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The Differences Between a Pergola, Cabana, Arbor, and Gazebo

The Differences Between a Pergola, Cabana, Arbor, and Gazebo

If you’re looking to enhance your outdoor spaces with an inviting structure, you have a variety of open-air options such as pergolas, arbors, gazebos, and cabanas. However, these structures can sometimes be a bit perplexing due to their similarities. This article aims to illuminate the differences between these outdoor features, offering valuable insights to aid in your decision-making process when selecting the ideal addition for your yard.


An arbor is a freestanding structure, allowing for easy relocation or repositioning as needed. Typically, arbors serve as gateways or entry points, often gracing the entrance of gardens or positioned in front of fences to create an inviting portal. These ornamental features are renowned for their aesthetic appeal, although their relatively smaller size makes them less suitable for seating and relaxation.

Structurally, arbors typically consist of two or four support posts and are crowned with a slatted roof, which can be either flat or gracefully arched. The sides of an arbor may be left open or adorned with a trellis design, which many use as a support for climbing vines, enhancing the overall charm of these delightful garden accents.


Much like arbors, pergolas can function as standalone structures, but they also offer the flexibility to be attached to an existing building. Pergolas are often the integrated over pre-existing features like patios or decks and they come with a roof, typically made of slatted boards. The primary objective of a pergola is to provide shade, and there are various design options to achieve this, some people opt for a solid roof, others prefer a slatted roof adorned with climbing vines or hanging baskets, while some choose a slatted roof complimented by shade fabric. Generally, pergolas feature four or more sturdy posts, a flat roof, and openings that allow sunlight to filter through, striking a perfect balance between shelter and natural illumination.


Gazebos, categorized as pavilions, stand out as covered structures typically designed in an appealing octagonal shape. Offering complete shade, gazebos cleverly balance this with an openness on the sides, allowing natural light and refreshing breezes to flow through. Some gazebos are equipped with built-in benches or other furnishings, serving either functional purposes like outdoor kitchens or simply providing a serene space for relaxation. Additionally, many gazebos are wired for electricity, boasting convenient amenities such as fans, lighting fixtures, and electrical outlets to enhance both comfort and functionality in these delightful outdoor retreats.


Cabanas, distinguished by their unique design, typically feature at least one open wall yet have enclosed sides, setting them apart from the outdoor structures. Their roofs are typically pitched, forming a distinctive triangular shape. Cabanas offer a private retreat, often equipped with curtains on the open side to provide an added layer of privacy. Due to their specific function, such as acting as changing rooms or cozy hideaways, cabanas are usually compact and highly practical in their layout.

If you’re uncertain about the type of structure that best suits your outdoor spaces, don’t worry. Simply reach out to us, and we’ll be more than happy to assist you! By discussing your preferences and requirements, we can work together to craft the perfect structure tailored to your desires, ensuring it seamlessly aligns with your outdoor living vision.

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