Adding a pergola or a pavilion to your outdoor living space is a great way to enhance its use. Both are free-standing architectural structures that can add detail and functionality to a landscape. But there are some key differences between the two that might make one a better fit for your needs over the other.

A pergola has an open roof which allows you to see the layered beams, joists, and slats above. Typically a wooden structure (though they can be made with other materials such as aluminum or PVC), a pergola can provide some shade and add quite a bit of charming architectural detail to your yard. However, without a roof, they won’t protect you from the elements.  A pergola is a great backyard accent in a community like Shaker Heights or Cleveland Heights, where space is at a premium.

A pavilion, on the other hand, has a roof and oftentimes even a finished ceiling. It might be thought of as a “house with no walls” and it can provide you cover from rain or snow—allowing you to use your outdoor living space even during inclement weather. If you have an outdoor kitchen, it makes good sense to house it in a pavilion where you can cook despite the weather. Pavilions tend to be larger than pergolas and are typically more expensive. At Exscape Designs, we go to great lengths to match the look of your pavilion to the architectural details of your home. Details such as roof slope and shingles will be mimicked in the construction of the pavilion. If you have a large property, like one you might find in Chardon or Chesterland, a pavillion might be a great structure to add for additional hosting space.

Whether you decide a pergola or a pavilion is right for you will largely come down to your wants and needs, as well as your budget. With both structures there are a number of ways to enhance them and make them even more functional. Lighting, for instance, can be installed in either structure. If your pavilion includes a complete ceiling, recessed lighting and a ceiling fan make nice additions. Lights can also be built right into the beams of a pergola for some added functionality. Or, if it’s more of an aesthetic appeal you’re going for, consider stringing lights around the pergola or even hanging a chandelier from its center.

There are several ways to dress up a pergola including everything from growing creeping vines up and overtop the structure to installing drapery or a retractable canopy in order to add privacy. A pavilion can incorporate similar privacy features including a built-in screen wall or even some tall plantings around its perimeter to increase the privacy of the space, that way you can take an outdoor nap in peace or ensure the neighbors aren’t looking in on your every move.

While these two structures have a lot of differences, at the end of the day, we take great pride in any design we’re completing. At Exscape Designs, we go out of our way to ensure that the structure we’re designing and installing is the perfect fit for your property. After all, a pergola or pavilion is just one part of an overall landscape design and it’s important that everything blends well. We also believe that it’s important the structure also look as though it was meant to be there—not that it was plopped in your yard as an afterthought. All of these details go into the thought process of adding a pergola or pavilion to your outdoor living space.

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