Pavilion Vs Gazebo – What’s The Differences?

When talking to people about building an outdoor recreational structure some might suggest building a gazebo while others recommend a pavilion. To the inexperienced eye, they both seem pretty much the same. When deciding on what to build many are often confused on the difference between pavilions and gazebos and which to choose. So, pavilion vs gazebo – how do they differ? 

Although the basic structure between a gazebo and pavilion are the same, they are also very different. The key differences between them are their size, flooring, design, and roof design/

But you might be curious to know more about the exact differences between them. In the rest of the article, I will discuss all the characteristics of a pavilion and a gazebo so that you can easily set them apart and finally decide which is best for you.

Pavilion Vs Gazebo – The Key Differences 

Having a pavilion or a gazebo can give the view of your backyard a massive boost. Waking up in the morning and sitting under a pavilion or a gazebo with a cup of coffee can make you look forward to the rest of the day. But how are they different and which one is better? 

Both the pavilion and a gazebo have the same basic structure. But there are many differences between them. I have narrowed them down to 4 key factors-

  • Size: Pavilions are bigger than gazebos.
  • Design: Pavilions have fully open sides. Usually, gazebos have partly open sides with balusters for railings.
  • Flooring: Most gazebos have a built-in floor. 
  • Roofing: Gazebos have a domed, tiered, or flat roof. Pavilions have pyramids or triangular-shaped roofs. 

I will delve a bit deeper into these characteristics in the rest of the article so please keep on reading. 


A pavilion is more popular in public areas like parks or pools. But these days, they have become a famous backyard shade structure as well. It resembles a house that has no walls and has a simple design. 

But the simplicity of the design makes it stylish and versatile enough to fit into any patio or backyard. With a pavilion, you can enjoy the outdoors to the fullest with comfort and style.


Originally pavilions were large structures that were associated with larger gatherings and public events. But nowadays, pavilions have shrunk in size. Even so, they have a larger size than a gazebo.

If you want to build a pavilion in your backyard, you might want to extend the living space of your home to the outdoors. Then the size should be enough to fit in a few sets of your desired furniture.


The design of a pavilion is simple and more welcoming than a gazebo. Unlike a gazebo, a pavilion will have no screens or railings. The sides are completely open and make the environment a more integrated and welcoming one. 

The shape of a pavilion is usually rectangular or square. But it’s not rare to find a T or L-shaped one. It has a full roof and four posts for support.

A pavilion can accommodate any choice of your furniture. You can go for many luxurious options such as an outdoor kitchen, sofas, a fireplace or an outdoor lounge, and much more.

Flooring and Roofing Options

The pavilion will provide you with the utmost protection from any harsh weather. The sloped roof can be pyramid or triangle shaped. But if you want something fancy, you always have the option to go for a double-roofed pavilion.

A primary characteristic of a pavilion is that it does not require you to build a deck. So, most people build it near their home on a stone or concrete patio.


Pavilions are much larger than gazebos. So, obviously they require more materials and more manpower. That also makes them quite a bit more expensive. 

The most basic pavilion will cost you around $2500. But the price can climb up real fast with better materials and a larger size. A 30 x 50 square ft pavilion can cost up to $25000. 


If you have a small investment but dream of a beautiful look for your backyard, you can make it a reality with ease by building a gazebo. They have become very popular these days and rightly so. It is an outdoor shape structure that looks like a traditional room. 

They come in many shapes- octagonal, oval, hexagonal, and others. The unique design and shape of these make them easy to spot and striking to the eye. They will provide you a cozy and private space to socialize with your close ones. 


A gazebo is on the smaller side compared to a pavilion. The standard size of these is usually 12’ x 12’ and it’s enough to accommodate at least 4-6 people and a single set of furniture. 

If you want to enjoy some quality time outdoors with your close family and friends, a gazebo is a great choice. But it’s not great if you want to host a party or other large social gatherings. 


The standard design for a gazebo is that it will have a roof, built-in flooring, and semi-open sides. Gazebos have traditional balusters for railings and create a more enclosed space than a pavilion. So you will get a more cozy and private space. 

The shape is the most exciting part of a gazebo’s design and comes in many shapes. You can go for an oval, hexagonal, or even an octagonal-shaped gazebo. But the designs don’t stop there as you always have the option to go creative with it. 

Flooring and Roofing Options

You have the most protection from the rain or the sun with a gazebo thanks to its fully enclosed roof. Strong pillars are supporting the domed roof. 

The flooring of a gazebo is more solid with their decking. So be it the middle of the yard or near your house, you can build them anywhere. 


Gazebos use basically the same types of materials as pavilions. But they are traditionally much smaller. So obviously they will cost less. 

But, because they require decking and a more intricate roofing, a basic gazebo will start from $4000. But the more expensive ones shouldn’t cost you more than $9000 dollars. 

Pavilion Vs. Gazebo: Which One Should You Pick? 

Without a doubt, both the pavilion and the gazebo are an excellent addition to your backyard. But if you had to choose one for your property, it would be the one that meets all your needs. So if you are having a hard time choosing between the two, here are everything that you should take into consideration:

Why A Pavilion Would Be Better for You? 

  • You want a place to host parties or large gatherings.
  • You want a shady area on the patio.
  • You want somewhere to hang out with your large family.
  • You would like a place for a full experience of the outdoors.
  • You live in an area with a dry climate.

Why A Gazebo Would Be Better for You?

  • You want a place to spend with your close ones in private.
  • You want to build a shady spot in the middle of your backyard.
  • You are more interested in privacy from your family and neighbors. 
  • You want to build a place to chill outdoors without worrying about insects. 
  • You like in an area with a colder climate. 

The world of outdoor structures is quite broad and a fresh concept to many. The differences between a pavilion and a gazebo are not clear to many and you might be among them. In this article, I take on the debate of pavilion vs gazebo to share their distinct characteristics. I hope you will have an easier time setting them apart from now on. Thank you for reading till now.

Read also  Edger Vs. String Trimmer - Why You Should Get Both!