How to Plan the Perfect Outdoor Pavilion

Do you love your home but wish you had more entertainment space? Or do you simply want your backyard to better fit your lifestyle?

These are two important reasons to add an outdoor pavilion to your landscape. Permanent pavilions are an exciting and growing trend in landscape design.

Here’s how to plan the perfect outdoor pavilion.

What Exactly is a Pavilion?

In terms of landscape design, a pavilion is a sturdy covered outdoor structure that’s supported by posts and columns. It has completely open sides to allow enjoyment of the outdoors but offers full protection from the sun, rain, and other weather elements.

Pavilions are perfect for hosting large gatherings. Have you ever noticed how only a small gathering of friends makes your indoor entertainment space feel uncomfortably limited?

With an outdoor pavilion, guests can freely move around as they enjoy the fresh air. And you won’t have to worry about unexpected showers ruining your outdoor entertainment plans. Imagine guests enjoying food and drinks while being safely protected from a summer shower.

Outdoor pavilions are popular not only because they are functional, but because they offer a feeling of luxury.

Check out these examples of some pavilions and outdoor entertaining spaces designed and built by Sponzilli Landscape Group.

Residential poolside pavilions

An Outdoor Pavilion Adds to Your Home’s Value

Not all home additions make sense from a financial perspective. An unattractive, poorly thought-out home addition or landscape project will detract from your home’s perceived value or desirability.

However, a well-planned, attractive pavilion or outdoor living space will increase the value of your home.

Prospective homebuyers will immediately picture themselves enjoying the pavilion and view it as more living space—without you having to increase your home’s actual square footage.

Read more about how quality landscaping and outdoor pavilions increase the market value of your home.

Start to Plan Your Pavilion

Determine the Pavilion’s Function

First, define how you will use your pavilion.

A pavilion can be:

  • An intimate backyard oasis for relaxation and recharging
  • A beautiful area to host large outdoor celebrations such as birthdays and graduations
  • A go-to outdoor space to enjoy in the spring, summer, and fall—and possibly winter
  • A welcoming space for family and guest outdoor dining
  • An expansive entertainment area to host outdoor sports-viewing parties or movie events
  • An inviting and functional outdoor office space for your remote work

Once you determine the pavilion’s intended function, other planning decisions will be much easier.

Where to Locate the Pavilion?

A pavilion can be constructed anywhere in your backyard, but the perfect location depends on its intended use.

A backyard pavilion for dining, cooking, and entertainment

For example, if your pavilion will be primarily for outdoor dining, but you don’t have an outdoor kitchen, you may want it located close to your back door.

If you are building or have an outdoor kitchen, a pavilion can shelter the cook and keep visiting guests comfortable during meal preparation.

A pavilion at poolside will offer welcome shade from the sun’s rays.

A pavilion can also be located to best take advantage of beautiful views.

The larger your property, the more location options you have. But a smaller yard can also benefit from a well-planned pavilion.

Size of the Pavilion

There are no restrictions on a pavilion’s size. The best size of your pavilion depends on its intended use and your property size. A pavilion can be large and expansive, or smaller and intimate.

Factors that influence the best size of a pavilion are:

  • The number of guests you entertain
A pavilion sheltering an outdoor seating and pool table area
  • Furniture and seating to be included
  • Equipment you want to shelter, such as a movie screen and/or outdoor television—or even an outdoor kitchen

The pavilion should be in proportion to your yard. If you’re working with a smaller property, keep the size small enough so as not to overwhelm the landscape.

Your town’s building codes can also limit the size of the outdoor pavilion. Be sure to check requirements and get all necessary permits before work begins.

Exciting Features of Your Pavilion

There are many features you can add to your pavilion to make it comfortable, functional, and inviting.

Pavilion with fireplace and hot tub

Consider including these:

Pavilion Materials

Since your pavilion is a permanent outdoor structure, it needs to look good and withstand the elements for many years. Building materials can range from bricks and pavers to concrete, metal, stone, vinyl, and wood.

Keep in mind that materials used may require different care and upkeep as well as vary in cost.

Pavilion Design

The pavilion design should complement your home’s architecture. A rustic-styled pavilion at the back of a Victorian home will look awkward and out of place. If you love to cook, include a personalized outdoor kitchen that will speak to your heart.

The shape of the pavilion can vary. Nothing says it needs to be square or rectangular. If you like an octagonal shape, this may work as well.

The roof design can be flat or pitched. Shingled roofs are popular. Metal roofs are the most durable and protect against strong winds and snow.

Consult an experienced landscape architect to finalize design and help select materials. Get started today by saving images or magazine photos of pavilions you like.

Here are some exciting examples of outdoor pavilions.


Come up with a realistic budget to guide decisions and avoid delays or disappointment as you proceed.

Sponzilli Landscape Group specializes in creating outstanding outdoor living and entertaining spaces.

Contact us to get started with your pavilion or other landscape projects. We have the talent, expertise, and equipment to turn your landscape dreams into an enjoyable reality.

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