Pergola vs. Gazebo: Which Should You Choose?

Pergola vs. Gazebo: Which Should You Choose?

When it comes to outdoor space, you have many options. You can choose to create a simple structure or a functional one like a gazebo or pergola. But, like many homeowners, you might need to learn the difference between the two.

So, what makes both structures unique? This article will guide you on everything about a pergola and gazebo. Keep on reading.

Pergola vs. Gazebo

Have you seen a pergola or gazebo before? Many homeowners and business owners mount these structures in their gardens, parks, and homes. The buildings are a bit different, but they serve a similar need. 

We will now focus on each structure separately. The information herein will help you decide what to shop for, depending on your specific needs and style. First, we will talk about pergola.

Pergolas: Definition and Features

A pergola is an open-air structure with pillars and an open roof. This structure was first used in the late 1640s. It is named from ‘pergola,’ a Latin word that means projecting eave. 

Pergolas are free-standing structures attached to a wall. They have an open roof system. Most pergolas have pillars for durability. The pillars support an overhead structure. This protects people from the hot sun. 

Pergolas come in different shapes and materials. Some common materials are wood, vinyl, PVC, and metal. Traditionally, wood is a popular material choice for pergolas. But metal, especially cast aluminum, is great as it is strong and lasts longer.

Pergolas improve an outdoor space. If you like gardening, you can add flowers to your pergola. These flowers will add more shade and privacy for you. 

Some homeowners also use pergolas as a stand for their solar panels. Whatever you decide to use this structure for depends on you.

Pergola vs. Gazebo: Which Should You Choose?

Gazebos: Definition and Features

Gazebos existed before pergolas. Since 1400 BC in ancient Egypt, gazebos have existed. It became more popular in the Victorian era. This was because it suited the Victorian architectural designs.

A gazebo is a free-standing structure used for relaxation. A gazebo has open sides and a sturdy roof for shade. Gazebo have several features like latticework and pillars. 

The materials for the gazebo are wood, stone, PVC, and metal. Wood is resistant to light weather but is prone to rot. Metal can last long but could rust after a while. Stone can last for a long time and is resistant to harsh weather. 

A gazebo improves an outdoor space. Most times, it comes with a seating area for people to relax in. It also comes with a curtain for sightseeing.

Pergola vs. Gazebo: Which Should You Choose?

Contrasting Pergolas and Gazebos

So, what are the key differences between pergolas and gazebos? Let’s discuss each difference:

Structural Differences

A pergola is a building that is attached to a wall. While a gazebo is a standalone structure. A gazebo is rounded so you can have enough space outdoors. But a pergola is rectangular and makes use of a lot of space. You maximize your space with a pergola.

You can build a pergola on an existing surface so it doesn’t need a floor. But the gazebo is a standalone building that needs a floor. When it comes to roof structure, gazebos have a closed roof system. Pergolas have a partially open roof system. Because of this, a gazebo offers more shade from sunlight than a pergola. 

Functional Differences

Both pergolas and gazebos are functional in their own way. Pergolas provide little shade due to its roof system. The roof has holes in it. These holes allow sun or rain to enter. 

A gazebo has a well-covered roof that protects you from the sun. You and your friends can relax and enjoy the outdoors in a gazebo. If you love gardening, you can create a garden wall on a pergola to provide more shade.

Aesthetic Differences

Pergolas allow you to make full use of your outdoor space. This is quite different from gazebos.  Pergolas also have a flexible design that makes them easy to attach to your home. They can act as an extension of your house. If you want a building that can match your home’s aesthetic value, a pergola is a great choice for you.

Since you can’t attach a gazebo to your home’s wall, its designs might look different from your house. However, you can still give it a similar aesthetic look to your house. 

Considerations for Climate and Location

The climate and location you live in also matter. A pergola can offer little shade to rain, so it is not a good choice for areas with heavy rainfall. A gazebo offers full shade so that you can choose it for a harsh climate. 

Maintenance Requirements

A pergola built with the right material can last. However, since it has an open roof, it can rust or rot. A gazebo, on the other hand, can last long. It comes with sturdy materials and needs less maintenance than a pergola.

When you are taking care of either a gazebo or a pergola, keep the following in mind:

  • Make sure that the structure is always ventilated.
  • Remove any bushes, shrubs, and plants around the structure. This will improve the airflow and reduce mold.
  • After a rainfall, make sure you check the structure for damage. It is good to prevent minor damages before they become worse.
  • Since both are outdoor structures, they bring in many elements. These include wasps, insects, and birds. Make sure you cover the building from these.
Pergola vs. Gazebo: Which Should You Choose?

Choosing Between a Pergola and a Gazebo

When making a choice, you need to keep certain factors in mind. These factors will help you make better choices. They include:

Your Outdoor Space and Needs

How spacious is your backyard? If you have a large space, then you can go for a  custom-built gazebo . If you want a natural extension from your house, you can choose a pergola. Whichever it is, remember to keep your outdoor space in mind.

Another thing to consider is your needs. If you want extra protection to your window, a pergola is a great choice. But, if you want a place to relax with friends, a gazebo is the best.  

Budget Considerations

A pergola is less expensive than a gazebo. You can even build it yourself. If you are on a budget, a pergola is great.   

A gazebo is more costly because of its structure. It comes with better features than a pergola. It also lasts longer. If you want the value for your money, go for a gazebo.

Desired Functionality and Purpose

If you are someone who always has visitors, it is wise to choose a gazebo. This doesn’t mean that you can’t go for a pergola. Still, a gazebo will protect you from the hot sun and rain than a pergola can. So, it is a better choice for you. 

Aesthetic Preferences and Architectural Style

This can be a minimalist or modern design. You can also grow a garden around your pergola or gazebo. Choose a building that suits your preferences.

Practical Considerations Such as Climate and Maintenance

Some practical things to consider include:

  • Direct sunlight: Both buildings can provide shade. But the pergola doesn’t protect you from sunlight. If you want to be fully protected, a gazebo is the best for you. 
  • Weather conditions: In harsh weather, please choose a gazebo with sturdy material. Materials like wood and metal cannot last. Wood can rot easily and metal can rust. But, stone and PVC gazebos can last long. 
Pergola vs. Gazebo: Which Should You Choose?


This article discussed everything you need to know about a pergola and a gazebo. This guide has shown the differences you need to note. You have also seen how the structures are different from each other. You now know that they have different functions. 

A big difference between a pergola and a gazebo is the rooftop. A pergola has an open roof, while a gazebo has a well-covered one.

Both gazebos and pergolas are attractive and have great features. Make sure you keep your budget and preferences in mind when choosing. To make a good choice, choose a structure that is not only budget-friendly but will give you value for your money. You can check out a wide range of affordable outdoor essentials now.

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