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Pergola vs Pavilion Let’s Compare

When it comes to designing an outdoor living space, garden structures play a significant role in creating a unique and functional environment. Two popular options for garden structures are pavilions and pergolas. Although they both offer a sheltered area to relax, entertain, or dine, they have distinct differences that set them apart.

In this blog post, we will explore the differences between pavilions and pergolas to help you decide which structure is right for your outdoor living space.

What is a Pavilion?

A pavilion is a freestanding outdoor structure with a roof and open sides, supported by pillars or columns. It’s larger than a pergola, usually more complex, and serves as a focal point in a garden or backyard. Pavilions can be built in various shapes, including rectangular, circular, or hexagonal. They offer a perfect spot for outdoor gatherings and parties, as they provide ample space to accommodate a large number of people.

Pavilions are often used for outdoor dining, BBQs, or as a poolside shelter. They can be customized to include additional features, such as built-in benches, fire pits, or lighting. Pavilions provide an elegant and functional outdoor space, creating a perfect spot to relax and entertain guests.

What is a Pergola?

A pergola is a garden structure with an open roof made of beams and rafters supported by vertical posts or columns. The roof of a pergola is usually flat or arched, and it provides partial shade and support for climbing plants or vines. Pergolas are perfect for creating a shaded area to relax or entertain, and they are often used to cover walkways or outdoor seating areas.

Pergolas are typically smaller than pavilions, but they provide a unique and inviting aesthetic to any garden or backyard. They offer an excellent opportunity to incorporate greenery and natural elements into your outdoor living space. Pergolas can be built from various materials, such as wood, vinyl, or metal, and they can be customized to fit any design style.

Pergola vs. Pavilion: What are the Structure Differences?

While both pergolas and pavilions offer a shaded space to relax and entertain, there are a few key differences that set them apart. Here are some of the main differences between pergolas and pavilions:


Pavilions are generally larger than pergolas and can accommodate more people. They are ideal for outdoor events or large gatherings.


Pavilions have a solid roof, which provides full shade and protection from the elements. Pergolas have an open roof, providing partial shade and a more natural aesthetic.


Pavilions have more substantial support structures, such as pillars or columns, to support the weight of the roof. Pergolas have vertical posts or columns that support the roof but are not as heavy-duty as pavilions.


Pergolas offer more customization options than pavilions. Pergolas can be built in various shapes and sizes, and they can be customized to fit any design style.


Choosing between a pergola and a pavilion largely depends on your specific needs and preferences. If you’re looking for a structure that offers full shade and protection from the elements, a pavilion may be the best option. If you’re looking for a more natural aesthetic and a structure that can be customized to fit any design style, a pergola may be the way to go. Ultimately, both pergolas and pavilions offer a functional and beautiful addition to any garden or backyard.

If you would like assistance with a Pergola, Pavilion, or Patio Cover in Knoxville, TN, the team here at LeBlanc Decks are always on hand to help you build the best possible structure for your home.

Contact us today at (865) 919-3470.


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