What’s the Difference? Arbors, Pergolas, Gazebos & Pavilions

If you’re not sure what a gazebo is and the difference between an arbor, a pergola and a pavilion, this post will help. In essence, these structures provide shade for outdoor living spaces – think of them as umbrellas for patios or patio furniture.

The “what is the difference between a pergola and a gazebo” is an important question that needs to be answered. The main difference between these two structures are their size and purpose. A gazebo is larger than a pergola, and it’s meant for outdoor use.

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You may have questioned what the distinctions between these structures are if you’re thinking about upgrading your garden. Arbors, pergolas, gazebos, and pavilions are all quite similar, and it might be difficult to tell them apart at first look, but each has its own particular qualities.

The four buildings vary in terms of their distinct design principles, which include their constructions, sizes, installations, and purposes.


All four of them enhance the beauty of any park, yard, or setting in which they are installed, although they are not all same. What distinguishes these structures from one another? Continue reading to discover more about the contrasts between these ornamental and practical items. 


Contents Table of Contents

  • What Makes an Arbor So Special?
  • What Makes a Pergola Special?
  • What Makes a Gazebo So Special?
  • What Makes a Pavilion Special?
  • Conclusion 


What Makes an Arbor So Special?


Arbors, unlike the other three things on this list, are typically smaller in size and are often used as a focal point of entrances or guarded constructions. 

Aside from their tiny size, arbors have a few additional characteristics that distinguish them from their cousins. 

Arbors are often employed as one-of-a-kind constructions.

Structure of an Arbor

Arbors usually reach a height of at least six feet. This is so that any visitors to the region will be able to stroll under the arbor without difficulty. They’re frequently situated at the start of a path leading to another location, or as a resting spot for a brief break.


Many arbors contain a gate to mark the entrance to a garden or a house’s front walkway along a route. The roofs of most arbors are either arch-shaped or slatted. 

Arbors are often used for a variety of purposes.


An arbor is often seen during wedding celebrations, when the bride and groom link hands. To emphasize their attractiveness, arbors are generally adorned with garden décor. The following are examples of laced items:

  • Vines
  • Roses, honeysuckle, and jasmine are examples of flowers.
  • Vegetables and fruits

Any arbor you choose to build, on the other hand, must be able to survive whatever gardening you decide to do with it. 

Installation of an Arbor

When constructing an arbor, you will discover that it is much simpler to install than other comparable products. When constructing an arbor, you have a greater range of materials to choose from than when constructing other constructions. 

Arbor Dimensions

Arbors are more often used for smaller meetings, whereas the following three buildings are more commonly utilized for considerably bigger social gatherings. An arbor is the way to go if you’re searching for a straightforward addition. 

A pergola, gazebo, or pavilion may be a great alternative if you want something more grandiose.

What Makes a Pergola Special?


Pergolas are bigger than arbors, as previously stated. 

Pergolas are a relatively new concept, having been created in the 1640s. Greece, Asia, France, and Egypt were their initial homes. This is likewise true in the case of the aforementioned arbor. 

Unlike arbors, pergolas are seldom stand-alone constructions. They are often constructed up against another structure, such as a home. They are, however, free to stand. 

Structure of Pergola

A pergola is a considerably more substantial structure than an arbor. It’s similar to a gazebo without the roof. They cover a lot more ground than an arbor does. 

Pergolas are typically square in shape and contain four or more posts that protrude from the ground. A pergola’s top is also laced with flat horizontal trelliswork to allow plants to grow and light and air to enter. 

Pergolas are often used for a variety of purposes.


Although some of the same plant grows on the sides and top of pergolas as it does on arbors, pergolas have certain distinguishing traits that set them apart from arbors.

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A pergola is a terrific addition if you’re searching for a place to lay your head or socialize with your pals when the weather is nice. You may be unsure what a pergola is. Pergolas are similar to a sitting area. 

Pergolas serve as an extended resting area for social gatherings and activities. Pergolas are often seen with the following elements within or even built onto the pergola:

  • Chairs for the lawn
  • Couches
  • Swings

Just keep in mind that if the weather refuses to cooperate with your plans, you may have to go indoors. As a result, many individuals use curtains and other weather-blocking materials to shield themselves from the elements on the side of their pergola. 

Installation of Pergolas 

Pergolas are more often seen in locations with little rain, such as sunny California. Because the chances of rain are low, you’ll often see a pergola with lighting fixtures or a fan hanging from the roof in these places.  

What Makes a Gazebo So Special?


Gazebos, like arbors and pergolas, are an ancient idea. Gazebos, on the other hand, date all the way back to 1400 B.C. in Egypt.

Gazebos are often smaller, covered, and shaped differently than pergolas. 

Structure of the Gazebo


Gazebos with six to eight sides are more common than square gazebos. The roof and floor are the most noticeable differences between a gazebo and other buildings. Gazebos are an excellent spot to sit and relax with a group of friends. 

  • The roof of a gazebo is usually covered off, preventing light from entering from above.
  • The floor is often elevated above the ground to provide a view of a garden or other landscaping.
  • A gazebo is similar to a tiny home with partly open sides. 

A gazebo would provide protection from the elements, but an arbor or pergola would not. The roof of a gazebo is either flat or tiered. 

Gazebos are often used for a variety of purposes.


In comparison to an arbor or pergola, a gazebo offers additional protection. Mosquito screening is common in gazebos, although other buildings do not usually offer such a barrier to annoying pests.

In contrast to a pergola or pavilion that is frequently connected to the side of a home, gazebos are usually seen outdoors in a park or in a backyard setting. 

Installation of the Gazebo

Other buildings do not provide the same level of seclusion as a gazebo. It’s essential to be informed of local construction permissions before erecting a pergola. Building permits are often required for structures larger than a particular size. The gazebo costs may be a better alternative because to their smaller size.

Because the gazebo offers the greatest protection compared to the other three buildings, supplying power to it is significantly safer than connecting it to the others.

What Makes a Pavilion Special?


Pavilions were popular throughout Europe in the 1800s.

A gazebo is a kind of pavilion, however there are notable distinctions between the two. A pavilion is a low-cost alternative to a gazebo. 

Pavilion Framework

A pavilion offers temporary cover, although it lacks the flooring of a gazebo. Because a pavilion is totally open, it does not provide as much shelter from the elements on a wet day. 

Pavilions, unlike gazebos, are never enclosed with screens.

  • A pavilion’s roof is pitched.
  • The floor is not elevated.
  • Cement is often used to lay the floor so that it is free of waste and plants. 

Pavilions are typically single-story buildings that may be extremely big. For events, a park will most likely include a covered pavilion with picnic tables below.

Pavilions are often used for a variety of purposes.

Underneath a pavilion, there is a lot of space. A pavilion can accommodate and protect a significantly greater crowd than any of the other buildings. Because the pavilion’s square footage is so big, some individuals install entire kitchens underneath it.

Pavilions are more expensive than the other three types of constructions. A pavilion, on the other hand, will not only give all of the benefits listed above, but it will also raise the value of your property. 


Whether you want to add an arbor, pergola, gazebo, or pavilion to your yard, each one is distinct and distinguishes in some manner from the others. Each structure’s covering area, as well as the degree of protection it provides, differs.

These ornamental constructions may be utilized for a variety of occasions. These improvements go excellent outside with your house for anything from regular social events to something as special as a wedding or retirement party. 


The “pergola vs gazebo cost” is a popular question that has been asked many times. The difference between the two is in the material they are made of.

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