Gazebo vs. Cabana: What’s the Difference?

Are you looking for an outdoor escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life? If so, a gazebo or cabana might be just what you need. But before you make your decision, it’s important to understand the difference between these two structures. While they may look similar at first glance, there are some key differences in terms of their design and purpose. In this article, we’ll explore those differences to help you decide which is right for your needs. From materials used to size and shape, we’ll cover everything that sets a gazebo apart from a cabana – as well as how each structure can enhance your property’s aesthetic appeal.

What Is A Gazebo?

A gazebo is a free-standing structure that is typically octagonal in shape and features an open roof. It’s made of wood, metal, or plastic panels and can be used for a variety of purposes.

What Is A Gazebo?

Gazebos are often placed in gardens, parks, backyards, and other outdoor spaces to provide shelter from the elements. They’re also the perfect place to enjoy a good book, relax in the shade, or share a meal with family and friends.

What Is A Cabana?

A cabana is a type of shelter that has an open-air design and is intended to provide shade for outdoor activities.

Cabanas are typically made of canvas, plastic, or wood and can be freestanding or attached to a building structure like a pool fence.
They come in a variety of shapes and sizes so they can fit in any backyard or outdoor area. Cabanas are the perfect spot to relax and get away from the sun while still enjoying the outdoors, as they provide shade and a comfortable place to lounge. [1]

What Are The Differences Between A Gazebo And A Cabana?

The primary difference between a gazebo and a cabana is the type of roof they have. A gazebo usually has an A-frame or hip-roof design, while a cabana typically has a flat roof. Gazebos are typically open to the elements on all sides, allowing for more natural airflow and more shade. Cabanas, on the other hand, usually have four walls and a flat roof that can be closed off in order to provide additional privacy or protection from the elements.


The size of a gazebo and a cabana are typically quite different.

Gazebos are usually much larger than cabanas, often measuring between 10-20 feet in diameter.
Cabanas are designed for more intimate gatherings and tend to be smaller, typically around 8 or 9 feet wide.


The main differences between a gazebo and a cabana are their structural features. A gazebo is an open-sided structure with an octagonal or round roof, usually built in the garden or yard of a home. It’s supported by posts and beams and has lattice walls for decoration. Its primary purpose is to provide shade and shelter from the sun or light rain. A cabana, on the other hand, is a more substantial structure typically built near a swimming pool.


It typically has four walls with windows for ventilation and an open roof. Its main features are privacy and protection from direct sunlight, making it ideal for changing clothes before or after swimming.


The greatest difference between a gazebo and cabana is the price. Gazebos generally cost less than cabanas. This can be attributed to several factors, such as the material used and size of the structure. Gazebos are usually made out of wood or vinyl while cabanas tend to be constructed from more expensive materials like brick or stone. Cabanas also tend to be larger than gazebos, which adds to their cost. [2]

How To Choose A Cabana?

When looking for a cabana, you should consider the size of space you need, your budget and personal style. Before purchasing, measure the area that will be shaded or sheltered by the cabana. This is important so you can make sure your chosen cabana fits in the designated space.

Next, decide on a budget and shop around for the cabana that fits your needs. You can find both inexpensive and high-end options, allowing you to choose the look and feel that suits your backyard space.

Finally, take into account personal style. Covered cabanas come in a variety of styles, from modern designs with clean lines to classic wooden structures. You can also accessorize your cabana with outdoor furniture, pillows, curtains, and other decorations to make it feel like a personal oasis.

How To Choose A Gazebo?

When it comes to choosing a gazebo, there are several factors to consider. First, you need to decide where you want the gazebo to be placed and what size of structure best suits your needs. You also need to consider the budget required for materials and installation.

The type of material used is another important factor. Wood and metal are two of the most common materials used, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Wood is typically more affordable but requires more maintenance, while metal is sturdier but may be more expensive.

How To Choose A Gazebo?

It’s also important to think about how you want to use your gazebo. If you plan to use it as an outdoor living space, consider factors such as the number of people who will be using it and whether you want your gazebo to have any features like a built-in bar or fireplace.

Finally, take into account the climate in your area. If you live in an area that experiences extreme weather conditions, you may want to look for a gazebo that has additional features such as wind resistance and waterproofing. [3]

How To Know Which Is Best For You?

If you’re trying to decide between a gazebo and a cabana for your outdoor space, it’s important to understand the differences between them. A gazebo is an open-air structure with a roof and four walls or sides. It typically has benches or chairs inside for seating, and it is often used as an outdoor living space. A cabana is a type of shelter typically found at beaches or resorts. It usually has one wall and a roof, and often includes amenities such as lounge chairs, towels, umbrellas, and even refrigerators.

So which one should you choose? The answer depends on what you plan to use it for. If you’re looking for a place to relax and entertain outdoors, a gazebo might be the better option. Gazebos are often larger than cabanas and provide more interior space for furniture or seating. They also typically come with built-in features such as benches, shelves, and even electrical outlets.

Should I Build It Myself Or Hire An Expert?

This is a common question for those considering purchasing or building a gazebo or cabana.

If you’re looking to save money, there are some DIY gazebo and cabana kits available that come with detailed plans and instructions.
However, if you don’t have experience in carpentry or construction, it may be wise to hire a professional.

Professional contractors have the experience and knowledge necessary to build gazebos and cabanas that will last for years.

Should I Build It Myself Or Hire An Expert?

They can also help you choose materials that are best suited to your needs and budget—for instance, choosing pressure-treated wood or composite decking instead of cedar wood for a longer-lasting gazebo. Furthermore, they will be able to make sure the structure is built safely and to code so that you can enjoy your outdoor living space for many years. [4]


What is an open gazebo called?

An open gazebo is typically referred to as a pavilion. It is often used to provide shade and shelter in outdoor settings such as parks or gardens. The design of an open gazebo is usually octagonal or rectangular with an open roof and four columns holding up the structure. Pavilions can be constructed out of various materials such as wood, stone, plastic, and metal. Worth noting is that some pavilions are semi-enclosed with a partial roof and walls.

What is the difference between a gazebo and a canopy?

The main difference between a gazebo and a cabana is their structure. A gazebo is a freestanding, open-sided structure that has four posts connected by beams to form a roof. It’s usually made of wood or metal and can be used for shade or shelter outdoors. Cabanas are typically larger and are more like a tent, with sides that can be closed in to provide extra shelter from the sun or wind. They’re also usually made of heavier materials such as canvas or vinyl. Another difference between gazebos and cabanas is their size. Gazebos tend to be smaller and designed for up to four people, while cabanas can be large enough to accommodate up to 10 or more. The purpose of the two structures is also different. Gazebos are typically used as an outdoor leisure area for relaxation and social gatherings, where you can sit back and enjoy nature in comfort. Cabanas are usually used as a private retreat where you can take refuge from the heat and relax in your own personal oasis. They are also often used as a poolside lounge area for guests at resorts or hotels.

Why is it called a cabana?

The term “cabana” originates from the Spanish word for cabin or small house. The cabana is a freestanding structure, often with an open roof and sides, designed for outdoor activities such as sunbathing or swimming. Cabanas are typically found at resorts and beach clubs, providing a place of rest for guests to relax in the shade. Also known as pool houses, cabanas can be used as a changing area or to store outdoor furniture and accessories.

What makes a cabana at a cabana?

A cabana is a type of outdoor structure with an open roof and walls, usually made of wood or canvas. They are often used by beach resorts as changing rooms and lounge areas for guests. Cabanas typically feature comfortable furnishings like chairs, couches, tables, umbrellas, and sometimes even televisions and mini-fridges. However, the defining feature of a cabana is its semi-enclosed design, which offers extra protection from sun and wind.

What is better: a gazebo or a pergola?

When deciding between a gazebo and a pergola, there are several things to consider. Both offer an attractive outdoor feature that adds visual interest, but the two features have some distinct differences. A gazebo is a freestanding structure with walls and a roof, usually octagonal or round in shape, that provides a shaded seating area. It can be built from wood, metal or vinyl and is often used for entertaining purposes. A pergola is an open lattice structure with beams and posts supporting cross beams to create a partial roof over a patio or walkway. Pergolas are usually made of cedar or redwood and provide a dappled shade.

What is better: a gazebo or a pergola?

For those looking to add an attractive outdoor feature, the choice between a gazebo and a pergola often comes down to personal preference. A gazebo offers more protection from the elements, such as rain and sun, while a pergola provides an airy feel and ample outdoor seating. When making the decision, it is important to consider your climate and how you plan to use the space. If entertaining is a priority, a gazebo may be best suited for your purpose.

Why is it called a gazebo?

Gazebos, a garden structure with an open roof and walls, are thought to have originated in the Middle Ages. The name “gazebo” is believed to come from the French term “gazebeau,” which translates literally to “lookout” or “sightseer.” Originally, gazebos were often octagonal or round in shape and used as a lookout point from which to watch the surrounding landscape. Also, they acted as a shaded area for outdoor relaxation and entertaining. Worth noting, gazebos have been traditionally made from wood and other natural materials that are designed to enhance the outdoor setting.

What is a veranda vs gazebo vs pergola?

Verandas, gazebos and pergolas are all outdoor structures that provide shade or shelter from the elements. They differ in terms of their design, construction materials, and intended uses. A veranda is an open porch or balcony with a roof structure supported by columns or posts. It’s usually made of wood, metal or vinyl and is commonly attached to a house. Verandas are popular in warmer climates as they provide shade from the sun and protection from rain. Gazebos are freestanding structures that usually feature an octagonal or round shape, open sides, and a roof made out of material such as wood, metal, or canvas. Gazebos are often used for outdoor entertaining and dining as they provide a comfortable area to gather and relax in the outdoors. Lastly, a pergola is an arched structure that consists of columns supporting an overhead latticework made out of wood or stone. They can be attached to a building or placed in open areas. Pergolas can be used to add shade or an airy outdoor living space. They make great additions to patios, decks, and gardens as they provide a beautiful and inviting atmosphere.

What is a gazebo called in America?

In the United States, a gazebo is called a pavilion. It typically looks like an open structure with a roof and at least one wall. It’s commonly used as a place to relax or entertain outside without being exposed to the sun, wind, or rain. Gazebos are usually freestanding and not attached to any other structure. Also, they are typically smaller than cabanas. However, some cabanas can be built to look like gazebos.

What’s another type of gazebo?

A gazebo is a type of structure that provides shelter from the elements. In recent years, there has been an increase in outdoor living spaces such as cabanas, which are similar to gazebos. However, there are some important differences between the two structures.

The most notable difference between a gazebo and a cabana is the size. While gazebos are usually quite large, cabanas tend to be more compact. Additionally, cabanas often feature walls or a roof, while gazebos typically just have an open structure.

Another type of gazebo that is becoming increasingly popular is the pergola. Pergolas are usually larger than cabanas and smaller than gazebos. They are typically made of wood or metal and provide an airy, outdoor living space that is perfect for entertaining guests.

What is better than a gazebo?

When it comes to garden features, many homeowners find themselves debating between a gazebo and a cabana. Both structures offer some degree of shelter from the elements, but there are a few distinct differences that could make one a better choice over the other. One difference between the two is size; cabanas are typically larger than gazebos. Cabanas often provide more space for outdoor furnishings and amenities such as grills, tables, or even a bar setup, making them ideal for entertaining large groups of people. Gazebos are usually smaller in comparison, but they can still accommodate a few chairs or small tables and benches.

Useful Video: Full Build of a 12×12 Amish Style Gazebo!


Gazebos and cabanas are two different outdoor structures that offer shade and protection from the sun, rain, and other elements. Both provide a pleasant area to relax outdoors, though some may prefer one type over the other based on their individual needs. Gazebos tend to be freestanding structures with a roof supported by four or more posts, while cabanas are typically attached to the side of a house and may have windows and doors. Gazebos offer more space for entertaining or relaxing, while cabanas provide privacy and shelter from the elements.