Gazebo and pergola sound like they’re two-in-the-same for some, but these are actually completely different structures you can use to give new life to your outdoor spaces. We’re going to break down some of the differences between the two and answer the question, gazebo vs pergola: which is better?
Both serve a similar purpose, but change the way you can use a deck, patio or outdoor space while also providing some comfort and separation from the weather.
You can use both gazebos and pergolas for privacy, creating atmosphere and introducing different design elements into your backyard escapes. We’ll cover the ways you can get the most out of each below!
What’s the Difference Between a Gazebo and a Pergola?
First things first, we’re going to have to establish which is which, and what they’re for. Gazebos typically have more than 4 sides, and include a covered roof of some kind. Pergolas on the other hand usually have only 4 sides and a somewhat open roof. They can both be installed on patios, decks or as a free-standing structure in a lawn or garden space.
Gazebos provide not only shade, but cover from rain as well. Usually they’re covered in screens, netting or even solid sides that keep both pests and some sunlight out as well.
These are the best way to enjoy your outdoor spaces with the most amount of creature comforts possible. (Our 1980’s home even has a gazebo with outlets and hardwired lighting!)
Pergolas act as more of a design piece that can provide some light shade. They’re almost always open on all sides, although it isn’t unusual to cover one or more sides with a shade or privacy screen to give you and your guests a little more comfort.
The roof of a pergola is slatted and open, providing varying degrees of shade throughout the day depending on how covered they are. These are usually used more for adding style to an outdoor area using a structure than they are for practical use.
Which one is Easier to Build, Pergolas or Gazebos?
If you’re looking into getting one of these structures up in your own backyard, garden or even on a deck or patio, construction and materials are definitely going to factor into your decision making process.
Both pergolas and gazebos can be built as an add-on to a deck or patio
Either one of these structures can be set up on a deck or patio as long as they’re secured properly. If you’re going at it from scratch, do consider consulting with an architect or carpenter, as well as local laws that might be relevant to projects involving outdoor structures.
Depending on how large you go, you might be surprised how these can add a lot of shade and comfort to an existing deck or patio. This is also a great way to add one to your property if you’re short on real estate in your backyard.
Gazebo and Pergola Assembly Kits: A Cheaper Option
Another option for either is to consider buying a pre-built, unassembled pergola or gazebo. There are however some key differences if you’re looking at these types of kits. The upside is that they come with everything you need right out of the package, including instructions and even weatherproof material for keeping out the rain and pests.
On the other hand, these kits are almost always made using aluminum or hollow powder-coated steel. Both are great for resistance against the outdoor elements regardless of what your climate looks like, but a metal frame gazebo from a big-box store just isn’t going to give you as much of a ‘sealed-in’ feeling as a wooden frame gazebo, if that’s what you’re looking for.
Building Costs for Gazebos and Pergolas
Construction and material costs will vary, but gazebos will typically be more expensive. The reason is because they’re usually composed of more than four walls, and a covered roof of some kind.
Pergolas on the other hand are more cost effective if you’re just looking for some extra shade, since they’re usually only four posts and a slatted frame on top. After that, the choice is yours when it comes to any flourishes, or materials like screens and curtains.
Still, it begs the question. Gazebo vs pergola: which is better?
Why You Should Go With a Gazebo
While they’re on the bigger side, these can prove to be a really versatile structure you can get a lot out of when you’re entertaining guests this summer! Have a pool? Depending on its configuration, a gazebo can be an outdoor buffet, a shady escape, a bar and even a changing cabana.
They’re also perfect for organizing outdoor meals and get-togethers like card games, wine and cheese and even your morning coffee.
Why You Should Go With a Pergola
Pergolas can enhance the overall design of a garden, backyard, deck or patio in an instant! They’re a really ritzy way to get some shade, sure. But they do so in fabulous style. They’re highly customizable, so you can use them to get some reprieve from the wind, sun or even a little bit of privacy screening depending on your needs.
Pergolas are more form over function, but that doesn’t stop them from being a great place to entertain guests under partially covered conversation sets, outdoor dining tables and of course open air kitchens and grilling areas.
So, Which is Better, a Gazebo or a Pergola?
When it comes to answering what is better, gazebo vs pergola, I may be a bit biased as an owner of a hard-sided wooden gazebo. But I’ve got to give it up for these versatile outdoor structures. These ‘entertaining sheds’ are a great place for the outdoor speaker to go, as well as the drinks and cooler, too!
We don’t have much of a back deck, so it gets a lot of use as a shaded area for enjoying the outdoors with lots of shade and the option to deflect wind from any direction.
What are your thoughts on these outdoor escapes? Thanks for checking out our breakdown of gazebos and pergolas, and good luck designing the perfect outdoor space!
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