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A garden shelter provides the ideal exterior leisure area to relax, entertain, and fully enjoy the warmer seasons. With so many options, you can find the ideal pavilion design to match your taste and style. Read on to learn why such a structure may be the perfect addition to your backyard oasis.

What is a Backyard Pavilion and What are the Benefits?

A pavilion structure is a freestanding, open-air structure typically made of wood, vinyl, or metal. It provides shade and shelter while allowing breezes to flow through. Pavilions are larger than gazebos but more open than arbors.

Pavilions make an excellent addition to any backyard for many reasons:

  • Creates an outdoor living room. A patio structure becomes a comfortable outdoor, covered spot to lounge, dine al fresco, or gather with family and friends for backyard parties. It expands your living space outside.
  • Provides shade. On hot, sunny days, a pavilion offers respite from the heat while still allowing fresh air to circulate.
  • Options for customization. Pavilions come in all sizes and configurations, with choices of materials, colors, and features. Personalize every detail to suit your taste.
  • Low maintenance. Wood and vinyl structures are designed to withstand the elements, with little upkeep required.
  • Increases property value. A high-quality pavilion adds aesthetic appeal and usable space to backyards, making homes more attractive to potential buyers.

What Size Pavilion is Best for a Backyard?

When choosing a pavilion, consider the size of your yard and how you plan to use the space. Typical pavilion sizes include:

  • Small: 10×10, 10×12, or 12×12 feet; accommodates a bistro set or two chairs for intimate gatherings.
  • Medium: 12×16, 15×15, or 15×20 feet; fits a table and chairs for 4-6 people.
  • Large: 20×20, 20×30, or larger; hosts bigger groups of 8–12 for parties.

Measure your backyard to visualize the fit. Scale drawings from pavilion companies can help you find the right proportions. Allow enough yardage around the structure so it doesn’t feel crammed.

What are the Different Types of Garden Pavilions?

You’ll find a range of pavilion designs to create your ideal outdoor oasis:

Gazebo Pavilions

Pavilion structures have a solid, domed roof in octagonal, hexagonal, or square shapes. They provide more overhead shelter and seclusion than open pavilions.

Pergola Pavilions

Arbor pavilions have open lattice roofs made of crisscrossed wood or metal beams. They allow dappled sunlight through and are often used to support climbing vines.

Hip Roof Pavilions

Hipped roof structures have angled rooflines on all four sides, providing optimal rain runoff. This traditional style matches many home architectures.

Gable Roof Pavilions

Gabled roof shelters have a triangular roof section at both ends and are one of the most popular designs. They have an elegant, polished aesthetic.

What is the Best Material for an Outdoor Pavilion?

Pavilions come in wood, vinyl, and metal options. Considerations for materials include:

  • Wood: natural beauty, but requires more maintenance like staining or sealing. Cedar and pressure-treated pine are common.
  • Vinyl: is low-maintenance and weather-resistant. Available in wood-look shades or bold colors. Won’t rot, split, or crack.
  • Aluminum: durable and lightweight. Painted aluminum has color options. May make more noise during rain or hailstorms.
  • Steel: very sturdy but prone to rusting. Often used for arbor-style pavilions. Need to apply protective finishes.

Look for structures made of high-quality materials for longevity, appearance, and performance.

What Features Should I Look for in a Garden Pavilion?

Today’s pavilions offer options to customize your ideal backyard retreat. Features to consider include:

  • Roof style: hip, gable, domed, or arbor.
  • Roofing material: asphalt, metal, polycarbonate, or corrugated panels.
  • Windows or screens: let in light and breezes while blocking insects.
  • Ceiling fans circulate air on hot days.
  • Lighting: Strands of lights, lanterns, or wall sconces
  • Storage: Benches, hooks, and cabinets keep gear tidy.
  • Electricity: Outlets, switches, and ceiling fans require wiring.
  • Custom finishes: stain, paint, or mixed materials to match styles.

Factor in how you’ll relax and entertain to choose the must-have features. Electrical packages and accessories can be added to basic pavilion kits later on.

What Should I Consider When Planning Pavilion Placement?

Picking the right spot lays the foundation for your pavilion to feel like an integral part of the landscape. Ideas for placement:

  • Near the house for easy access
  • By a patio, fire pit, or outdoor kitchen to expand the space
  • Corner location to anchor two sides of the yard
  • Poolside for a cabana-like oasis
  • Visible from inside the home for enjoyment year-round
  • Away from trees and power lines
  • Follow sunlight patterns for shade needs.
  • Mindful of utility lines buried underground
  • Arrange furniture before building to test the flow.

Take time to envision how you’ll use the pavilion for the best positioning.

How Much Does a Backyard Pavilion Cost?

Pavilion prices range widely based on size, materials, and options selected. Generally, expect to budget:

  • Small pavilions: $1,500–$4,000
  • Medium pavilions: $4,000–$7,000
  • Large pavilions: $7,000–$15,000+
  • Custom pavilions: $15,000+

Vinyl and aluminum cost less than real wood. Gazebo styles run higher than al fresco models. Added features like fans, lights, and extra windows also increase costs. Get quotes from a few pavilion companies to compare pricing.

What are the Steps for Building a Modern Pavilion?

Constructing a structure has a basic process:

  1. Design the pavilion’s size, shape, materials, and features. Order a DIY kit or have one custom built to your specifications.
  2. Prepare and level the installation area. A gravel or concrete paver base is recommended.
  3. Assemble the frame pieces following the instructions. Anchor to the base according to local codes.
  4. Add roof beams, rafters, and panels like asphalt shingles or metal.
  5. Install siding, screens, windows, and doors. Attach hardware like lights and fans.
  6. Finish with trim, paint or stain, and sealant to protect materials.
  7. Add floor decking and outdoor furniture, and decorate!

For DIY builds, have helpers for large pavilions. Hire a pro installer for specialty roofing, electrical work, or custom designs.

Answers to Common Backyard Pavilion Questions

Researching pavilions? Here are answers to some frequent questions:

How long do garden shelters last?

High-quality wood and vinyl structures can last 15–20 years with proper maintenance and weather treatment. Check warranties.

Do you need a permit for a pavilion structure?

Permits are usually needed if the project is over a certain amount of square footage. Building codes vary by location, so check with your city.

What is the difference between a pergola and a pavilion?

Pergolas have open lattice roofs, while pavilions have solid, sloped roofs. Both provide shade, but pavilions provide more protection.

Should I choose wood or vinyl for my pavilion?

Wood has a rich, natural look but requires frequent staining. Vinyl is low-maintenance and has fade and mold resistance. Choose based on your climate and design taste.

Can I use a pavilion all year?

Some structures can be adapted for three-season use with weather-resistant roofs, side screens, and fans. Most are best suited for spring through fall, when temperatures are mild.

How do I make a pavilion more private?

Add side curtains, install screening panels, orient entry away from yard view, surround with vegetation, or choose an enclosed structure style.

Start Planning Your Ideal Backyard Pavilion!

A pavilion design enhances exterior leisure opportunities for dining, relaxing, celebrating, and recreation, seamlessly merging aesthetics and utility. With numerous sizes, materials, accessories, and customization options, you can create your perfect oasis. Spend time on the layout, do comparisons, and choose quality construction for an enduring pavilion to enjoy for years. Soon your pavilion will become a favorite spot to make the most of the warm weather—and your backyard.

Summary of Main Points:

  • Pavilions provide covered, open-air space to relax, dine, and entertain in backyards.
  • Consider the size based on yard dimensions and how you’ll use the area.
  • Choose from gazebo, arbor, hip, and gable roof designs.
  • Wood and vinyl are common materials; aluminum and steel are other durable options.
  • Add features like storage, lighting, and power based on needs.
  • Locate to complement existing structures and home traffic patterns.
  • Build it yourself or hire a contractor for more complex projects.
  • Budget $1,500–$15,000+ based on materials, size, and options.
  • With customization choices, you can match your taste and lifestyle.


What is the purpose of a gazebo?

The purpose of it is to provide a sheltered outdoor space, often used for relaxation, entertainment, or as a centerpiece for a garden.

How is a gazebo different from a patio?

A gazebo is a standalone structure, usually with a roof and open sides, while a patio is an outdoor space attached to a house or building.

What is a pergola?

An arbor is a garden feature consisting of vertical posts or pillars that support crossbeams and an open lattice roof. It provides partial shade and can be used to define a space in a backyard.

Are there different types of gazebos?

Yes, there are different types of gazebos, including wooden, metal, and portable.

What are the benefits of having an outdoor living space?

An outdoor living space allows you to enjoy nature, entertain guests, and create a relaxing atmosphere right in your backyard.

What is a timber-frame pavilion?

A timber frame pavilion is a solid outdoor structure made from heavy timber beams and posts, providing a sturdy and durable space for various outdoor activities.

How can I use an outdoor gazebo?

An outdoor structure can be used for various purposes, such as dining, lounging, hosting parties, or as a focal point in a garden.

What is a carport?

A carport is a covered structure specifically designed to provide shelter for vehicles, usually without enclosed walls.

What are the common sizes for gazebos?

Common sizes for gazebos include 10×12 feet, 12×16 feet, and 12×20 feet. However, summerhouses can be tailored to meet specific requirements.

Can I incorporate an outdoor kitchen into my gazebo or pavilion?

Yes, you can integrate an exterior cooking area into your arbor or pavilion to craft the ideal al fresco entertainment zone.

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