The purpose of a cabana is to be sumptuously pampered. Imagine an exquisite resort-style cabana getaway —  reserved and available anytime just for you.

Timber frame ShadeScape® cabana kits are the elite in luxury protective living shelters serving numerous avenues for home, business, and recreational avenues. It is engineered with wood-to-wood connections and a state of the art design called The Dovetail Difference® — creating a shelter that is unsurpassed in strength and durability.  

 Cabanas Around the World

Girl Relaxing Beneath ShadeScape® Cabana Kit

Around the world, the word “cabana” can mean several things. Cabana is a capital city in Peru, a municipality in Cuba, Honduras and Spain; an ancient lake in South America, and an island off the coast of Portugal. It is also a brand of cigar, fast-food restaurant chain, passenger train, servant, server, prison, museum, as well as a U.S. warship. Cabana is even a surname. Generally, cabanas refer to a secret hideaway, romantic getaway, airy sanctuary, or a cozy kiosk.

Based on its Spanish origins, a Cabana or Cabaña is a cabin, enclosure, hut or shelter traditionally built of wood. Wood is beautiful but it also the best material for bodily comfort. Solid wood has an inherent built-in natural thermostat, warming up in the cold and cooling off in the heat. The larger the dimensional scale of the wood the better it can regulate a thermal equilibrium for the amelioration of temperature.

Interpreting the identity of a cabana particularly here in the United States can be as abstruse and as fascinating as our journey through the differences of gazebos and pergolas:

A gazebo can have an open pergola-style roof and yet still be an authentic gazebo.

And if that isn’t curious enough

  a pergola can feature a domed gazebo-like style roof and truly be a genuine pergola.

Discover the beautiful, weird, and unusual purposes as well as the architectural compositions, diversities, and process of construction for luxury timber cabanas.

Archetypical Cabana

In the United States, a cabana most often refers to a small detached bathhouse or beach house, providing shelter, a place to relax, and often as a changing room. The cabana is a small habitat enclosed with walls or curtains for recreational purposes.

Many popular pools and beach-vacation spots have permanent cabanas available for rent or package deals, made of wood, aluminum or steel. Booking cabanas have become the height of luxury for privacy and gentle living in the outdoors for American vacationers.

triple stain pool pergola

#ShadeScapeCabana #PoolSideCabana #CurtainedCabana

ShadeScape® Cabana Kit #CabanaOutdoorLiving #DIYCabanaKit

Cabanas are the ideal for traveling on an ocean liner, enjoying a beach, a swimming pool, lake, or ponds. These open-fronted huts or cubicles can be a temporary or permanent free standing shade structures. The walls are fixed or changeable, partitioned roll-up curtains, drapes, hinged or folding screens.


Today, even a small tent-like temporary structure is sometimes referred to as a cabana because they are for recreation often located by a lake, pool or beach and provide shade.

These tent-shelters do offer a measure of privacy and protection from the sun, however, these unfixed cabanas are not structurally sound or capable of keeping the occupants cozy and dry during a major storm.

Cabanas Accommodate a Multitude of Uses

cabana outdoor kitchen

#ShadeScapeCabana #OutdoorKitchenCabana #DIYCabanaKit

Although, cabanas are most often used for recreational purposes, here are a few of the many ways in which homeowners, businesses, travelers, and vacationers enjoy the sanctuary experience of a cabana and cabana living.

Cabana Boutiques, Candy, Souvenir and Specialty Shops 

christmas shop pavilions

#DIYCabanaKit #CabanaChristmasShop ShadeScape® Cabana Kits

Cabanas (also sometimes referred to as kiosks) are a fun way to shop for souvenirs and such. Listed are a small representation of kinds of stuff sold or rented from Cabana shops:

• Newspapers
• Beachwear
• Beach Equipment Rentals
• Pizza
• Nick-Naks

• Themed home goods
• Souveniers
• Bicycle Rentals
• Jewelry
• Hotdog or Burger Shack

• Magic Tricks & Toys
• Puppet Shows
• Bicycle Rentals
• Beauty Supplies
• Shoe Shop

Cabana Work Modules

The first thing that comes to mind with a cabana is a recreational module for relaxation. There is a generational shift in the future of earning a living as many work environments are moved outdoors.  Companies utilizing outdoor space to work in and/or take a break in are seeing an increase in employee happiness, productivity, health, and innovation. Cabana modules with amenities and accommodations are a wonderful way to mix business and fitness.

cabana design

Western Timber Frame™ recognizes the need for customizable, functional, accessorized spaces has opened the way for clients to have a variety of cabana modules.

A ShadeScape® cabana kit is an easy transformation, turning a once overlooked potential into a functional outdoor working environment with almost endless applications.

Anything from a remotely operated louvered roof to wiring for embedded lighting, fans, misting systems, WIFI, monitors and so much more, a cabana work module can be equipped for your dream job.

Cabanas for Hosting Business Events

pavilion outdoor kitchen

Work cabanas are ever-ready outdoor spaces to accommodate companies with the convenience and cost-efficiency of hosting events on-site. A work cabana creates an excellent atmosphere to pitch ideas in, gather for conferences, connect to the outdoors, anytime without ever leaving the workplace.

outdoor kitchen

#OutdoorKitchenCabana   ShadeScape® DIY Cabana Kit

Cruise Line Cabana 

The capacity of a standard ocean liner is around 3,000 guests. Larger river cruise ships carry an average of 150 guests. Many cruise liners have turned to cabanas with attentive service to give their guests personal space and help them feel like a VIP. Luxuries might include, minibars, massage tables, sectional sofas, chilled towels, games, Wi-Fi, iPad with music, and most of all: privacy.

For some ocean liners, the spaces are exclusive so they have to be booked early, in advance but many passengers feel it is way worth the splurge. On other liners, cabanas are complimentary, exclusive to guests available as first-come, first-served.

Private Island Cabana 

There are cruise ships that stop at private islands where you can book a beachfront cabana ahead of time. The accommodations vary but some amenities might include such perks air-conditioning, ceiling fan, refrigerator, table, chairs, water, drinks, snacks, and a misting shower on a private deck. With some packages, a dedicated server is close at hand to take orders for food and drinks.

You can also rent or book an island cabana without being a guest on a cruise ship.

cabana poolhouse pergola

ShadeScape® Bath-House – Pool House Cabana Kit    #DIYCabanaKit

Poolhouse Cabana

Pool house cabanas work well to store things such as pump/ filters, piping, pool toys, shop vac, pool chemicals, extra bags of salt, and anything else pool related. Cabinets, furniture, potty, sink, towel racks, changing benches, hoses, and more. Putting a commode in the cabana reduces inside traffic significantly. Adding other amenities such as an outdoor kitchen, bar, a big screen TV to view the games from the kitchen or anywhere from the pool.

Beach Hut Cabana 

A beach hut is usually a wooden beach shelter that sits just above high tide. They are most often used as a windbreak and shade covering, changing in and out of swimwear, and storing personal belongings. Some beach huts are equipped with electricity and are a place to prepare food and other necessities.

Cabana Bed 

suspended bed pergola
bed pergola cabana

A daybed cabana is a perfect way to enjoy the sun rays in your personal resort retreat without the cannonball rowdy swimmers. Most of our cabanas with daybeds have been installed for backyard residential settings.

Premium Poolside Cabana 

Poolside cabanas are the perfect way to dive into an unforgettable vacation experience. Cabanas are the standard for luxurious relaxation by the pool especially when the shaded-oasis comes complete with electronics and refreshments. Some of the amenities that are offered might include chaise chairs, sofas, a complimentary basket with sunglasses, fresh fruit, drinks, and towels. At some resorts, you can order food from a menu or and schedule private poolside spa treatments.

Hotel Cabana 

Some hotels have poolside cabanas equipped with a safe for personal belongings, television, refrigerator, scented towels, sunglasses, fruit, snacks, cooled drinks. Ever so often a cabana boy will offer services such as a magazine, cocktail tasting, or sunglass cleaning. For families with children, some amenities are extra helpful such as sofa seating, daybeds, ceiling fans, food and beverage service, television with cable programming, and free tube rentals.

cabana outdoor kitchen

#OutdoorFireplace  #OutdoorKitchenCabana #DIYCabanaKit

Rhum Bar Cabana 

Ships, hotels, and beachside resorts use cabanas as a casual bar. Some offer full-service menus. An example would be food items such as sandwiches, seafood, and salad. In colder seasonal regions some cabana bars also feature heaters and are open year-round.

Cabana Dining

Cabanas restaurant dining is the best. It can be formal or in a laid-back atmosphere. There you can enjoy a full menu with refreshing cocktails and in some live entertainment.

Cabana Kitchen 

pavilion outdoor kitchen

Commercial kitchen cabanas can have cookware, a microwave, ice and coffee maker, fridge, toaster, oven, and dishwasher —also complimentary items furnished such as trash bags, paper towels, and detergent. 

Cabana Boy 

In the age of sail, sailing ships signed on “cabana boys” to be regular members of a sailing crew. In most cases, cabana boys were teenagers but an adult man or woman sometimes signed on to serve as cabana boys. A cabana boy was just a title also known as ship boys, cabin boys, powder monkeys, and midshipmen. A position onboard meant the opportunity to travel, with meals to eat and a place to sleep.

Some of the duties of a cabana boy were helping the cook, delivering meals, running errands, carrying messages, helping the crew to stow sails, watching at the helm, and cleaning.

Today, a cabana boy is all part of the VIP welcoming experience a dedicated personal concierge who serves guests from a nearby cabana for a hotel, private estate or ocean liner. Cabana boys help fetch drinks, snacks, and towels and often at luxury vacation spots, a cabana can be assigned to an individual guest or party of guests.

Self-Catering Cabana 

Somewhat like a hotel, beach and lakeside resorts advertise self-catering cabanas. In other words, there are no “cabana boys” to run errands at your beckoning. Instead, the cabana is supplied with complimentary items. A few possible examples would be things such as magazines, towels, sunglasses, fruit, snacks, drinks, and chilled bottled water. The cabana might also be supplied with chaise loungers, a lockable storage box, mini-fridge, etc. —most everything you may need to make your stay comfortable— but you self serve yourself. If you prefer a more secluded experience, a self-catering cabana may be the way to vacation.

Cabanas are at the Pinnacle in Pampering

cabana outdoor living dining

Whether you are self-catering or being waited upon traveling or at home cabanas are at the pinnacle of being pampered just the way you want it. Cabanas can be as open or as enclosed as you like it.

cabana outdoor fireplace pavilion
outdoor hot tub cabana living

Architectural Composition

Back in the day, cabanas were built with grass or thatched-style roofs and were typically located near a natural body of water. Very often they were open on one or more sides to allow the inhabitants to enjoy the coastal or lakeside breezes.

The roof is what most often characterizes what type a shade shelter is. Unlike other shade shelters, cabanas are defined more by how and where it is used than by its style of roof.

Cabana Alternative Roof Style Ideas

Solar Panel Roof

Solar panels on pergola


Residential, mountain or lakeside cabanas can be mounted with solar panels. The flat roof allows panels to be ideally mounted with standoff mounting hardware for the maximum angle of incidence and gives it easier seasonal adjustment as needed. The roof can also be customizable with a pitch combined with a flexible site position that allows for maximum seasonal energy collection.

Louvered Roof

ShadeScape® cabana kits can feature a remote-controlled louvered roof that will open and shut at the click of a button. A louvered roof gives complete coverage when it rains or opens to allow some light through on a nice sunny day!

Architectural Composition

A cabana can be a composition of several outdoor shade shelters styles. The distinct characteristics or visual expressions of a cabana are at times less distinguishable when integrated with other types of structures. Some beachside cabanas have attached covered decks and extended sheltering. Hardscape cabanas can be as simple as a box to as grand as a beachside cottage/house.


This is a gazebo integrated with a pavilion. Connie, the owner of this ShadeScape® structure affectionately calls it her “gavilion.” She plans on installing a pool by it. With a pool, this structure could technically be classed as a cabana.

It is exciting to see the beautiful new ideas built with timber in old-world craftsmanship that continue to be imagined and built. But even without integrating shelter types, attaching or installing free-standing edifices together creates some beautiful outdoor living spaces.


Back in the day, cabanas were built with grass or thatched-style roofs and were typically located near a natural body of water. Very often they were open on one or more sides to allow the inhabitants to enjoy the coastal or lakeside breezes.

island cabana pavilion

Island Tuscany Style ShadeScape® Cabana Kit

Cabana comes from the Spanish cabaña, with its Late Latin root capana, meaning dwelling, hut or cabin. Primarily it referred to an “indigenous hut” but is now considered more of a “recreational structure”.

Construction & Installation

We usually think of buildings as a solid, stable structure; not a moving object. However, we actually live in a fluid environment. The earth is seismically moving in waves up and down as well as side-to-side in an ongoing micromotion. On top of that, wind loads add another factor to the moving force.

Western Timber Frame™ patented design The Dovetail Difference® creates an architecturally more responsible structure, allowing the wood to perform as nature intended, expanding and contracting while keeping a tight, joint and integral portion of the timber intact.

dovetail interlocking connections

The Dovetail Difference®

hipped roof
compare dovetail difference

There is no visible hardware, bolts, screws, hangers or other mechanical fasteners unless they are decorative in nature.

the dovetail difference test 11000 lbs

The patented design The Dovetail Difference®, the massive mortise, and tenon dovetail joint system throughout our timber construction process creates very strong, rigid joints.

On the test pictured this joint here didn’t give until it reached over 11,000 lbs.!

ShadeScape® kits are not just about refashioning for a new look but as a whole new way of living life every day. What is different about these kits is that it is not a pre-made one size fits all kit. They are only a kit in the sense that they come to your door ready to assemble. Every piece is cut and built to match homeowners’ requirements for a perfect fit in their backyard. Doing a redo such as a deck and a pergola kit featured here today is a simple process that can be done in person, over a phone or via email. After the kit is delivered, hassle-free, right to the front door.

If desired, Western Timber Frame™ has certified installers, or they can help find a contractor near the location of interest. They are, however, easy to install, going together somewhat-like a set of “Lincoln Logs” many of us used to play with as kids.

As for local building codes and engineering, Western Timber Frame™ has permit approval experts. It doesn’t matter where a person lives; a Design Manager is there to assist you past any hurdles. They will help get projects approved. It is much easier than some might think.

With up to a 120 mph wind ratings, and a tremendous snow load capacity, a kit will last for years to come. With superior construction techniques, properly engineered designs, and expert craftsmanship; a timber frame structure can be expected to last a lifetime.

birthday pavilion

Terri Mullin’s ShadeScape® Pergola Installed

timber frame pergola kit

“My husband and I were looking at building a pergola and happened upon Western Timber Frame In our research. And the journey began. We emailed them called and talked about exactly what we wanted. After also speaking with other Pergola builders, we were sold on them. The workmanship is beautiful and as sturdy as our house…

…My husband and I along with the help of his 72-year-old dad had it up in three days. The dovetails were top notch. Once they slipped into place, they were not going anywhere. Tight!! The hardware was very high quality and came in its own little Rubbermaid tub. Their customer service was personal and professional. I highly recommend Western Timber Frame for any of your outdoor building needs.” Teri Mullins, Kentucky

pavilion test


Timber frame pavilion in shop assemble


pavilion in snow

A backyard cabana can extend your outdoor living time, creating an inviting area to gather year-round with family and friends.

To view, the process of construction see Easily Build a Fast DIY Beautiful Backyard Shade Structure.

Get the Free Ultimate Pergola and Pavilion Guide

Get the Free Ultimate Pergola and Pavilion Guide

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