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The Skinny on Timber Frame Pergolas

A pergola is a great addition to any home. It adds additional living space for family, entertaining and adds a valuable decorating opportunity to your property. Timber frame pergolas are the best of the best.

Timber Frame PergolasWhen you are planning your pergola, a number of factors should be considered in your design scheme.

Timber Frame vs Dimensional Lumber

Timber framing uses much more substantial members in the construction process than conventional construction. Dimensional lumber, such as 4×4 posts, appear scrawny and insubstantial. Not only do they look weak, but the combined weight of all the joists and cross-members can be quite a load for mere 4×4 posts.

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Timber Frame Pergolas Size

The amount of space you need is directly affected by the ultimate use of the structure. If you’re a great one for outdoor entertaining, a large structure that is designed for a crowd is important. On the other hand, if this area is meant to be a quiet retreat, a diminutive structure will fulfill your needs and be a charming accent to your landscaping.

Once you’ve determined the location and use of your pergola, sketch out a floor plan. Make arrangements of the seating, grill and other furniture you plan to use in your structure. Just as you would in furnishing a room in your home, be sure to allow adequate space arrangement options.


There are a number of ways to achieve privacy in this space. Long-range privacy in the form of vines and climbing plants is a natural and attractive method, but this will take a number of years.

Sections of the lattice can be strategically positioned on timber frame pergolas to provide privacy. Bamboo roll-up blinds can be installed, as well as UV resistant fabric curtains. These are quick and easy methods to ensure privacy, while they have the virtue of being removable if your needs change.

Protection And Shelter

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You need to decide if this structure will be used as a means to shade the area or if the roof of the pergola will give protection against rain and snow as well.

If this is to be a fair weather structure and shade is the main goal, plan the design so the cross members provide shade as the sun moves across the sky. You can also swag UV resistant fabric across the cross members to create a very shady retreat.

If you wish to use the area in all weather, consider your options for more substantial roofing. You may even decide to have both options under one roof.


You’ll find many styles of pergolas available. Choose a design that blends with the architecture of your home. Simplicity is usually the best choice unless you have a very definite architectural style in your home. Your furnishings, accessories, and landscaping will dress up and enliven your pergola to give it a cohesive look.

A timber frame pergola is an excellent choice, as the solid construction makes this structure a permanent addition to your home and will add enjoyment for many, many years.

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