Pavilion vs Pergola: A Comparison

Joel Steele - October 10, 2022

We all care about how our backyard looks. And when it comes to your outdoor structure, there are many options to choose from. It’s important to know what the different types of backyard structures are available and what uses they are designed for, so you can make the best choice for your landscape. Today we’ll focus on the two popular and somewhat similar buildings, the Pavilion vs Pergola. 

What is the Difference Between a Pavilion and a Pergola?

The primary difference between a pavilion and a pergola is the roof. A pavilion has a solid roof, usually with metal roofing or shingles, giving you protection from the rain or shade from the sun. A pergola has a lattice type of framework for the ceiling or roof, and while this provides a bit of shade and is a great place to grow a climber type of plant, a pergola is primarily a decorative structure. 

What is a Pavilion?

A pavilion is an outdoor structure with a roof and four (or more) supporting posts or columns. The purpose of a pavilion is generally to provide an outdoor space that has shelter from some of the elements, like sunshine or light rain. They are usually used as a gathering place by the pool or in a backyard or park. If you would like to read more information about the purpose of a pavilion, check out this article. 

“The pavilion stands as an invitation to sit, to relax, and to fellowship.”

What is a Pergola?

A pergola is an outdoor structure with a lattice roof supported by four (or more) columns. A pergola is a great way to define your outdoor living space, display your climbing plants, and generally make your backyard feel cozier. Add a string of lights, and you’ve got yourself a dream backyard. If you are looking for more information about the purpose of a pergola, check out our blog post about it. 

Ideas for how to use Pavilions and Pergolas

And when it comes to things you can use your pergolas or pavilions for, the list is practically endless. What you plan to use your outdoor structure for will determine whether you want to invest in a Pavilion vs a Pergola. For instance, an outdoor kitchen is a great idea, but most likely, you will be better served with a pavilion to house that kitchen, as it provides more protection from the elements. While a pergola is a great option for a hot tub cover. It provides some privacy without completely losing the open-air freshness and the view of the night sky. 

Other ideas and suggestions for pavilion and pergola use include. 

outdoor building structures for sale in ia

Pavilion vs Pergola Styles

Pavilion Styles

There are different kinds or styles of pavilions available today. 

Wooden Outdoor Pavilions

A simple yet timeless structure is the wooden pavilion. There are lots of different styles within the wooden pavilion category. Most wooden pavilions are built with traditional southern pine lumber for a sturdy, reliable frame and a pleasing aesthetic. As with any wooden structure, a wooden pavilion will require regular maintenance to give it longevity. At Lancaster County Backyard we offer a few, including the Lakefront Wood Pavilion and the Cheyenne Wood Pavilion.

wooden pavilion

Vinyl Outdoor Pavilions

For a more modern flare to the faithful pavilion, check out the vinyl pavilion. Within the vinyl pavilion line every company has a variety of styles to choose from. Here at LCB, our styles include the Shoreline Vinyl Pavilion, the Montford Vinyl Pavilion, and the regal-looking Caribbean Vinyl Pavilion.

poolside pavilion

Timber Frame Pavilions

If you are looking for pavilion style that has lasted the test of time, look no farther than the Timber Frame Pavilion. Timber framing has been dated back to as early as 100 B.C. but is truely still one of the most popular outdoor structure styles around. Lancaster County Backyard has three different Timber Frame Pavilions, The Kingston Timber Frame Pavilion, the Denali Timber Frame Pavillion, and the Grand Teton Timber Frame Pavilion.

timber frame pavilion vs pergola

Pergola Styles

Every company out there has its own style or pergola designs, but most fall within the two categories of wooden pergolas and vinyl pergolas.

Wooden Pergolas

For a traditional backyard or garden outdoor structure, the wooden pergola is a great place to start. Being able to paint or stain your pergola the color you want, or simply leave it as natural wood color, lets you completely customize your pergola. LCB offers two styles of wooden pergolas. One is the Cherokee Wood Pergola, with a traditional wooden frame and lattice roof. The other is the Boulder Wood Pergola, which features a more bold look, and is built with Hemlock or #1 Douglas-Fir lumber. 

wooden pergola

Vinyl Pergolas

For a more modern vibe, you’ll want to check out Vinyl Pergolas. These vinyl-wrapped structures offer a low-maintenance option to your backyard plan. Most vinyl pergolas are white by default, but in most cases, there are alternative colors available. Lancaster County Backyard features two vinyl pergola styles, including the standard Carolina Pergola as well as the Luxury Cancun Pergola.

stunning vinyl pergola

Pavilion vs Pergola Prices

A pergola will generally be less expensive than a pavilion due to the different roof structure. The cost of pavilions and pergolas will vary with the size and style you choose. Below you’ll find two simple tables that show the starting prices for the different kinds of pavilions and pergolas available. These prices are for a small structure, and are not a quote. Contact us for a free quote.

Pavilion Prices

StylesStarting Price
Wooden Outdoor Pavilions$6,200.00
Vinyl Outdoor Pavilions$7,300.00
Timber Frame Pavilion$15,500.00

Pergola Prices

StylesStarting Price
Wooden Pergolas$3,400.00
Vinyl Pergolas$4,000.00


So whether you choose a pavilion as your new backyard gathering place or a pergola to finish off your poolside landscape, we know you’ll love your new backyard structure. If you still have questions about your pavilion vs pergola decision, or you’d like more info about what Lancaster Backyard has to offer, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us through the website, or gives us a call and start experiencing the joys of backyard living! 

pavilion vs pergola