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Use Your Gazebo or Pergola All Year Long

Use Your Gazebo or Pergola All Year Long

18 minute read

How & Why Use Your Gazebo or Pergola All Year Long

When you are preparing your backyard oasis, you may come across two different structures that you think may be perfect, but you are not sure what one to pick. You like the look of both the gazebo and the pergola, but you want to make sure you pick the one that will give you the most useful through the seasons but also fit with the look you are trying to achieve and match your personal style.


Adding a gazebo or pergola to your landscaping could provide an inviting space for you and your friends and family to enjoy all year round. They will not only provide shade during the hot summer months but also protect from the cold during winter months. A gazebo or pergola will provide enjoyment and beauty for years to come while also adding value to your home.

If you're in the planning stages of building a gazebo or pergola, but you're not sure which one will suit your needs year-round, then stick around. Or, perhaps you bought a home with a gazebo or pergola, and you're interested in how to maximize its use during all the seasons. If that's that case, then this article is for you, too. Keep reading to learn how and why to use your gazebo or pergola all year long. 

Gazebo vs. Pergola

Before we dive into the how and why of using your gazebo or pergola all year, it's essential to know a little more about each one, in contrast, the terms are used quite a bit interchangeably, and they do serve a similar purpose, they're two unique structures in design.

What Is A Gazebo?

The gazebo is a freestanding structure with a roof and solid floor. They are usually octagon in shape and provide shade and shelter from the elements. You will find them in a lot of parks where they may have bands play.  


They are also a great place to have photos done for things like weddings and graduation. In a backyard, the gazebo serves as a perfect place to have a dinner party or to provide cover to a hot tub.

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What Is A Pergola?

A pergola is an outdoor structure that forms a walkway or sitting area that usually has pillars that support the cross-beams and an open lattice. Although it is a type of gazebo, it will usually link two structures or provide shade on an open terrace. Since the pergola has an open roof, it does not provide cover from the elements like the gazebo does.


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What Are the Differences Between A Gazebo And Pergola?

While there are several differences between the two, the main differences are the roof and the floor. A gazebo has a closed roof and a solid floor and will provide shade and protection from the elements if it is hot and sunny or rainy or snowy. 


A pergola is a structure built with posts or pillars that support cross-beams to create a shaded area for walking or a sitting area, and the floor is natural.




Structure Type


Octagon or Round


Stand Alone


Square or Rectangle

Cross Beams or Lattice

Stand Alone or Connecting 2 Structures

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How to Use Your Gazebo or Pergola all Year Long

If you intend to use your gazebo all year round, there are some accessories you are going to want to make sure you have. 


When people think of gazebos, they tend to think most of the spring, summer, and fall months, but what about winter? You can easily add some accessories to make your gazebo enjoyable, even when the snow is flying.


Depending on the climate and where you live, the weather is going to be the main obstacle in getting the most use out of your gazebo or pergola all year long. While the structure itself provides protection from rain, it's still susceptible to the cold, heat, wind, and other elements. 

Heat Sources

You can add some kind of a decorative space heater or fire pit to keep you warm when you curl up with your favorite book on the crisp fall or cold winter nights.

Try This

The propane-powered Legacy Heating Bronze Quartz Glass Tube Patio Heater is perfect for outdoor use during the colder months. It has wheels, so it's easy to move into storage when it's not needed. 

Hot Tubs or Spas 

Having a hot tub in your gazebo will allow it to be used all year round. While the walk to the hot tub from your home might be a chilly one, the spa itself is a perfect winter treat.

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This inflatable hot tub spa PureSpa Plus Round 6 Person Portable Inflatable Hot Tub Spa is perfect to use year-round but has the flexibility of being able to move; it provides you a versatile space that can be used for different purposes.


You can put windows in that can have interchangeable screens to make it easy to use all year round.


While those are great for getting used out of your gazebo in the winter, some items will get used all year no matter what season it is.

Ceiling Fan

It will help with the decor you want and also circulate air making the space inviting even on the hot and humid summer afternoons. There are some kinds you can choose based on the decor you are looking for and the size of your gazebo.

Try This

For a fun tropical feel, try Honeywell Ceiling Fans Palm Island 52-Inch Tropical Ceiling Fan with Tuscan Bowl Light. This fan provides a fun beach getaway feel to your outdoor space.


If you are looking for a more sleek and traditional look, try the Honeywell Belmar Outdoor LED Ceiling Fan with LED Light, Waterproof, Damp-Rated, 52" Dark Bronze.


If you have a smaller gazebo that does not have electricity run, you can try the Portable Ceiling Fan Mini USB Tent Fans. 


No matter the type of party you are having or just relaxing for the evening, music will always help you enjoy yourself.

Try This

For year-round music that holds up in all weather without the worry of them getting wet try the Onforu Outdoor Bluetooth Speakers, 2 Pack 


You can always pick a speaker that is also a lamp DIKAOU Led Flame Table Lamp. Both of these options earn major bonus points for looking great and being functional. Dual-purpose items in an outdoor space are always a plus!


There are several different ways to add lighting. You can add string lights or flameless candles, or if you have electricity in your gazebo, you can add light fixtures.

Try This

For string lights, you can try some decorative globes like the LED Outdoor String Lights. These particular string lights are 38.5 feet so that they can provide quite a bit of light under the gazebo or pergola.


For the mood lighting of candles without the candles, you can try the HANZIM Flameless Candles Battery Operated Candles. Now you can set the mood without the worry of wind blowing them out or them being knocked over with these battery-operated candles there is a remove that you can even set a timer.


If you have electricity run to your gazebo, you can even try a center light like Wellmet 1-Light Hanging Outdoor Chandelier. If you're going for ambiance in your outdoor space, this is a must-have. 


Year-Round Decor


There are ways you can decorate to complement any personality and also take into account changing moods or times you may be using the pergola.

Hanging Plants

Plants are always an excellent option for an outdoor space. Pergolas and gazebos are no different. You can be using hanging pots to display some of your favorite plants like the LA JOLIE MUSE Hanging Planter Flower Plant Pots.


Adding a swing to your gazebo can provide a relaxing place to sit and relax. Try the Mainstays Belden Park Outdoor Porch Swing.


Maybe you prefer a little more traditional? You can try the Amish Heavy Duty Roll Back Porch Swing with Cupholders.


Fire Pits

Using a propane fire pit will all you to keep the feel of the fire while also maintaining a safe evening. Try the Propane Fire Pit Table.


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Are you planning for outdoor dinner parties? You can set up your gazebo with a table like the Walsunny 5-Piece Indoor Outdoor Wicker Dining Set Furniture. This is an all-black furniture set, so it's perfect for using all year long, and will go with whatever décor you choose. 


If you are hosting a more casual get together, you can also try the 5 Piece Patio Furniture Set Outdoor Chair and Ottoman Set.


If you are looking for more seats, you can try the SOLAURA Outdoor Patio Furniture 4-Piece Sectional Sofa Set. This set is perfect for lounging all year. You could add a giant, fluffy throw for the winter months, or jewel-toned pillows for the fall. 

Climbing Vines

Vines are traditional exterior décor for gazebos and pergolas. But vines do take time to grow, and they have to be carefully maintained, or they'll take over your yard. Here are some vines that are easy to grow, and will provide cover for your gazebo or pergola all year long. 


Vine Name



Proliferates so is excellent for large structures. In the spring, there are purple-lilac flowers.


It has a lot of varieties and has a fantastic bloom in the spring with colors ranging from blue, pink, and red. Can handle the colder temperatures.


It does well in colder weather as long as it is exposed to the sun. The small white flowers have a fantastic smell that y9ou can quickly identify


Ivy is very easy to grow and super resistant to the elements. Covers bare spots well with an appealing look.

What Can You do All Year Long in Your Gazebo or Pergola?

Like a pergola, a gazebo can also be used year-round to enjoy your backyard. I know the thought of a gazebo has you thinking of summer get-togethers like weddings and graduation parties. 

If you think that that is all they are used for, then the expense wouldn't be ideal. If you started to think outside the box a little, there are actually many things you can do with your gazebo all year round! 

Keep in mind there are many different types of gazebos; some are stable structures that you won't be moving, and others are tent-like structures that you can take down or move as needed.

Outdoor Meal Space

You want to have your dinner outside, but it is not quite the picnic table kind of meal, or it looks like the weather could soon be playing a factor in your plans. If you have a gazebo, you can enjoy your meal without the worry of getting rained on or the wind blowing everything off of the table.

Host Parties and Events

If you are having an event like a backyard wedding, a gazebo can be a fantastic compliment for your other decorations. The gazebo can be used for the dinner party or a perfect place to have photos taken.

Reading Nook

Do you love to relax and get lost in a book? Sitting out in your gazebo away form everything else can be the perfect place you enjoy the quiet, and you book for a perfect evening.

Outdoor Play Space

Maybe you have a  family game night or have friends over to play games on a Saturday night. With a table in your gazebo and a Bluetooth speaker, you could have the perfect place to hose game night.

Temporary Storage

Have you ever taken on a project but had nowhere to store the supplies when you were done for the day? A temporary gazebo would be a natural alternative space for you to keep your supplies out of the weather while also not taking up space inside your home.


If you live in an area that winters tend to be cold and snowy, not having a garage can be an aggravation that you could quickly fix. Using a temporary gazebo as a carport could make for more leisurely winter mornings. Also, if you live where the summers are hot, and the sun is relentless, the gazebo carport could also help with shading your car.


With the right walls and maybe a heater, you could use your gazebo to grow a winter garden—planting winter vegetables like potatoes and onion that grow better in the winter months. You can also start your spring garden early without taking the chance of damaging your plants with a late frost.

Swimming Pool Cabana

Does your backyard have a swimming pool? If you've ever had a pool party, you know how vital a cabana can be to let people get some shade without going into the house. Using a gazebo as a pool cabana is a great way to give people the shade they need and still enjoy the party.

Outdoor Classroom

With everything going on these days, would it be great to have placed other than your kitchen table to have school? When your kids are doing science and math, maybe you can sit outside in the gazebo for a little change in scenery and hopefully keep them interested in the work. On the other hand, if you are a teacher, maybe using outdoor elements would help keep your students engaged and learning.

Garage Sale or Temporary Store for Your Small Business

If you are having a garage sale or maybe you sell homemade jams or candles, but you don't want to rent out a store or a booth at a fair. You can set up a gazebo to put everything out that you are selling. It will keep you and your items out of the elements, and your customers will have a place to browse also.

Outdoor Gym

If you have not made it back to the gym or working out in front of people makes you nauseous, so you choose to workout at home. Changing up your scenery can help you stick with it and keep going. So if you are getting tired of doing your workout in the house, try moving it outside. Or maybe you have a friend that is going to start working out with you; there can be more room outside for both of you.

How To Choose A Gazebo Or Pergola that You Can Use All Year Long

Just like with everything, there are advantages and disadvantages to both the gazebo and pergola. You will want to weigh these carefully with what you are looking to achieve in the end.




  • You can use many different materials, and frequently a combination of a few

  • Adds value to your property

  • Can be used in any weather

  • You can run electricity to them

  • Can be expensive to build, depending on the materials chosen and size

  • Take time to build

  • Maintenance required to keep them structurally safe and in good condition





  • The more affordable option

  • Can be built in one day

  • Made almost entirely of wood, so very sturdy

  • Lots of customizations available

  • Wood maintenance can be a pain

  • Wood may fade to a different color from the natural elements

  • Attract termites and other wood insects

  • Very permanent


How to Maintain Your Gazebo or Pergola to Keep it Usable all Year Long?

If you want your gazebo to last, you will want to make sure you maintain it properly. If you do not maintain it, you will find it starts to lose it's an appeal or starts to cost a lot of money in repairs.


As tempting as it may be, you will want to avoid using a pressure washer on a wood gazebo. Using a power washer may cause you more work than necessary.

Things You Will Need To Maintain Your Gazebo


You will need a ladder that is tall enough for you to reach the highest part of your gazebo to easily reach anything that will need to be removed while cleaning, and to reach the top center for cleaning.


You will be using the broom to sweep out the inside and also to remove any webs and debris that you can without scrubbing.


You will need a sturdy bucket to fill with your water and soap for scrubbing down the walls and outside of the gazebo.

Mild Soap

You will want to use a mild soap for cleaning. If you use a soap that is too abrasive, you chance to peel off paint or to cause the wood not to be smooth.

Soft Scrub Brush

Just like with the soap, you do not want something that will scrub off finish or make the wood rough.

Garden Hose

You will be able to use the garden hose for rinsing the gazebo thoroughly after you are done washing it.

Waterproof Sealant

If you have a wood gazebo, you are going to want to use a waterproof sealant to seal the wood and preserve it. This will keep your gazebo in good shape and appealing to look at in your backyard.

Paintbrush, Scraper, and Paint

If you have painted your gazebo, you are going to need to scrape off the old paint. After you have cleared the old paint, you will want to put a coat of primer on to seal the wood. Then you will add a coat of your paint after the primer dries.


Steps to Maintain Your Gazebo

Keep the above supplies in or near your gazebo or pergola all year long, so you can easily maintain the structure. If the materials are easy to access, the maintenance won't be such a chore. Then, make sure to regularly complete these steps to keep your gazebo or pergola in tip-top shape for year-round use. 


Regularly sweep any debris from the inside of your gazebo or pergola. This is especially important if you use your space for eating. Crumbs attract critters and other unwanted guests. You will also want to make sure you sweep off the roof and sides to clear any webs and debris. Make sure to get rid of anything you sweep up by putting it in the trash, so it's not lingering anywhere near your pergola or gazebo.

Get Rid of Any Animal Dwellings

You want to make sure your structure is clear of any animal dwellings, including insect damage. Being a wood structure, they are sometimes subject to termites and other wood damaging insects like carpenter bees. You will also want to make sure there are no holes under your gazebo that may have other critters like opossum or woodchucks


You are going to want to scrub both inside and out with the soft scrub brush. You want to be you have cleaned any dirt or stains from the gazebo. Once you have finished, you will rinse it with the water hose. Make sure that you thoroughly inspect it after you have rinsed it. If you see spots that will need some more attention, you will need to wash until they are gone. If you have any hardware on the gazebo, you will also want to check for any staining from there if the hardware starts to rust and can leave rust stains. If you see this, you will want to clean it and consider replacing your hardware.

Seal, Stain, and Paint

Once you are satisfied that you have removed all dirt and your gazebo is clean, you are ready to seal the wood. When you have sealed the wood, you can choose to either stain and keep the wood look of the structure, or you can decide to paint it if you prefer a particular color to go with your decor. Make sure you purchase outdoor and waterproof seals, stain, and paints.


For more detail on these steps be sure to check out How to Care for a Gazebo


Gazebos and pergolas are becoming very common in people's backyards as they look to create the perfect backyard oasis. As people are spending more time at home and enjoying their own backyards, they are also building out their landscaping to make it the relaxing space they want. 


These will not only add value to your home but give you the perfect space to relax your mind after a long day at work, enjoy a dinner party with friends or give you the perfect place to enjoy your morning coffee before you start your day.


If they are cared for properly and maintained, they can be kept in good shape and continue to make your yard beautiful for many years to come. So when you are shopping for your gazebo or pergola, be sure to consider what you are looking for, type of material you want it made from, amount of maintenance you are willing to put in, and how many months throughout the year you want to use it. 


Once you have answered these questions, you will have no problem finding the perfect gazebo or pergola to fit the backyard oasis you are looking to achieve.

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