What is the Difference Between a Pergola and Gazebo? – Backyard Discovery
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What is the Difference Between a Pergola and Gazebo?

When it comes to how you decide to accessorize your backyard, the sky’s the limit. Pergolas and gazebos are a great way to enhance the enjoyment of your backyard, deck, or patio. But while they may seem similar on the surface, pergolas and gazebos are not the same. 

If you’re trying to decide which would be the best for your backyard, it may help to know the differences between these two freestanding structures.


The roof is the most obvious difference between a pergola and a gazebo. 

Pergolas lack a complete roof, instead having a horizontal lattice of interlocking beams that make up the top of the structure. While not a continuous roof, the beams provide some partial shade, allowing sunshine and fresh air to come through. 

In contrast, gazebos have a complete roof to provide full shade and protect against the elements. You’ll often see gazebos with slanted roofs to allow rainwater to run off.


But which one is the best choice for your backyard? That will depend on what you want to do with it. Besides having a roof or a lack thereof, pergolas and gazebos are often used for different things.

As a free-standing structure, pergolas make excellent cover for garden paths or even an extension of your garden by adding trellises for climbing plants and vines. Pergolas can also be attached to buildings, walls, or fences to create either an extension or an entirely new space. Benches, seats, and even hammocks can create a relaxing, quiet spot to read or enjoy nature.

If you’re looking to do some outdoor entertaining, then the added privacy of a gazebo might be what you’re looking for. They can be used as an extension of your home’s interior by acting as a backyard dining room, play area, or even as a covering for an outdoor hot tub or fire pit. 


Another thing to consider is where you want to place your pergola or gazebo. While they’ll both fit in any backyard just fine, where you decide to put them depends on your needs.

Pergolas can be attached to a house or wall to help provide shade and comfort to an existing outdoor area like a porch, deck, or patio. They can also be placed over gardens and pathways to provide additional shade and act as enchanting gate entrances.

Gazebos, on the other hand, can be placed anywhere. It’s not uncommon for homeowners to put them on a slightly raised finished floor, complete with cozy outdoor seating to lounge in.

As you can see, while pergolas and gazebos are used as a place to enjoy your backyard, they serve slightly different functions reflected in their designs. If you’re interested in adding either a pergola or gazebo to your backyard, contact us at Backyard Discovery today! We’ll be happy to have our experts help you find the perfect fit for your backyard experience.


For over 30 years, Backyard Discovery has been producing the highest quality wooden swing sets, playhouses and backyard leisure products for the home. Our team of innovators and specialists are passionate about bringing our love of quality family moments to your backyard. We are everyday parents just like you, while also expert craftsmen with a long legacy of building great products for millions of customers. We strive to take kids outside (just like we were) where they can flex both their muscles and their minds.


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