What is the difference between a gazebo, a pergola and a pagoda?

Grey Square Sliding Roof Gazebo

A gazebo, pergola or pagoda make a beautiful structural addition to any outdoor space. They offer privacy, shelter, shade and create a focal point for patio garden furniture.

Designed to suit most outdoor spaces in both traditional and modern settings, these outdoor structures are typically square, rectangular or triangular shaped with upright connecting posts. The most practical choice being square or rectangular shaped because this offers plenty of room to configure garden furniture.

So, what is the difference between these three outdoor structures? We take a look at what is a gazebo, a pergola and a pagoda to reveal one key distinguishing feature.

What is a garden gazebo?

A gazebo is typically a four-sided outdoor structure with a roof canopy. Gazebos are made from hard wearing and long-lasting materials, such as wood or metal with heavy duty all-weather fabric.

They make striking focal points for any outdoor space and provide privacy, as well as protection. Gazbos are perfect for keeping garden furniture clean, dry and protected from garden grime. Most good quality gazebos include curtain sides and some come with plastic viewing windows. Curtains can be tied back to make the most of a lovely day or take in a view.

Easy to assemble, a gazebo can be fixed into position for permanent use throughout the season. Once assembled, a gazebo creates a zone for seasonal cover, allowing you to enjoy outdoor living whatever the weather. If you only need occasional cover, use a pop-up gazebo. This can be a great solution for quick and easy shelter for a garden party or a school fete.

A gazebo is a great structural solution for keeping everything covered. Stay dry and protected under a canopy and side curtains are helpful at protecting against a breeze. Two great gazebo examples are the Eden and Glendale Venice gazebos. These high quality gazebos come in a choice of sizes and colours to enhance any garden setting.

What is a garden pergola?

Unlike a gazebo, a pergola does not have a permanent roof canopy. Instead, open beams with chamfered edges are common characteristics of a pergola, with some pergolas coming with adjustable canopies to make the most of sunlight or shade.

Garden pergolas are traditionally made of wood, but modern metal alternatives are available to buy, for a more contemporary look. Cast aluminium is the best type of metal for a garden pergola because itโ€™s strong, sturdy and lightweight for easy assembly, plus it wonโ€™t rot or rust.

Our favourite all-weather cast aluminium pergolas are designed by Hartman. Hartman pergolas come in two stylish colourways to suit different garden styles, with modern grey or traditional bronze options. Hartman pergola roof canopies can be fixed back when not in use for a truly open structure and curtain packs are available to protect against a breeze or to create a more private space.

If you are looking for an open structure for the garden that will host a family sized garden furniture set, then a Hartman pergola is the right choice. Pergola feet can be easily fixed to the ground for stability and it will provide a long-lasting entertainment space for years to come.

What is a garden pagoda?

Kettler Panalsol Pagoda with Slate Grey Canopy shown with Kettler Palma Low Lounge Sofa Set (not included)
Kettler Panalsol Pagoda with Slate Grey Canopy (2.9m x 2.9m)

A garden pagoda is a versatile and stylish combination of a gazebo and a pergola, enjoying the benefits of both styles.

These eye-catching structures take inspiration from ancient Asian temples with sloping roof canopies. Much like a pergola it offers an open structure, but in addition has a gazebo shaped adjustable roof canopy.

Much like a pergola or a gazebo, a pagoda can be fixed into position for the season to make sure it wonโ€™t blow over. Feet are provided, but locking bolts are not always provided, as this will depend on the type of surface you will be using.

We love the Kettler Panalsol Pagoda. Itโ€™s a modern aesthetically pleasing pagoda thatโ€™s finished in grey with a matching movable canopy. The canopy acts like a giant parasol which can be elevated up or down, and offers the added versatility of being able to fix the canopy securely to a corner out of the way.

A unique feature of the Kettler pagoda is that the canopy can be adjusted to allow for a fully open rooftop or you can enjoy some shade when it gets too hot.

So, if you want the best of both worlds, a Kettler pagoda is the one. With a substantial 2.9 metres by 2.9 metres footprint, this impressive pagoda is the perfect fit for a Kettler Palma Low Lounge Set or most family dining or lounge sets.

So what is the difference?

The key distinguishing feature between a gazebo, pergola or pagoda is the roof canopy. A gazebo generally includes a permanent roof canopy, whilst a pergola has an open or opening roof canopy, with pagodas being a combination of the two.

All three provide different levels of cover, but all create fabulous areas for outdoor living. They provide the flexibility to zone any corner of a garden and many can be positioned over a patio too.

For best use of space, try to place a gazebo, pergola or pagoda into the corner of a garden or a patio and think about where the sun will be at the times of day that you want to be able to use it. Remember to allow enough room for the canopy or beam ends to hang within your own garden boundary and lastly, if the structure comes with a moving or sliding roof canopy remember to position it in such a way it is easy access.

Vienna Grand Iron Outdoor Bower
Vienna Bower

If you donโ€™t need something as substantial as a pergola, gazebo or pagoda, but would like a focal point structure for a small garden seat or bistro set, then a garden bower could be a solution. These pretty and intricate structures create an appealing focal point for small garden furniture sets or can even be used to showcase a large potted plant.

Using any of our stunning garden structures will help to set off patio furniture, creating a focal point for most outdoor spaces. We stock a great range of gazebos, pergolas and pagodas all year round ready for you to enhance your outdoor space every season.

For further advice or if you would like to explore the idea of a beautiful landscape structure for your garden, please get in touch with our furniture experts in-store at Gates Garden Centre.

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