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Pergola vs. Gazebo

What is the difference between pergola and gazebo

Pergola vs. Gazebo

Imagine sitting under a pergola on a hot summer day, or enjoying an early cup of joe in a gazebo. When it comes to outdoor living spaces, both pergolas and gazebo can be a great addition to a deck or patio. But how do you determine which one is best for your lifestyle and back yard?

What is the Purpose of a Gazebo?

 Gazebos have been around for centuries, functioning as a meeting space or an area of retreat. Today, gazebos still function the same, but are more and more being built on decks, patios, and in gardens at private residences. Although, a typical gazebo is commonly viewed as octagonal, gazebos can be built in a square or rectangle shape. Another common name for this type of structure is a pavilion. Since Gazebos have a completely covered roof, they offer protection from the harsh summer sun and shelter from the elements. Sides of gazebos are often left open either with railings or screened in walls to keep insects out. Gazebos are great for homeowners who want to spend as much time outside regardless of the weather.

What is the Purpose of a Pergola? 

Unlike Gazebos, Pergolas are opened air structures with no weather resistant roof. Pergolas main function is to provide afternoon relief from the harsh summer sun. Today, many homeowners are also adding pergolas to their living spaces to function as architectural interest to break up large areas and give a vertical feature to the landscape. 


  • Treated Lumber: Treated southern pine is one of the most commonly used materials on the market due to is cost effectiveness and ability to customize.
  • Cedar: Like treated lumber, cedar is a natural weather-resistant option that offers a rustic rough sawn look.
  • Vinyl: Maintenance free and longevity is vinyl biggest advantage over treated lumber or cedar. 

Which one is Right for you?

Determining whether a pergola or gazebo is the right fit for your outdoor space can be a difficult task. A few good questions to ask would be: 

  1. Do you see yourself using the space when there is inclement weather? If so, a pavilion may be the best option. 
  2. Do you need 100% protection from the sun, or is filtered shade ok? Pergolas will give a shade of 75% shade. If more is needed, a pavilion may be your best bet.
  3. Will a large roofed structure obstruct any views from inside the house? Pergolas are a little less obtrusive since the members on top are flat unlike a pitched roof.
  4. Do you have a budget? Pergolas are often more cost effective then gazebos since there is no roof components required.
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We start with a phone or email consultation to gather preliminary info that will help us in providing effective solutions. We are interested in learning as much as possible about the specifics of the project. Not sure what the scope is? We can help!

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