Gazebo Vs. Canopy – What Are The Differences?

Homeowners often get confused when it comes to choosing the right outdoor structure that can not only provide them with a shaded area to relax and unwind but also add a decorative touch to their terrace, backyard, or garden.

Whether you acquire them as DIY kits or pre-fabricated structures, both gazebos and canopies offer a variety of features for your garden or backyard.

It’s not uncommon for homeowners to confuse these similar structures, even though they are different in reality. You must understand what each of these terms means so you can make the right choice based on your taste and budget.

You’ll realize that most people use these terms interchangeably. Yet, they are distinctively different outdoor structures. Each of the structures is best suited for a different purpose.


Brown fabric gazebo with dark metal frame.

A gazebo is an oval, octagonal, or hexagonal-shaped outdoor structure, usually in an open garden, made of wood with a fixed solid roof and open sides all around. It can be as modest or as intricate as you may want it to be.

Gazebos are built on private properties to serve as a cozy hideaway area or a place to relax, unwind, and enjoy the open garden. These independent fixed structures can also be found in parks and public spaces.

They provide the public with a place to party, get entertained, and relax while taking in the surrounding areas.

Gazebos come in a range of colors and shapes. A gazebo must always have a solid wood roof that ensures a durable and long-lasting structure.

Gazebos can be attached to a garden wall or freestanding. It’s also important to note that a gazebo is placed on its decking, over the grass, or on a concrete base.

What Is The Purpose Of A Gazebo?

Most gazebos have a solid roof, providing shade, thereby keeping the sun from shining directly on you. Additionally, gazebos can be decorated for outdoor events and celebrations like birthdays, anniversaries, parties, weddings, and reunions.

Large-scale gazebos are designed for this purpose. From an architectural perspective, you can feature a gazebo in your home’s outdoor area to fill an empty landscape.

Due to being closed at roof and sides, gazebos offer more privacy from neighbours. This feature also helps provide more shade than other outdoor decorations.

What Are The Advantages Of Gazebos

  • Protection from the Sun – Most gazebos have a fixed solid roof, while some have a fabric roof. No matter the type of roof, your gazebo will provide shade and protection from the hot sun.
  • Gazebos are Durable – A gazebo can be defined as a small, rounding garden or backyard house with open walls. It always features a fixed solid roof similar to that on your house. Many gazebos can withstand harsh weather conditions as they are built with durable materials like wood and metal.
  • Elegant and Stylish in Appearance – Gazebos can be as intricate and modest as you envision or want them to be. They are considered the most intricate outdoor shade structure anyone can have on their property.
  • Low Maintainence – Most gazebos are made with all weather resistant material that keeps away mold or mildew. This makes it easy to clean and maintain all year around.
  • Easy Cleaning – Cleaning gazebos is a pretty straightforward process. Just mix some water with detergent, take a soft cloth or sponge and dampen it with the mixture and slowly rub around the dirty areas. Finish it off with spray hose and your gazebo is good to go!


Blue canopy tent with white window accents.

The simplest way to think of a canopy is like a modern interpretation and representation of the gazebo. It’s a simple structure with a fabric covering supported by four metal posts.

Unlike the gazebo, a canopy is made of lightweight materials and is meant to be a temporary outdoor structure that favors convenience and simplicity over durability. It is easier to set up a canopy in no time.

Canopies come in a range of colors and styles to match any patio décor, garden, and backyard. They are perfect outdoor shade structures with a similar purpose to gazebos.

They are often used for outdoor events that require lots of time in the sun.

What Are The Advantages Of Canopies?

  • Versatile and Portable – Canopies have a simple construction and lightweight design, making them very versatile and portable. They are made of lightweight materials that allow them to provide portable shade. A canopy is usually quick and easy to set up and disassemble, which makes them perfect for events away from homes, such as picnics, game-watching parties, barbeques, camping, and tailgating.
  • Protections from the Sun – Canopies are perfect for backyards as they can protect from the hot sun. The soft fabric covering provides shade, keeping you out of direct sunlight.
  • Canopies have more usable space – A canopy is a temporary outdoor structure with a lightweight design and simple construction that allow for convenient setup and disassembling. Unlike gazebos, which tend to be closed-off, canopies are more open and allow the owner to seamlessly and quickly set up underneath and beside the available outdoor space.
  • An added outdoor shelter – One of the greatest benefits of getting a canopy is that it can act as an outdoor shelter space. You can use this canopy space as classroom, closed play area, host events, take your summer lessons and do much more! This can be useful during summers as it eliminates the need of using additional rooms inside the house. This helps cut back electricity and energy consumption and help in reducing carbon footprint.

Gazebo Or Canopy: Which Outdoor Structure Is Right For Me?

When considering an outdoor shade structure, you must choose the right style that best suits your needs. What’s the style you’re looking for? What’s the intended use of the backyard structure? Where do you want to locate (build) the outdoor structure?

These are essential questions you must ask yourself when choosing an outdoor shade structure.

If you’re looking for one that will not only create a comfortable setting for relaxing and enjoying your favorite beverage with your guests but also add a decorative touch to your backyard and garden, you might consider getting a gazebo.

A gazebo may be the best option if you want to entertain people in your outdoor structure.

The cost of getting a gazebo on your property is more reasonable when you think long-term compared to the cost of having a canopy that will wear out after a couple of months or a year.

The main difference between gazebos and canopies is how the latter is meant to be temporary outdoor structures that are supposed to be simple to set up and convenient whenever there’s a need, whereas gazebos are permanent backyard furnishings.

Most canopies come with a lightweight design and simple frames. On the other hand, Gazebos are the most intricate and stylish outdoor shade structures.

While gazebos are larger and sturdy to withstand harsh weather conditions like heavy winds, storms, and rain, canopies have a lightweight design that’s not sturdy enough to withstand such conditions. Gazebos are built to withstand the weather and take up a lot of space.

No matter which structure you choose- gazebo or canopy- having an outdoor shade area will increase your home’s value and adds a decorative touch to your property.

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