What is the best size for a backyard pavilion?

Timber pavilion

A backyard pavilion is a fantastic addition to any outdoor living space.  Not only does it provide shelter from the rain and sun, but it also creates a beautiful focal point for your outdoor living space.  When it comes to choosing the best size for your backyard pavilion, there are some factors to consider.  In this article, we will explore the various sizes of pavilions that are suitable for your backyard.  We will also help you decide which one will be the best fit for your needs.

First, it is important to decide how you plan to use your new pavilion.  Will be used for outdoor dining or as an area to hang out with family and friends?  Will you be putting a hot tub under the pavilion? Will it be a spot primarily for outdoor entertaining?  The answer to these questions will help you determine what will be the best size for your pavilion.

Second, consider the size of your backyard.  If you have a smaller yard, how much of the yard do you want the pavilion to occupy?  If the primary use of the yard will be in the pavilion, then it could be okay to use up most of your backyard space with a pavilion.  Also, if you have a large backyard, a smaller pavilion might not have enough impact on the overall design of the yard.  Think about the orientation of the pavilion in relation to the rest of your yard.  Will it be off to the side, or will it be the main feature of your outdoor living space?

Let’s take a closer look at some specific sizes for your backyard pavilion.  Keep in mind that the vertical posts that hold up the structure are usually inset from the edge of the roof.  For example, a 10’ x 10’ pavilion is measured to the roof edge to edge.  The outside dimension for the posts of this size would be 8’ x 8’.  If the posts are 6” x 6” that leaves 7’ for the inside dimensions of the posts.  

See attached sketch

10′ x 10′ Pavilion

A 10’ x 10’ pavilion is a great option for smaller backyards or as a secondary structure to complement a larger structure in your backyard.  This size of pavilion is great for small gatherings or as a quiet area to relax and get out of the sun.  This could also offer a nice spot to relax and read a book.  The post size for this would usually be 6” x 6”, with a 3” x 10” beam.

Lounge Area between 10 to 12 feet.

12′ x 12′ Pavilion

A 12’ x 12’ pavilion can accommodate a small group of people comfortably.  This size could be used for dining if the table is small.  You should be able to sit 4 people at the table or a few lounge chairs.  You can also keep your barbeque dry and have room for food prep.  This size is good if you want to put an 8’ x 8’  hot tub inside. Keeping the snow, sun, and rain off of your hot tub will significantly increase its longevity. The post size for this would usually be 6” x 6”, with a 3” x 10” beam.  You could consider upsizing the posts and beams to 8” x 8” posts with 4” x 12” beams.  

Family Area between 12 to 16 feet.

14’ x 14’ Pavilion

A 14’ x 14’ pavilion is a great size for larger backyards and can comfortably seat 6 people around a 4’ table.  This size pavilion is great for outdoor dining and entertaining.  It can also be used as a seating area out of the sun or for reading.  The post size for this could be 6” x 6”, with a 3” x 10” beam, but you are getting to the size where 8” x 8” posts and 4” x 12” beams could also make sense.

16’ x 16’ Pavilion

A 16’ x 16’ pavilion is a larger option that can comfortably seat 8 people around a 4-5’ table.  This size is great for larger outdoor gatherings.  You can spread out a bit and not feel so confined with this size.  This size works great if you want to add an outdoor kitchen or a built-in grill.  I highly recommend an outdoor sink if you are going to build a kitchen.  The post size should be 8” x 8” with 4” x 12” beams.  6” post will look thin in this size.  You could consider upgrading to 10” x 10” posts for a beefier look and feel.

Entertainment Area between 16 to 20 feet.

20’ x 20’ Pavilion

A 20’ x 20’ pavilion is a great size for large outdoor gatherings.  You could have a dining table, separate lounge chairs, and a kitchen and still have room to spare.  This size could be used for weddings or family reunions.  Post size will need to be at least 8” x 8” with 4” x 12” beams.  You could consider upgrading to 10” x 10” posts for a beefier look and feel.

Keep in mind that custom pavilions can be built to any size, and they do not need to be square.  Rectangular shapes are quite common and may be needed to fit certain backyard situations.

Larger than 20’

A pavilion can really be any size you want.  The only real limitation is the span of the beams.  Typically a 20’ span is the limit of 4” x 12” beams.  However, in special situations, a glue-lam beam can be custom-made if the span needs to be larger.  The other option to support longer lengths is to add a middle post.  That way a structure 40’ long would have a post on each end and one in the middle.

Ultimately, the size of your backyard pavilion will depend on your specific needs and your budget.  But once you have a pavilion in your outdoor living space, you will never want to live without one.  

Choosing a Professional Pergola and Pavilion Builder

Building an outdoor living space that includes a pergola or pavilion requires expertise and skill that not all landscapers or building contractors possess.  At Timber West Design we specialize in creating unique, custom designs for pergolas and pavilions that are designed and engineered to last many years in our outdoor living space.

Investing in a professional pergola and pavilion builder ensures that your outdoor living space is not only functional but also aesthetically pleasing.  With a beautiful pergola or pavilion in your outdoor living space, you will enjoy spending even more time in your backyard.  Let Timber West Design help you create a unique pergola or pavilion that enhances your outdoor space.

My name is Steve and I am passionate about designing beautiful and functional pergolas and pavilions.

Whether you need help coming up with an idea or already have something in mind, my goal is to help you explore the possibilities and find the perfect addition to your outdoor living space.  With my design consultations, you will have access to my decades of design experience and a personalized plan that fits your vision and budget.

If you are interested in taking the next step, I am a sales agent for one of the largest timber pavilion manufacturers in the country.  I can arrange to have your timber pergola or pavilion shipped directly to your location in the continental USA.  From start to finish, I am here to help you make your dream a reality.

Thank you for visiting my site and I am looking forward to working with you!



Steve Fleischer

Designer for one of the country's largest pergola and pavilion manufacturers. Steve has decades of design experience. Let Steve design an unforgettable structure for your backyard.

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