Arbor or Gazebo: Which is Right for Your Backyard?

Jun 18, 2018

Your backyard is decked out with beautiful greenery thanks to your landscape design specialist.  You’ve installed a patio, walkways, and other necessary hardscaping.  You may even have a water feature or fire pit.  There’s still something missing, though.  Maybe what you need is a structure to add some dimension, functionality, and visual interest to your Rock Valley, Iowa outdoor space.

Would you rather have an arbor or a gazebo?  Which site structure better suits your needs and your personal aesthetic?  Which is the best match for your architecture?  Here are a few things to consider before choosing between an arbor or a gazebo for your backyard.

What is an Arbor?

An arbor, or pergola, is a rectangular, open structure consisting of posts or columns that support a slatted or lattice top.  It may be attached to the side of your house, but pergolas are traditionally free-standing structures that are used to cover walkways, passageways, or seating areas.  This structure is designed to provide a measure of shade, but it won’t fully protect you from the elements on its own.

In most cases, the goal is to train creeping vines up the columns so that they’ll grow over the top, creating a gorgeous and ethereal canopy of leaves and making you feel like you’re enshrouded in nature.  Some people train climbing roses or other flowering plants to grow over pergolas.  You’ll probably want to choose flora that clings and grows rapidly for best results.

What is a Gazebo?

Gazebos are similar to pergolas in that they are often open-sided.  However, that is where the similarity ends.  This standalone garden structure is round in shape (it may be hexagonal, octagonal, and so on, but it is always roundish) and it features a conical, enclosed roof.

Gazebos are generally intended as shaded seating areas from which to enjoy a view of the outdoors without fear of being bombarded by the elements.  Some gazebos feature short walls on several sides and some have the addition of lattice or screens to add privacy, a wind break, additional shade, or other function.

Which is Right for Your Backyard?

When you decide to add a structure to your Sioux Center, Iowa backyard, you need to think carefully about whether an arbor or a gazebo will best suit your needs and your aesthetic.  Both could create a focal point and a seating area for family members to lounge or guests to congregate.

If you’re interested in a light and airy structure that surrounds you with the beauty of nature, a pergola might be just what you’re looking for.  If you want a place to sip your coffee and read the paper, rain or shine, you’ll definitely want the coverage provided by a gazebo.

The style of your home could play a role in your decision.  Whereas a gazebo isn’t likely to compliment modern architecture, it will blend seamlessly with the whimsy and embellishment common to Victorian era homes or other traditional structures.

A simple, streamlined pergola, on the other hand, is the perfect compliment for modern sensibilities, although it could also pair with more traditional architecture.  With careful thought, the site structure you choose is sure to provide you with even more opportunities to enjoy your outdoor space.