Pavilion, Pergola or Gazebo? Hardscape Design Explained

February 27, 2024
Develop Garden Featured Projects Landscape Architecture Design The SiteGroup

Creating your dream outdoor living space takes more than just plants and furniture —it requires a hardscape design that enhances the looks and functionality of your space. Pavilions, pergolas and gazebos are popular choices for backyards in the Dayton area: Each offers unique features and characteristics. 

Let’s take a closer look at these hardscape structures to help you make an informed decision.


Pavilions are distinguished by their roofed structures with open sides, often supported by elegant columns or pillars. They provide a spacious and sheltered environment for different uses, from games and parties to outdoor cooking or solo contemplation.


  • Multi-functional: Ideal for various outdoor activities.
  • Weather protection: Offers full shade coverage, but open sides create some exposure to the elements.
  • Elegant design: Columns or pillars provide a sophisticated look that can be tailored to match your home style.


  • Limited sunlight: The roof may limit natural light exposure.
  • Space requirements: May have a larger footprint compared to pergolas and gazebos


Pergolas are open-air structures that feature a roof grid instead of a solid roof, offering partial shade. They can be used to create inviting outdoor areas, support climbing plants and designate specific zones in your hardscape design, such as a patio or garden.


  • Partial shade: The roof grid balances sunlight and shade.
  • Installation options: Can be attached to a building or stand on its own.
  • Visual appeal: Enhances the overall design and defines specific areas.


  • Limited weather protection: Slatted roof and open sides don’t provide complete coverage.
  • Maintenance: Requires occasional upkeep (depending on materials used), especially if supporting climbing plants.


Gazebos are fully enclosed outdoor structures with a solid roof. They often feature open sides with railings and may be enclosed with screens, safeguarding you from the weather and insects. Plus, gazebos can function as a year-round outdoor living space with heating lamps and fans.


  • Complete protection: These fully enclosed structures offer the most shelter, but screened sides do mean exposure to wind or driving rain. 
  • Versatility: Can serve as a charming dining area or a tranquil retreat – even a spot for napping outdoors.
  • Insect-free zone: Screens keep bothersome insects at bay


  • Limited openness: Can feel less open compared to pavilions and pergolas
  • Upkeep: Screens and railings may require occasional cleaning or repairs

Elevate Your Hardscape Design in Miami Valley

Choosing between a pavilion, pergola or gazebo depends on various factors, such as space, functionality and style. A structure is a great addition that can help you create an outdoor space that boosts your property’s appeal and provides a haven for relaxation and entertainment.

Book a design consultation now! Explore options with a hardscape expert and transform your yard into an oasis.

Related News

How Much Does It Cost to Have a Landscape Design?
How Much Does It Cost to Have a Landscape Design?

Landscape design is widely recognized as a pivotal aspect of your home’s unique aesthetic and personality. The outside of your home is just as important as the inside, as it accentuates specific features and adds an extra layer of beauty. All this may leave you...

The Anatomy of a Mini Man Cave
The Anatomy of a Mini Man Cave

In the world of outdoor living design, the concept of a hidden retreat has gained popularity as individuals seek to maximize their outdoor spaces. Enter the mini man cave — a compact yet inviting oasis tailored to your unique preferences.  Let's explore the...

Why Hire Contractors for Retaining Walls (vs DIY)
Why Hire Contractors for Retaining Walls (vs DIY)

The decision to hire contractors for retaining walls versus embarking on a do-it-yourself (DIY) project is crucial for achieving results you love. Whether you're dealing with sloped terrain or looking to create distinct outdoor spaces, a well-designed wall can enhance...

Let’s dream about your space.

We can’t wait to hear about your goals.