Pergola vs Gazebo: Which Is the Right Outdoor Structure for You?

Last Updated on July 5, 2022 by Kimberly Crawford

If you’re looking to add some structure to your outdoor space, you may be wondering whether a pergola or gazebo is the right choice for you. Both of these structures have their pros and cons, and it can be tough to decide which one is the best fit for your needs.

In this blog post, we will take a look at the differences between pergolas and gazebos, so that you can make an informed decision about which one is right for you!

What is a pergola?

modern pergola outdoor living

A pergola is a garden feature forming a shaded walkway, passageway, or sitting area of vertical posts or pillars that usually support cross-beams and a sturdy open lattice, often upon which woody vines are trained.

The origin of the word is the Late Latin pergula, referring to a projection attached to a building, which resembled the open structure of a pergola. They are also often found in public parks and on college campuses.

Related: What Is The Point Of A Pergola? (Benefits, Varieties)

Purposes of a pergola

A pergola is a wonderful addition to any garden or outdoor living space. Not only do they look great, but they can also serve a variety of purposes. Here are just a few of the ways you can use a pergola in your own backyard:

-As an extension of your home: A pergola can provide a beautiful, covered area for you to enjoy spending time outdoors. It can also act as an extension of your indoor living space, creating an additional “room” for you to enjoy.

-As a garden feature: A pergola can add interest and structure to your garden. Use it as a backdrop for climbing plants or as a focal point in your landscaping.

-As a privacy screen: If you live in a close-knit neighborhood or simply want to create a more private space in your backyard, a pergola can do the trick. Place it in strategic spot and train climbing plants to grow up and over the top for added privacy.

-As a poolside retreat: Add a pergola to your pool area for a shady spot to relax and enjoy the summer sun. You can also use it to help keep your pool area cooler by providing some much-needed shade.

Pros and cons of pergola:

There are a few things to consider before deciding whether or not a pergola is the right addition to your home. Here are some pros and cons of pergolas to help you make your decision:


-A pergola can provide shade and protection from the sun and rain.

-A pergola can add interest and character to your home.

-A pergola can be a place to relax and enjoy your garden.


-A pergola can be expensive to build.

-A pergola may require regular maintenance.

-A pergola may not provide enough shade or protection from the sun and rain.

What is a gazebo?

gazebo garden

A gazebo is a type of structure that is often found in gardens or parks. It is typically octagonal or round in shape and has a roof. Gazebos can be made from a variety of materials, including wood, metal, and stone.

They are often used as a place to relax or entertain guests. Gazebos can also be decorated with a variety of items, such as plants, lanterns, and furniture.

Purposes of a gazebo:

A gazebo can be a great addition to any home. There are many purposes for a gazebo, and they can be used in a variety of ways. Here are some of the most common uses for a gazebo:

-As an outdoor living space: A gazebo can be a great way to create an outdoor living space. It can be a place to relax, entertain guests, or simply enjoy the outdoors.

-As a garden feature: A gazebo can also be a great way to add interest to your garden. It can be used as a focal point, or it can be used to provide shade and shelter from the sun and rain.

-As a poolside shelter: A gazebo can also be a great way to provide shelter from the sun and rain for your pool. It can also be used as a place to relax and enjoy the outdoors.

-As an outdoor kitchen: A gazebo can also be a great way to add an outdoor kitchen to your home. It can be used to prepare meals, entertain guests, or simply enjoy the outdoors.

Pros and cons of Gazebo:

Gazebo can be a great addition to your home, providing you with an extra space to entertain or simply relax. However, there are a few things to consider before purchasing one. Here are the pros and cons of Gazebo:


-Provides extra space

-Can be used for entertaining

-Adds value to your home


-Requires regular maintenance

-Can be expensive

-May not be allowed in some HOA’s or neighborhoods.

Similarities Between Pergola and Gazebo

There are a few key similarities between pergolas and gazebos that are worth mentioning. Both structures provide shade and protection from the elements, and can be used as an outdoor living space. They can also be built to any size or shape, making them versatile additions to any home.

Differences between Pergola and Gazebo

Pergola vs Gazebo: Materials

When choosing between a pergola and a gazebo, one of the main considerations is the material. Pergolas are typically made of wood, while Gazebos can be made of wood, metal, or even plastic.

Wood is the most popular material for both pergolas and gazebos because it is strong and durable. It can also be stained or painted to match your home’s exterior. Metal gazebos are less common, but they are gaining in popularity because they are more affordable than wood gazebos. Plastic gazebos are the least expensive option, but they are not as durable as metal or wood gazebos.

When it comes to materials, there is no clear winner between a pergola and a gazebo. It all depends on your budget and your personal preferences. If you want a classic look, go for a wood pergola.

If you want something more modern, go for a metal gazebo. And if you’re on a tight budget, a plastic gazebo may be the best option for you. Whichever material you choose, make sure to pick one that will complement your home’s existing style.

Pergola vs Gazebo: Appearance

A gazebo is a freestanding structure that has a roof and is usually octagonal or hexagonal in shape. A pergola, on the other hand, is an open-sided structure that has posts or columns supporting a roof.

Gazebos are often used as garden features or for providing shade in outdoor living spaces, while pergolas are more commonly used as walkways or as a support for climbing plants.

When it comes to appearance, gazebos tend to be more ornate and decorative than pergolas. Gazebos often have features such as cupolas, finials, and gingerbread trim, while pergolas are more simple and understated in design. Gazebos also tend to be larger than pergolas, which makes them more suitable for use as garden features.

Pergola vs Gazebo: Roof

When it comes to choosing between a pergola and a gazebo, one of the main considerations is the roof. A pergola typically has an open or latticed roof, while a gazebo usually has a solid roof. There are pros and cons to each type of roof.

An open or latticed roof on a pergola lets in more light and air, making it ideal for hot summer days. However, it offers less protection from the elements, so you may need to add shade cloth or outdoor curtains if you want to use it in the sun or in inclement weather.

A solid roof on a gazebo provides more protection from the sun, wind, and rain. However, it can make the space feel more enclosed and claustrophobic. If you choose a gazebo with a solid roof, be sure to include plenty of windows and ventilation to keep the space feeling airy.

The type of roof you choose should be based on how you plan to use the space. If you want a shady retreat to escape the summer heat, a pergola with an open roof is a good choice. If you need a more weather-resistant space for entertaining or dining, a gazebo with a solid roof is a better option. Whichever type of roof you choose, be sure to add some lighting so you can enjoy the space day or night.

Pergola vs Gazebo: Flooring

When it comes to flooring for your outdoor living space, you have two main options: a pergola or a gazebo. Both offer different benefits that can make your space more enjoyable. Here is a quick rundown of the differences between the two types of flooring to help you decide which is right for you.

Pergolas are typically made from wood or metal and have an open design. This allows you to enjoy the outdoors while still being protected from the sun and rain. Gazebos, on the other hand, are usually made from fabric or mesh and have a more closed-in design. This can provide you with more privacy and protection from the elements.

Another difference between pergolas and gazebos is the amount of maintenance they require. Pergolas generally need to be stained or sealed every few years to protect the wood from weathering. Gazebos made from fabric or mesh can usually be left as-is and will not require as much upkeep.

Pergola vs Gazebo: Plants

When it comes to plants, there are a few key differences between pergolas and gazebos. First, pergolas tend to be more open, which means that they’re better for climbing plants. Gazebos, on the other hand, have a solid roof, which makes them better for shade-loving plants.

Pergola vs Gazebo: Installation

It’s been a long, hot summer and you’re finally ready to install that backyard oasis you’ve been dreaming about. But what should you choose? A pergola or a gazebo? Here’s a quick rundown of the pros and cons of each to help you decide which is right for you.

Pergolas are generally less expensive than gazebos and can be installed DIY-style in a few weekends. Gazebos, on the other hand, tend to be more expensive and usually require professional installation.

Pergola vs Gazebo: Cost

When it comes to outdoor structures, two popular options are pergolas and gazebos. Both can provide shade and a place to relax, but they differ in price. So, what’s the difference between a pergola vs gazebo?

Pergolas are typically less expensive than gazebos. The average cost of a pergola is between $500 and $4000, while the average cost of a gazebo is between $2000 and $5000. The main difference in price is due to the materials used. Pergolas are typically made from wood or vinyl, while gazebos are made from wood, metal, or vinyl.

Pergola vs Gazebo: Maintenance

When it comes to maintenance, both pergolas and gazebos require regular cleaning and inspection. However, because of their different materials and designs, they have different maintenance needs.

Pergolas are made of wood or metal, so they require more frequent cleaning and inspection than gazebos. Gazebos are made of vinyl or polyester, so they require less frequent cleaning and inspection.

Pergolas should be inspected for rot, insect damage, and weather damage. Gazebos should be inspected for leaks, rips, and holes.

Both pergolas and gazebos need to have their hardware checked regularly. Pergola hardware needs to be checked for rust and wear. Gazebo hardware needs to be checked for leaks and holes.

To clean a pergola, you will need a garden hose, a pressure washer, and a brush. To clean a gazebo, you will need a garden hose and a sponge.

Pergolas should be cleaned once a month. Gazebos should be cleaned once a week.


So, which is the right outdoor structure for you? If you’re looking for a shady spot to relax in your backyard, a pergola may be the way to go. If you’re hoping to create a more inviting space for entertaining guests, a gazebo could be the perfect solution. Whichever route you choose, remember to take the time to consider your needs and find a style that compliments your home. With a little bit of planning, you can create an outdoor oasis that you’ll enjoy for years to come.

Happy building!