Pergolas, Arbors & Gazebos

Last month, we wrote about converting your backyard into an outside room for entertaining, cooking and relaxing. Now we suggest blending architecture and landscaping to create a functional focal point with a pergola, arbor or gazebo. Before adding one of these beautiful features to your yard, it helps to understand the differences between each so you know you’re choosing the right outdoor structure to achieve your preferred function and look.

Gazebos, often characterized by an octagonal shape and covered, semi-private structure, are probably the most well known of these projects. Pergolas are a broader category, with variations ranging from framed passageways that curve over walkways, to mostly open structures with just enough overhead coverage to filter the sun to an outdoor room below. The smallest of these three outdoor structures is usually an arbor, which serves as an archway or entry to a yard, garden or patio area.

Arbors, pergolas and gazebos each have a different impact on the appearance of your landscape and they serve unique functions. If you’re looking to make a small but impressive change, an arbor that creates an entryway into your yard built with a color and style that complements your home will add a new focal point to the entire landscape. For an outdoor addition that will perform double duty as an area for you and your family to retreat to for relaxation, as well as be a beautifully designed element in your yard, choose a customized pergola or gazebo. While both create an outdoor living space, a key difference between a pergola and gazebo is that pergolas are more open and often built on top of a patio or grassy area. Building a pergola is a less expensive choice and an easier do-it-yourself project. Gazebos typically have a base, full roof and steps to create a more private enclosed space.

Whether you decide to build a pergola, arbor or gazebo, each has many options for colors, materials, and style, allowing your outdoor structure to be customized and a perfect complement to your home’s architectural style and surrounding landscape.