In the third and final part of our design series, we’re diving into outdoor living structures. 

Our carpentry division, Timber Craft, has chimed in, sharing their thoughts on what to consider, what’s what, and what’s trending. If you’re stuck in your design plan, reach out to our team and we’ll be happy to help!

If you haven’t read our previous article on landscaping, we recommend that you go back and familiarize yourself with all the factors that you should consider when planning a backyard project from topography, municipal setbacks, drainage, etc. prior to establishing positioning of your outdoor living space.

Whether you’re starting from scratch, adding a feature to existing landscaping, or updating a current structure, your planned use of the space should be your primary focus.

Defining The Purpose of Your Outdoor Living Space

  • How will you be using the space? Entertainers may be looking for somewhere to watch the game with friends or host outdoor dinners. Or are you simply looking for somewhere to escape the sun when poolside? Or perhaps this is your new office space? 
  • Will you entertain large groups? How much seating do you need? 
  • Will people who visit need a place to change into bathing suits? 
  • Will you add a washroom or outdoor shower?
  • Will you be cooking outdoors? Does that mean an outdoor kitchen, pizza oven, or bar?
  • Is a fire pit, fireplace or fire feature in your plan?

Pictured above is a classic Cabana with outdoor bar style seating. You know this space is used all season long, and there is a fully stocked bar fridge under that counter!

Costs & Budget

While many people consider the cost of the actual structure when planning, they don’t often think of the things that you can’t see.

For example, services such as gas, electrical or plumbing may be required depending on the items selected for your new structure. Are you planning an outdoor kitchen? Do you need to upgrade your power? Do you want wifi? A Washroom? Keep in mind that most of these services require trenching. These additional costs can add up quickly, so make sure you’re being realistic with your budget and plan and account for these details. 

Options For Woodworking Structures 

Once you’re clear on how you will use your backyard, you can move on to the implementation and planning of your key structures. 

The functionality of your woodworking structure can vary from a simple change room and storage area to a complete outdoor entertainment space. 

Different companies may refer to structures a bit differently. There are basic rules for defining a structure, but customizations and unique designs are what we’re all about, so we’re going to give you the Timber Craft terminology!


 A pergola is an outdoor structure made of posts or pillars, with cross beams and an open top design. It may be a stand alone structure, or an extension off of a building, deck or terrace. They usually provide a bit of a break from the heat by providing some shade, and help define a space. Often used for outdoor kitchen spaces because it is best for ventilation. They are also great for hanging lights or growing vines! 


Unlike pergolas, pavilions feature a completely closed roof. At Timber Craft, we design our pavilions to rest on either a patio (with poured footings underneath) or poured foundation. Our Pavilions often feature a back wall, with open sides. Project Littleside (pictured above) is a classic pavilion, with gorgeous stonework on the pillars. Clients love to personalize these spaces, and they are a favourite spot to entertain!


Typically a Cabana is a more enclosed structure (2 sided or more) designed for living space. It has a completely closed roof, and can range in size. Often featuring a fireplace, an eating area or bar, a seated entertaining area, and a washroom or change room. Some even opt for a sauna! Cabanas are an excellent option if you have the space, and entertain often. 

Something to take note of: Any structure larger than 10×10 requires a permit. We build opulent structures with all the bells and whistles like project Sofia pictured above.


Sheds are fully enclosed, one story structures, with a one pitch roof . They range in size, but are typically under 10×10. Although they have historically been used for storage, we have been getting a lot of requests lately for insulated sheds that are being converted into offices, home gyms, even indoor golf simulators. Sheds can easily be 4 season structures and become extensions of your home. It looks like with everyone home, we’re all in need of a bit more space — and adding a shed is a perfect opportunity to do this!

Popular Upgrades in 2021 and moving in 2022

Lots of closures across the globe has led to more time at home over the last 2 years. The most popular additions we’ve seen have been those that mimic the space we would ordinarily host people inside, or at bars and restaurants. 

Outdoor Bars & Kitchens

Outdoor bars and kitchens remind us of great food, great drinks, and great entertainment. For those who love to entertain and don’t want to spend their summer days inside cooking, an outdoor kitchen area will ensure everyone can enjoy the party. 

Backyard Changerooms & Bathrooms

When people think of outdoor change rooms and bathrooms they think: thank goodness! For anyone with kids, having a bathroom and change room by the pool is a major perk. This means no accidents or trekking water through the house!

Roller Up Screens

Roller Screens enclose the sides of pavilions and cabanas providing protection from the mosquitoes in the warmer months, and wind in the spring and fall. These screens run off a battery powered remote, and tend to extend the season for many clients. Grab some blankets and a bottle of wine and you’ll find us out here come December!

Privacy Screens

An often simple, and inexpensive way to define a space is with the addition of privacy screens. We love privacy screens for a lot of reasons:

  • They are perfect for separating a patio, deck, or creating a defined walkway
  • They are a great spot to add lighting
  • They can provide shade at certain points during the day
  • They can hide neighbouring eyesores
  • They can add privacy on an elevated deck or anywhere privacy is needed
  • They can be a nice focal point

Privacy screens can be as simple or elaborate as you like. AND, If a pool shed isn’t in the budget, privacy screens are also a great alternative, giving you a spot to tuck your equipment pad behind. These are gems, and often overlooked until a project is underway. Did we mention they are great for spas as well? This list goes on… 

Connect With Pool Craft Today

Our team takes pride in the exquisite craftsmanship that we provide for each and every custom project. Cabanas, pavilions, and other outdoor structures are a great addition to any pool or landscaping space and can be elevated even further with great finishes. 

At our sister company, Timber Craft, we are able to design and build any custom cabana or structure to suit your needs. Get in touch with us today to learn more.