Timber Frame Pavilion – Garden Gazebo Plan, Drawing

Build your own Timber Frame Garden Pavilion. Plans available for download in PDF Format.

Part 1 of 3
Timber Frame Pavilion Gazebo for Garden or Yard - Part 1 of 3
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We wanted to build an open structure as a center piece for our garden and as a shady spot to sit, work, or socialize. I wanted it to be built in a timber frame style with simple joinery and posts on 10 by 10 centers.

Part 1 – Build the Timber Frame Pavilion

Timber Frame Style Design

Here’s the 3D model I created in Sketchup.

Timber Frame Pavilion on 10\' by 10\' centres
Timber Frame Pavilion on 10′ by 10′ centres

The peak height of the pavilion is 11’3″. The large sloping shed roof faces the south with another smaller roof on the front facing north with a clerestory type opening above. The structure is built from red cedar and fir, and topped with a metal roof.

Timber Frame Pavilion - Peak height of 11\'3\"
Peak height of 11’3″

I’ll add a rain gutter off the back to collect water for the garden. The rafters and beam ends have a quarter ellipse profile in the same fashion as the woodshed I built earlier in the summer. The head clearance is 7 feet and in the future I’ll add a wooden deck or concrete patio.

Four 6x6 red cedar posts on galvanized saddles
Four 6x6 red cedar posts on galvanized saddles

The posts will sit on galvanized metal saddles attached to an anchor bolt embedded in a 9x9 inch concrete pier. The footings are dug down below the frost line and sit on a hard clay layer.

Side girts of 2x8 red cedar extend past front posts
Side girts of 2x8 red cedar extend past front posts

Connecting the posts are 2x8 side girts. These extend past the front posts.

Top beams are 6x6 and front roof beams are 2x8
Top beams are 6x6 and front roof beams are 2x8

And will allow me to build a small front roof section angled opposite to the main roof.

Close View- Front roof section cantilevers off side girts
Front roof section cantilevers off side girts

Topping the posts are two 6x6 beams. A pair of 2x8 beams will support the front roof section.

Timber Frame Pavilion - Main roof rafters are 2x8 nobel fir
Main roof rafters are 2x8 fir

14 curved corner braces will give rigidity to the frame. 2x8 rafters span the top beams with blocking added between them for lateral strength.

Build Detail - Main rafters have 2x6 fir support blocks between each
Main rafters have 2x6 fir support blocks between each

Over the front beams sit 2x6 rafters topped with 1x6 strapping.

Main roof strapping is 1x8 pre-stained red cedar
Main roof strapping is 1x8 cedar

On the back I have 1x8 strapping over the main roof rafters.

Close View- Front roof section cantilevers off side girts
Tin roof sheets

I’ll trim out both roofs with cedar 1x4’s before installing tar paper and metal roofing.

Laying out and Making the Concrete Pier Forms

Timber Frame Pavilion - Batter boards made from stakes and level ledgers
Batter boards made from stakes and level ledgers

I laid out the post locations using string and batter boards then dug the footing holes. The batter boards are made by hammering in three stakes and connecting them with level ledger boards.

Ledgers attached to stakes to create a level plane
Ledgers attached to stakes to create a level plane

Weights hang from these mason lines and cross over the center of each pier form.

Strings drawn across center of each form - Form Layout
Strings drawn across center of each form

These lines are strung over the ledger boards 10 feet apart and are square and level. The tops of the ledger boards are all on a level plane.

Strings are level and square on 10\' centers
Strings are level and square on 10′ centers

The pier forms are simple boxes made from half inch plywood and 2x2’s. I added a fillet strip to the corners to form a chamfer.

Timber Frame Pavilion - A Pier chamfer is created with wooden fillet strip inside concrete form
Pier chamfer is created with wooden fillet strip inside concrete form

I can remove the lines once all the forms are leveled and squared to these strings, and secured to small stakes in the ground. All the tops of the pier forms are now on the same level plane.

Timber Frame Pavilion - Forms have vegetable oil smeared on to keep cement from sticking
Forms have vegetable oil smeared on to keep cement from sticking

To keep the cement from sticking to the plywood I apply a good amount of vegetable oil to all inside surfaces.

I pound in some rebar to reinforce the piers. Pounding the rebar into the hard clay at the bottom of the hole keeps it in place roughly in the center of the form.

Fill Timber Frame Pavilion Forms with Concrete

Holes and forms filled with cement - Wheelbarrow and Shovel mixed by hand
Holes and forms filled with cement

I mix concrete and fill the holes and forms. This is my second wheelbarrow load for this form. I use a short length of rebar to work the concrete and settle it. I overfill the form then lightly tap it to bring bubbles to the surface. I’ll then let it sit and settle for a few minutes.

A chamfer on the top edge is formed by hand with small trowel - Finishing Concrete
A chamfer on the top edge is formed by hand with small trowel

Then I scrape off the excess and form a chamfer on the top edges with a flat margin trowel. I’ll use a flat trowel and marks on the form to find center, then work in an anchor bolt before the cement sets up.

An Anchor bolt embedded in cement in center of form
Anchor bolt embedded in wet cement in center of form

I cover the forms with plastic and leave to cure for a few days.

Stripping Pier Forms

Piers are revealed when forms are disassembled (or stripped) after a few days
Piers are revealed when forms are disassembled (or stripped) after a few days

It was very hot and dry when I poured them so I didn’t want the concrete to dry too quickly. The plastic helps to prevented that.

When set, I stripped the forms. For me, it’s like unwrapping a present. It’s always cool to see how it works out. I’ll remove the screws from the small stakes, then the screws holding the four sides together. Then gently pry off the plywood panels.

The pier forms needed to be a bit taller where the ground sloped slightly away. These forms required 2x2’s to hold them together.

I label the form sides in case I need to reassemble them later
I label the form sides in case I need to reassemble them later

As the forms came apart I labeled them with a sharpie in case I wanted to reassemble them for another project.

Exposed piers are kept covered with plastic to properly cure - Timber Frame Pavilion
Exposed piers are kept covered with plastic to properly cure

I cover the piers with plastic for a few more days to keep from drying too fast.

I scrape off any sharp edges or corners with a piece of wood while the concrete is still soft.

I’ll leave the batter board stakes and ledger boards as is for now. I might need them later for temporary bracing supports.

Selecting and Moving Lumber to Garden Site of Timber Frame Pavilion

We have lumber milled from our own trees stickered and drying in the back of the property. Now that my Timber Frame Pavilion  drawings are done, I can select the lumber I need and move it to the garden with the truck.

In this first pile I have two long 6x6’s for the top beams. These 6x6’s have a bit of a bow to them but its not too bad. I’ll orient them so the curve of the bow becomes the crown.

Selecting beams and posts from a drying pile
Selecting beams and posts from a drying pile

In another drying pile I have a stack of two by eight fir for the rafters. It was disappointing to see that many of these boards twisted while drying. Some turned out to be unusable for rafters but most I was able to salvage.

In yet another pile I’ll try to find the straightest stock for the posts. It took a while to sort through and find the best candidates. I also found some very straight two by eights for the girts and front roof beams.

It’s great to have a few extra sawhorses on hand to organize all this lumber and to have it all at a convenient working height.

Prepping the Posts

Cutting timbers with a circular saw
Cutting timbers with a circular saw

Having everything I need, I’ll start with the four posts. The rear posts are cut to length by marking all four sides with a large speed square, then making four cuts with a circular saw, and finishing it off with a hand saw. I’ll get two rear posts from this long 6x6.

Cutting posts to length
Cutting posts to length

I then cut the two taller front posts to length in the same fashion.

Post ends trimmed to fit galvanized metal saddle - Timber Frame Pavilion
Post ends trimmed to fit galvanized metal saddle

The post saddles I’m using are adjustable in case the anchor bolts are out of square. These particular saddles are made for a five and a half inch post. I need to trim the ends of each post with circular saw and chisel to fit these saddles. I believe the manufacturer does makes a similar saddle that fits a full dimension six by six.

Rear posts have half lap cut in them
Rear posts have half lap cut in them

The tops of the back posts have a two inch deep by six inch long lap cut to receive the side girts. I cut these by setting the depth of my circular saw to two inches and make a series of thin slices into the post. I use the speed square as a guide. Then I break these thin segments with a hammer. Then use a wooden mallet and sharp chisel to clean up the cut.

Front posts have a deep slot cut on the outside face to receive the side girt - Timber Frame Pavilion
Front posts have a deep slot cut on the outside face to receive the side girt

I chamfer the edges of the rear posts with a power plane.

Chamfer edges with a power plane
Chamfer edges with a power plane

The front posts have two slots cut in them. One on the side face to receive the two by eight girt, and another on the front face to receive the front roof beam. I’ll lay out these cuts on the posts with pencil and square, then set the depth of my saw to two inches and cut a series of parallel slices.

Front post deep slot cut with circular saw blade 2\" deep
Front post deep slot cut with circular saw blade 2″ deep
One next face of front post a 1\" deep slot is cut to accept the upper side front roof beam
One next face of front post a 1″ deep slot is cut to accept the upper side front roof beam

Then I’ll rotate the post a turn, set the depth of my blade to one inch, and cut the other slot. These slots overlap slightly so I’ll need to make a small notch in a front roof beam later to compensate.

And I’ll chamfer the front posts with the power plane.

Stand up and Secure the Four Gazebo Posts

Standing up a front post and securing with temporary braces - Timber Frame Pavilion
Standing up a front post and securing with temporary braces

I’ll set the post saddles on the piers and snug the nut finger tight. Starting with a rear post, I stand it up, set it in the saddle and position it. I’ll drill pilot holes in the bottom of the post and run in a screw on either side.

Final pavilion post being erected
Final post being erected

I have temporary bracing ready, and attached with a screw into a small stake pounded into the ground. I use some clamps to hold the post while I plumb it with a long level.

I’ll do the same for the other rear post. It’s good to have everything ready and tools and screws within arms reach if doing this by yourself.

The taller and heavier front posts were a bit more of a challenge. I had a sawhorse ready to stand on to help with plumbing and braces.

Attach the Side Girts to the Posts

Installing first side girt with lag bolts
Installing first side girt

Next, I cut the side girts to length and mark their crown for their upside orientation, then chamfer these with the power plane. On one end I’ll cut out a two inch by six inch notch. This will allow the beam to fit neatly over the top of the rear posts. I attach these to the posts with some construction adhesive and lag bolts. The heads of the bolts are countersunk with a forstner bit, then predrilled with quarter inch bit.

I have a board clamped to the rear post to catch the girt as I’m positioning it. A clamp holds the rear end in place as I drill and run in the lag bolts with an impact driver.

Installing first side girt with lag bolts - Timber Frame Pavilion
Side girt on other side being attached with glue and screws

The other girt didn’t go as well due to a slight warp, so I removed the rear clamp to get it to fit. I used a few clamps to pull it into the groove on the front post before running in the lag bolts.

See Part 2 of the Timber Frame Pavilion Build

Tools Used

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Woodworking

Layout

Hardware

Adhesive & Finish

Drill Bits & Blades

Cement Tools

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Timber Frame Style Pavilion Plan for Garden or Patio
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