If you’re looking to upgrade your home’s outdoor space, you may be considering a gazebo, pergola, or pavilion. While all three types of outdoor structures are great options, you may wonder which is best for your home. Although they have similar jobs — providing shade and weather protection — each outdoor structure has its own unique design and features.
Keep reading to learn the differences between a gazebo, pergola, and pavilion, their pros and cons, and how to decide which one best suits your needs.
Gazebos, Pergolas & Pavilions – What’s the Difference?
What is a Gazebo?
Gazebos are freestanding, open structures that are typically octagonal or hexagonal in shape. They have a solid roof and can be constructed using various materials, including wood, aluminum, and vinyl. Many gazebos include built-in seating and sometimes use latticework for added privacy, making them an ideal place to relax out of the sun.
Gazebo Pros & Cons
- Full shade and shelter from the elements
- 360-degree views
- Latticework and drapes can be used for added privacy
- Increases property value
- Cost varies depending on materials
- Challenging to keep clean
- Installation site must be leveled and well drained
What is a Pergola?
A pergola is an outdoor structure consisting of vertical columns that support a grid of crossed beams and rafters. Traditionally, the roofing grid is left open to provide partial shade but can be covered for total protection from the sun and elements. Pergolas are constructed from wood, vinyl, or aluminum and can be freestanding or attached to a house.
Pergola Pros & Cons
- Countless size, shape, and style options
- Can be independent or attached to an existing structure
- Easily combined with a pavilion to extend covered space
- Easy to keep clean
- Minimal site preparation required
- Some shade, but minimal protection from elements and bugs
- Limited options for roof styles
- Lack of privacy
What is a Pavilion?
Like gazebos and pergolas, pavilions provide shade and protection from the elements. While similar, a pavilion is completely open on all sides and is often used to provide a roof over large areas such as a patio, outdoor kitchen, or seating area. Depending on the size, the structure is typically supported by four or more posts and attached to a deck, patio pavers, or a concrete base.
Pavilion Pros & Cons
- Many options in terms of size, styles, and roof shapes
- Better protection from sun and rain
- Can be integrated with a pergola to extend the covered space
- Can be enclosed for added weather protection and privacy
- Easy to clean
- Permanent structure that requires careful planning
- Lack of privacy
- More expensive than other outdoor structures
What Outdoor Structure is Best for Your Minnesota Home?
All three types of outdoor structures have their pros and cons. As for deciding which is best for your home, the choice typically comes down to your budget, your needs and style preferences, and how much space you have in your yard.
In terms of cost, a pergola is often the simplest outdoor structure to build, making it the most budget-friendly. A gazebo is next in line while a pavilion is typically the most expensive. That said, it’s important to note that these price points can change depending on various factors. The materials used and the structure’s size and style are some of the biggest considerations. However, add-ons and extra features also impact the total cost of the structure.
Some popular add-ons include:
- Electricity for lighting, outlets, and other features
- Gas lines for fire features or outdoor kitchens
- Screens, retractable doors, and enclosed sides for added privacy and weather protection
- Built-in seating
- Roof features, such as a louvered pergola roof with rotating blades
No matter what outdoor structure you choose, you can’t go wrong. All three structures are beautiful and when done right, can boost the value of your home. The key is to work with an experienced, reputable home remodeling contractor like Excel Builders.
Experienced Remodeling Contractor in Minneapolis & Nearby
If you’d like to enhance your home’s outdoor living space with a pergola, pavilion, or gazebo, Excel Builders can help. As a premium design-build company, we can design and execute remodeling projects of all types, including outdoor structures, home additions, kitchen remodels, basement finishing, and more. We even offer custom cabinetry, millwork, and furniture through our in-house custom cabinet shop!
When you’re ready to get started, contact our team at (612) 306-4064 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Excel Builders proudly serves Minnesota homeowners throughout Greater Chanhassen and the Twin Cities West Metro, including Minneapolis, Chaska, Plymouth, Edina, Carver, Excelsior, Shorewood, Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, and the surrounding area.