Monday, August 17, 2009

Difference Between Gazebos & Pergolas

Gazebos are traditionally octagonal, standalone structures separate from any other buildings.

Gazebos and pergolas are two varieties of outdoor structures popular with homeowners looking to improve the look of their outdoor space. There is a lot of overlap between structures considered pergolas and those thought of as gazebos. Traditionally, a few distinctions are made between the two, with most differences involving the intended use of the structure. Does this Spark an idea?


Gazebos are traditionally thought of as hexagonal wooden structures with raised wooden floors and a slanted roof. While every structure considered a gazebo does not have to conform to this specific shape, it is what most people think of when they think of a gazebo. A pergola, on the other hand, is usually square, with two walls and a ceiling. The walls may or may not be constructed using lattice.

Construction Material

Both gazebos and pergolas can be constructed of a variety of materials. Gazebos are usually wood, but may be constructed using more durable vinyl or other plastic polymers. Similarly, pergolas can be constructed using a variety of materials. Pergolas, however, can often be constructed using wrought iron, a material not traditionally used for gazebos.


Pergolas are often constructed to provide support, as a trellis, for a vine or climbing plant. Grapevine pergolas are popular, with the structure acting as a trellis for the vine, keeping ripening fruit off the ground and out of reach of vermin while providing shade. Gazebos may sometimes have vines growing on them, but this is not their traditional use.


A gazebo is generally intended to be a covering for a seating area, or patio. Gazebos can be used as stages, for musical performances or wedding ceremonies. Pergolas are usually less elaborately built and may be used to shade a small swing or garden walk. In this way, gazebos can be thought of as more substantial structures and pergolas being smaller shade-bearing designs.

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