pavilion outdoor kitchen

Western Timber Frame solid wood dovetailed pavilion featuring arched knee braces, decorative keystones, Crescent beam end profiles and finished in a premium high grade UV protective Rich Cordoba timber stain and outdoor lighting. Above photo courtesy of Alderwood Landscape Spokane Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers.

solar pavilion pergola

© 2014 Western Timber Frame™

For the Millennial Generation seeking sustainable, earth-friendly products that say something about who they are, pairing solar panels and pergolas are a hot ticket item for 2015.

While homes are customized, tailored to the desires and specific needs of the homeowner, trends and styles are continually changing and people adapt to new designs and new technology. This past year has also brought several new concepts to the housing market such as outlets for electrical cars in garages, pergolas topped with solar power, water conservation systems inside and outside the home. Homes are projected to be smaller while outdoor living areas expand in comfort and convenience.

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) rated Landscape Architectural Landscape Trends for 2014 based upon a survey given to Residential Architectural Landscapers. There is a continual growth in DIY outdoor living amenities. Nancy Somerville, Executive Vice President and CEO of ASLA added that,"Homeowners know that designed landscapes add value to their lives as well as their property values. They're interested in livable, open spaces that are both stylish and earth friendly."

Based on ASLA's 2014 Residential Architectural Landscapers survey, new products and developments, 2015 outdoor living trends will likely include the following:

Outdoor Structures

2014 Overall Architectural Landscaping Ratings
outdoor fireplace poolside pergola shade timber frame
Architectural Landscape Choice 82.8%

Western Timber Frame™ has a  patent pending design called The Dovetail Difference™ with mortised joints not only allow for a long-lasting, perfect joint, but it also virtually eliminates the use of unsightly galvanized brackets, hangers, and bolts. They are able to hide all of this behind the beams and rafters giving you the beautiful old world craftsmanship.

timber frame gazebo kit
Architectural Landscape Choice 48.5%
outdoor kitchen pavilion shade
Architectural Landscape Choice 56.6%
Play Structures
timber frame playground set
Architectural Landscape Choice 60.6%

The playground set here was built with solid wood timbers using The Dovetail Difference™ connection system making it an heirloom piece to be enjoyed for generations.  Brian Johnston, ASLA sees future outdoor landscape designs ideas incorporating more physically engaging stimulation structures.

solid wood dovetail timber framed stairway deck
Architectural Landscape Choice 77.7%

The stairs pictured above are not ordinary stairs, built from heavy-duty solid wood timber with old world dovetailed mortise and tenon connections, these stairs are designed to outlast the home its connected to.

Terraces • Patios • Decks
fire pit shade pergola patio
Architectural Landscape Choice 97.7%

A terrace, patio or deck connects the interior space to an outdoor area but they have their differences. It would have been interesting to see the ratings broken down separately.


arbor trellis shade
Architectural Landscape Choice 81.1%

Arbors and trellises are a natural element for walls; boundaries and enclosures while arbors serve as entryways, gateways and pathway coverings. From a very small or narrow area to a large expansive surrounding, arbors and trellises help create the perfect landscape.

swimming pool shade pergola
Architectural Landscape Choice 45.4%
Architectural Landscape Choice 47.7%
Architectural Landscape Choice 88.5%

The timber frame fencing pictured on the right is built with heavy-duty privacy lattices. These lattices are custom built, extremely thick, unlike what you will find in a common hardware store.

fence trellis pergola



Surprisingly, there was no rating listed for trellises and privacy lattices, however I am including them here as trellises and lattices are extremely popular in our experience in manufacturing outdoor living architectural shade structures. Pictured right is a new product from Western Timber Frame, heavy-duty sliding trellis doors for extra shade and privacy on a timber frame pergola kit.

sliding dors trellis suspended sofa couch bed


Outdoor Kitchen • Ovens
outdoor kitchen tv fan lights
Architectural Landscape Choice 71.4%

An outdoor kitchen has many practical advantages over cooking in a conventional indoor kitchen. Foods that produce lingering odors can be enjoyed in the outdoors. Fewer appliances are needed and guests and family can be more involved. It is a wonderful way to draw people together and the food somehow just seems to taste better. This outdoor kitchen featured above is covered with an DIY attached timber framed kit installed with a remote controlled louvered roof. It can easily be opened up for more light and sunshine or closed on a rainy day.

porch deck steps pergola
Architectural Landscape Choice 81.1%

The porch has long played an important role in America as a place to play, relax and gather. Many homes of the recent past began to build porches that were too shallow and not built to be functional. Porches have again had a come back in importance of functionality for outdoor living.


deck hot tub bar
Architectural Landscape Choice 82.3%

A deck is usually an extension of an indoor room. Decks can also be an alternative to a terraced landscape. The deck is a perfect place for family get-togethers. Adding a deck like any outdoor structure adds dimension to a home. As in the illustration above designed for a Western Timber Frame client, decks can include many features literally becoming another room for the home. To the client's delight, Western Timber Frame's design manager placed an arch formed built in counter-top bar for additional seating to utilize the space creating a more functional deck.

dovetail timber framed pergola deck
Installed Seating
benches porch deck pergola
Architectural Landscape Choice 89.6%

Built in benches seem to welcome you and communicate, “come, stay and sit awhile, there is plenty of seating” “make yourself at home”. Many benches also feature built in storage areas underneath utilizing every inch of space for a double plus.

We've seen a few benches with built in drawers or chest style with a lifting seat lid. We have also built customized built-in and single bench seating with thick, solid wood timbers. They are really beautiful and as always with a Western Timber Frame timber structure, they are built as heirloom pieces implementing  old world craftsmanship to truly last for generations.

timber frame bench

Other installed outdoor seating features built by Western Timber Frame include picnic tables, treasure chests, swings and suspended couch/sofas.


ladies retreat she shed pavilion
Utility Shed
Architectural Landscape Choice 59.0%

The craze of 2014 was turning a utility shed into a She Shed or Man Cave. We expect to see a continuance of this fad throughout 2015, as we are already getting some requests of Man Cave pergolas and She Shed pergolas and pavilions.

Pictured left is a "She Shed" timber framed ladies pavilion finished in a high grade UV protective white timber stain. It features the Cove style knee braces with pre-drilled beams for power,  lights and fan so there are no hanging wires or extension cords. For a more enclosed She Shed or Man Cave style privacy trellises, walls or sliding trellis doors are sometimes added.


Ornamental Water Features
solid wood rich sequoia
stream trellis arbor
Architectural Landscape Choice 89.6%

Water naturally gives life and a water feature in an outdoor setting is awakening and encourages people to come outside. We should still take our Mom’s words to heart and ‘go outside and play’. Water tranquil, peaceful sound of water trickling is a soothing way to unwind after a long day.

fire pits pergola sculpture
Architectural Landscape Choice 64.4%

Although, studies have shown time in the outdoors alleviates symptoms of depression, reduces stress and improves our concentration, it isn't rocket science to know it makes us happier and boosts our creativity. Outdoor art can be an expression of your individuality and personality.


Outdoor Living Features & Recreation Amenities

2014 Overall Architectural Landscaping Ratings


Movie • Video • TV Theaters
outdoor television kitchen pergola
Architectural Landscape Choice 42.3%

Portable is in and a HDTV dish network system with built in satellite programming allows for high definition programming on the go.

shade pergola tv television fireplace

At one time it looked as if the outdoor theater might become extinct with very few operating theaters in existence. Now, there are more family-friendly outdoor theaters than ever before in the backyards of America. Backyard theater projections systems have also come a long ways without sagging or inflatable screens and many set ups are more user friendly.

shade pergola deck outdoor movie
Fire Pits
gazebo shade fire pit
Architectural Landscape Choice 95.4%

Fire pits have ranked high across the board usually in the top three for landscape design features. We have also seen an interest in fire pit designs that combine a water fountain with a fire pit. It will be interesting to see a rating next year on a fire and water fountain.

Outdoor Sink
Architectural Landscape Choice 55.0%
outdoor sink

If I would have had an outdoor sink as a kid I would have offered to wash dishes every time! An outdoor sink can be convenient if you have an outdoor kitchen countertop to clean.

Outdoor Refrigerator
Architectural Landscape Choice 53.7%
outdoor kitchen fridge louvered roof pergola

Some outdoor refrigerators feature a lock; which I would recommend. An outdoor refrigerator can be handy especially if you are marinating meat, having it all conveniently there.


Utility Storage
utility storage pergola patio
Architectural Landscape Choice 65.5%
hammock pergola shade
Architectural Landscape Choice 34.1%

There have been a few studies on the wonderful health benefits of sleeping in a hammock. Timber framed pergolas are the perfect place to hang a hammock from and enjoy a wonderful snooze in the fresh air.

Stereo Systems
Architectural Landscape Choice 60.7%

You can go wireless for outdoor speakers and eliminate the need for wires. Western Timber Frame offers pre-wired options with their TimberVolt™ series on all their outdoor shade structures.

Wireless Internet Connection
attcahed pergola deck
Architectural Landscape Choice 56.0%

With the convenience of the world wide web more people are able to work from home and what a great way to work, outside in the fresh air with your own backyard retreat.

Outdoor Grill
shade barbecue grill arbor
Architectural Landscape Choice 94.3%

Whether it is gas, electric grill, charcoal or a smoker, for anyone who believes food tastes better outdoors a grill is a natural choice for cooking. Grilling or broiling food outside can reduce energy costs and it is also healthier because the fats fall away from the cooked meats and food. Broiling or grilling also caramelizes the foods giving the food a distinct mouth-watering flavor.


Fans • Outdoor Cooling Systems
timber frame pavilion lights fan
Architectural Landscape Choice 37.2%
Sports • Recreational Spaces
ping pong game shade
Architectural Landscape Choice 58.6%

Sports and recreational have gone beyond the common driveway with a basketball hoop above the garage. It is amazing how a simple backyard can become a sports zone; tennis courts, bocce ball, badminton, volley ball, ping pong, mini golf, oversize outdoor chess sets & more.


tennis court shadow sun
Water Elements
Architectural Landscape Choice 86.1%

Decorative ornamental water elements such as waterfalls,  splash pools, grottos and water runnels are a delight especially for children. Birdbaths, kio ponds, backyard soothers, gurglers and bubblers anything water creates a peaceful ambience to any landscape design.

Backyard bubblers and gurglers primarily stir the water around so they offer a nice feature for a small area without a need for a reservoir bowl beneath it.

The idea behind a water runnel is give the sound of water without seeing the water, minimally seeing it or interspersing it with plantings.

A grotto is usually an artificial structure or cave and it landscape designing today usually implies with water.

Outdoor Heaters
Architectural Landscape Choice 48.9%
Outdoor Furniture
fire pit pergola shade

There are a variety of outdoor furniture options, wood, plastic, wicker, metal etc., with or without cushions. The important thing is that the style reflects your personality. Western Timber Frame™ also makes custom timber frame heirloom indoor and outdoor timber furniture, built to stand against nature’s harsher elements.

Architectural Landscape Choice 84.1%
Low walls • Ledges • Boulders
garden boulder
pergola brick
Architectural Landscape Choice 89.6%

This was categorized as boulders, low walls and ledges that can be used for seating.

Bedrooms • Places to Sleep
Architectural Landscape Choice 14.9%

Who needs a designated place to sleep when the kid in us can crash almost anywhere? However, at 14.9%, there are some people who prefer a real bed or a more private outdoor room to sleep in.

There has been a rise in what is termed "She Sheds" or "Man Cave" backyard retreats. The fad began with refurbishing sheds into an outdoor bar or bedroom to new sheds, pergolas, pavilions and DIY outdoor structures. Outdoor sleeping areas are definitely rising in popularity. Check out Western Timber Frame's new suspended couch/bed.

suspended couch bed


Outdoor Lighting
timber frame pavilion with outdoor lighting

Outdoor lighting is easier than ever before with Western Timber frame's new TimberVolt™ series. No more hanging cords or strung electrical wires.

Architectural Landscape Choice 98.3%
outdoor lighting fire pits pergola
Outdoor Counter Top Space
outdoor kitchen
Architectural Landscape Choice 75.5%

Designers differ in experience, skill, artistic and technical ability but there is also another factor to consider in outdoor living design. It is important to understand the tastes, purposes and usability for the individual need of the homeowner. For instance, if an outdoor designer does not enjoy cooking they may not understand how important it is to have enough counter space to create those wonderful family cuisines. Having more counter space was important to many homeowners in their outdoor living experience.


Outdoor Fireplace
swimming pool shade fireplace
Architectural Landscape Choice 95.4%

The flickering fire of an outdoor fireplace invites you to come and sit awhile. The outside hearth is fast becoming the heart of the home where families come together.

family pergola fireplace

A fireplace makes an outdoor living room more useable year-round, whether it is gas, charcoal or wood burning.

Showers • Baths
Architectural Landscape Choice 46.8%
Outdoor Seating • Dining Areas
custom shade outdoor dining fire
dovetail timber frame pergola kit fire pit
Architectural Landscape Choice 97.9%

Picnics, dining and eating outdoors has always been one of the American quintessential pleasures of summertime. An outdoor dining room is one of the more popular outdoor environments in our experience as well.

Spa Features
wrap around knee brace pergola kit hot tub
Architectural Landscape Choice 76.4%

Hot tubs, outdoor saunas, Jacuzzi and whirlpools are rated well in outdoor living popularity here in the United States, but apparently not as well as in the United Kingdom(UK). Ben Spencer of the reports even with unpredictable weather, one in ten families in the UK have a hot tub in their backyard garden.


Swimming Pools
Architectural Landscape Choice 73.8%

Staycation is a termed often used in outdoor living today meaning a vacation at home. Many motels today have swimming pools and a swimming pool can give a vacation atmosphere to a landscape.

swimming pool pergola shade
timber frame awning swimming pool shade


Landscape • Garden & Outdoor Design Elements

2014 Overall Architectural Landscaping Ratings


Organic Gardens
organic garden plant seeds
Architectural Landscape Choice 64.0%
Wall or Vertical Gardens
vertical gardening
Architectural Landscape Choice 49.7%
Ponds • Streams
Architectural Landscape Choice 60.0%
pavilion shade chiminea dovetail
Low Maintenance Landscapes
Architectural Landscape Choice 95.4%

A timber frame shade structure is a way to add shade to a low-maintenance landscape especially in places where trees aren’t practical. Rough-sawn timber naturally keeps human friendlier temperatures better than other materials.

Vegetable Gardens • Orchards • Vineyards
vegetables tomato garlic
Architectural Landscape Choice 76.4%
Xeriscaping or Dry Gardens
dessert flowers xeriscape landscape
Architectural Landscape Choice 69.1%


Native Plants
plant shade pergola
Architectural Landscape Choice 84.5%
Turf Lawn
pergola fire pit backyard retreat
Architectural Landscape Choice 54.0%
Reduced Lawn
sunshine pergola
Architectural Landscape Choice 64.0%


Sustainable Design Practices
timber framed pergola waterfall
Architectural Landscape Choice 74.2%

Western Timber Frame™ is all about sustainable products.  We only source renewable timber directly from mills in the United States that have sustainable and renewable timber growth policies. We personally visit these sites to ensure the highest environmental standards are in place and that these mills use responsible harvesting and forest management.Timber is one of the earth's most sustainable, renewable materials.

ADA Accessible Design
wheelchair pergola
Architectural Landscape Choice 29.7%

Everyone benefits from clean fresh air and exercise. Landscapes designed to be accessible to people with all kinds of disabilities add to the value of a landscape. Creating landscapes that are more accessible for children with social, physical and emotional disabilities is recognized by many architectural landscapers as needing more emphasis.


Outdoor Living Style

2014 Overall Architectural Landscaping Ratings


contemporary pergola

The National Association of Realtors say the contemporary trends are expected to be the craze this year. Modern Trends that celebrate versatility and personality with a very strong contemporary designs reflecting traditional styles in prints, colors and decorating ideas.

The warmth of natural surroundings combined with a Contemporary style pergola fits well with the unique 2015 landscaping trends.  Contemporary  can be angular, planar, zigzagged with that technological vibe with a sense that this shape is possible only through the latest advancements of modern technologies.

cedar rafters

At Western Timber Frame™ the Contemporary trend prediction for 2015 has held true in design requests for Contemporary outdoor shade structures.


light trellis pergola power

An straight decorative outdoor lighting fixture has an oriental sophisticated flare to this contemporary Canyon Grey DIY pergola kit. The eight white lattice posts offer not only beautiful, eye-catching contrast but it is practical as well for all those green thumb gardeners. Historically, pergolas and garden arbors were enhanced with climbing vines and flowers.

The curved winding pathways in landscape has turned in trend to a rectangular geometry with clean, sleek straight lines, bold edges and angles. Combining old with new, this traditional Spanish or Aztec style outdoor-living place  is a good example of the 2014-2015 trend having a taste of Contemporary styled flavor. The DIY attached timber framed pergola kit is finished in a premium high quality UV protective custom stain color interwoven with a outdoor sun shade canvas.

attached pergola custom outdoor kitchen


Last years outdoor living trends has proven there is an increased enthusiasm in spending more time outdoors and enjoying the pleasures of home with family. Enhancing personal outdoor space is the key to taking healthier living to a whole new level.


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