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Home -- Blogs -- Choosing the Right Outdoor Product:Gazebo vs. Pergola

Choosing the Right Outdoor Product:Gazebo vs. Pergola


Expert in advanced structural engineering, Chris has transformed the safety standards of large tent designs with his groundbreaking research.

Published: May 30, 2024

Gazebos and Pergolas can be used for a variety of purposes. They can be used to create a focal point for events, enhance the usability of a public space, and provide shelter for outdoor gatherings. But what makes them different?

If you are choosing a structure for business, community or personal use, knowing the differences between a gazebo and a pergola will help you make the right decision. In this article, we will discuss the differences from the following aspects, including structure, function, durability, cost and value.

Gazebo vs. Pergola

Pergolas are popular with homeowners seeking a more contemporary aesthetic, while gazebos with six or eight sides are more suitable for those seeking a more traditional style. Let's learn more about the definition about gazebo and pergola.

What Is a Gazebo?

A gazebo is a freestanding building that is made of pillars supporting an enclosed roof system that provides complete weather protection. Ventilation is abundant due to the sides being partially or entirely open. The majority of gazebos come with an independent floor plan, frequently elevated above the ground.

Sunset Gazebo

What Is a Pergola?

Open-air pergolas are made of pillars holding up a partially open roof system. Usually, the roof system has slats to let sunlight and air through. Pergolas can be standalone or fixed on one or more sides of a main structure. The majority of pergolas are constructed above an existing floor or another surface, such as pavers in a garden or a deck or patio.

Open Air Pergola

What Are the Differences Between a Gazebo and a Pergola

Pergolas and gazebos are both outdoor structures that can offer shade and shelter from sunshine and rain in your backyard, but they are very different when it comes to their structure, roof function, durability, cost, and value.


Shape and Design

The shape of a gazebo is often square or rectangular. This enables a unified appearance that makes a statement as the focal point of any area. They are confined units with a clearly defined perimeter that often includes detachable side panels and a roof that is slightly pointed.

Pergolas, in contrast, are made of a number of vertical supports that hold up an open lattice of rafters or cross beams. With the help of this structure, a grid-like ceiling is created that is able to support climbing plants and lets light in, producing patterns of light and shadow that shift according to the sun's position.

When a pergola is joined to a building, its open construction might cause it to appear as an extension of the indoor living space, obfuscating the distinction between inside and outside.


Gazebos are usually equipped with roofs made from UV-resistant materials. In addition to offering shelter from the rain, these materials are made to offer protection from the sun's harmful rays. Usually solid and pitched, the roofs can occasionally include a tier system for more ventilation and visual appeal.

A pergola, on the other hand, has an open lattice or cross-beam roofing structure that lets in natural light and offers some shade. A pergola's open roof design allows homeowners to customize the amount of sunshine it receives.

For additional shade and a naturally occurring canopy, climbing plants can be grown over the beams. Alternatively, retractable shades and fabric covers can be fitted to provide customizable sun protection.

Materials Uesd

Gazebos are typically made of wood, vinyl, or metal, offering a strong and lasting structure. These materials can also be used to create pergolas, which are often constructed from wood or vinyl to encourage plant growth and blend in perfectly with the yard.


Shelter and Shade

A gazebo provides year-round protection from the sun and rain, making it an ideal addition to any garden.
A pergola provides partial shade and is best suited for warmer weather because the open structure enables heat to escape and air to circulate


Gazebos, with enclosed sides, provide a secluded hideaway. Pergolas are more open and provide less privacy, but they can be improved with drapes, screens, or climbing plants.

Versatility of Use

Gazebos are used as an outside room, ideal for dining, partying, or simply relaxing. Pergolas are adaptable in design, frequently serving as an extension of the home's living space, a garden element, or a support for beautiful or fruit-bearing plants.


The roof of a gazebo not only provides better protection for the weaker structural components below, but it also strengthens the entire structure by strengthening the connections between the roof system. When you combine this with the fact that gazebos frequently include built-in benches, railings, and floors, you have a significantly more sturdy structure than a pergola.

However, pergolas don't break easily. Years can pass between well-built pergolas that are maintained according to the material used. But in the case of wood pergolas in particular, the absence of a roof to shield the components might cause early deterioration.


Gazebo has a complex structure and can have several optional components such as floors, railings and built-in seats, which requires more materials and labor, so the construction cost is relatively high. Additionally, since gazebo are typically free-standing structures, construction may require ground preparation, which will require more labor and potentially materials such as dirt and rock.

Pergolas are relatively simple to construct, so you can also hire someone to complete the project or do it yourself.

Which Option Is Best for Your Backyard

As you explore the myriad options for enhancing your backyard, it's important to consider whether a gazebo or pergola design best suits your aesthetic preferences, functional needs, and the overall ambiance you want to create. Let's explore the various factors that can influence your decision and help you determine the perfect option for transforming your outdoor space into a haven of relaxation and enjoyment.


If you are on a tight budget, the pergola is your choice. Pergolas are more streamlined and can be built DIY, saving more wood and materials and lowering labor costs. A garden pergola has sun control options, is easy to install, and increases property value. Therefore, it is a reliable choice.
If you have enough budget, you can choose a gazebo. Because it is more expensive to build than a pergola. And their overall price is high due to the need for more wood and materials, as well as labor costs.

Space Consideration

Evaluate the area where you plan to place the structure. A gazebo is typically shaped like a polygon with six or eight sides. These sides can be completely open to the air, have half walls or railings, or have a full wall around them, which takes up more yard space. A pergola is suitable for narrower or longer spaces, such as along a garden path or attached to the house as an extension of the living area.


In the places you are living, where the weather can be unpredictable and rain is common, gazebos are a more waterproof choice. A pergola, on the other hand, may be more ideal for people looking for a more spacious and open area to enjoy sunny days.


If you want to withstand strong winds and heavy snowfall, then a gazebo is your best choice, as gazebos are usually made of wood, vinyl, or metal and have a sturdy and durable structure.

If you want a more modern design as well as an aesthetically pleasing environment, then a pergola is your best option. Pergolas can be made of these materials as well, but they are usually constructed of wood or vinyl to support plant growth and blend in with the garden.

Persional Style

When choosing a gazebo or a pergola, you also need to consider your personal style.

Gazebos with enclosed roofs and fences and it can provide private and comfortable social spaces for parties or relaxing breaks. If you prefer a traditional, sophisticated design style, then a gazebo may be more suitable for you.

Pergolas is an open support structure that can be aesthetically enhanced by planting climbing plants. Thus, it creates a laid-back, natural atmosphere. If you prefer a natural, minimalist design style that tends to blend in more with the outdoor environment, then a pergola may be more suitable for you.


Whether you value greater protection from the elements, an open and airy atmosphere, or both, gazebos and pergolas offer unique advantages. When choosing between the two, it's important to evaluate your budget, available space, local climate conditions, preferred materials, and personal style.

Ultimately, the right outdoor product for your backyard is the one that best fits your lifestyle and needs. Whether you choose the enclosed protection of a gazebo or the open elegance of a pergola, consider how each option will enhance your outdoor living experience and complement the aesthetics of your home.

If you have any questions about a gazebo or pergola, please contact us https://www.shelter-structures.com/contact-us/

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Contact Us

Make On-Demand Space Solutions Easier, Faster

SHELTER has a great team of skilled architects ready to support your project or Event at any time.

When you’re ready to start your next business, get in touch with us now, and our architects will get back to you with a quote as soon as possible.

Business Email

      [email protected]

Phone Number

      USA: +1 713-386-9281

        CN: +86 13928858552

No.1 Huanghe Section,Songshan Road, Chao Tian Industrial Zone,Shilou Town Panyu District,Guangzhou