Gazebo or Pergola—Which One is Right for Your Landscape Design?

PergolaGazebos have long been a popular element in landscape design—but over the last few years pergolas have entered the limelight. Indeed, in just a few years pergolas have gone from unknown to highly coveted…but is this trending design element right for your yard? Or, should you go with the more classic gazebo?

To figure out which landscape design element is right for you, let’s take a look at what each one is…


Gazebos can be quickly recognized for their iconic look—a generally round, octagonal, or hexagonal shape, conical roof, and wood/lattice exterior. While they vary greatly in size they often fit four or more people comfortably. As they fit so many people, they are popular for outdoor entertainers. Since they have a roof they provide protection from the elements, especially rain.


Pergolas also have a ‘look’ that makes them immediately recognizable, with their beam-based roofing slats and thick wooden posts. Pergolas can also come in wrought iron, however thick wooden beams remain the more popular option. Another option, instead of wooden beams on top, is a lattice, which is used for pergolas that (will) have vines growing on them. As these structures have a partially uncovered top and fully uncovered sides they provide little to no protection from the elements, making them purely decorative architecturally.

Which One is Right for You?

Deciding between a gazebo and a pergola depends on what your goals are for your outdoor structure…

  • Price
    If cost is a large motivator, then a pergola will make your budget happier than the more costly gazebo. As they use less material and tend to be less intricate, they can be purchased and/or built for significantly less.
  • Protection from the Elements
    Hands down, if protection from rain and other elements is your primary goal then a gazebo makes sense. A pergola can provide some protection if it has an extremely thick vine on the top, but even then, rain will leak on you eventually.
  • Look
    Gazebos tend to have a more classic architectural look, which goes well with country and other classically styled yards. Yards with modern architecture will appreciate the styling that a pergola brings.


If you’re having trouble integrating a gazebo or pergola structure into your overall landscape design, then perhaps you should leave that decision to the professionals! With our keen architectural eye and landscape design experience we can match the right structure with your particular home and yard.

Comments are closed.