Pergola vs Pavilion: Luxury Outdoor Structures Compared

pergola vs pavilion

When looking for the perfect complement to your deck, patio, or open yard — you’ve probably seen BOTH of these outdoor structures. Pergolas and pavilions both bring an upscale feel to a variety of outdoor spaces, and on the surface, they seem similar enough that some homeowners have trouble telling them apart. We’re comparing a pergola vs pavilion to illustrate the differences — and help you decide what’s right for your space.

At Garbrella, we’re dedicated to building luxury pergola kits that homeowners all over the country love. In recent years, pergolas have become one of the most in-demand outdoor living trends — and there are some key reasons for that newfound prominence. While we don’t build pavilions, we know they have their distinct advantages and can be the perfect choice for some homeowners. Keep reading to see the pergola vs pavilion breakdown — or start shopping for your pergola online right now!

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What is the Difference Between a Pergola and a Pavilion?

Pavilions and pergolas have a lot in common: open sides, elegant looks, and similar outdoor placements. In fact, it’s not uncommon for us to hear from customers, “What is the difference between a pergola and a pavilion?” This difference comes down to a few key structural elements as well as some other practical facts. We’re breaking it down right here:

Pergola difference between a pergola and a pavilion Pavilion what is the difference between a pergola and a pavilion
  • Roof Style — From a design standpoint, this is quite possibly the biggest difference between a pergola and a pavilion. A pergola will have the signature open lattice roof, whereas a pavilion will have a full roof, often completed with shingles. The pergola roof provides the look that has made it such an in-demand backyard accessory, but it must be accessorized with a cover to provide shade. However, the heavy pavilion roof provides more coverage from the sun and the elements. Most people tend to think that pergolas are the more attractive choice, but if they expect to use their deck or patio while it’s raining, they’ll want a pavilion.
  • Design Bulkiness — The heavy roof of an outdoor pavilion makes an impact on the look of the entire piece. When comparing a pergola vs pavilion, you’ll find that the pergola is elegantly slim, whereas the pavilion structure needs to be bulkier to support the roof. This is a difference you’ll notice in everything from the width of the posts to the heftiness of the support beams. This shows that the classical pergola roof — a centuries old piece of architecture — isn’t just for decoration but has the practical advantage of keeping the design sleek.
  • Price — While price doesn’t need to be the final factor when making your decision, it is a fair difference between a pergola and a pavilion to discuss. In almost every single case, pergolas cost far less than pavilions. In large part this is because pavilions require more raw materials to build and because the heavy roofs require more complex structural designs. While we don’t sell pavilions and don’t know exact prices, we can say that pergolas generally cost at least half as much, if not more than half!
  • DIY Possibilities — This point depends on your DIY skills and experience. For most people, building one of our pergolas is a great DIY project to handle with a friend over a weekend. We provide easy to follow instructions with all of our pergola kits — and countless homeowners have built them nationwide. While you can attempt to build a pavilion kit on your own, there are so many more steps, added challenges, and things that can go wrong. We say building a pergola kit is akin to putting together a piece of furniture, and building a pavilion is much more like a full-fledged construction project.

Learn more about the advantages of building your own pergola.

The Garbrella Pergola Difference

no maintenance garbrella pergola

We hope we were able to help illustrate the difference between a pergola vs pavilion. If after everything you’ve seen here you think a pergola is right for you, we’d love to help. Since we’re dedicated to pergolas at Garbrella, we do a few things differently:

  • No Maintenance — Since all of our pergolas are sheathed with a high-quality vinyl exterior, all of our pergolas are completely weatherproof! Plus, you never need to worry about repainting or re-staining the piece in order to protect it!
  • Lifetime Warranty — You can count on your Garbrella pergola to last a lifetime — we guarantee it!
  • Total Customization — Whether you want to add a small accessory to one of our leading models or build something totally unique, you have that flexibility!

If you have questions about our pieces or want to custom design, please reach out to our team!

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