Pergolas vs. Gazebos – What’s the Difference?

by  Lauren Lockett-Summers
Last Updated: Feb 07, 2023
Pergolas vs. Gazebos – What’s the Difference?

If you’ve been researching ways to add shade to your backyard and improve your home’s curb appeal, you’ve likely come across pergolas and gazebos as two valid options for boosting your property value. While deciding between the two options may be daunting, the choice really comes down to your goals for the space. Below we will explain the differences between pergolas and gazebos, as well as the pros and cons of each, so you can make the best decision for your home.

Gazebos

White Gazebo

A gazebo is typically classified as a hexagonal or octagonal structure that has open sides and a fully covered roof. Gazebos are often placed away from the home in an area that the homeowner likes to spend time at – like next to a lake, river, or pool. While many gazebos are structured to have fully-open sides, some homeowners choose to add lattice or horizontal planks to semi-enclose the space.

Gazebos can be constructed with wood or vinyl, with wood requiring more maintenance and upkeep, but providing a more natural aesthetic. Vinyl, on the other hand, won’t require any maintenance other than the occasional washing, but you would get any natural wood tones or grains.

Pergolas

Wood Pergola

Pergolas are more freeform in construction, without the roof shape restrictions a gazebo typically has. Pergolas also differ from gazebos in the type of roof. While gazebos have full roofs, pergolas boast a sturdy overhead lattice. While this lattice certainly can provide shade, the largest perk is that when sitting under your pergola you will still be able to enjoy the breeze. Like gazebos, pergolas have full open sides.

Some homeowners choose to install a pergola directly behind their house on their back porch or patio, while others add them to an outdoor kitchen space by the pool, or further in their property for a relaxing space to read. Pergolas are typically crafted with wood – most commonly cedar wood because it’s durable, yet paintable and stainable to perfectly fit within your outdoor living space.

Should I Choose a Pergola or Gazebo?

While both pergolas and gazebos will boost your curb appeal and provide shade, pergolas typically win the popularity contest. Gazebos are often considered too traditional, outdated, and lack in functionality, while pergolas are used to bring the indoors, out. Pergolas provide shade and distinction to the area they’re covering, giving the space the feel of a room, while still allowing light and air to penetrate.

In terms of design, pergolas can be customized to complement any exterior design scheme. Whether you prefer a modern, rustic, or minimal design, your pergola won’t clash with anything else within your yard. Pergolas also provide the perfect base for landscaping, allowing vines, roses, and wisteria to work their way up the posts. Pergolas can be placed anywhere within your yard, including right behind your house, while gazebos look out of place when constructed too close to your home.

Get an instant online quote for your project.