One of the awesome things about DIY means you can dream up wild and crazy projects like this outdoor cabana lounge build.  I’ve always wanted a lazy lounge space in our backyard and with the help of my friend Ana White my dreams have come true.
diy outdoor cabana lounge


I first spotted this idea in my buildy friend Liz from Smart Girls DIY Instagram feed:
Smart Girls DIY palapa inspiration
Clearly this palapa structure is from a vacation destination spot and of course I want my backyard to feel like a vacation!  But looking at that frame and considering the support and angles I knew I needed Ana to step in and sketch up plans.  Lucky for us she has the free plans available here!
kids outdoor cabana
My goal was to complete this project over the summer but time has a way of slipping and now summer has turned to Fall.  That’s okay, we can still make use of the outdoor cabana lounge and boy is it ever cozy!
diy outdoor cabana lounge fort
I prefer the cabana lounge with the awning cover but it I took some photos without so you can see the structure.  Ana designed the build using lap joints so the beams overlap and intersect then I used hex lag bolts to hold it altogether (similar to the bolts used in my outdoor truss style coffee table).
diy outdoor covered cabana lounge
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The platform deck boards run 8′ so no waste here and you have a little walking space in front of the queen size camping air mattress.
queen size camping mattress in cabana
queen size camping mattress in cabana
diy outdoor cabana lounge structure
It’s a little relaxing space carved out of our backyard, if my kids were younger it would make a great playhouse too.  You could even add solid roofing material to make it more waterproof for a playhouse.  Or for another playhouse idea – try this open frame idea or this bungalow playhouse.
build an outdoor cabana lounge
The awning is a super easy addition.  I used 80″ wide Sunbrella awning fabric so it fits the length of the cabana without having to finish the edges.  On the ends I made a pocket for 3/4″ steel conduit pipe, fold the raw edge of the fabric over 1/2″ and then 2″ and sew a seam then slide the pipe into the pocket:
diy outdoor cabana awning with pipe weight
The pipe acts as a weight to keep the awning in place and is easily removable.  Also you can raise the awning sides to let in more air and light by placing the pipe up on the side post:
diy outdoor cabana awning with pipe weight
outdoor lounge cabana with fabric awning
Personally I prefer the awning sides down to make it more private.
outdoor lounge cabana with fabric awning
This was my first time building a true deck platform and it won’t be my last.  I used the Kreg Deck Jig and you cannot see a single screw head!
deck style floor in outdoor cabana
diy outdoor cabana lounge with globe lights
Be sure to stop by Ana’s place to get the free plans.  Below are some of the steps I took to build this cabana lounge.  Scroll down for a few in process building tips and notes.
lap joints using mini circular saw
Step 1: Making the lap joints sounded way worse than it actually was.  I used my handy WORX Compact Circular Saw to make all the cross cuts.
lap joint using multi-tool
Then went in with my Rockwell Sonicrafter multi-tool to remove all the little slices.
connecting lap joints with lag bolts
Step 2: To join the laps I predrilled then inserted 3/8-Inch x 3-Inch Hex Lag Screws.
outdoor cabana lounge frame
Above is the basic frame assembled.
Kreg deck jig to install deck boards
Add the deck boards using a Kreg Deck Jig.  You can see how the Kreg 2-Inch 8 Coarse deck screws are buried at an angle into the sides of each board:
Kreg deck jig to install deck boards
For the large 4×4 cross supports I opted to use Simpson Strong-Tie post caps which wrap around two sides of each 4×4 making the join strong and tight:
Simpson Strong-Tie hardware
headboard spacer with scrap 4x4
Moving on to the headboard use pocket holes and Kreg Blue-Kote 2-1/2″ pocket hole screws.   Place a scrap piece of 4×4 to act as your spacer and hold the board in place while you attach.
scrap wood support while installing roof cross supports
Up on the roof line use a scrap 2×4 and clamp to give your cross support a resting spot while you attach.  I work alone so manuevering and attaching these long supports can be tricky.
removable globe string lights
To fancy up my outdoor lounge cabana I added clear globe bulb patio string lights.  This style of outdoor lights has a small clip on the housing.  I hammered in a cord support then slipped the clip through the open space and this allows me to easily remove the lights in the winter.
free plans diy outdoor cabana lounge
I hope you enjoyed this build as much as we are enjoying the completed project!
Posted in DIY

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