What’s the Difference Between a Pergola and Gazebo?

Outdoor features like pergolas and gazebos are all the rage among homeowners nowadays. They serve as an excellent way to add shade, shelter, and aesthetic appeal to any backyard. However, when it comes to choosing between a pergola and a gazebo, many homeowners tend to get confused.

Even though both structures have unique advantages and disadvantages, it’s crucial to understand the fundamental differences between them before purchasing.

A pergola is typically an open structure with a slatted or flat roof and no walls, while a gazebo is a closed structure with a complete roof, four pillars, and open sides. By understanding the distinguishing characteristics of these structures, you can make a better-informed decision that caters to your needs and preferences.

How are Gazebos and Pergolas Similar

Putting in a new structure to your outdoor space means you’ve come across the terms “gazebo” and “pergola.”

While these two outdoor structures are similar in that they provide shade and shelter for outdoor seating areas, dining spaces, and even hot tubs or pools, they have distinct differences in design, construction, and materials. Unlike gazebos with closed sides and a full roof, pergolas have an open roof with lattice or beams to provide partial shade.

Additionally, gazebos tend to be more ornate and constructed with heavier and more durable materials than pergolas. So whether you’re looking to add a focal point to your backyard or create a functional outdoor living space, understanding the differences between gazebos and pergolas can help you make the best decision for your space.

What is a Gazebo

Adding a focal point to your garden or park, consider a gazebo. These iconic structures come in various shapes, including hexagonal, octagonal, and rounded, and can be made from a range of materials, from wood to metal or vinyl.

Unlike pergolas, gazebos have low walls or railings and provide greater protection from the elements, creating a cozy outdoor space for relaxing, entertaining, or enjoying a meal with family or friends.

Plus, they can be fitted with screens to keep pesky bugs out, or outdoor curtains for added privacy. With a gazebo, you can elevate your outdoor space while also staying comfortable and protected.

What is a Pergola

If you’re looking for an outdoor structure that adds beauty and function to your yard, a pergola might just be what you need. This open, airy structure is typically made of wood or vinyl and features a flat or angled roof of beams or lattice.

With four columns supporting the structure, a pergola can be attached to a building or stand alone in your yard. While smaller than gazebos, pergolas provide a great spot for outdoor entertaining, dining or relaxing.

They can be left uncovered, allowing natural light to shine through, or covered in vines or plants for added privacy and shade. Whether you’re looking to create a cozy seating area or an outdoor dining spot, a pergola is a stylish and practical addition to any home.

Should I Choose a Pergola or a Gazebo

When it comes to deciding between a pergola and a gazebo, there are a few factors to consider. Firstly, your intended use for the structure will play an important role. A gazebo might be the best option if you’re looking for a space to entertain or want more shelter from the elements.

With the option of screens, gazebos can also provide more privacy and protection from pesky bugs. However, a pergola might be your answer if you’re after something more visually appealing. Their open and airy design makes them perfect for adding a touch of style to your backyard.

The ability to customize pergolas with a range of finishes and materials also means that they can be tailored to fit your personal taste. Ultimately, the decision between a pergola and a gazebo comes down to personal preference and the purpose of the structure.


No matter what your decision is, whether you choose a pergola or a gazebo, both structures are sure to enhance your outdoor living space. It’s important to understand the differences between the two before making a purchase so you can choose the one that best meets your needs.

Take the time to decide which one can provide the most benefits and fits your style and space. Remember, outdoor structures are a great way to maximize your backyard and enjoy it to the fullest.


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