In a town like Houston, it can be lovely to spend time outdoors, but only if you have some shade to protect you from the near omnipresent sunshine.

Many Houston homeowners choose to enhance their properties by adding outdoor living space with structures like pergolas and gazebos. Both can be great options for those looking to add a bit of shade to their lives and charm to their homes, but as these structures are similar but distinct, it is important for one to carefully consider the aesthetic look they want and the functional use they hope to get out of their exterior addition.

A gazebo is essentially a small, open-air building. They have solid roofs that provide full shade and usually feature one or two openings in walls lined by seating (either built in benches or moveable chairs, rockers, etc.). A gazebo is a great addition for yards bathed in direct sunlight as it provides outdoor shaded living space.


Pergolas on the other hand feature largely open roofs made of slats and usually have no “wall-like” features at all, being supported instead on pillars or attached to an existing structure. Pergolas and gazebos provide very differing levels of shade, with the latter letting full sun, partial sun, or almost no direct sunlight through it depending on the desired design and customization a homeowner chooses. Pergolas are frequently covered over by vine plants (or other trained plants) that not only add much beauty but can also make them into essentially full roofs, providing lots of shade and cooler living space.

One advantage a pergola has over a gazebo is that it can be built over existing patio or deck space without much altering the existing space. However, by that same token, the addition of a gazebo where no outdoor living space exists takes care of adding both seating dining, and relaxing space and a shaded outdoor area all at once.

Pergolas and gazebos are both fine additions to a property, and neither is ever a bad choice, so consider them both and then choose whatever structure best suits your home and you and your family’s activities and aesthetic preferences.