Pergoda – knowing the difference

During the summer months, many of us seek to make the most out of our outdoor living spaces. Whether it’s a family BBQ, a baby shower or a romantic dinner for two, having the perfect garden setting can make any occasion special. But how do you ensure your outdoor area looks its best?

Summer is the perfect time to spruce up gardens and opt for outdoor structures such as pergodas, pergolas, pagodas, and gazebos. But what are these structures and what are their differences? Here’s a quick guide to help you work out which is which.

Pergoda snippet

Table of Contents

Pergoda, Pergola, Pagoda and Gazebo Differences

Here is a snapshot of the main differences between a Pergoda, Pergola, Pagoda and a Gazebo:

  • Pergoda – can also be used as a sheltered area for seating and entertaining. The structure offers protection from the sun but does not provide a sheltered walkway
  • Pagoda – is a type of tiered tower with multiple eaves, originating in East Asia. It is usually made of wood, stone, or brick and is often used as a temple or centrepiece of outdoor spaces.
  • Pergola – is an outdoor structure with a lattice roof that provides shade and creates a sheltered walkway or passage.
  • Gazebo – is an outdoor structure that provides a shaded area and a space to relax outdoors. Gazebos are typically octagonal or circular in shape, with a roof and open sides.
garden structures explained

Picking an outdoor structure that is right for you

As I mentioned in the introduction, summer is the time of the year when you’re most likely going to spend the most time outside. In the summer, you can have a blast utilizing your outdoor space. Use some of it to cultivate a beautiful garden or tidy up after those chilly winter months. You will also be able to entertain friends and family on those warm evenings for endless hours of fun.

So how do you know which outdoor structure to go with? When choosing an outdoor structure, it’s important to consider a few factors. Think about the location and size of your space, as well as the purpose of the structure. Do you need something that provides shade and protection from the sun? Or do you want to create an outdoor dining area for entertaining friends? These questions can help you determine which structure is best suited for your needs.

When looking for the perfect outdoor structure for your garden, the sheer number of options may seem overwhelming. But don’t worry, I’m going to break down what each structure offers, so you can make the best choice for your outdoor space.

climbing plants


Pergodas are structures commonly found in gardens. While similar to pergolas, they are used exclusively for sheltered seating rather than a shaded walkway. Through their archways and lattices of wood, metal or stone, they provide shade, privacy and architectural interest to any outdoor space.

Pergodas can also be aesthetically pleasing, forming an inviting atmosphere for family and guests. With adjustable designs, they can be elegant and intricate or modern and simple – either way, they add visual interest that helps create a harmonious outdoor space.

In a traditional garden, pergodas can provide sheltered seating areas for dining or socializing. They can also be used as an outdoor summer room as well as a focal point for special events such as weddings.



A pergola is a stylish, airy outdoor structure that can provide shade and extra character to your garden. It’s typically made of wood or metal frames, with lattice slats or open beams across the top. With its classic design and timeless appeal, it makes a great addition to any outdoor space.

One of the best qualities of a pergola is the dynamic range of shapes and sizes available, allowing for plenty of customization possibilities when it comes to fitting within your yard’s landscaping design. Pergolas can be freestanding structures or attached to a building, such as a house or garage. Additionally, many modern models feature retractable canopies to create even more options in terms of weather protection from both sun and rain.

Pergolas also make great walkways, providing an attractive passageway between two points or locations. They can be used to lead visitors around your garden space in a visually appealing way or to connect different areas of the garden with style and elegance. The pergola’s dual purpose of both shade and pathway makes it a desirable addition to many gardens due to its practicality.

pergolas feature sliding or louvred roof


A pagoda is a tiered structure with multiple eaves, originating in ancient Asia. pagodas can be found in various countries throughout Asia, including Nepal, India, China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. A pagoda is typically used as a shrine or memorial.

The purpose of pagodas in Japanese gardens is to provide a place for contemplation and meditation. Pagodas create spaces within the garden that allows visitors to escape from the chaos of daily life and find peace and relaxation. They also add a sense of spirituality and reverence, as they capture the essence of Buddhism’s teachings through their symbolism.

In addition to providing a space to relax, Pagodas can complement other features in the garden such as stones, trees, and ponds. The height of the structure adds contrast against the flat ground plane, while its presence creates dimension by towering over other elements. You’ll often find pagodas in zen gardens which are designed to evoke a sense of peace and tranquillity.

striking tiered tower design


A gazebo is a popular outdoor structure, often added to gardens and yards as a focal point. Gazebos have been around since the 1600s when they were widely used in formal gardens across Europe. Today, many variations of this timeless structure can be found in all sorts of outdoor spaces.

A gazebo typically involves an open-sided roofed structure, supported by pillars or posts. This traditional design provides an area for entertaining and relaxing outdoors while providing shade and some protection from rain or sun. Depending on the style chosen, it can bring a touch of elegance or a rustic charm to any garden or yard. While traditionally made of wood, modern designs incorporate metal structures and canopies for stronger support and low maintenance.

outdoor living space gazebo


So let’s summarise what we’ve learnt above. A Pergoda is an outdoor structure usually used for sheltered seating and entertaining while providing sun protection. A Pagoda is a tiered tower originating in East Asia, commonly used as a temple or beautiful centrepiece for outdoor spaces. A Pergola is an outdoor structure with a lattice roof and sheltered walkway, while a Gazebo provides a shaded area with an octagonal or circular roof and open sides to relax outdoors.

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Oliver Wright
Oliver Wright

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