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How to Choose the Right Structure for Your Hardscape

Pergolas and pavilions are similar structures often found in parks, yards and hardscapes. However, a pavilion has a closed roof while a pergola has a roof made of open salts. Both structures will offer some shade and be a beautiful addition to your outdoor living space. However, the key difference is in the roof.

Deciding which structure is best for your hardscape will depend on your unique needs for your outdoor living space. Let’s dive into the pros and cons of each.

Pavilion Pros & Cons 

A pavilion has a covered roof and no walls. Pavilions are similar to gazebos but are long and rectangular rather than oval or octagonal. Pavilions are best used for outdoor living spaces where you want protection from rain and are looking to build a center space for your hardscape.


  • Provides shade
  • Protects from rain
  • Can protect equipment underneath including a grill, fireplace, sink, fridge, or even television


  • Blocks out the sun completely – may be a darker space or require lighting fixtures
  • More expensive than Pergolas

Pergola Pros & Cons

A pergola is a structure with an open roof and layered beams. They are best used in situations where you want light shade with an airy atmosphere and want to allow some sun to come through.


  • Provides shade
  • Lets in light from above
  • Typically cheaper than Pavilions


  • Doesn’t protect from rain
  • Will require some maintenance and cleaning

Pergola vs. Pavilion Cost

The cost for both a pergola and a pavilion varies depending on the materials, size and any add-ons, like lighting, fans or fixtures (i.e., fireplaces, seating, etc.). Pergolas typically cost $8,000, but can range from $4,000 up to $20,000 for a custom design. Pavilions, on the other hand, typically cost more, from $15,000 to $35,000. They can even cost up to $65,000 for large, custom designs. Some costs can rise to $100,000 for larger structures with several add-ons.

However, both structures will add value to any home, typically providing 50-80% ROI.

It is cheaper to build a pergola or pavilion rather than purchase one outright, but building them will require tools, expertise and time. Neither structure typically have walls, but you can add curtains for some privacy.

Start Building Your Structure Today

Both a pergola and pavilion can add a nice touch to your outdoor space, providing you with an impressive structure and some shade that’s perfect for a hot afternoon.

Whether you’re looking for an airy, spring space to enjoy some sunlight outside, or space for grilling up dinner and entertaining, we have the expertise to help you build your dream hardscape.

If you’re still undecided, let us help you design your ideal outdoor living hardscape to your unique needs and priorities. Contact us for a hardscapes consultation.

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