The Difference Between a Pergola and a Gazebo (and Why It Matters)

gazebo pergola backyard

If you’re in the process of planning your dream backyard oasis, you’re probably familiar with the terms “pergola” and “gazebo.” But what’s the difference between the two? And more importantly, which one is right for you and your backyard? Keep reading to find out.

Pergolas vs. Gazebos: What’s the Difference?

A pergola is an open-air structure, typically made from wood or metal that features rafters or latticework on the top. Pergolas are a great option if you’re looking to add some shade to your backyard without completely blocking out the sun. They can also be a beautiful addition to any garden or outdoor living space. 

Gazebos, on the other hand, are also usually made from wood or metal, but they are fully enclosed. Gazebos provide more protection from the elements than pergolas—which makes them ideal for entertaining or hosting events in your backyard. Gazebos can also be outfitted with amenities, such as screens, curtains, and ceiling fans.

So, which one is right for you? That depends on a few factors. Here are some things to consider when choosing between a pergola and a gazebo:


Pergolas are typically more affordable than gazebos due to the simplicity of their structure. Their four-post design requires fewer materials and a shorter set-up time, reducing the overall cost.


Gazebos tend to be used as larger seating or entertainment areas due to the covered roof. For this reason, gazebos are usually larger than pergolas, demanding more space. 


If you live in an area with harsh weather conditions (i.e., high winds, heavy rains, etc.), a gazebo might be a better option because it will provide more protection from the elements. If you live in a predominantly sunny area, a pergola is great for providing shade.


Are you looking primarily for aesthetics or a functional space? If your answer is the former, a pergola might be your best bet. If you respond with the latter, a gazebo may be the better option for you. 

When planning your dream backyard oasis, it’s important to choose the right structure for your needs. Do you want something primarily for aesthetic purposes or do you need a functional space? Remember to consider your budget, space, climate, and purpose, so you are prepared to make an informed decision. Feel free to call us with any questions.