Pergola vs. gazebo: What's the difference?

9 minutes
Pergola vs. Pavillon: Was ist der Unterschied?

Outdoor structures such as a pergola, gazebo or a sun sail are increasingly popular focal points in backyards and gardens, allowing for individual and useful configurations of outdoor spaces, be it in the gastronomy, hotel or private sector. Since sun canopies are already widely used to provide shade as terrace roofing, and pergolas can be found as outdoor rooms in many gardens, gazebos play an increasingly important role in the design of private or guest gardens.

In this blog post, we will take a closer look at and compare pergolas and gazebos with all their features and functions.

Pergola und Pavillon - Unterschiede im Vergleich

Pergola – a definition

There are many different interpretations of what a pergola is. Most often, however, the term pergola refers to a free-standing exterior construction that is intended to serve either as a climbing aid or as protection from the sun and rain. However, a pergola can also be similar to a terrace canopy. This type of pergola consists of two main parts – on the one hand, support columns and on the other hand, a lamellar roof design with beams and rafters. The roof lattice itself can remain both open and closed depending on individual preferences. 

In some cases, pergolas are also used for the extension of the terrace or the house. Mostly, however, they are stand-alone structures. 

Gazebo – a definition

A gazebo is an open or semi-open freestanding structure, often with a pyramid-shaped closed roof, which is frequently used as a garden shed, in a park, as an outdoor living space or an open-air event venue. The benefits of a gazebo in the garden are immense.

Due to the weather resistance of a gazebo roof, gazebos are particularly well suited for long-term outdoor use: they are year-round outdoor gazebos and not "just" party tents. Usually, gazebos are either circular or in a certain unusual shape, such as:

  • Pentagon (5 sides)
  • Hexagon (6 sides)
  • Heptagon (7 sides)
  • Octagon (8 sides)
  • Hexagon (10 sides)
  • Dodecagon (12 sides)

The gazebos added to the shopping cart most commonly are octagonal in shape, with 8 sides and a solid roof. 

Pergola vs Pavillon - Unterschiede und Definition

What are the differences between a pergola and a gazebo?

Now you know what gazebos and pergolas are, but you're not sure which product is the right choice for you? In the following article, we have summarized the key differences.

Roof construction

The main difference between a pergola and a gazebo is the function of the roof. While a garden gazebo offers good weather protection due to its stable – and often completely closed – roof, most pergola roofs offer partial shade due to their slatted roof structure.. 

The crossed struts of the wooden roof offer perfect space for plants and vines as well as serving as climbing aid, allowing you to harvest your own produced at the end of summer.

A gazebo, on the other hand, can be seen as an additional room for various purposes, such as seating area for outdoor dining or events, which in the best case scenario also offers protection against rain, wind and weather due to its construction. The roof construction also impacts the gazebo's stability.

Some gazebos have a solid roof, others do not have a solid roof and are still stable, resistant to weather and strong winds, like, for example, high-quality models that have a membrane roof with a soft top. Due to the special construction, the gazebo can still be used all year round and is winter-proof. Nevertheless, there are some reasons for a gazebo with a fixed roof.

Construction and installation

In addition to the shape of their roofs, pergolas and gazebos also differ in their general curb appeal. Pergolas are usually rectangular or square due to the lamellar roof. In case homeowners attach them to a building, for example in the form of a carport, they often have only two legs.

Permanent gazebos, on the other hand, stand out due to their exceptional shapes. They often come in round or multi-sided forms, depending on what suits into the individual garden structure.

Pergola Bauweise - Der Unterschied zu einem Pavillon

In general, pergolas are relatively simple and inexpensive in terms of their construction, while gazebos are more complex and require a higher degree of planning. Additionally, they often demand special attention to local building codes due to their specific shape and size. Depending on the type of gazebo, they are also more sturdy, often based on concrete footers, which makes the installation much more complex than that of an aluminum, plastic or wooden pergola, which is mostly supplied as a simple DIY pergola kit.

Appearance & design

Pergolas usually fulfill mainly practical benefits. They serve, for example, as rose arches or arcades, as awnings or sunroofs. Depending on requirements, side walls can be installed, which are often powder-coated or impregnated, thus defying any weather and serving as wind protection or privacy screen. This functionality is reflected in a rather simple appearance. 

A gazebo, also called a pavilion, can either serve as terrace roofing in the patio area or a freestanding space extension. The appearance of a gazebo always depends on the gazebo type and the materials it is made of. For example, gazebos can come as solid stone structures or as wooden gazebos, as casual marquees made of plastic or aluminum.

Both pergola and gazebo are available in various formats, sizes and colors, from natural colorways to anthracite.

Functions and types of application

A pergola is essentially a classic garden element: Its open and yet protected construction offers climbing plants such as blue rays or clematis a climbing aid similar to a trellis. It also offers protection from the sun, wind and unwanted views if used as a terrace roof. If it comes with sunroof, it can be used variably and adapted to any weather conditions. 

It can be used in private gardens, in the gardens of hotels or restaurants - either as a special venue or as an additional room or sitting area. More creative applications are also possible. For example, gazebos can be used for yoga sessions, wine tastings, or pop-up restaurants and stores. Gazebos with a playful architectural style, reminiscent of picturesque places such as Florence, are ideal for larger parks. 

Unterschiede und Funktionen von Pergola und Pavillon


The answer to the question of whether a pergola or a gazebo is better suited for your purposes depends entirely on your ideas and requirements. Are you looking for a construction for your private garden that is mainly used to cover your terrace or as a growing aid for plants? In that case you should consider a pergola. Check out the Blumfeldt online shop to see if you can find a model that is suitable for you.

Are you looking for an outdoor extension that can be used all year round and is weatherproof? Do you want to upgrade the design of your hotel or restaurant garden or create additional space? 

The STROHBOID gazebo impresses not only with its modern design and its environmentally and climate-friendly production – the sophisticated wooden construction enriches every event, both in summer or winter, offering protection against wind and weather, but also impressive stability.

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Fritz Walter

DIPL.-ING. Fritz Walter

Gründer, CTO