Gazebo, Pergola or Cabana? Which is the best choice for your backyard?

Looking to add some shade and privacy to your backyard? Why not try a pergola, gazebo or cabana? While the three structures serve a similar purpose, there are a few key differences between the three. So which is right for you, your space and your family to entertain in?

Relax By The Garden With A Gazebo

A classic gazebo is octagonal in shape, though modern, temporary models come in square shapes. Most permanent gazebos are made of wood, but some are made of aluminum. The defining factor of a gazebo is the covered top, which provides optimal shade that is perfect for relaxing and lounging in a garden or yard.

gazebo vs pergola vs cabana

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Soak Up The Sun With A Pergola


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Historically, pergolas are more prominent in desert climates, but in recent years especially, this stylish structure has garnered popularity in the western world as well. The structure of a pergola differs from a gazebo in that it’s distinctive cross-beam and open lattice structure allows light to selectively pour through.

Lounge By The Pool With A Cabana

what is a cabana

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A cabana is often mistaken for a gazebo as they have a lot of similarities. The only difference between a cabana and gazebo is that a Cabana has walls on all three sides while the fourth is open to the pool area.

So which is right for you?

The prevalent difference between a pergola, gazebo and cabana is in the visual appearance. All 3 structures serve as a stylish accessory for your yard, so your yard’s size and composition should be a factor.

A gazebo or cabana might be too visually heavy if your yard is small, so a pergola, which will let light shine through may be the wiser choice.

A pergola could also serve as the perfect compliment to an existing deck or patio. On the other hand, if you pride yourself on your garden and shrubbery, a gazebo may look whimsical and fitting nestled within your greenery.

Your Questions Answered…

Which is better a gazebo or pergola?

If you are looking for relief from weather conditions like rainy or super sunny days, then you want a gazebo. If you prefer to soak up the sun and see the open sky, then you are looking for a pergola.

A pergola with an open roof.
pergola vs gazebo
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A gazebo with a closed roof
pergola vs gazebo
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The biggest difference between a gazebo and pergola is the roof structure. A gazebo is a structure with a closed roof while a pergola is a structure with an open roof. If you are looking for a structure that offers more shade, opt for a gazebo.


What is the difference between an arbor and pergola?

This is what an arbor looks like. It is constructed above a pathway to mark the entrance to a garden.

difference between arbor and pergola
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This is what an pergola looks like. Its main purpose is to create shade when sitting or lounging in the garden.
the difference between pergola and arbor
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The difference between an arbor and pergola is that an arbor is much smaller in size and acts as an archway to enter a garden. It’s placed over a pathway to create a grand entrance. A pergola on the other hand is much larger and is used to create a seating area within a garden.

What is similar to a gazebo?

A cabana is similar to a gazebo. A gazebo always has a closed roof to offer shade and protection from rain and its sister structure, the cabana has the same purpose. The only difference between a gazebo and cabana is that a cabana has 3 walls and only one opening as opposed to a gazebo that has all of its sides open.


What is a pergola with a roof called?

The most common name for a pergola’s roof is a grid. The grid is the crossing of the beams and rafters that make up the roof of the pergola. You can add fabric to the grid for added shade.

pergola with roof pavilion
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