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Pergolas Vs Gazebos – What's The Difference?

Are you unsure whether to add a pergola or gazebo to your garden? Maybe you aren’t sure of the differences between gazebos and pergolas? Or are you looking to redesign your outdoor space and can’t decide between a pergola or a gazebo?

No matter your question, we are here to help. Today’s guide walks you through the design and functionality difference between a pergola and a gazebo, along with their pros and cons to help you decide whether a pergola or gazebo will complete your garden.

Let’s dive in.

In This Article:

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What Are The Design Differences Between A Pergola And Gazebo?

The biggest difference between a pergola and a gazebo is the material they are constructed of. A pergola is a sturdy patio style structure, offering a permanent solution with partial protection overhead due to it not being enclosed with a roof.

Whereas, a gazebo is more of a temporary or short term structure usually available to buy from a hardware store and install yourself. These come in a range of materials which change the suitability of the gazebo for rougher weather.

While pergolas can sometimes be added to existing structures, a gazebo always stands as a separate fixture, often becoming a focal point in your garden. Unlike pergolas, a gazebo is a four-sided structure, but it is not uncommon to see six or eight-sided gazebos with a pitched roof to allow the rain to run off. A pergola often has four open sides, although decorative panels or louvres can be added to provide privacy.

While a pergola usually covers an existing deck, pavers or grass, usually a gazebo is placed on top of the grass or concreted area.

Pergola furniture

What Are The Functionality Differences Between A Pergola And Gazebo?

A gazebo roof is designed to provide full coverage from the sun and weather, however is not as strong as a pergola structure when it comes to significant wind or rain. A pergola offers partial screening which breaks up direct sunlight providing some shade for you to enjoy underneath however is built to endure extreme weather events.

Gazebos are also considered more of an ornamental feature than pergolas. While both are considered focal points in your garden, gazebos are more traditional, ornamental features, providing privacy and a space to relax or shelter from the elements.

Gable pergola

What Are The Maintenance Requirements Of A Pergola And Gazebo?

A few differences exist when maintaining a pergola and gazebo, listed below. The biggest difference is that a gazebo often requires more attention.

Maintaining A Pergola

A pergola will require you to frequently hose down the posts to remove grime and dirt however as there is no roof or gutters this is a quick and easy process. Aim to conduct this cleaning process every six months or more.

Climbing plants or vines must be trimmed regularly, too. Most vines should be trimmed twice a year, but other plants might require more frequent attention.

Maintaining A Gazebo

A gazebo also requires regular maintenance, which can be time-consuming. Your gazebo roof needs to be regularly checked and cleaned with the underside checked for any holes that could cause flooding during heavy rain. Depending on the type of gazebo you pick, this will change, a common choice is canvas or polyester which will need to be looked after to experience any longevity. It’s best to decide whether you need your gazebo to be waterproof or not.

Waterfront pergola

What Are The Benefits Of A Pergola?

There are several benefits to adding a pergola to your garden. We have outlined them below for you.

They Provide Privacy 

Pergolas are a fantastic way to add privacy to your garden. Whether you want to block a neighbour’s view to your outdoor area or add some privacy around a spa, a pergola allows you to do so. Pergolas can provide privacy without obstructing too much of your view too, allowing you to enjoy your time outdoors. You can incorporate plants into your pergola to provide a natural outlook that doubles as a privacy screen.

They Add Variety To Your Outdoor Space 

Pergolas also offer variety to your outdoor space. They can make a focal point to the centre of your backyard or garden, be used across your drive, or extend your living space from your back door. However you choose to use a pergola in your garden, they will make an excellent addition.

You can add climbing plants to vary your outdoor space while increasing your privacy. Pergolas come in a variety of materials, however primarily are made of powder-coated steel or aluminium posts and beams, allowing you to choose a pergola that matches the exterior of your home.

The versatile nature of a pergola allows you to vary the use of your pergola too. You can change the use as often as you like, swapping an outdoor dining set for a barbecue or hammock to read your book. You can adapt the pergola to suit your needs, making it a versatile part of your property.

They Are A Stylish Addition  

Modern pergolas come in a variety of designs and styles, with Apollo Patios offering completely customisable pergolas. You can add a unique style to your garden by finding a practical and aesthetically pleasing pergola. A pergola’s beautiful structure allows it to become a focal point in your garden quickly. If you want to add some style to your garden, a pergola is the option.

Pergola freestanding

What Are The Drawbacks Of A Pergola?

Pergolas also have a few drawbacks, which we have detailed below.

Is There A Termite Risk 

Due to Apollo’s pergolas not containing any timber, there is no risk of termites causing any damage. Apollo Patios choses to construct their pergolas of aluminum and steel to eliminate any worry of termites compromising the integrity of your structure.

They Require Maintenance

A pergola requires some maintenance, although it is very simple and straight forward – you just have to remember to do it. Your pergola must be regularly cleaned to keep the pergola looking new.

When Should You Buy A Pergola Over A Gazebo?

You should choose a pergola over a gazebo if you want a versatile structure that offers you a permanent solution and lets sunlight in while giving some reprieve from the sun. While a pergola provides privacy, the structure is ideal for a large range of uses and can be incorporated into an existing patio or outdoor area as a stylish addition.

Read more about building a custom-designed pergola with Apollo Patios to find your perfect pergola design.

What Are The Benefits Of A Gazebo?

A gazebo has several benefits, which you can read about below.

They Are Perfect For Events

A gazebo is ideal as a quick solution to provide some protection when the weather looks uncertain. They are ideal for events, providing shelter out of the rain or light wind.

The roof can also provide protection from the sun’s rays, meaning you can use it during extreme heat and enjoy some shelter and protection. The partially open sides of the gazebo will keep fresh air flowing into the gazebo, too, or you can choose to have these filled to offer complete weather protection if you prefer.

They Can Be An Affordable Option 

Depending on the material you choose and size, a gazebo can be an affordable addition to add to your backyard. Not only can they be placed anywhere, but you don’t need to spend a fortune on them to enjoy a beautiful gazebo. Just be sure to anchor it down with guide ropes to ensure everyone’s safety.

A gazebo is a fine choice if you don’t have a large budget but want to add a structure to your garden.

They Offer Privacy 

Gazebos offer fantastic levels of privacy. The complete roof (and optional sides) allow you to relax in a gazebo undisturbed. Whether you are reading a book, enjoying a drink in peace, or watching the sunset, you can do so peacefully in your gazebo, provided it is not too hot!

Your gazebo’s level of privacy can also be increased, depending on where you place it in your garden. A gazebo can be placed anywhere you have the space, allowing you to place it out of your neighbour’s view for a relaxing oasis in your garden.

What Are The Drawbacks Of A Gazebo?

A gazebo comes with a few drawbacks, outlined below.

There Is Less Customisation 

As gazebos are usually an off the shelf product, they usually can’t be customised to suit and don’t include even a basic floor.

They Require Regular Maintenance 

Like a pergola, gazebos require maintenance, which can be off-putting should you want a low-maintenance addition to your garden. The roofs must be regularly inspected and cleaned to prevent leaves and other debris preventing water from running off freely.

The maintenance your gazebo requires can be time-consuming and must be done monthly.

When Should You Buy A Gazebo Over A Pergola?

You should purchase a gazebo over a pergola if you want to save money with a limited budget or have an addition to your backyard that is not a permanent fixture. Even the more expensive and complex gazebo’s can be take disassembled and stored relatively quickly, in contrast to a pergola with concreted posts and fixed beams.

Create A Custom Designed Pergola With Apollo Patios 

Now that you know the differences between a pergola and a gazebo, we hope you can see which is better for your garden. Whether you want protection from the elements, privacy, or space to relax, a pergola or gazebo can be the perfect option.

Why not create a custom pergola with the help of Apollo Patios? Our custom pergola designs will transform your backyard space, giving you outdoor structures that you will love for years to come.

Talk to the Apollo team today

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