What’s The Difference Between a Gazebo and a Pergola?

Gazebo vs. Pergola

Gazebos and pergolas are both excellent additions to outdoor living areas. Both have the ability to make your spaces more usable year-round. They can also serve as beautiful aesthetic framing pieces. Whether you’re seeking shade during an outdoor summer barbecue or trying to stay warm by the firepit during a peaceful winter evening, gazebos and pergolas can do the job.

But what’s the difference? And how do you determine which one better suits your current needs?

So What’s the Difference?

The most obvious difference between the two is the style of their roofs. Generally, the roof of a pergola is covered with horizontal slats that offer partial shade and protection. With a gazebo, the roof is completely continuous with no gaps in between.

Additionally, gazebos are their own structure and often have a raised floor that allows for higher viewing of the garden or landscape around it. Gazebos feature many structural design options including the ability to add walls, railings, or windows for additional protection from the elements.

Pergolas are more flexible in their installation as they can be added on top of existing outdoor spaces or as standalone features. You can also build a pergola as a direct attachment or extension of your home.

Both pergolas and gazebos can be made of numerous different materials. The most common for pergolas are wood, aluminum, PVC, metal, fiberglass, and brick/stone. Gazebos are frequently made from wood, aluminum, and vinyl.

Gazebo Benefits

If you’re looking for complete closure and protection from the elements in your outdoor area, you should consider installing a gazebo. Gazebos can also be used to enclose a number of different kinds of spaces including living areas, hot tubs, dining spaces, or private viewing areas.

With more weather resistant closed roofing and walls (depending on your design preference), gazebos offer better protection. They’ll keep you dry during a rainstorm or cool during a hot summer’s day. Walls can also provide resistance to wind or add a layer of privacy to your space.

Gazebos generally feature an older look as they are a more historical piece, but there are modern-looking models as well. If you live in a historical home or enjoy the Victorian vibe, there are many gazebo designs that will fit right in with your landscape.

Pergola Benefits

Pergolas are more flexible in their design. Pergolas have slatted roofing but have the option for added retractable roofing, providing you with control over the level of shading in your space.

While gazebos are free-standing structures, pergolas can be built over existing areas. If you’ve already built a luxury outdoor living space but want to give it aesthetic framing or weather protection, pergolas are the way to go.

Additionally, pergolas are great transition pieces. As mentioned previously pergolas can be added directly as an extension to your home. They can also attach to an existing gazebo in your yard. Pergolas can be utilized as stand-alone pieces or in concert with an outdoor space.

If designed properly, pergolas can also serve as excellent partners to your garden. Sprout plants through the upper slats of your pergola to provide natural shade and a nature friendly look to your space.

For a consultation on adding a gazebo, pergola, or any other kind of addition to the exterior of your home, call the design and construction experts at Outdoor Spaces. We’ll collaborate with you to come up with a custom space that fits your needs.