Outdoor Timber Pavilion by Western Timber Frame

By Todd Fratzel on Landscaping, Structure

Timber Frame Pavilion Project

Outdoor living spaces have become one of the most popular landscaping projects for home owners looking to expand their yards and gain useful spaces to entertain and relax. Last Spring we started an extensive year long outdoor living project including a custom patio with built-in fire pit, retaining wall, outdoor pavilion, and an in-ground swimming pool. The outdoor pavilion is a focal point and a key feature that anchors the seating area to the pool patio. In this article we’ll share our experience in ordering and installing a pavilion kit from Western Timber Frame out in Utah.

Backyard Pool

Building A Pavilion – Lots of Options

Anyone looking to build a pavilion in their backyard will quickly realize there are tons of options out there from building it yourself from scratch to hiring a general contractor for a totally custom structure. You can also hire an architect to design anything from a simple structure to the Taj Mahal of pavilions that would make structures at Disney proud. For this project I evaluated several options including:

  • Custom Design / Site Build: I designed a pavilion very similar to the one shown above. I used the 3D drafting program SketchUp to design the pavilion and create a material list. My plan was to build the pavilion from Cedar timbers using steel connection plates and structural fasteners.
  • Traditional Timber Frame: In this scenario I was going to have a local timber frame manufacturer cut a traditional mortise and tenon timber frame from Douglas Fir based on my 3D model mentioned above.
  • Timber Frame Kit: Ultimately I ended up purchasing a kit from Western Timber Frame. There are several companies advertising online for pavilion and gazebo kits that you can install yourself or hire a contractor to erect for you. We chose Western Timber Frame for several reasons including the quality of the frame (they use beautiful Douglas Fir just like a regular timber frame manufacturer would), their unique frame connections, and their excellent customer service that made the entire process very smooth.

Pavilion Model

One of the big reasons I went with the kit (and also why I was leaning towards a pre-cut frame) was time. My schedule is so hectic that it wasn’t realistic for me to spend the time necessary to build the structure from scratch. Boy am I glad I made the choice I made, we got this pavilion up just in time to beat old man winter!

About the author

Todd Fratzel

I'm full time builder for a large construction company in New Hampshire. I run their design-build division that specializes in custom homes, commercial design-build projects and sub-divisions. I'm also a licensed civil and structural engineer with extensive experience in civil and structural design and home construction. My hope is that I can share my experience in the home construction, home improvement and home renovation profession with other builders and home owners. I'm also the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Tool Box Buzz. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, suggestions or you'd like to inquire about advertising on this site.

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  1. Jolly says:

    This a nice explanation about building a Pavilion with sort time.

  2. keely hostetter says:

    My husband built a pavilion for us similar to this one but with one slanted roof. We love it. We spend our summer nights under it all the time!

  3. James K Skinner says:

    What size is the pavilion you ordered from weatern timber frames?

  4. Costco is selling a similar kit in their warehouse stores. Beautiful!

  5. Shaun says:

    Amazing work Todd, I love the way you documented the whole process. Very informative!

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