What is the Difference Between Pergolas and Gazebos?

Feb 21, 2023Decks, Home Improvement


Have you been thinking about a new deck or pergola? With spring inching up on us, it’s easy to daydream about spending more time outside. As we come into warmer weather, now is the time to plan your outdoor landscaping and hardscaping needs.

Most people are familiar with decking, but what about other structures? Have you wondered about the difference between a pergola and a gazebo? Let’s take a look at the different outdoor structures people often choose to enhance their back or side yards.

What is the difference between a gazebo and a pergola?

A pergola is an outdoor wooden structure that has side support posts and roofing beams. It is an open structure. A pergola does not have a solid roof, as you’d find on your home or a shed, but rather allows for sunshine to wash down. Many people enjoy draping vines over and around a pergola’s beams. That’s not to say that you can’t put a roof over your pergola, if you’d prefer the shade it provides.

Be sure not to confuse a pergola with a trellis or arbor. Arbors are much smaller stand-alone arches, much like a doorway. Whereas a trellis is a flat surface, usually one dimensional and are used for climbing flowers and vines.

A gazebo is a self-contained unit that has a base, like a deck does, along with a covered roof. The sides are open, and can also be screened. Where a pergola has a feel that blends into your environment, whether attached to the house or set on its own, a gazebo isn’t meant to blend the same way. It’s often seen as a focus piece. Gazebos come in multiple sizes, whether you’d like a small structure at your home, or in larger sizes like you might find at a park. Gazebos often have benches inside of them. Think of a couple sitting in a gazebo on a light, rainy day.

Pergolas are often an option that can offer more affordability than having a deck installed. Keep in mind, how you’d like to enhance your yard. Is it for a decorative look, such as a pergola covered in climbing flowers, while also getting the feel of more living space with patio furniture within in?

How will you use your outdoor space?

If you’re looking to expand your outdoor space, pergolas and gazebos are both an option worth considering, but for the best use of space, don’t rule out a deck. Decking material comes in multiple varieties, can have built-ins such as benches and planters, and added lighting.

The size of your yard may limit you from building a deck, based on zoning variances. In that case, it may be worth looking at a pergola. Will you want to sit outside with a nice table and chairs to enjoy a barbecue with friends? Or are you looking to enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning, while reading the paper? Understanding how you’ll use the upgraded space is the first step in choosing an outdoor structure.

We’ve helped families all over the Greater Toledo, Ohio area with their outside spaces. We’ll happily answer questions, explain what’s involved, provide estimates, and more. If you live in Sylvania, Bowling Green, Perrysburg, Maumee, or the Waterville region, we’d love to help you get started. Be sure to contact us today, so we can get you on the road to building that deck or pergola you’ve been dreaming about.

Ready to learn more? We can’t wait to hear from you.


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