Pergola or Gazebo Which Is More Suitable For Your Patio

Ian Mutuli
Updated on

Creating a space for outdoor entertaining or relaxation is a common goal for many homeowners. These attractive shelters allow you to enjoy the outdoors while giving you some protection in different weather. Pergolas and gazebos allow you to spend time in the landscape during the hottest days of summer. Both are perfect for defining space in the landscape and creating inviting transitions between indoors and outdoors. But the two have major differences in structure. Understand the features of pergolas and gazebos, before you have to make a decision.

What is a gazebo?

It is an outdoor structure with a covered roof design that can take your backyard to a new level, both in terms of decoration and functionality. The shape is usually square or octagonal. At the same time, it can shield you from the sun and also from the rain. It is not only your resting space. It can also serve as an outdoor dining and gathering space. It is one of the best choices for spending quality time with friends and family in your backyard. There is also a wide variety of choices in materials.

Different types of gazebos

1. Wooden gazebo

A very classic gazebo structure. It is also the type of gazebo that many families will choose. They are usually made of pressure-treated wood, which is later painted or stained. Often, the wood is treated to make it more resistant to decay and insects. And it is a permanent structure that is durable and will last for years. But, wood structures require repeated care. Otherwise, it can be affected by weather after long-term use. The wood may warp, rot, or even be infested with termites. Many wooden gazebos will not have waterproof canopies and door curtains, which are not suitable in places with rainy seasons.

2. Pop-up gazebo

This is not a permanent structure. It features a modern design and minimalist style. Very easy to install and disassemble, a gazebo with a simple frame. Easy to carry and lighter in weight than gazebos with permanent structures. The roof fabric is usually made of waterproof and UV-protective fabric, which is very practical. It is also more affordable in terms of price. However, because of its light material, it needs to be disassembled and stored during high winds or heavy rain. Like the pop-up gazebo, the pop-up canopy is also suitable as a backyard shade space and can be taken to parks and other locations.

3. Vinyl Gazebo

Vinyl is a pliable material that holds up well over time. It will not be affected by weather that can rot or attract insects. Vinyl gazebos require less maintenance and do not need to be stained, painted, or sealed. Only regular annual cleaning is required. But it is more expensive than wood gazebos.

What is a pergola?

A pergola is an outdoor shade or garden feature that forms a sheltered walkway or seating area. It consists of vertical posts or columns that usually support beams and a sturdy open lattice. A pergola does not completely block the sun, and there are options to add canvas or climbing vines to provide more shade.

1. Wooden pergola

Like gazebos, pergolas are available in different materials and styles. Among them, wooden is also the most classic. Many wooden pergolas will be made of cedar wood because cedar can bear the wet climate. Wooden pergolas also provide a natural atmosphere that is best suited for vine plantings, adding shade in addition to beauty.

2. Metal pergola

The materials used in most metal pergolas are steel and aluminum. Although both are durable and strong metals. However, aluminum is much lighter than steel, making it the material of choice for manufacturing today's modern pergolas. Metal is less susceptible to corrosion than wood but more susceptible to rust. Therefore, powder coating is added to the frame to avoid rusting.

3. Retractable pergola

Retractable pergolas are available with two types of roofs: fabric roofs or louvered roofs. Some pergolas offer a smart design that allows the roof to close at the push of a switch. Adequate shade is provided. Some can also be adjusted using a cell phone, making them a very convenient and modern design.

Pergola or gazebo which is more suitable for you?

In general, pergolas and gazebos are outdoor shelters that provide shade. However, the roof structure of a pergola is not the same as that of a gazebo. The shade provided without the addition of a fabric roof is limited. And it does not provide cover on rainy days. But if you are a gardening enthusiast, pergolas can grow vine plants on top. This natural beauty is a difficult effect to achieve with a gazebo. On the other hand, gazebos can give you protection both in the hot summer and in the rainy season.

So, think about three questions when you consider whether to choose a pergola or a gazebo. First, which outdoor sanctuary is appropriate for the size of the patio? Second, your purpose. Third, the weather in the location. Define your needs to find the most suitable outdoor sanctuary.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.