High-end outdoor living designs & builds
What Is the Difference Between Pergolas & Gazebos?
Outdoor Innovations
/ Categories: Main, Pergolas & Gazebos

What Is the Difference Between Pergolas & Gazebos?

Did you know that pergola and gazebo are not interchangeable words? While both structures enhance outdoor living aesthetics, add more functionality to your backyard, boost your home’s value, and create a unique area perfect for entertaining, there are distinct differences that set them apart. 

When deciding between installing a pergola or a gazebo in your outdoor space, let this guide from our outdoor living experts at Outdoor Innovations make your decision clear. 

What is a Pergola?

A pergola is typically an open-air structure consisting of vertical posts supporting crossbeams and an open roof. It usually has a flat or slatted roof design, allowing sunlight to filter through while providing partial shade. Pergolas often have a lattice or trellis framework, providing support to climbing plants or vines. 

What is the Purpose of a Pergola?

Pergolas are primarily designed to define an outdoor space, create an inviting ambiance, and provide a framework for climbing plants. They offer a shaded area without completely blocking natural light, making them ideal for enjoying outdoor activities, dining, or relaxing. 

How to Add a Pergola That Really Pops

Pergolas serve as architectural features that can enhance the aesthetics of a space. They create visual interest, add vertical elements, and can stand as a focal point in a garden or outdoor setting. 

When designing yours, consider its placement and function in your backyard. Are you wanting to shade an area for better entertaining? Or accentuate your garden with a beautiful centerpiece? Here are some popular options our team has helped homeowners create:

  • Pool-side retreat: Positioning a pergola by the side of your in-ground swimming pool allows for a dramatic focal point while providing dappled shade for you and your guests. Imagine stepping out of your pool and lounging in gently screened natural light. It might be the resort-style feeling you’re looking for! 

  • Nature-lover enclave: Distancing a pergola into an area of your yard you want to feature, like the center of your garden, is a great way to add visual interest to your landscape instantly. Nestle it into flowering foliage and train vining plants to weave through the slats, and you have a luscious, canopied private seating area surrounded by your favorite nature! 

  • Entertaining oasis: Placing a pergola over your existing or newly renovated patio can transition your backyard into an outdoor living or dining room. Add comfortable seating, a customized outdoor entertainment center, or even build out an outdoor kitchen, and you’ve got a delightful, airy space for any type of party or gathering you want to throw!

What is a Gazebo?

A gazebo is a free-standing structure with a roof, usually supported by pillars or columns. Unlike a pergola, a gazebo has a fully covered roof that provides complete shade and protection from the elements. 

The roof can be domed, flat, or in various other shapes, and the gazebo structure itself can be square, rectangular, or, most commonly, circular. Gazebos are often added onto decks or porches for shade or built next to pools as an extension of a pool house

What is the Purpose of a Gazebo?

Gazebos are designed as outdoor retreats or gathering spaces, providing a fully enclosed or partially enclosed area. They offer greater protection from the sun, rain, and insects, making them suitable for outdoor dining, entertaining, or creating a relaxing seating area. 

Incorporate a Gazebo for Luxury Living

Since gazebos are often standalone structures that serve as highly functional outdoor rooms, they are ideal for homeowners seeking that perfect balance between outdoor and indoor living. 

Their fully covered roofs and add-on screens, curtains, or even partial walls provide extra privacy and protection so your outdoor room can feel homey and comfortable. Here are some extra features that can be built right into a sheltering gazebo: 

  • Benches & storage: Settle into comfy shaded seating with built-in benches that double as storage containers for cushions and more. 

  • Stone-wall fire feature: Build one wall of your gazebo as a stone focal point. Include a warming built-in fireplace, and you have a cozy outdoor living room you can enjoy throughout the spring, summer, and fall! 

  • Sheltered entertainment system: Up your outdoor entertaining by setting up a TV, speaker system, and automated tech to enjoy movies, girl’s nights in, and big games on a big screen! Your electronics will stay safely protected from the weather while you can enjoy the fresh air and a cool breeze. It’s the best of both indoor and outdoor worlds!

Build Your New Pergola or Gazebo With Outdoor Innovations

Now that you know the difference between a pergola and a gazebo, check out Outdoor Innovation’s gallery of completed work to see some of our designs in action. 

We’d love to help you build your new backyard resort, so give us a call at 651-983-1976 or send us a message on our website!

Previous Article 4 Ways to Upgrade Your Outdoor Entertaining
Next Article How to Keep Your Pool Deck (& All Your Concrete Pavers) Gorgeous for Years
2660 Rate this article:
No rating


An EasyDNNNews Module ID hasn't been set yet. Please open this module's Settings and give the setting a value.