Pavilion at Red Butte Gardens

Here’s a contemporary pavilion with a Japanese flair that’s produced by the unusual treatment of the beams at the eaves and the decorative detailing at the gable ends. The simple lines of the slat roof and the supporting columns create interesting reflections in the water and shadows on the decking.

While the construction of a similar structure is not for the faint of heart, the basic form is within the capacity of most contractors or experienced do-it-yourselfers. The trick with translating such buildings from public spaces into home gardens is, as always, reducing the dimensions to human scale, while maintaining the correct proportions to suit the house and grounds.

While this type of open-air shelter doesn’t offer much protection from inclement weather, the closely-spaced roof slats would create welcome shade in an otherwise open, sunny yard as well as a level surface for work or entertaining. Benches can be built-in or free-standing to accommodate large or small groups of people. A combination of fixed and moveable seating would allow for more intimate clusters of guests to assemble and dissolve as conversations evolve and meals progress.

In the home garden, square floor cushions in brown or rust could be added to blend with the wood to enhance serenity; or lively, contrasting colors and patterns used to provide a sense of energy. Hang curtains made from Sunbrella™ or other weather- and fade-resistant materials to chase away chilly spring and autumn breezes and extend the outdoor season.

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