If you’re planning on adding an outdoor shaded area to your garden, there are several different options. The main options are gazebos, pergolas and pavilions. We’ll explain what each of these items are before getting into the pros and cons of each. Then you’ll know whether you should choose a gazebo or a pergola.

What is a gazebo?

A gazebo has 8 sides. They’re generally built to provide a central gathering point in a garden. It has a roof and railing on the sides, but air can easily flow through. Very large gazebos have been used as bandstands. And they aren’t very common in the UK, since it is cheaper and easier to build a less complicated pavilion. That’s why we won’t even get into the pros and cons of gazebos. They can be made from any material, but we’d recommend speaking to an oak frame supplier so that the structure matches your home.

What is a pavilion?

A pavilion is pretty much any other form of sheltered area where people can gather. Pavilions could be square or rectangular. It can take the form of a crescent or wave shape. However, most pavilions have a basic square or rectangular shape. In fact, a gazebo can be considered an 8-sided pavilion. Pavilions can have low walls, high walls or even screens to enclose it.

The Advantages of Pavilions:

• Provides protection from the elements

• Provides shade

• Screens plus walls keep out insects

• The floor protects you from mud

• Can put in electric lights or other features

The Disadvantages of Pavilions:

• More expensive to build

• Unless you have a temporary one, you need a permit to put it in

• Takes up more yard space

All of this means that a pavilion is the better choice if you want a sheltered area, assuming you have the budget and permit for it.

What is a pergola?

A pergola has posts or pillars with cross-beams to create a semi-shaded area. It doesn’t have a full roof. However, it can provide shade. Yet the main reason the pergola is built is to provide a lattice on which vines can grow. Eventually, you’ll get a green roof of sorts. And you may be surrounded by the sight and smell of various fragrant plants. However, the average pergola is just an arch or sides and a top – there is no floor. That wasn’t an issue in the desert climates where pergolas became popular, but that can be an issue when you’re in a rainy climate like the UK. That’s less of a problem if you put the pergola over a pathway or concrete patio.

The Advantages of Pergolas:

• Easy to build, even as a DIY project

• Cheaper than a pavilion

• May not require a permit to build and install

• Can be made from any material

The Disadvantages of Pergolas:

• Not as much shade as a pavilion

• No protection from rain or sleet

• Mud underneath

• Sick or dead plants are painfully obvious

Pergolas are a good choice if you want to show off your green thumb or just want to define the space in your garden.

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