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The Difference Between a Pergola and Gazebo

Pergola and patio

Have you been wondering what is the difference between a pergola and a gazebo? Have you been trying to decided between the two for your yard? No wonder. Pergolas and gazebos are both popular outdoor structures that enhance the aesthetics and functionality of any residential landscape. However, they differ significantly in design, structure, and purpose. Understanding the distinctions between these two can help homeowners make an informed decision when planning outdoor projects.

What is a Gazebo?

Design and Structure

A gazebo is a freestanding outdoor structure typically characterized by a fully enclosed design with a solid roof and open sides. Gazebos are often constructed with wood or metal frames and may feature decorative elements such as intricate railings, columns, and lattice work. The solid roof of a gazebo provides complete shelter from the elements, making it an ideal choice for all-weather use.


Gazebos serve as versatile outdoor gathering spaces, providing sheltered areas for socializing, dining, or relaxation. The enclosed structure of a gazebo offers privacy and protection from rain, sun, and wind, creating a cozy and inviting atmosphere. Gazebos are popular additions to gardens, patios, and backyard landscapes, offering a picturesque retreat for homeowners and guests alike.


What is a Pergola?

Design and Structure

In contrast to gazebos, pergolas feature an open-roof design consisting of horizontal beams or slats supported by vertical posts. Pergolas may have a flat or pitched roof, depending on the desired aesthetic and functionality. The open-roof design of pergolas allows for partial shade and airflow while maintaining a sense of openness and connection to the surrounding environment.


Pergolas serve as versatile outdoor structures, providing shade, architectural interest, and support for climbing plants such as vines and flowers. Pergolas are commonly used to define outdoor living spaces, such as patios, decks, or garden areas, creating a focal point for gatherings, dining, or relaxation. While pergolas offer less protection from the elements compared to gazebos, they provide a visually appealing and customizable option for homeowners seeking to enhance their outdoor environments.

Should I Choose a Pergola or Gazebo?


When deciding between a pergola and gazebo, homeowners should consider their specific needs, preferences, and budget.

Usage and Purpose

Gazebos are ideal for those seeking complete shelter and privacy, making them suitable for year-round use and various outdoor activities. In contrast, pergolas offer partial shade and a more open-air feel, making them better suited for warmer climates and casual outdoor entertaining.

Design Preferences

Additionally, homeowners should consider the architectural style of their home and landscape design when choosing between a pergola and gazebo. Pergolas complement a wide range of architectural styles, from traditional to contemporary, while gazebos add a touch of elegance and sophistication to outdoor spaces.

Why choose a pergola instead of a gazebo?

top of pergola

Choosing a pergola over a gazebo offers several distinct advantages, depending on the homeowner’s preferences and requirements. One compelling reason to opt for a pergola is its open-roof design, which allows for partial shade and airflow while maintaining a sense of openness and connection to the surrounding environment. This feature makes pergolas ideal for warmer climates or those seeking a more airy and light-filled outdoor space. Additionally, pergolas offer greater flexibility in terms of customization and design options, allowing homeowners to tailor the structure to their specific tastes and architectural style. With its versatile design and ability to support climbing plants, a pergola can also add a touch of natural beauty and greenery to any outdoor setting. Overall, choosing a pergola provides homeowners with a stylish, functional, and customizable option for enhancing their outdoor living experience.

Contact us today to get your free pergolas quote, so we can design a custom, innovative pergolas for you this season!


Q: Do Gazebos Need to Be Anchored?

A: Yes, it’s crucial to anchor gazebos securely to the ground to ensure stability and safety, especially in windy or inclement weather.

Q: Are pergolas and arbors the same thing?

A: No. While both are outdoor structures used for landscaping, pergolas are larger and typically have a flat roof structure supported by columns. Arbors, on the other hand, are smaller and often used as decorative accents, featuring an arched or latticed roof and used to support climbing plants.

Q: Can a Pergola Be Freestanding?

A: Yes, pergolas can be freestanding. Freestanding pergolas are not attached to any existing structure and are often used to create a separate outdoor space in the yard or garden.

Contact us today to get your free pergolas quote, so we can design your new private landscape space where personality meets functionality!