The Difference Between Ramadas, Pergolas and Gazebos

July 13, 2017

Sounds Shady

One of the most popular (and functional) custom backyard features we build at Straight Line Landscape is an outdoor shade structure. Usually that’s a ramada, pergola or gazebo; but what’s the difference?

They’re all pretty shady, but here we outline the key differences as well as pros and cons of these three popular backyard shade structures in Phoenix, AZ.


Key Differences

  • Closed roof structure
  • Freestanding or an extension of the home
  • Sometimes called a pavilion

Fully Enclosed

The key characteristic of a ramada is a pitched, fully covered roof structure, providing complete shade as well as shelter from rain and weather. The closed roof holds heat which can be nice for cooler seasons. In some cases we build ramadas as an extension of the home, though more often as free standing structures.

We typically build ramadas with a tile roof to match the home. The ceiling can be vaulted or flat, and can be built with one or more walls to accommodate a fireplace or television.

Ideal For

  • Complete shade
  • Outdoor kitchens and wet bars
  • Audio/video and electrical

With it’s closed roof a ramada is ideal for supporting electrical supply for lights, fans, kitchen appliances, outdoor audio/video and more.


Key Differences

  • Open or latticed roof structure
  • Partial shade
  • Freestanding or an extension of the home


Pergolas are structures with an open, latticed roof that is typically flat, allowing sunlight through but casting a complete shadow at certain times of day. Columns or posts support a trellis structure that is suited for growing vines and vegetation.

At Straight Line we usually build pergolas with aluma lattice, or rough sawn douglas fir that’s painted or stained. Great for extending an existing patio, these can also be designed to look like an extension of the home.

Ideal For

  • Vines & vegetation
  • Open, airy relaxing spaces
  • Poolside spaces


Key Differences

  • Closed roof
  • Complete shade
  • Hexagonal in shape
  • Freestanding


A gazebo is another common shade structure with a fully covered, pitched roof and. vaulted ceiling. They are circular in shapes with 5 or more sides, often octagonal supported by eight supporting posts.

Gazebos are usually situated in a space providing an attractive view, and can be screened in on all sides to keep the bugs out. They can also be fitted with electrical supply for a fan, lighting or television.

Ideal For

  • Places with a view
  • Smaller enclosed relaxing area

At Straight Line we are experts at building ramadas, pergolas and gazebos, all custom designed to perfectly suit your home, landscape design and how you intend to use your outdoor space.

Want to see more?

See Our Custom Ramadas and Pergolas Gallery

Very meticulous work, and they clean up after their jobs every day. They deliver what your expectations are.

Brett D Phoenix, Arizona
Ready to Talk About Your Project?
Contact Us Start a Quote