What is the Difference Between a Canopy, a Gazebo and a Pergola?

Having a shady spot in your backyard is an inviting and comfortable way to enjoy spending time outdoors. Luckily, there are a few options you can choose from to determine which shade source is the best for your needs and space. A pergola, gazebo, or canopy are the most popular options for constant shade outdoors. Read on to learn about the differences between a pergola, gazebo, or canopy and things to consider while choosing the structure for your backyard.

Sunnydaze Standard Pop-Up Canopy with Carry Bag, 12' x 12'

What is a Pop-Up Canopy?

A canopy is a convenient, easy to use shade option for any backyard, sporting event, vendor market, or other outdoor space. Pop-up canopies feature a frame and shade top with no floor or sides and are typically made with lightweight materials, like metal frames and weather-resistant polyester canopy shade tops. Canopies are freestanding, temporary shade structures that do not require attachment to a house or permanent structure for support, however, canopy weights must be used to anchor the legs to the ground. Check out our article about anchoring your canopy for other ways to keep it from blowing away on windy days. Canopies are portable and easy to set up wherever you need them in no time. They can be neatly stored in a canopy carrying bag to make taking them to the campground, family event, or storing them away for the season simple. Canopies are available in different sizes and colors that are sure to fit any outdoor area.

Outdoor Gazebo

What is a Pergola?

Pergolas are a popular shade structure that features an open roof, no floor, and no sides. Having a pergola in your backyard or over your patio is an easy way to accent and define your outdoor space. It creates a cozy place to enjoy the outdoors any time. Pergolas are most commonly a permanent structure made from wood. Wooden pergolas are sturdy enough to support outdoor ceiling fans because the roof is created by four posts and beams that hold up rafters to create an open ceiling.

Not all pergolas are made from wood, however. Some pergolas are designed to be a temporary structure in your yard and can be taken down for inclimate weather or storage. Our Sunnydaze arched pergola features a strong metal frame and retractable canopy to ensure shade and comfort at any point in the day.

Sunnydaze 9x12 Foot Metal Arched Pergola with Retractable Canopy

What is a Gazebo?

Outdoor Gazebo

Gazebos are outdoor shade structures that are perfect for backyards and parks. Like pergolas, gazebos are most commonly made from wood to create a permanent structure, but they can also be made from metal for a canopy-like style. Gazebos that are made from wood are most commonly designed in a hexagonal or octagonal shape, have a built floor, enclosed roof, and walls. Similar to canopies, some gazebos have vented polyester canopy tops and four-legged metal frames for a temporary structure that can be easily assembled anywhere. Gazebos offer more privacy than pergolas and canopies, however. Gazebos have sidewalls and an enclosed roof to allow for more shade and add privacy from neighbors.

Sunnydaze 10x13 Foot Gazebo with Screens and Privacy Walls

Which Option Should I Choose for My Backyard?

The right shade structure for your outdoor space depends on a few things. Determine how you want your backyard or patio to look and how you intend to use the space. Do you want a permanent structure that will require materials and the labor to build it, or would a lightweight, more temporary option suit your needs better? Consider where you want the canopy, pergola, or gazebo to be located. How much money do you want to spend on a shade structure? 

It is easier to find the right outdoor structure for you when you answer these important questions.

Adding a pergola, gazebo, or canopy to your outdoor space is an easy way to add shade and a comfortable place to enjoy the outdoors. Finding the right option for you takes careful planning and consideration. Take into account the differences between each option and decide what will fit your needs the best.

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