Pergola vs Gazebo: Which to Build? Pergola vs Gazebo: Which to Build?

Pergola vs Gazebo: building either of these structures will add beauty and elegance to any outdoor living area. They will add sales value to a home while helping to improve the look of your outdoor space. Enhance these wonderful living spaces with hanging fuchsias, potted palms and aromatic jasmine or honeysuckle.

Before setting out to accomplish this project, be sure to consult neighborhood association rules and obtain permissions. Building codes should also be consulted. Next, decide on quality materials, which structure and building plans. The Internet abounds with plans that are economical, some expensive and some free. Pergolas and gazebos can be easily built from plans or kits, while some can be purchased and delivered.


Pergolas are more of an open-air structure designed to add living space over patio decking and furniture. They are very roomy, often incorporating much of the outdoor living space within their structure. They can be built near or over a pool, as an adjunct to a patio or porch, or as a free-standing structure in the garden, separate from other garden areas. Pergolas offer a semi-shaded area good for plants that require it, but they also make great dining areas for breakfast, lunches on cool afternoons, and with an outdoor fireplace, excellent retreats for a glass of wine before bedtime.

Pergolas are also less expensive than gazebos due to the cost of fewer materials and their open-air construction. Basic structures include four 4x4 treated uprights, a dozen 2x12s for the slatted roof and maybe some trellis for more shade added to either the roof or one or more of the pergola sides.


A garden that houses a gazebo is quite another story. Although several gazebos can be built inexpensively, the sky is the limit here when it comes to building this structure. Gazebos are more confining than pergolas, there is quite a bit of added material to consider, but the charm, beauty and function of a gazebo can turn a garden into an exquisite and memorable living area. The openness or privacy of a gazebo can dictate its use. It can be a romantic getaway, an elegant dining area for two, or a social event for a small neighborhood party, and the ideas for plantings are endless.

Gazebos come in pentagon or octagon styles. They can have decking or concrete bases. The walls can be left open, covered with trellises or have Roman shades for partial shading against the hot afternoon sun. Gazebos are often likened to outdoor kitchen and dining areas in that they can serve the same functions. Many gazebos incorporate barbecuing grills as part of their inside structure. Tables can adorn the middle, with benches arranged around them for seating large groups.

Build or Contract

The choice of whether to build or to contract out the work for the construction of a pergola or gazebo is not an easy one to make. The biggest advantage of hiring out the work is the professionalism and guarantee of the work and the fact that it will be done quickly.

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