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Design the railing of your choice


Custom railings and fills give a gazebo a distinct design personality because, next to the roof, they can be the most visible element. Wood railings and fills come in a few basic styles with almost limitless variation. From solid slat to cutout, from squared baluster to turned, choose a style that enhances the overall gazebo design. Follow the basic construction steps for solid slat railings or choose to use 1x1 nailing cleats as shown in the illustration.

Solid Slat Railings

Use ready-made dadoed redwood 2x4 rails to make railing construction easier. Nailing cleats can also be used to secure slats. Railing height from the deck surface should be 36 to 40 inches or conform to local building code.

Take the outside post-to-post measurements, and trim railing ends to 22-1/2 degrees or match the post angles. Drill 3/8-inch diameter drain holes every 8 inches in the bottom dadoed rails. Cut the 1x8 redwood railing slats to at least 32 inches. Use 10d nails or 3-inch screws to attach bottom rails to the posts 4 inches above the decking. Insert the slats and cap with the 2x4 top rail secured to post with 10d nails or 3-inch screws.

Cut Out Slats

This style often expands on a custom design detail from the frieze and it can be as simple as the oval pattern shown or as elaborate as the gingerbread designs of the Victorian era. Create a template from hardboard and transfer the pattern to the 1x8 redwood slats. Use a band or saber saw to cut the pattern from several boards at a time. Secure the redwood slats to the rails with nailing cleats.


Squared or turned baluster railings open up a gazebo to its surroundings, while giving it both a traditional and elegant look. Ready-made, turned 2x2 balusters cost just a bit more than the squared balusters and some suppliers also offer matching posts. With the proper tools, you can create your own custom balusters of simple or ornate design. Use dadoed rails or nailing cleats to secure the balusters, and space balusters no more than 4 inches apart for safety.

You can also assemble baluster-style railings without using nailing cleats or dadoed rails. Drive 8d nails up through the bottom 2x4 rails into the baluster bottoms, and then carefully toenail the top of the baluster to the top rail, hiding the nail heads.

Nailing Options

The details show two options for constructing slat or baluster railings with 1x1 molding used as nailing cleats.

Sanding and Finishes

Sand railings with medium grit sandpaper. Apply a water repellent finish.

gazebo big picture

Plans for download

Materials list

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