TO ROOF OR NOT TO ROOF?
By its very nature, a pergola is not fully roofed, setting it apart from a Gazebo. Our timber frame pergola kit features a traditional rafter tail detail for the open look and feel. But if you prefer a little less exposure to the elements, apply a lattice work of slats on the rafters on which to train vining plants, or install a “roof” of polycarbonate sheets so you can enjoy your pergola on misty nights or rainy afternoons. A retractable sailcloth canopy offers shade when the sun is blazing and protection from the occasional summer shower, plus the flexibility to roll it back when you want to see the stars.
As of March 2023, this timber frame kit has been discontinued. We originally introduced this and other timber frame kits in March 2020, motivated by the idea that if one of our crew becomes ill, or if we have to close the shop temporarily, our crew can load their pickups with wood and tools and make the kits at home. We just wanted to keep everyone working.
Three years on, our crew is busier than ever and we’ve made the decision to concentrate on what we do best: custom timber framing projects. If a custom timber frame home, barn, great room, entryway, or other structure sounds like something you’d like to explore, we encourage you to view our work and see some of the projects we’re particularly proud of.
Timber Frame Pergola
the ultimate indoor-outdoor living experience
Sitting under a timber frame pergola is like sitting under a luminous cloud. You’re outside but not exposed, inside but not closed in. If you train grapes, wisteria, roses, or clematis up the legs and across latticework on top, you’ll feel like you’re living inside your garden. One of the great pleasures of a timber pergola is watching the movement of the shadows cast by its rafters as the sun makes its way across the sky.
This is one of my favorite kits, for a couple of reasons. First, our pergola kit offers a lot of bang for the buck. It can be installed in any flat spot in your garden, and it doesn’t require extensive preparation or finishing—a roof, sides, water, or electricity—to start using it. All you need is table and chairs for morning coffee, evening cocktails, and al fresco meals anytime. I set mine at my front door, to create an elegant entryway.
Second, it’s really straightforward to assemble. Having lovingly—but very laboriously—built my own pergola from scratch, I can tell you a kit is the way to go. Building mine progressed over the course of days. You could put this one together in a weekend or two.
Our pergola timber kit makes a good family project. None of the pieces are heavy, and the assembly can progress in several stages over a weekend or two, with a celebratory meal beneath the pergola when it’s all done. Western red cedar, Thuja plicata, is one of my most favorite wood species. The trees are a majestic 150 to 200 feet tall, and their wood is straight-grained, rot- and insect-resistant, and highly aromatic. Cedar ages to a tawny brown in most climates and will last for decades. When I renovated my island house in Maine I used it extensively on the exterior. It was expensive—but only once!