Are you looking for a contractor?

Submit our quick form and get quotes now!

Table of Contents

6 min read

Between Pergolas and Gazebos: The Essentials for an Informed Choice


6 min read

Between Pergolas and Gazebos: The Essentials for an Informed Choice

Between Pergolas and Gazebos: The Essentials for an Informed Choice

You're torn between a gazebo and a pergola for your outdoor space? This guide will help you make the best choice. Both structures have their advantages: the gazebo, with its closed roofs, offers superior protection, while the pergola, with its open design, allows for sun exposure. Whether made of wood or metal, to enhance a spa or simply for design pleasure, you'll find all the necessary information here to make an informed choice.

Pergola vs. Gazebo: What's the Difference?


Source: Canva

All the differences lie in the roofing, which, for a gazebo, is:

  • Completely enclosed;

  • Perfectly waterproof;

  • Resistant to the weight of snow;

  • Shaded.

The roofing structures of a gazebo are therefore stronger than those of pergolas, whose roofs are only covered by an awning. Consequently, their use differs. Whereas a pergola is more a part of open-roof structures, it is primarily used to adorn a garden or an outdoor dining space.

In contrast, the gazebo can:

Obviously, apart from the roofing, the materials used to build a pergola or a gazebo are the same (wood, metal, etc.), as they share identical structures:

  • Four to six columns;

  • Open structure;

  • Variable size;

  • Located in a patio or garden;

  • Attached to the house or freestanding.

The term "gazebo" defines any small building with open sides, which is placed in a garden. However, the term "gazebo" is increasingly understood in Quebec to define a garden pavilion or a kiosk. It is therefore a much sturdier construction than the pergola (or arbor), which is defined as a lightweight structure, usually designed to support climbing plants or create shade.

So, why install a pergola (or arbor) rather than a gazebo (garden pavilion or kiosk)?

Why Would You Want to Install a Pergola or a Gazebo?


You could choose these structures to enjoy family meals throughout the summer or to give your garden a new style. However, it often boils down to meeting a need. Between the pergola and the gazebo, each serves different needs. Thus, with a pergola, you can:

  • Build a shelter with a minimal number of components;

  • Partially or completely protect yourself from the sun;

  • Define a zone in your garden.

A gazebo, on the other hand, addresses:

  • An aesthetic ambition (various shapes, materials, and components);

  • A need for complete protection from rain, sun, and snow.

Now, it's important to determine which of these structures best suits your project. Indeed, the pergola has many advantages, as it is:

  • Space-saving;

  • Very elegant;

  • Equipped with a complete or retractable roof.

The gazebo is much bulkier, but it has significant advantages over the pergola, as it:

  • Protects from the elements;

  • Blocks UV rays;

  • Provides complete shade.

So, it all depends on how much time you want to spend under either of these two structures. For intensive use, regardless of weather conditions, the gazebo is the best solution.

For occasional use and an aesthetic touch in your garden, the pergola is probably the best option.

Available Pergola and Gazebo Models

Wooden pergola

Source: Canva

The Advantages of a Wooden Structure

Wood competes with many other materials:

  • Wrought iron;

  • Aluminum;

  • Polycarbonate;

  • Steel;

  • Concrete.

So why prefer wooden structures? For a myriad of reasons, as it is:

  • Economical;

  • Strong and warm;

  • Sometimes adorned with woodwork;

  • Relaxing.

The numerous wood species allow you to choose the one that best suits you aesthetically, as you will find:

  • Western red cedar;

  • Bamboo;

  • Pine;

  • Oak;

  • Teak.

Of course, each of these species falls into the category of decay-resistant woods, which can withstand all weather conditions. Finally, there is its modular aspect. Because wood is easy to work with. Thus, professionals can give your pergola or gazebo the shape you want.

Why Choose a Custom Structure?

Ready-made structures available in stores usually measure around 9 square feet. However, there is a good chance that their size will not match either your house or the size of your garden.

That's not all. Because this type of pergola or gazebo does not last long when bought off the shelf, a custom gazebo or pergola is the perfect choice, or almost.

This is because a custom structure comes at a cost. While a gazebo sold in a kit, which can be easily transported and unfolded, costs around $1000, custom-made will cost you between $5,000 and $20,000.

Attention, whatever your budget, you don't have complete freedom. Your municipality imposes a maximum surface area not to be exceeded, and it's not the same everywhere. Here are the maximum surface areas in:

  • Montreal: 15 m²;

  • Terrebonne: 5% of the land area;

  • Léry: 12 m²;

  • Lavaltrie: 18 m².

Therefore, before embarking on a particular design, with an area that seems perfect to you, find out about all the dimensions you must respect. Surface area is often not the only variable to consider, as municipalities also limit height and regulate distances, especially in relation to property boundaries.

Trendy Designs in Quebec

In Quebec, most people have gazebos installed with steel roofs, as they last about ten years. Canvas roofs are rather neglected because not only do they have to be stored during the winter, but they also need to be anchored in the ground to withstand strong winds.

The same goes for asphalt shingle roofs. These are not preferred because the sun damages them within fifteen years of installation.

As for the design itself, no trend stands out, as these constructions can be customized:

  • Shape;

  • Size;

  • Materials;

  • Lighting;

  • Heating panels;

  • Fans;

  • Outdoor curtains;

  • Etc.

Closed Gazebo: a Good Idea for Setting Up Your Spa

Pergola with spa

Yes, it's an excellent idea. Especially if you live in the north or in Abitibi, where mosquitoes are particularly numerous. A closed gazebo is ideal for enjoying your spa throughout the summer, regardless of the weather outside.

Thanks to its many windows, this type of gazebo allows you to enjoy the scenery while lounging in your spa, protected from UV rays.

Installation of a Gazebo or Pergola: Key Steps

Installation of pergola

Source: Canva

Step 1: Define Your Need

Start by determining if you need a gazebo or a lighter structure, such as a pergola. If you need a closed garden pavilion, the gazebo is the way to go.

In Abitibi and northern Quebec, always opt for a structure that can be closed and accommodate a mosquito net. Otherwise, you won't be able to enjoy your investment much.

Step 2: Inquire with Your Municipality

As mentioned earlier, each municipality has its own regulations regarding authorized surface area, as well as height and distances from property boundaries.

Therefore, before diving headfirst into designing the project, start by looking into its legal aspects.

Step 3: Choose the Material

Wood, aluminum, metal, wrought iron, etc., the materials are numerous. Their prices vary, as does their aesthetics and durability. Therefore, ask for several quotes from the companies you will approach, in order to make the best decision based on your budget and expectations.

Step 4: Selecting the Company

To select the company, look at its date of establishment, as well as the reviews left on independent platforms, such as Google or Facebook. Don't hesitate to ask for the address of a client for whom they have built a gazebo.

There's nothing stopping you from contacting this client to find out if they are satisfied with the work done. You can then see how the structure has aged.

Finding the Ideal Structure for Your Garden

In the decision between a pergola and a gazebo, it is crucial to consider your needs, lifestyle, and the aesthetics of your outdoor space. Whether you opt for the open and elegant structure of a pergola or for the privacy and protection offered by a gazebo, each has its own advantages. Ultimately, whether you choose a pergola or a gazebo, the key is to create an outdoor space that reflects your style and invites you to fully enjoy the beauty of your surroundings.

Get 3 quotes for your renovation project can help you get quotes from a general contractor. By submitting your project, we’ll put you in contact with top-rated contractors. Fill in the form on the homepage (it only takes a few minutes) and get estimates from trusted professionals.

Dial 1-844 828-1588 to speak with one of our customer service representatives.

Get 3 free quotes for your project!

Submit a project and get 3 free quotes!

Last modified 2024-04-29

List of sources

Get 3 free quotes for your project!

Submit a project and get 3 free quotes!

Looking for something else?

Table of contents

Get 3 free quotes for your project!

Submit a project and get 3 free quotes!

Are you a contractor?

Join our network and receive real leads!

Download the price guide for renovations

We’ll be emailing you the latest market price guide for renovations.

Related articles

The latest industry news, interviews, technologies, and resources.

5 min read

N/A • 07 Nov 2023

Home automation in the kitchen

Our homes are becoming intelligent. Each day, we interact with tiny little devices, such as our phones and computers, that are in place to capture personal data about our interests, wants and needs.

6 min read • 25 Jan 2024

Cost of Installing a French Drain in 2024

Needless to say, the long-term durability of a house depends heavily on the lack of seepage, above all in the foundation. Excessive humidity can have devastating and damaging long-term effects, both on your home and your health. Moreover, mould and bacteria growth can end up being very costly.

4 min read • 07 Nov 2023

Wallpaper as Wall Covering Inspirations

Wallpaper is now making a huge comeback. After paint, it is now the second most popular wall covering product. Find out why so many people choose to cover their walls with wallpaper! 

4 min read

Christime Simard • 07 Nov 2023

The Creation of a Green Wall: How to Go About It?

If you are a plant lover, you have surely heard of green walls. If you are not familiar with this term or, like me, thought it meant a wall full of vines, think again! Instead, imagine a vertical garden, filled with different and varied plants, concentrated on a wall section.

Looking for a contractor?

Submit a project and get 3 free quotes now!