Do I Need a Permit for a Gazebo? (Read This Before Building)

Do I Need a Permit for a Gazebo

A gazebo can elevate any backyard, while also providing shade for the whole family. It’s a great spot for family bonding or gatherings during the summer months. Although, if you’re planning to build one, there are some details that need to be straightened. 

A permit is needed to build a gazebo since it is considered a permanent structure in most states. Depending on the type of gazebo you are building, you may need to obtain a building, electrical, and running water permit. 

That may seem like a lot to worry about but don’t fret! In this article, we’re going to break it down for you and discuss what you need to consider before building your gazebo.

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Here’s a Quick Pro Tip!

When building a gazebo, you need to make sure that it is anchored to withstand harsh environments. You should take into account the general weather patterns of your state (tornadoes, hurricanes, snowfall, etc.)

Here are our favorite products to anchor your gazebo and ensure the safety of your family and your neighbors:

1. Concrete Wedge Anchor – ideal for anchoring a gazebo on paving/concrete.

2. Gazebo Anchor Weights – perfect for wooden gazebos.

3. Waterproof Lights – improve the ambiance of your gazebo.

Permits and Permissions

Before the actual building process can begin, you need to get a permit from your local municipality. In this section, we’re going to discuss why it is important and where you can enquire about a permit.

Do You Need Permission to Build a Gazebo?

If you’re planning on building a permanent gazebo you will most probably need a building permit from your local permit office. As with most other codes, the regulations are different in every state and county.

It also depends on what amenities you want in the gazebo, do you want a full-functioning kitchen or a simple structure with some lights? Deciding beforehand will make the permission process a lot easier.

Do You Need Planning Permissions for a Gazebo?

In most cases, you do need a planning permit to build a gazebo. Gazebos that are smaller than 10 by 10 feet don’t require a permit, but that is a very small area and will be quite impractical.

You might even need more than a mere building permit. If you want electricity or running water available in your gazebo you would need to obtain a permit for each. It would be best to decide what you want beforehand and then go to your local permit office to discuss what you need.

Do You Need a Permit to Build a New Gazebo?

In most states across the United States, you do need a permit to build a permanent gazebo. Although each state has different rules and regulations. You should check with your local permit office.

The regulations are different in each state because some states need to prepare for constant hurricanes while others deal with heavy snow. The drastic difference in climate results in different regulations.

How Big Can a Gazebo Be Without Planning Permission?

The general rule of thumb is that a gazebo does not need planning permission if it is smaller than 10 by 10 feet. 100 square feet is not big enough to hold a grill and three chairs, so it’s not a practical size for a family.

Please note that this is only a general rule, the regulations in your county might be completely different. It’s best to get all the necessary information beforehand, rather than a not-so-friendly visit from city officials.

You might also enjoy our post on If a Gazebo Can be Used as a Carport

What Size Gazebo Can I Build Without a Permit?

Usually, a 10 by 10-foot gazebo is considered small enough to not require permits from your city. Although this is a very small area and is probably not suited for more than one or two people.

An important factor to consider is your local Home Owners Association (HOA). Some HOA’s requires permits for any gazebos, even those temporary sports/camping gazebos that you want to put up for the summer.

Do Wooden Gazebos Require Build Permits?

You do need a building permit to construct a wooden gazebo. This can be obtained at your local permit office or city municipality building. Even if you’re not planning to add walls to your gazebo, most likely you still need a permit.

You might also need additional permits for electricity or running water. It’s better to be over-prepared than under-prepared. After obtaining all the necessary permits you can contact a local contractor to get started with your gazebo.

do you need a permit to build a gazebo

Placement of Gazebo

While you’re trying to get a permit, the official will most likely ask you about the placement of your gazebo. This is something that you need to think about and plan beforehand, as the placement of a gazebo is very important. Let’s discuss why it’s so important.

Can I Put a Gazebo in My Backyard?

Once you have all the necessary permits, you can build your gazebo in your backyard. The placing of the gazebo is very important. There are many factors that you need to take into consideration.

What time of the day will you use it the most? Where will the sun be at that time? Is the ground level? Are there lots of trees nearby? All of these are questions that you should ask yourself when placing your gazebo.

Can You Put a Gazebo on a Patio?

You can install a gazebo on a patio, although it depends on the type of gazebo and the type of patio. In principle, the patio should be strong enough to carry the gazebo, so a wooden patio would not be able to hold a concrete gazebo.

On the other hand, if you have a concrete patio you are good to go. You can build a permanent gazebo on the patio and secure the legs with concrete wedge anchors. It’s difficult to install the gazebo on a concrete patio, but not impossible.

Can You Put a Gazebo Against Your House?

Usually, a gazebo cannot be placed right against your house. It needs to be at least 3 feet from your house. Although this regulation differs per state, it would be best to ask your local permit office for advice.

If your plan is to build a gazebo right next to your house to act as a porch, it would definitely need a permit. It’s also a good idea to talk to your HOA about any regulations they might have regarding the size or placement of gazebos.

Can I Put a Gazebo on the Paving?

You can place a gazebo on the paving. The only caveat is that you must find a sturdy method to anchor your gazebo. Concrete wedge anchors are generally the best option since they are very sturdy.

Alternatively, you could install weights on the feet of your gazebo. Although gazebo weights are not really strong enough to anchor permanent structures, so we would recommend wedge anchors or ground anchor stakes.

Can I Put a Gazebo Over a Fire Pit?

If your gazebo does not have walls, you should be safe to put a firepit under the gazebo. However, the firepit has to be included in the building plans that you present to the permit office.

If the fire pit is not allowed, they will inform you and ask you to adjust the building plans. A fire pit can not be placed in an enclosed area, so if you’re planning to put up walls around your gazebo, you should not install a fire pit.

You might also enjoy our post on If a Gazebo Is Safe in the Wind

How Close to the House Can I Build a Gazebo?

Typically, you can build a gazebo up to three feet from your house. The exact distance differs from state to state, so to get the details right you should consult with your local permit office. 

Usually, the ‘3 feet’ rule is stipulated to prevent your gazebo from blocking the view from your neighbor’s windows. If you live on a big plot of land and you don’t have neighbors too close, your local county might allow you to build a gazebo right against your house. 


To get a permit approved, you need to submit building plans. You or a contractor who knows the state regulations can make these plans. Let’s look at some common questions when planning a gazebo.

How Tall Can My Gazebo Be?

Gazebos should not be taller than 15 feet. Having a too tall gazebo could be unstable and fall over and damage your property (or your neighbor’s). The floor size of your gazebo also indicates how tall your gazebo can be.

The average height of gazebos is 10-12 feet, which is more than enough for people to stand comfortably under the roof. This height also does not pose a threat to neighboring houses or trees. Each state has different regulations, so it would be best to consult a permit clerk.

Can I Build a Wooden Gazebo in My Garden?

You can build a wooden gazebo in your backyard, although it’s not as simple as buying wood slabs and jumping to work. The first thing to do is plan out the details, the placement, the size, the amenities, etc.

After planning out all the details, visit your local permit office to discuss your plans with a clerk. Usually, you would need a permit to build a wooden gazebo in your backyard, so they will assist you with the appropriate permits. Then you can start to build your gazebo.

Can I Build a Gazebo Without My HOA’s Approval?

If your property is part of a Home Owners Association, you should always comply with the rules and regulations that they have stipulated. You should go to them if they require approval to build a permanent structure like a gazebo.

Sometimes we might feel like the HOA is unreasonable, but their ultimate goal is to keep everyone happy and satisfied. If you have appropriate planning and you’ve discussed it with your neighbors, your HOA will probably not have a problem with the structure. They might have limitations on the height and size, though.

Is a Gazebo Considered a Structure?

A gazebo is defined as an open-air structure with four or more sides. Even though it does not have walls, it is still considered a structure. That means that you would need permits to plan and build a gazebo.

Some HOAs even recognize temporary camping gazebos as a structure, meaning that you would need their approval if you want to put up your gazebo for the summer. This might seem unnecessary, but it’s to ensure that your ‘structure’ does not block the view from your neighbors’ windows.

You might also enjoy our post on If a Gazebo is Safe in Lightning

How Much Does It Cost to Build a 12×12 Gazebo?

For a permanent 12 x 12 gazebo, you can expect to pay between $3500 and $8000. This estimation varies depending on the material, shape, roofing, amenities, and other extra add-ons.

The material that you choose has the biggest influence on the price, so let’s look at some options:

  • Wood – traditional and beautiful, but high maintenance to take care of. You’ll likely need to often treat the wood to deter wood-damaging insects. It is also quite expensive.
  • Brick – the cheapest option and retains heat well, so it’s ideal for colder areas. However, brick is quite susceptible to earthquakes, so it would not be a good option in states like California.
  • Metal – built to last and offers a modern look to your backyard. Steel or Aluminum is the most common option, although they’re not very customizable.

What Is the Max Height for a Gazebo in My Yard?

Most states restrict the height of a gazebo to 15 feet, while others restrict it to 12 feet. You would need to contact a local city official to double-check what your state’s regulations are before planning to build a gazebo.

The height restrictions are usually for safety reasons. If your gazebo is too high, it will be unstable and be at risk of falling over. Sometimes the regulations are also put in place for visual reasons. A gazebo that is too high might just not look right.

Related Questions

What Can I Build Without Planning Permission?

Most structures and sheds larger than 100 square feet will need a permit. So if you’re planning on building something that does not need a permit, stick to 100 square feet and not more than one story high.

Some municipalities allow up to 120 square feet without a permit, so you should check if that option is available. Sheds are usually 8×8 or 6×8 feet. These sizes do not need a permit (in some states).

Do I Need Planning Permission for a Covered Patio?

You might need a building permit to cover up your patio, or you might not. This depends on where you live. Each municipality has different regulations regarding covering your patio.

In most cases, you should be able to cover your patio without any permit. Enquiring at your local municipal building will give you the ease of mind that you’re following the correct process, though.

Do I Need a Permit to Build a Pergola?

You will need a permit to build a pergola. Pergolas are permanent structures, so your local municipality must approve the building plans before releasing a permit. You should submit your building plans to your local municipal building.

Even though a pergola does not have a solid roof or sides, it is still a permanent structure. This structure could obstruct your neighbors’ view or be a safety hazard. These are the criteria that officials use when deciding whether to give your a permit or not.

Final Thoughts

There you have it! You do indeed need a permit to build a gazebo, even though it’s not technically a building. If you have an HOA, you should approach them before requesting a permit from the municipality. 

We hope you found this article informative and that you’re ready for your next gazebo project!

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