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Kits are a trade-off between ready-made convenience and custom design, between paying just for materials and paying for labor. For this reason, outdoor structure kits are increasingly available and popular, and the majority of some garden structures, such as gazebos, are now built from kits.

The quality of materials in kits tends to be good or excellent. However, joinery techniques tend toward the basics to allow for mass production so that beginners can manage the assembly with ease. You can choose from a catalog of stock designs, and while you may find many you like, most won’t look custom-tailored to your site. (Some manufacturers provide custom versions but at higher prices.)

On the plus side, every part is precut and all the hardware is packaged and ready to use; so it’s a great option for those with little building experience.

Most outdoor structure kits are made of wood, but if white’s your color and you want a no-maintenance result, consider buying vinyl. From simple ready-to-assemble trellises under $50 to fancy gazebos topping $10,000, kits are found at home and garden centers, from specialty catalog retailers, and directly from manufacturers that sell their products online.

However, even with a kit, site preparation is still your responsibility. Figure that into the total cost of the project.

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What to look for in a Kit

  • Specific quality grades of materials (kiln-dried clear cedar or redwood)
  • Complete set of required hardware and fasteners
  • Affordable shipping costs
  • Comprehensive Instructions with good illustrations and photos; some even have videos
  • Toll-free phone access to technical help 24/7
  • Factory-finish options (often superior to site-applied finishes because they can be applied in controlled conditions with highly specialized equipment)
George Gitau

Meet George, an advocate for traditional craftsmanship. I will provide you with educational content, techniques and ideas for your next garden and home improvement project. Together, let's create beautiful spaces that are not only beautiful but also functional

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