all work.

Fitting the side rafters into the kingpin

Fitting the side rafters into the kingpin

The following side rafters can now be added. We have already marked the location of them on the ridge beam so we don't have to try measuring from the ladder.

The following side rafters can now be added. We have already marked the location of them on the ridge beam so we don’t have to try measuring from the ladder. When rafters go to the ridge beam they will be flush with the top of the beam.

Fixing the lower edge rafters

We now start to make a few adjustments and there is a little bit of mucking about at this point, it’s best to be methodical and work with the building getting the ridge straight. It can take some adjustment, it may also be necessary to release the corner rafters again to get everything perfect. Take a slow and steady, thoughtful approach to this.

Remember these pictures are of a gazebo, a log cabin generally has notches in the main ring beam for locating the rafters. Some pushing and pulling maybe necessary to locate them. See my advice above regarding screwing the rafters into the top log.

Back to the gazebo install:- As we are confident the corner rafters are well positioned we measure the overhang either side of the center rafter taking our cue from the corner rafter overhang.

Measure the center rafter. We want them to be the same either side.

Measure the center rafter. We want them to be the same either side.

Also check that nothing has gone wrong with the top wall or ring beam, a quick eye to check it is still straight. Bracing normally keeps things nice and straight. Log cabins will be easier as you will have numerous logs keeping it straight but please still check for straightness.

Check by eye that the ring beam or top wall is nice and straight before fixing the lower rafters.

Check by eye that the ring beam or top wall is nice and straight before fixing the lower rafters.

Methodically work around the rafters getting the alignment just right or as near as damn it. Remember our banana rafters will be throwing things out slightly. If you need to push a rafter in slightly the clamp is very handy.

We're using the clamp to put some pressure on the refter to push it in further. There was a slight bow in the ridge beam so with a little push we can take the bow out.

We’re using the clamp to put some pressure on a rafter to push it in further. There was a slight bow in the ridge beam so with a little push we can take the bow out. Don’t forget to use pilot holes before screwing!

Sometimes it goes really smoothly, other times it can take some playing with. Please expect this as part of the building process with any pyramid roof on a log cabin or gazebo.

This particular gazebo has some additional bracing.

Additional bracing being fitted in the rectangular gazebo. Of the three size of screws we had in the fitting kit we're using the smallest ones.

Additional bracing being fitted in the rectangular gazebo. Of the three size of screws we had in the fitting kit we’re using the smallest ones here.

With that, the roof structure is complete, time to put on the roof boards.

Roof structure completed ready to accept the roof boards.

Roof structure completed ready to accept the roof boards.

Ready for the roof boards.

A log cabin roof complete and ready for the roof boards.

Roof boards and Banana Rafters

We’ve still got a problem with the bowed wood we created. We did decide to ring the office and make a serious complaint, we even demanded someone comes and rectifies it for us.  Unfortunately we were met with laughter by the sales team so we’ll crack on.

Does this look like a real problem though to you, some fitters may worry over this?

This is the worst bowed rafter on one corner.

This is the worst bowed rafter on one corner. It’s a cracking example of a problem you can encounter with timber which can be easily overcome.

We don’t want to start with this yet until we have the building stabilised, pushing on this to straighten it without strength elsewhere would not work so we’ll come back to worrying about this a little later.

We’ve already sorted out our roofs into the triangle sections, this makes it so much easier and quicker and you can easily see how they are going to go together without confusion. Please note with the gazebos you will also have spare straight end cut boards should you need them, don’t let them confuse you and put them to one side in case you need a spare due to a split or knot you don’t like.

Roof section already laid out. This is the two ends of a rectangular pyramid roof

Roof section already laid out. This is the two shorter ends of a rectangular pyramid roof.

Extended triangle laid out, two sets for both sides.

Extended triangle laid out, two sets for both of the longest sides. Note due to the length the lower edge of the roof is made up of two pieces of board. For log cabins you may have a center roof section instead with two outer triangles. Regardless it helps the install to lay out the roof section so you can see it before you install it.

We had some discussions on the best way to do the roof boards and the best way to advise you. Both Wayne and I differed on how we did it and you may have a different idea as well, there really is no right or wrong way of doing this.

I like to test a triangle section first so I will tack the first board and then lay in all the others. Tacking every few boards. This then tells me if the triangle is going to fit and whether I need to cut any boards, as I’ve only tacked it I can remove the boards and adjust easily.

To minimise trimming I can raise or lower the triangle and perhaps only trim the leading edge board at the bottom. Once I’m sure it will work I then fix fully and use this as a template for the rest of the boards.

This isn’t the way we have done it on this building example though. The is Wayne’s (Tuin UK Service Manager) method and seems to work very well, he’s fitted a few more buildings than me so I’m bowing to his experience on this one. You may well have a better method.

Regardless though expect to have to trim roof boards for a perfect fit! Wood is wood and we are only human, it is very rare that you will get the perfect situation intended by the factories design computer for a perfect fit without adjustment, a few millimeters out here and there will affect the fit of the boards, it’s impossible to get the roof structure 100% perfect. If you have to trim a few you have made a near perfect roof. If you have to trim a lot you are quite a bit out somewhere but as long as it looks good at the end it is all that matters

Tacking a roof board, all around on the first layer flush with the bottom of the rafter.

Tacking a roof board, all around on the first layer flush with the bottom of the rafter.

Tack your first roof board and carry on around the whole building first, this will tell you the alignment is correct, it should be sitting roughly to the center of the rafter. Don’t worry if they don’t meet together perfectly, if you’re happy with the alignment then nail home fully.

One roof board all the way around on the leading edge flush with the bottom of the rafter.

One roof board all the way around on the leading edge flush with the bottom of the rafter.

After again assessing the building and our self created bananas we decide to start at the place that is the best, this is the furthest away from the really bad bow. There’s other smaller ones  we created by our dodgy storage the we want to remove as well. Using a plank and our trusty clamps we remove the bows as we go around the building.

using clamps we can brace of other rafters and push or pull bows out.

Using clamps we can brace off other rafters and push or pull the bows out as we fit the roof boards.

We then add five more boards and fix them with the nails provided. Don't be tempted to use a nail gun.

We then add five more boards and fix them with the nails provided. Don’t be tempted to use a nail gun.

Don’t be tempted to use a nail gun when you’re doing the roof, please use the nails we provide. Two nails in each board across every rafter. Note the gazebo roof boards are flat edged, all the log cabin roof boards are interlocking Tongue and Groove.

Steadily work around the building, if you have to you can remove slight bows as we are doing with a clamp and plank.

Steadily work around the building, if you have to you can remove slight bows as we are doing with a clamp and plank.

We now come to the worst bowed rafter we looked at earlier. As we have now boarded all the other sections of roof we have stabilised the building more and given it a lot more strength to brace against taking the bow out is now no problem at all.

Badly bowed rafter

Badly bowed rafter which will not look very nice from inside. This is easily removed as below.

A little bracing is all that is needed to bend the bow out.

A little bracing is all that is needed to bend the bow out when the roof boards are nailed on. This bow will be removed and will disappear, adhering to the shape we’ve asked it to maintain.

With the roof boards nailed on the clamp can be removed and what looked like a huge problem has magically gone

With the roof boards nailed on the clamp can be removed and what looked like a huge problem has magically gone

What bowed rafters? There’s no bananas here!

This is what I love about wood. By working with it and thinking about it most things can be overcome. Wood is very flexible and can be moved, pushed and cajoled into working with us.

We can carry on laying the rest of the boards on this gazebo, do not worry if it’s not particularly neat where it joins. As long as you can nail it on the rafter it is fine as all will be covered by the roof covering.

Don't worry too much about the join at the corners or other rafters, all this will be covered.

Don’t worry too much about the join at the corners or other rafters, all this will be covered.

When you come to the small triangle pieces at the top of the roof it’s a good idea to pilot hole them or you will break them guaranteed.

Always pilot hole the small pieces at the top of the roof to stop them splitting.

Always pilot hole the small pieces at the top of the roof to stop them splitting.

As I said there is always adjustment and cutting to do with any roof and this was where we needed to trim on this particular roof.

The last two final boards needed trimming

The last two final boards needed trimming to fit. As expected and normally you would have to do more. Not bad considering we had big bows as well.

Completed Roof and Notes

With the roof structures and boards on the final roof covering can now be added. You have the choice of Roofing Felt or Roof Felt Shingles. The latter looks for nicer and lasts forever. If you are fitting roof shingles please see the advice and videos on the shingle page linked to a couple of lines above.

For flat roofs you have a choice of either EPDM or Easy Roof Membrane. You could also use the ERM on apex roofs as an alternative to felt.

Gazebo roof structure complete ready for the final roof covering.

Gazebo roof structure complete ready for the final roof covering.

Roof structure and roof boards complete on a log cabin ready for the final roof covering to be applied.

Roof structure and roof boards complete on a log cabin ready for the final roof covering to be applied.

Notes.

The square, pyramid roof construction of a log cabin is pretty much the same as the rectangular roof described above. For the square roof gazebos it is a little different and uses a truss system making it easy to do and a lot less complicated. This looks good in a gazebo but I wouldn’t want this system in a log cabin.

Square roof truss system used in making a roof on a square gazebo.

Square gazebo roof construction using truss type beams.

Square gazebo roof construction using truss type beams.

Some buildings will have additional corner rafters as the above and below pictures show (the ones in the corner). I will fit these after I have put on some of the roof boards as you can then push it up into the roof boards for a perfect fit. For a log cabin you will need to put them in the notch before the roof boards go on.

Corder bracing coming from the corner rafters could be fitted after a few roof boards have been put on, you can then push the rafter up to them for a 100% perfect fit.

Corner bracing coming from the corner rafters could be fitted after a few roof boards have been put on, you can then push the rafter up to them for a 100% perfect fit.

There are different ways of doing things, you could also start from the top of the roof as this install was done, there really is no right or wrong method and all fitters will chose their own. This page is only my advice and you may have a better idea to accomplish your install quickly and easily.

You could also start from the top of the roof. There is no real right or wrong way of doing it, just personal preferences and what works for you and what you feel comfortable with.

You could also start from the top of the roof. There is no real right or wrong way of doing it, just personal preferences and what works for you and what you feel comfortable with. Note the smaller kingpin in this roof.

I have come across one or two buildings where the roof boards are not pre-angled. I actually prefer this as you simply nail them in, mark with a chalk line and cut down the line, to a certain extent it saves a lot of mucking about getting the perfect fit.

I prefer roof boards like this, they can just be nailed on and cut down to get a perfect joint on site.

I prefer roof boards like this, they can just be nailed on and cut down to get a perfect joint on site.

Finally please only use nails in your roof boards, a great deal of the overall strength of any building comes from the roof. Two nails in every board across every rafter. And please, NEVER use staples in the roof like this customer did.

Staples sued in the roof construction made a VERY weak building and it didn't fare will in a huge storm!

Staples used in the roof construction made a VERY weak building and it didn’t fare will in a huge storm with the roof boards lifting in places.

Greek Pergola

A taste of the Mediterranean with our Greek pergola roof component system.  A complete kit is offered as well as the separate parts to create your own.

This Greek Pergola Roof carries the FSC logo indicating that any wood used is sourced from responsibly managed forests. Combine with the optional Greek roof support structure to create a focal point within your garden.

Greek Pergola Roof:
Lattice roof sections are 35cm x 35cm. 22 notched supports interlock to create the lattice effect, each piece of wood measures 2.2cm x 9.5cm x 420cm.

Greek Pergola Roof

Greek Pergola roof components

Pergola Roof

Sunny Saturday

Another sunny Saturday.  The leaves are slowly turning and there’s a lovely breeze, a little fresh but a glorious start to the day.

Perhaps a morning coffee in here:

Time for a coffee…..