Pergola vs. Gazebo: What’s the Difference?

25 September 2023
Une pergola avec une toile moderne et résistante vendue par Auvent Polo

When envisioning your home’s ideal outdoor shade structure, you might grapple with whether to go for a pergola vs. gazebo. These two architectural marvels provide shade to your outdoor space. In addition, they add a touch of beauty, elegance, and functionality to your backyard and exterior living quarters.

However, there are key differences between these two popular backyard structures, both in design and purpose. In this article, we will explore their main differences, so you can select the ideal structure to elevate and enhance your garden.

Defining the Basics: Pergola and Gazebo

Basic pergolas are sleek, open structures, often square-shaped, with overhead beams and columns. They are designed to offer complete or partial shelter due to their open-air framework. Because of their slatted roof structure, the amount of shade protection they provide can vary.

Pergolas can be attached to your primary structure and extend from your home’s exterior wall to create an outdoor, open space separate from the main building. They can also be installed as freestanding structures near pools or terraces to provide shade and privacy. A pergola is your best bet if you want to create a shady spot to protect against the midday sun.

On the other hand, gazebos are a good match if you have a big yard or want to enhance your garden’s look. These standalone structures have a solid roof to offer round-the-clock weather protection against sun, rain, and strong winds, depending on the model you choose. While they come in numerous forms, a round or octagonal shape are two of the most famous gazebo styles.

So, if you’re that family member who rejoices at hosting all family events, then choosing a garden gazebo is great for those large gatherings. Designed with multiple columns, gazebos come with side railings and built-in seating for everyone to sit back and enjoy. Available in various sizes, gazebos can liven up a small outdoor area, add elegance, and fill up a large empty backyard space.

A Deep Dive into the Architectural Wonders: Pergolas and Gazebos

A gazebo in a garden surroundedby trees.

Historically, permanent gazebos and pergolas have an ancient lineage. Evidence of their existence dates back to the Egyptian, Persian, Chinese and Roman empires. These beautiful landscape structures provided luxurious lounging options, often surrounded by beautiful gardens, fountains, and pools, just like Roman architecture or contemporary style.

While in the past, these structures were enjoyed in case of bad weather, in modern times, they continue to adapt to modern aesthetics, blending seamlessly with various outdoor environments.

Pergolas are a sleek and practical alternative to gazebos, which are above ground level and offer enclosed spaces and distinct roof shapes to foster a sense of intimacy and relaxation. But whichever you choose, both are timeless and elegant.

Exploring Their Roles: Pergolas and Gazebos in Your Outdoor Spaces

If you’re comparing the pros and cons of a pergola vs. gazebo, it’s important for you to keep in mind each structure’s functionality. In addition, you need to consider the amount of space you have available and how you want this space to be used.

To better grasp the unique advantages of pergolas in enhancing your outdoor space, let’s delve into their key features

  • Open-Roof Design: Pergolas feature an open-roof design that allows for a blend of shade and sunlight.
  • Lattice Framework: The lattice structure contributes to a harmonious balance, ideal for those seeking a semi-sheltered retreat.
  • Space Definition: Pergolas excel in defining outdoor spaces, making them more functional and aesthetically pleasing.
  • Versatility: They can accommodate retractable canopies for added shade or serve as a structure for climbing plants, adding a touch of natural beauty.

Gazebos, on the other hand, provide complete shelter thanks to their closed roof. This makes them ideal for intimate gatherings, ensuring dependable protection from any drastic change in weather. You can also add windows or optional screens and turn them into three-season rooms until the cold weather arrives. Like pergolas, gazebos are also an excellent way to integrate vines and flowers into your space to create an immersive garden experience.

Material Choices for Your Pergolas and Gazebos

Pergolas are available in various materials, such as wood or aluminum, metal, or fibreglass. Gazebos also come in a wide range of materials, including rustic wood, vinyl, and aluminum. In addition, you can choose from several roofing and flooring options to get the idyllic backyard structure you’ve always dreamed of.

When contemplating installing a pergola or gazebo, it’s best to pick a material that ensures your outdoor structure stands the test of time and remains visually appealing in your outdoor space.

Costing Your Dream: Investing in Pergolas and Gazebos

Maison en pierre qui profite d'une pergola sur mesure d'Auvent Polo.

How much you choose to invest is a personal decision. When deciding between a pergola versus gazebo, you need to consider the structure type, size, materials, and design complexity.

DIY wooden pergolas may be cheaper initially, but they might need ongoing maintenance and may have a shorter lifespan. Gazebos, with their added privacy and shelter, typically come at a higher price point. However, the long-term benefits, including curb appeal, increased property value and enhanced outdoor living, make these investments not just expenses but valuable additions to your home.

How to Choose Between a Pergola and a Gazebo

Did you know that around 91% of Canadians have a yard or a garden, and many not only use it for conventional yard work but also for leisure and other diverse activities? Among this group, 58% invest time in either gardening or taking care of their yard. This underscores the importance of choosing the right structure for your outdoor space. While your decision mainly hinges on personal preferences, budget considerations, and the intended purpose, both garden structures can bolster your property’s value and elevate your outdoor living experience.

To determine the optimal choice for your backyard, evaluate your needs, aesthetic preferences and maintenance commitments. Also, analyze your yard to ensure optimal space is available.

Contact our team for expert advice to help you select between a pergola or a gazebo. With over 45 years in the industry, we’ve been serving the greater Montreal area by enhancing the beauty of their exterior space thanks to our custom-made garden structures. Call us and get a quote today.

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Spécialiste en aménagement extérieur, Véronique Saindon est la référence lorsqu’il est question de : - Chauffe-terrasse électrique infratech ; - Auvents sur mesure ; - Abris d’hiver sur mesure.

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