Pergola vs. Gazebo: What’s the Difference?

March 18, 2021

The decision to get a pergola vs. a gazebo comes down to one main difference. While both provide shade from the sun, a pergola has a slatted roof with openings to let in some sunlight. Where you intend to place your pergola or gazebo and what it will be used for will help you determine which is the best option for your situation.

What is a Pergola?

A pergola is used to define a portion of space into a distinct, separate outdoor area. Pergolas are typically rectangular, with a support post at each corner and a slatted roof, and are made from treated wood or vinyl. They can be freestanding or attached to the side of a building, such as your home.

 

A pergola does not protect from the elements but does provide some shade. It is often used above a garden to minimize direct sunlight and can be covered with vines for more protection. It is also used above patios and as a design element in spaces used for entertainment and outdoor dining.

What is a Gazebo?

While a pergola is mostly a slatted-roof structure, a gazebo is an actual structure with a solid roof, floor, and partial walls. It often has seating attached around the base as well. A gazebo’s full roof protects from the rain and sun, and the walls can be supplemented with netting to keep out insects. The structure is usually round or octagonal and has a more elaborate and decorative design than a pergola.

Pergola vs. Gazebo: Which is Better?

Both pergolas and gazebos have their share of benefits. Which one is best for you will depend on your needs and your style. If you live in a harsher climate, with frequent rain, snow, or intense heat, you may prefer the extra protection a gazebo provides, particularly if you intend to use it with your hot tub in the winter. If you are looking for something to soften the sunlight and shade your eyes without obstructing all light, you may prefer a pergola.

 

Both options can be decorated with lattice and accommodate growing vines. They can help create a distinct space and design element, and both look beautiful. As far as aesthetics, the best-looking option will be the one that feels cohesive with your style and fits best in your space. 

Features

You can also settle the pergola vs. gazebo debate by looking at individual features. For example, that firepit and patio furniture you love would look fantastic under the shade of a pergola. However, if you prefer built-in seating around the base of the structure, then a gazebo is the way to go. 

Installation

For simple construction and installation, a pergola has the advantage. Gazebos must be raised above the ground to protect the flooring and are more complicated and costly to erect.

Durability

Both offer excellent durability, particularly when made from vinyl vs. softer woods like cedar. Either structure, when made with vinyl, will last longer than either structure made with wood. If you choose to go with vinyl, gazebos tend to last a bit longer since they are more sturdily built. 

Insects and Accents

A partial wall or lattice can be added to either structure for style or function, but a gazebo typically already has one. Technically, you could add mosquito netting to either one. However, it’s much easier to attach to the existing wall of a gazebo, whereas a pergola has nothing to secure the bottom.

Will a Gazebo or Pergola Add Value to Your Home?

Yes, both a gazebo and a pergola can add value to your home, especially if the area around them has improved as well. For example, if you have created a patio space that includes one of these structures, the overall appeal and value will increase. Many home buyers love the elegance a pergola or gazebo adds, as well as the functional outdoor space. If you plan to sell your home in the future, either option can be a great investment.

Get Your Pergola or Gazebo From Best Vinyl

Contact Best Vinyl to learn more about the difference between a pergola vs. a gazebo and which might be right for you. Get a free estimate from our vinyl experts and get started on your outdoor space today.

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