What’s the Difference Between a Pergola and a Gazebo?

Wood Rectangle Gazebos

If you live in New England, chances are you relish spending summer weekends outside, enjoying the weather your family and friends. However, it can get hot out there in the sun, so you may be thinking about installing a backyard structure to provide shade during your gatherings. This begs the question, though: Should you install a gazebo? Or a pergola?

If you’re wondering about the difference between pergolas and gazebos, here’s what you need to know about these two structures and some tips on picking the right one for you.

What Is a Gazebo?

Gazebos are outdoor structures that are typically shaped like a circle, oval, or octagon. While styles may vary, gazebos typically have open sides, railings around the edges, and domed roofs.

What Is a Pergola?

Pergolas have several features that set them apart from gazebos. First, pergolas are typically square or rectangular in shape. Further, while they have open sides, they do not usually have railings. Perhaps the biggest differentiating factor with pergolas is that they don’t have roofs—instead, they have wooden slats across the top.

Which Structure Is Right for You?

There are several considerations to take into account when deciding between a gazebo and a pergola. First, and perhaps most importantly, you need to consider whether you want your structure to provide protection from the elements. If you’re looking for a cozy place to retreat during a rain shower, then a gazebo is the obvious choice.

You should also take into account how much shade you need, what shape structure will fit best into your yard, and which option complements the aesthetic of your home and landscaping. Once you decide on these factors, all that’s left to do is pick out the perfect structure and get to work creating the backyard of your dreams.