Pergola VS Gazebo: What is Ideal for Your Backyard?

Outdoor structures complete our homes. Pergola vs gazebo, which structure is best for your home? Both structures beautify the outdoors. Also, they offer protection from the sun, giving you the much-needed shade during the hot summer. Another benefits of a pergola or gazebo is they add value to your home in case you would want to sell it later.

Having any of the two in your outdoor space will also give you a reason to spend time in your yard. So, which is best for your home? In this article we discuss the features of each unit, the pros, cons and more. If you are having a hard time deciding what to build, read on. Let’s first define each structure.

Pergola vs gazebo: All You Need to Know


A gazebo is an octagonal free-standing structure that has a solid roof. It is open on all its eight sides, allowing you to have a clear view of your surroundings. Gazebos can be built in a garden, pavilion, or backyard space. These permanent structures transform your outdoor space and create a resting atmosphere in the open.

They also give considerable protection from the elements that would affect your comfort. They are constructed using metal or wood. When putting up a gazebo, it is wise to consider the outdoor color scheme so that the two can complement each other. This popular structure should bring style and offer shade.


A pergola is a freestanding outdoor structure that adds value to your home and provides the best entertainment spot. This outdoor structure is best used in homes with big outdoor space. Most pergolas have an open roof and are installed next to the house or attached to the house.

They are built with beams, slats, and posts. Pergola has many advantages including decorative ideas, you can plant some vines around it giving you a perfect shade, host friends and more.

The design is one of the key difference between pergola vs gazebo. Most homeowners like pergola because they allow them to have various plants and flowers around them boosting the appearance of their yard.

Difference Between a Pergola And Gazebo

There are many types of gardens and outdoor structures. This is why you should know their differences before deciding on which to buy. The two are differentiated by their characteristics and features. Here are some of the main differences between a pergola vs a gazebo.

  • The roof is the main difference between the pergola and gazebo. Gazebos have solid roofs while pergolas have an open roof.
  • Pergolas are used to offer support to vines while gazebos are not.
  • They have an octagonal shape while a pergola is more of a passage shade with columns and pillars.
  • Gazebos offer maximum protection from elements like rain and tough summer weather. Their design enables you to have both comfort and safety within your backyard.
  • In terms of size, pergolas are bigger and can therefore offer enough space for guests or family gatherings.
  • Roofing design varies between a pergola vs gazebo. Pergolas have a flat or arched roof while gazebos have rounded roofs.
  • Pergolas don’t offer much shade compared to gazebos. This is more so if you don’t have vines around the pergola or a retractable canopy
  • Gazebos are permanent structures but you can move a pergola from the garden to your corridor.
  • You can add an outdoor kitchen in your pergola and make the structure a bbq spot. This is different for a gazebo because most options are small.
  • When compared a pergola vs gazebo, you will note that a pergola has a more natural ambiance because you can have some plants around it.
  • Gazebos are less expensive, unlike pergolas which come at a higher cost.
  • The accessibility of the two differs in that a pergola is open and more accessible, unlike a gazebo which is closed.
  • The two offer privacy differently with gazebos being more private. Pergolas have no walls and therefore anyone can peep through. Also, there is no protection from the elements and insects in a pergola.
  • Another difference between the structures is the floor. Gazebos have a raised floor, unlike pergolas. This makes most homeowners feel like their work was not completed whenever they are inside the pergola. The comfort that comes with a raised floor is missed.
  • Pergolas look unfinished when plants and vines have not fully grown around them. This might make homeowners feel impatient as they anticipate seeing a complete pergola that matches their style and backyard.
  • The different materials used to make pergolas are expensive compared to gazebo materials.
  • In case of heavy winds and storms, pergolas might not offer protection from such weather which might force you to break from your party and get into the main house. This is a factor makes pergolas less suited for places that experience heavy winds.

Also read: Pergola VS Arbor

Advantages of a pergola

  • No walls means air flows freely, allowing you to get enough breeze to keep you cool
  • This structure has lots of space for a kitchen and furniture set
  • Freestanding pergolas can be installed anywhere within your property. This saves space, unlike a gazebo which might limit on where to install.
  • You can easily build a pergola once you have the posts set. This makes it easy for homeowners to finish the work by themselves because there is no need for a solid roof.
  • Pergolas typically increase the value of your home and elevate the appearance of your backyard. So if you have plans to sell your home later, you know what to get.
  • For a pergola, you have the right to choose the size you want. The small ones are often less expensive but with little space.
  • Materials for a pergola are easily available regardless of your taste. Wood is often preferred by many people and comes at an affordable cost but requires more maintenance.

Disadvantages of a pergola

  • Requires maintenance. This is more so for rainy and misty places because you will be forced to re-paint or re-stain them often. In most cases, Cedar pergolas tend to fade and that might demote the overall look of your backyard.
  • Wood pergolas might rot or crack due to harsh weather. The wood can also be invaded by termites, eating the wood and shortening its durability.
  • Pergolas built with treated wood are a bit heavy and might be difficult for you to move.
  • Any pergola that is made of pressure-treated wood is prone to crack, warp or bend due to tough weather elements if it is not re-stained often.

Advantages of a gazebo

  • They can be built with different materials including vinyl, iron, and aluminum. Also, the type of material determines the cost.
  • They are attractive to a home buying customer
  • There is a guarantee of fun and comfort in a gazebo especially if you add some furniture to it.
  • Gazebos allow you to enjoy some protection from the rain and sun thanks to their solid roof.
  • These outdoor structures have a raised floor and therefore as a homeowner, you will feel that your work was completed. You can add a mat to ensure the floor remains clean

Also Read: Pergola hot tub ideas

Disadvantages of a gazebo

  • Gazebos are light and the roof might be blown by heavy winds
  • The overall structure of a gazebo might make it look unattractive in a garden especially to homeowners who have a deeper sense of style
  • The structures are not ideal for all weather. You might have to choose a pergola if you live in extremely windy places.
  • Gazebos are more demanding in maintenance, especially canvas gazebos. They get dirty easily and can degrade when exposed to unfriendly elements like the sun and rain.

What should you choose between pergola and a gazebo?

If you are on a budget and have a small yard, a gazebo is the perfect pick for you. But, if you are working with a big budget, a pergola is the best choice. You don’t have to spend a fortune to make your gazebo or pergola awesome. Here are a few things that you can add to it and have a haven within your backyard. The same can also be added to a patio or deck.

  • Furniture-You can make your pergola look incredible by adding a patio table or couches to it. You can also paint the furniture to match the color and design of the structure.
  • Hot tubs- Sometimes your body gets fatigued and the best place to relax is in a pergola or patio. Building a hot tub in these structures will allow you to calm your nerves.
  • Flowers- Flowers are a great addition to any environment. Adding them to a patio, deck, or pergola will create a beautiful ambiance for your family and guests. It will be like having a garden inside another garden.

Any of these structures are great for a home. They serve as an at-home getaway for weekends and holidays. The peace that one gets in these structures is incomparable not to mention the privacy and comfort enjoyed. Homeowners should consider buying any these popular structures and add value to their property. Regardless of the material used to make them, building a pergola or gazebo will be a wise move.

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