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What Is the Difference Between a Gazebo and a Pergola?

Updated: May 15




We don’t spend enough time outdoors, and this doesn’t always mean going on hikes and all sorts of adventures. It can also mean spending some peaceful time surrounded by nature. If you prefer a more private way to experience nature, you can redo your backyard’s landscaping to turn it into a place of tranquility in the comfort of your home. You can install a gazebo or pergola to have an open structure that allows you to connect with nature comfortably.  And although they are often confused with one another, gazebos and pergolas are two different things. If you’re not sure which to pick or if it even matters, we’re here to help clear things up. 

What Is a Gazebo?One of the main differences between a gazebo and a pergola is that a gazebo has a full roof. This means it can provide better protection against the sun and rain.  Gazebos often have an octagonal shape and are typically more ornate than pergolas. They can have their own raised floors or be added to existing floors. While a gazebo usually has all sides open, you can have the option to add doors and screens for added protection. Gazebos are also great for intimate gatherings with your friends and family.

What Is a Pergola?A pergola typically comes in a rectangular shape with four posts supporting the roof. Its roof is often latticed or slatted, providing only a partial shade, unlike the gazebo’s full coverage. Pergolas are often part of the house’s patio or even cover the entirety of it. If you wish to be more shaded, you can adjust your pergola by installing retractable shades.  When people think of pergolas, they often imagine the traditional Italian-style pergolas with vines, flowers, or hanging pots decorating them. With this lovely image in mind, pergolas can be great for garden parties or tea time.

Gazebo vs. PergolaIf you’re unsure of which one to go with just by style alone, you can consider their differences in other areas. For example, since gazebos tend to be larger and more elaborate, constructing a gazebo may be more costly than a pergola.  You should also consider the quality and cost of the materials you’ll be using. Since both structures are pretty flexible regarding their materials, the variety wouldn’t be an issue. Just make sure that whichever structure you go with, you use quality and durable materials that fit your area’s climate.  The location of the structure could also be a determining factor. Examine your backyard and determine the places you can put up these structures. If you want something that acts more like an extension of your home than a standalone structure, the pergola would probably be the better choice. You can also use it to connect walkways or buildings in your lot.  If you have a lot of space to work with, the gazebo could be a great choice since it can act as the focal point of your landscaping. However, if you have a pool or garden, a pergola would be easier to blend into that landscape. 

Final ThoughtsGazebos and pergolas are beautiful structures that can make your landscaping even more eye-catching. They both provide decent shelter and are great places to hold small events in your home. However, the two are not the same, as the gazebo typically comes in an octagonal shape with a full roof, while the pergola is rectangular and only provides partial shade. Whichever choice you go with, just make sure you put careful thought into where you’re going to place it and what materials you’ll be using. Beautify your backyard by adding a pergola or gazebo with the help of DSLD Land Management. We are a Birmingham landscape construction company that provides a variety of outdoor services ranging from initial consultation on your landscape design and site analysis to planning and finally build-out, including construction and installation. Contact us today to get started!

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