Gazebo vs. Pergola – What’s the Difference?

Light wood pergola with suspended bed
Light wood pergola with suspended bed. So Relaxing.

Everybody dreams of space outside there home where they can spend some good time with their family. In the past, it was considered to be a luxury. But now many houses have enough outer space to build a gazebo or pergola. These are places where you can sit and enjoy your afternoon coffee. You can also arrange dinner parties. But many people confuse the terms ‘gazebo’ and ‘pergola’. They often use it interchangeably. Actually, they are not same. There are some significant differences in these two structures. Here we are going to talk about the differences between gazebo and pergola.


Gazebos are usually round in shape. They often have an octagonal shape with a domed roof. Eight pillars support the structure. It can hold about 5 to 15 people for any family gathering.

A couple dancing in a light-strewn gazebo.
A couple dancing in a light-strewn gazebo.

Pergolas, on the other hand, are rectangular in shape. It has four legs and the roof is open and flat.

Rustic pergola wih natural wood seating furniture.
Rustic pergola with natural wood seating furniture.

Protects from weather

The gazebos have open sides but have rails and a sloping roof that protects people from harsh weather condition. So, even if it rains or snows, you can still sit inside the gazebo and enjoy the scenery. In case of a pergola, as the roof is flat and has open top and sides, you will not get any protection from harsh weather.


Gazebos are used as a place for dining, entertainment and spending some relaxed time. You can install heating and air conditioning system, sound system, TV, and other entertainment devices inside the gazebos. But pergolas are usually made to grow climber vines like grapes. This is also a place for relaxation.

GIrl in yoga pose beside a gazebo hut.
Tropical gazebo hut in a relaxing, zen place.


Gazebos cost much higher than pergolas. The reason is that the construction of gazebo is strong. It has a solid roof, floor, and rails. But pergola doesn’t have many of these features.

Pergola lets you enjoy a quiet time with nature. You can stand or sit under the shade and enjoy looking at the plants and flowers that grow along the walls and roof of the pergola. If you want some good time with a small group of friends then gazebo is the right place. So, if you are in dilemma to choose between a gazebo and a pergola, then think of the purpose. You will find lots of varieties of gazebos and pergolas in the market. You should consider the material, cost, shape, etc. before deciding which one to buy.