Extending your Home Outdoors with a Pavilion or Pergola

Extending your home outdoors with a pavilion or pergola adds value to your residential landscape design, expands your outdoor living space, and makes your time outdoors even more comfortable, and fun.

A continuing trend among homeowners is the desire to spend more time entertaining at home. This does take some effort, but that’s outweighed by the joy of bringing happiness to those you care about.

And who doesn’t like to relax at home, where you feel comfortable and secure, surrounded by people and things you love?

What could be better?

Having an incredible outdoor living space design where you, alone or with guests, can enjoy all the pleasures Mother Nature has to offer—from crisp fall days to balmy summer nights.

The Differences Between Pavilions and Pergolas

Pavilions and pergolas are both outdoor structures that make it easier to expand your indoor living space to the outdoors. They can be smaller additions to your landscape design or provide lots more square footage for outdoor entertaining.

Pavilions and pergolas differ in their functions and usually have different architectural details. Pergolas add atmosphere and some shade; pavilions offer space and protection from the elements.

We can customize both pavilions and pergolas to create an outdoor living space that precisely fits your lifestyle and entertainment preferences.

Pavilions and pergolas can both serve as an:

  • Outdoor living room
  • Outdoor dining room
  • Outdoor kitchen area/bar area

A carefully designed pavilion or pergola will work well in any backyard—whether as part of a large estate home or modest backyard.


A Pavilion with lighting and attached stone circular patio

A pavilion is an outdoor room that can truly maximize your outdoor living space. It has a roof but completely open sides. It also doesn’t have a built-in floor; its floor is often the outdoor stone or concrete patio.

4-6 posts and columns usually support a pavilion’s roof—depending on the pavilion’s size.

The tremendous advantage of a pavilion is that you’ll enjoy the benefits of being in the fresh air while being protected from the elements. You can comfortably enjoy the quiet of nature or entertain many guests in your pavilion, whether its bright sunlight or raining cats and dogs!  

A pavilion with an outdoor kitchen and a pergola nearby

Your landscape designer may suggest these pavilion design ideas for greater function and appeal of your outdoor living space:

  • An outdoor fireplace
  • A finished ceiling
  • Recessed lighting
  • An open beam ceiling
  • Outdoor heating or ceiling fans
  • Elevation of the pavilion with added steps
  • An outdoor kitchen
  • Audio and video capabilities
  • Retractable blinds for protection from strong sun or blowing rains
A pavilion with bar seating, lighting, dining area, and ceiling fan

You can plan the perfect pavilion to make it truly feel like an extension of your home:

  • Duplicate some construction materials, such as stone accents or flooring
  • Add similar textures and colors to the design
  • Purchase outdoor furniture that closely resembles your indoor furniture

However, whatever you add to your pavilion, whether it is furniture or kitchen appliances, be sure that they are built for outdoor use.

Furniture should have water-resistant fabrics and materials.

Choose kitchen appliances and TVs that were specially constructed to withstand the harshest elements.

Want to go that extra mile? Select chandeliers or other statement lighting to elevate your pavilion to match your home’s inside décor!


A pergola is a stand-alone structure that has a slatted or lattice-style roof made of cross bars; at least 50% of the roof is open and sides are open as well. You can look up and see the decorative beams and sky when under the pergola.

Pergolas have attractive, sometimes whimsical, architectural details. They add a sense of mystery and romanticism to your landscape.

A backyard outdoor living space with small pergola area

A pergola will add shade to your backyard even though it’s open to the sky. Sunlight will filter in, but the pergola will block the direct rays of the sun. Different styles of pergolas offer varying shade options.

An architectural designer will let you know the best orientation for your pergola. This way, the pergola will be effective in providing shade. An improperly constructed or oriented pergola will never provide the shade you want.

Some pergolas have a retractable canopy to provide limited protection against the rain, but don’t count on it being a comfortable area during a rainstorm. You can add draping curtains for greater protection from the elements, or to increase privacy.

Some pergolas can reduce the temperature underneath the structure by up to ten degrees. That’s a lot, especially on hot summer days.

Pergolas are made of many materials, including:

  • Wood
  • Vinyl
  • Fiberglass
  • Aluminum
  • PVC

These materials differ in aesthetics, maintenance needs, and cost.

Pergolas add aesthetic appeal and interest to outdoor spaces. Have your pergola installed over a:

  • Patio
  • Walkway
  • Entrance
  • Garden
  • Dining area

Use a pergola as an attractive, dramatic focal point in your yard. Adorn it with climbing vines, or other plants.

Always Consider Your Landscape Design

Whether you are adding a pavilion or pergola to your landscape, you want to be sure that the new structure fits in with your overall landscape design; it needs to enhance your existing landscape’s beauty—not fight it.


A poorly planned pergola or pavilion will seem out of place and awkward. Let a talented landscape designer help you select the best design elements and materials that will enhance your landscape and fit within your budget.

All hardscaping elements on your property should work together and look as though a landscape architect built them at the same time to create a unified design. A qualified landscape designer will ensure this happens.

Why Not Have the Best of Both Worlds!

A landscape designer can incorporate both a pavilion and a pergola in your residential landscape design. There’s no reason you can’t enjoy both the functionality of a pavilion and the romanticism of a pergola in your own landscape architecture!

Check out our inspired outdoor living spaces.

Contact us at Sponzilli Landscape Group for impressive landscaping and hardscaping design and installation.

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