Preparing for Your Backyard Structure

To ensure that the installation and setup go smoothly, some site preparation work will need to be completed before the scheduled install. The type of site preparation required will depend on the structure you’ve purchased. To help you prepare, we’ve put together this site preparation guide that outlines the steps you should take before we install your new structure.


Depending on your structure and your local zoning laws, you may need a permit for your new backyard structure. For projects in the greater Sacramento area, our team will handle every step of the permitting process.

For projects outside of the Sacramento area – like San Francisco, Los Angeles, or San Diego – our team will complete the permit application packet and mail to you for you to submit. Since permit applications must be physically delivered to a planning office, it makes more sense for you to submit than for one of our employees to drive to your location to hand deliver an envelope.

Preparing for Your Backyard Structure

The foundation is the unsung hero of the backyard building. Though it often goes unnoticed, the foundation ensures that your structure will stand the test of time. There are several site prep options available, which can be done by the Backyard Unlimited team, a landscape contractor, or the DIY homeowner.

Installing a Gravel Pad

The least expensive and easiest foundation option for most buildings is a gravel pad. This foundation is recommended for sheds, garages, horse barns, dog kennels, chicken coops, and gazebos with floors.

Steps for Installing a Gravel Pad:

  1. Create a level frame with 4×4 or 4×6 pressure treated wood.
  2. Frame can be up to 12″ wider and longer than your building dimensions.
  3. Evenly fill the frame with 4-6″ of 3/4″ crushed gravel (available from most landscape supply retailers).

Installing on Concrete Slab

Structures that don’t have a base or floor must be anchored so that they stay in place. We’ll anchor the posts of your new structure to either a concrete slab or concrete footers. This foundation is recommended for pavilions, pergolas, and gazebos without floors.

Steps for Installing Concrete Slab:

  1. Create a level frame and fill with 4″ of concrete.
  2. Frame can be up to 12″ wider and longer than your structure dimensions.
  3. Allow adequate time for the concrete to cure completely before your scheduled installation.

Installing on Concrete Footers

If you have an existing paver patio or have other plans for the area underneath your gazebo, pergola, or pavilion, you may wish to install concrete footers instead of a full slab of concrete.

Steps for Installing Concrete Footers:

  1. Consult the post layout diagram for the building you have purchased. Don’t have a diagram for your structure? Contact us and we will send them over.
  2. Using the measurements in the post layout diagram, dig post holes to a depth of at least 12″.
  3. Fill the post holes with concrete.
  4. Allow adequate time for the concrete to cure completely before your scheduled installation.
Please note: Pavilions over 10’x12′ should be anchored to concrete footers with a minimum depth of 12″

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