Creating a Cozy Outdoor Living Space: DIY Tips for Timber Frame Pavilions

Timber frame pavilions are ideal for people who enjoy entertaining guests outdoors, as they provide shelter from the elements while looking stunning, elegant, and grandiose. They can host large parties, while providing an excellent location for an outdoor kitchen or a fireplace.

And they’ll keeping growing in popularity, as the outdoor living structure market is expected to grow  5.9% each year by 2030

While building timber pavilions requires skilled contractors, the design and the atmosphere are in your hands. Below, I’ll share some of my favorite tips for designing a gorgeous pavilion yourself.

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A large timber frame pavilion with a metal roof and open sides, set in a lush green garden with manicured shrubs and tall trees in the background.

Design 

Your design will depend on what you want to achieve with your pavilion. Do you want a lounge area, a dining space, or a combination of the two? Also, what elements do you want to incorporate? Here are some ideas party enthusiasts love:

  • Outdoor kitchen
  • Dining space
  • Fireplace
  • Fire pit
  • Outdoor TVs
  • Bar

Once you decide what you want, you’re ready to continue working on your design, and choose the size, shape, roofing, and overall appearance.

Size and Shape

The size and shape will depend on the location and the available space in your backyard. Some standard sizes include 16' x 16', 20' x 20', 24' x 24', 28' x 28', and 30' x 30’. 

The most common shape for a pavilion is rectangular, which is ideal for large gatherings, and is also known as a Hip End shelter. Square pavilions are more traditional and will work well in backyards of smaller sizes. You can also add cupolas and arches to give the design some additional pizzazz. 

Materials and Roofing

The most common materials used in pavilion building are cedar, redwood,  or pressure-treated pine. Decide about the material depending on your climate, your budget, and the color you like. 

When it comes to roofing materials, you can get metal, thatch, or shingles, and it’s best to see what the color of the roof looks like with the timber you choose. If you want the addition to complement the design of the home, pick a similar roofing material and shape to the shape of your homes’s roof.

Foundations

Depending on the size and the weight of your pavilion, you’ll need concrete footings, a gravel base, or even a full concrete slab. This is something best left to professionals who build timber frame pavilions. 

A small, octagonal wooden gazebo with a shingled roof, surrounded by a green lawn and dense trees in a park-like setting.

Aesthetics

The best part about designing your new outdoor structure is seeing it come to life with furniture, décor, and lights. Adding just one bold design element can change the vibe of the entire structure, so don't miss out on any of these puzzle pieces.

Comfy Seating

The outdoor furniture industry has made sure we don't have to choose between style and functionality — it’s now really easy to find weather-resistant outdoor furniture that looks gorgeous. Moreover, you can even find dual-purpose seating with hidden storage, which is perfect for keeping that chess board or board game set that your guests will enjoy.

Lighting

The best lighting for your new lounge space is a mix of various types. The traditional atmosphere of the pavilion will shine if you combine lanterns, string lights, and solar-powered pathway lights. Opt for warm colors for a rustic, cozy atmosphere.

Textiles and Decor

Throw pillows and blankets are unavoidable in this setting, but a less expected choice is to add outdoor rugs and curtains for extra privacy. In the summer, the curtains also create more shade, while the sight of light fabrics swaying in the breeze brings out a more dreamy atmosphere.

Greenery

The pavilion’s arches and columns are perfect for hanging baskets and climbing vines. Just consider the position of the structure to see how much sunlight the plants would be getting before you hit the garden center. 

Accessories

Pavilions offer plenty of accessorizing options, from fire pits to swings, daybeds, playsets, and smaller décor items such as candles and wind chimes. In addition, you can increase the comfort level by adding a sound system for music, an outdoor heater for cooler evenings, and a fan for the summer. And when you’re done, you’ll be ready to throw a party to remember. 

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