What is the Difference Between a Pergola and a Gazebo?

Your outdoor space is like an extra room in your home, perfect for relaxing and switching off. Pergolas and gazebos can spruce up your garden time, giving you shade, privacy, and a focal point. When you're planning your perfect garden, deciding whether to go with a pergola or a gazebo is a big decision, but it doesn't need to be a difficult one! We're here to take you through the differences, and what to consider when finding the perfect hot tub shelter for you.


What is a pergola?

A pergola, whether crafted from wood or metal, provides an open yet defined space in your garden. Pergolas have sliding or louvred roofs to allow for a blend of shade and sunlight, providing protection from rain and sun throughout the day.

What is a gazebo?

A traditional gazebo, while also built from wood or metal, has a fully covered roof, giving you robust privacy and protection in your garden.


What's the difference between a pergola and a gazebo?

Pergolas have adjustable slatted roofs, while gazebos have fully covered roofs. Pergolas offer adaptable weather protection and privacy with a spacious and airy feel, while gazebos provide complete shelter for a more cosy experience.


Where should I place my gazebo or pergola in my garden?

Hot Tub Gazebo

Gazebos look best in a corner or at the end of your garden, creating a private retreat in your outdoor space. If you want to expand your living space, you might prefer to place your gazebo nearer to your house. The right answer for you depends on your lifestyle, garden design, and where it captures the sun. Just make sure it's on a level and solid foundation.

Pergolas are usually placed on a patio, they're best positioned so they target the mid-to-late day sun, as this is when you're most likely to need shade. As a pergola has a more airy and open feel, they make natural centrepieces in your garden, while also working to define sections in your outdoor space.


What is the point of a pergola without a roof?

A pergola without a roof helps define a space and create a focal point in your garden, without creating a fully enclosed area. It's perfect if you're looking for a space to relax while maintaining an open-air feel. We love to grow climbers such as honeysuckle and clematis on our pergola, or, for a really Mediterranean feel, go for grapevines.


Does a pergola protect from sun and rain?

Absolutely! A louvred roof pergola shields you from rain, wind, and UV rays, giving a perfect balance of sunlight and shade. While protecting from the rain, keep in mind that pergolas aren't fully enclosed, as they're designed to allow for natural ventilation. If you're looking for as much privacy as possible with your pergola, consider one with retractable sides.


Can you place a pergola next to a house?

Yes, pergolas can be placed next to your house in your garden, creating an extension to your living space. They're perfect for eating al fresco in summer, without the hassle of walking too far from your kitchen. Bear in mind that pergolas placed in front of your house will need planning permission. Don't forget that it's important to get shade from UV rays, so it's best to place your pergola where it captures the sun, which may be further away from your house.


Which is cheaper: gazebo or pergolas?

The cost difference between pergolas and gazebos really depends on the quality of the build and materials, along with the intricacy of the design. Wooden gazebos with fully covered roofs tend to be pricier, however, a gazebo with a fabric canopy can be an affordable option. Pergolas, especially those with simpler designs or cheaper materials, can offer a cost-effective choice. If you can afford it, you could opt for a pergola with additional sides, which adds extra privacy. Keep in mind that you need to factor in the cost of putting up the shelter and ensuring the foundation is solid and level, pergolas and metal gazebos are usually easier to build yourself compared to a wooden gazebo.


How long do pergolas and gazebos last?

The lifespan of your gazebo or pergola depends on materials and maintenance. Quality wood and metal can withstand the elements for over ten years, however, you need to be diligent with wood care, with annual cleaning, staining, and sealing being essential to prevent rotting.


Which is better for your hot tub: a gazebo or a pergola?

The choice between a gazebo and a pergola for your hot tub depends on your priorities. Hot tub gazebos offer robust and permanent protection from rain, wind, and UV rays, prolonging your hot tub's lifespan and ensuring comfort in all weather conditions.

However, pergolas provide flexibility in adjusting sunlight and airflow, allowing for more circulation around your spa for a less stuffy bathing experience. If you opt for a pergola with additional sides, you’ll get as much privacy while you soak as you would from a gazebo. Consider your specific needs for fixed vs flexible protection and privacy, to decide whether a gazebo or a pergola is better suited for your hot tub.


Which is better: a gazebo or a pergola?

The choice between a pergola or a gazebo ultimately depends on your preferences and needs. Gazebos offer more enclosed shelter, while pergolas provide an open and airy space. Besides budget, consider how much sun your garden gets, the layout of your outdoor space, how much privacy you need, and what you intend to use the shelter for.

If you want to enhance your garden space, either with a centrepiece or for outdoor dining, a pergola might be the best bet. On the other hand, if you live on a busy street and you need more privacy from neighbours, such as while dipping in your hot tub, then a gazebo could be the right choice for you. Gazebos provide more protection than a pergola, but can feel enclosed and limit airflow. Pergolas may offer less shelter during heavy rain, but they're more flexible in following the sun's rays, and often come with the option of additional sides, for more privacy. Bear in mind how much care you're willing to give your gazebo or pergola, including repainting and sealing, as well.


Parting advice

To learn more or to see our pergolas or gazebos, visit our Leeds or Hull showroom. Not near a showroom? No problem contact us, and we’ll be happy to help.

Check out our other online guides here, and to stay up to date with our latest products and updates, follow us on Facebook and Instagram.


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