Pergolas vs Pavilions – What You Need to Know

In Pool Features by Platinum Pools

Backyards are now the new living room. The original swimming pool with a simple slab of concrete for its deck has now transformed into an exotic deck made with beautiful natural stones and patterned concrete.  Basic swimming pools have evolved into an artistic spectacle with water features, fire features, outdoor living spaces and more for everyone to enjoy.

With cooking channels popping everywhere, the outdoor kitchen is the latest in the outdoor living experience.  You can find everything from a refrigerator to an integrated gas grill. No wonder there are more terraces than ever.  It is the pride and joy of a homeowner to have a gorgeous backyard.

Let’s not forget, however, that pavilions and pergolas are a huge part of the outdoor experience.  Before establishing the 13 colonies, European homes had a display of gazebos and pavilions complete with benches and flower displays.   But today, will you go for a pergola or a pavilion?

Don’t forget, even if you love the outdoors, the shade plays a vital role in your backyard.  Depending on the position of the house will determine how much shade you get every afternoon.  Otherwise, it is a good idea to invest in either a pergola or a pavilion.

To understand this, we have to establish the difference between them:


Has an open roof with slats designed in a rectangular shape.  Adding vines or hanging pots to these structures provides more shade and coverage.


Has a solid roof design, just like a traditional house but open on the sides, only held up by beams and rectangular, just like a pergola.


Pergola vs. Pavilion

The truth about deciding on one against the other will do with how you want to use it.  As mentioned before, pergolas and pavilions serve as outdoor structures where you can place furniture and seating.  It is a place in your backyard to entertain family and friends, and great for dinners, parties or just hanging out.

Pergolas range from kits to custom designed, made in wood or vinyl.  Even if this type of structure has an open roof, it has berms across the support system determining how much shade or protection will be provided based on the spacing of the beams.  Some clients want to use the space in case it rains; then they will need to apply a water-proofing system such as retracting vinyl underlayment canopies or Louvre style beams that open and close.

Pavilions have a solid roof held in beams and no walls on the sides.  They can complement the style of an existing design, and it can be freestanding or attached to the home.  It makes it easy to add light fixtures, electronics like tv’s and sound systems, and even, a kitchen.  It may be higher in cost in comparison to the pergola, but it gives room to the imagination when it comes to customizing the space.

What do Outdoor Structures Have to do With Swimming Pool Construction?

For the last eight years, homeowners request to have the ultimate outdoor living experience.  For some, having a kitchen in the patio has its advantages while others are just happy to have a beautiful structure.  One example of a pavilion is a completed project in Missouri City, Texas, where a pavilion is next to the swimming pool and houses a complete kitchen with outdoor dining furniture.

On the other hand, some homeowners prefer a pergola since it adds beauty and light to an area.  Our completed project is a perfect example of how the pergola works with the space, and how close it is from the oasis.

gazebo pool structure

Gazebo – Pergola or Pavilion?

A gazebo is part of the Pavilion family.  The structure, often designed in an octagonal or turret-shaped, serves as an ornamental feature and as a rain shelter.  Since the days of George Washington, gazebos often turned into summerhouses.  But now, the architectural wonder serves as a great terrace to relax, to share a conversation, or just to read.

If you are considering having an outdoor structure next to your swimming pool, check with our experienced designers who can advise you with the best that goes for your backyard.