Pergola vs. Gazebo: What Are the Differences?


Are you shopping for a new outdoor feature for your yard?

The differences may be a bit blurry when choosing from a gazebo or pergola. Both are outdoor roof structures that provide shade, outdoor space, and style to any yard.

However, pergolas and gazebos serve different purposes, and each is designed a bit differently. Knowing the differences can help you make an informed choice. So, pergola vs. gazebo, what exactly is their difference?

Keep reading for all the information you need to make the right choice for your home.

Comparison of Design Features

Most notably, gazebos are designed with an entirely enclosed roofing system and walls made from various materials, such as wood, vinyl, aluminum, and steel. This makes gazebos much more versatile than pergolas.

Aluminum Pergolas are often open-air structures with wooden or metal beams and posts supporting an open, vine-covered grid ceiling. It does not typically have side walls or privacy screens, making it more suited to outdoor living areas or patios.

Differences in Function and Usage

Both structures provide some shelter and a place in the garden to relax. However, some essential distinctions exist in how the structures are used and function.

Pergolas are generally used for decorative purposes, such as covering a patio or providing a place for plants to grow. On the other hand, Gazebos are used as sheltered areas for any activity, such as eating or entertainment.

Furthermore, gazebos provide additional protection from the sun, rain, and wind, which pergolas do not. Therefore, when considering a garden structure, it’s essential to consider the differences between a Pergola and a Gazebo to decide which is best suited to your garden’s needs.

Cost and Maintenance Considerations

The cost and maintenance of pergolas and gazebos can vary greatly depending on the size, materials, and other features. Generally, a gazebo will cost more than a pergola.

Since the gazebo is typically more complex and requires more construction materials, in terms of maintenance, the pergola should be inspected and cleaned regularly. It may also need to be re-sealed or resurfaced every few years.

On the other hand, gazebos require much more maintenance, including painting, staining, and re-doing the roof or supports. Pergolas may require additional accessories or coverings to provide extra protection from the elements and insects.

Differences in Installation

The differences in installation between a pergola and a gazebo are significant. When you buy a pergola, it can be attached to a building or be freestanding, and it is usually wider than deep.

Installing a pergola generally means digging and manually setting or pouring the posts. It is followed by attaching the grid of crossbeams to the posts.

A gazebo is a much smaller structure consisting of either four or six sides with a roof. Installation of a gazebo usually requires assembly using pre-made pieces and hardware.

Installing a gazebo requires concrete footings or anchor posts if the gazebo is freestanding. It may also require digging if not placed on a pre-constructed patio or slab. 

Aesthetic Considerations of Pergola vs. Gazebo

Overall, the pergola vs. gazebo has many decorative and practical similarities. But they each have their unique features as well.

If you’re still unsure whether to choose a pergola or gazebo, visit your local landscaping supplier for guidance. They can help to make the best choice for you and your outdoor space.

Did you find this pergola and gazebo guide helpful? If so, check out some other great content on our site.


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