Is a Deck or a Gazebo Better for Your Space? Here’s How to Decide

Lauren Wellbank
Written by Lauren Wellbank
Updated January 19, 2022
Dinner party backyard deck food
Photo: Mascot / Adobe Stock

Highlights

  • Decks are a great way to extend outdoor living areas by creating a comfortable place for eating or relaxing.

  • Gazebos can help you spend more time outdoors by keeping you dry in the rain or shaded from the sun.

  • There are plenty of ways to customize your deck to fit your yard’s unique needs. 

  • Decks offer a 76 percent ROI.

  • Gazebos are an affordable way to upgrade your yard.

Get quotes from up to 3 pros!
Enter a zip below and get matched to top-rated pros near you.

A fun way to expand your home’s living space and upgrade your landscaping: adding a deck or gazebo. Both outdoor additions are an excellent way to increase the amount of space you have for relaxing and entertaining while upping the amount of time you spend outdoors. 

But deciding on a deck versus a gazebo takes careful consideration—here are some pros and cons to weigh before beginning your build.

Deck Pros and Cons

Outside summer deck table chairs
Photo: Trinette Reed / Stocksy / Adobe Stock

Decks are usually built using wood or wood composite materials and can pretty much be built to suit your needs—taking things like elevation, materials, and even varied landscape into consideration—and can be stained or painted to fit in with your landscape design. Meaning you can create a deck that will fit perfectly with your home’s aesthetic, no matter what that aesthetic is. 

Deck Pros

  • There’s a lot of options: Your deck can have multiple levels and cascade down from your home to your pool, or simply provide an extra bit of seating area outside of your second-story sliding door. You can dress it up with fancy banisters, built-in benches and storage, or flower boxes. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination (and your budget). 

  • You can expand your living area: If you are hoping to add a space for outdoor dining or seating, a deck is a great way to extend your living quarters. Larger decks can accommodate more seating and options for recreation, while smaller ones only have to be large enough to accommodate a chair or two for you to be able to enjoy them. 

  • They make it easier to take in the view: If you have a picturesque landscape or a stunning view you want to enjoy more comfortably, a deck is the perfect way to take it. Decks usually offer unobstructed views since they’re normally uncovered and they can be built to ensure you’re getting the best view possible. 

  • You can build them to fit your needs: A good thing about decks is that you can build them to suit the area you have available to you. You don’t need to worry about leveling the ground, allowing the deck to follow your yard’s natural landscape—although your deck’s footings will need to be level. Decking truly is the “go with the flow” choice of patio options

Deck cons 

  • There’s a lot of maintenance: Depending on the type of materials you use—such as real wood vs. composite options—you may have to spend a little more time taking care of your deck than you do relaxing on it. Wood decking needs routine maintenance (like pressure washing, staining, and resealing), and composite decking options can still require a little additional care (like an annual sudsy scrubbing). If you’re hoping for a one-and-done type option for your outdoor space, you might be better suited to a concrete slab instead. 

  • They’re pricey: The cost to build a deck can range from $4,090 to $11,220. On average, you’ll pay around $7,630.

Gazebo Pros and Cons​

Yard wood path outdoors gazebo
Photo: Javani LLC / Adobe Stock

Gazebos are typically freestanding covers that are built over existing bases and made out of wood like yellow pine or precut vinyl. You can paint or stain wood gazebos to match your landscape or home’s exterior. They can help you get more enjoyment out of your outdoor spaces by offering a cover from the harsh sun or sudden downpours that would normally send you running inside

Gazebo Pros

  • Good for adding shade: If your yard lacks a lot of shade a gazebo is a great way to provide some cover. Gazebos can keep you cooler during the summer months when the beating sun may make being outside a little too hot to handle. The overhead cover can also help you spend time outside when the weather conditions are less than ideal, like during a light rainstorm. 

  • You can easily add outdoor lighting: If you want to make sure your outdoor fun doesn’t have to end when the day does, you can use your gazebo to install overhead lighting. It doesn’t matter if you’re just using it as a support to string lights or if you’re running electricity to the structure, having an easy way to hang overhead lights can keep your outdoor fun going after the sun has gone down. 

  • They make adding a fan a breeze: In addition to being great at providing overhead lighting, gazebos are a great spot to hang an outdoor fan. You can install an overhead fan to keep you cooler while you’re outside. Not only do overhead fans break up the heat on sweltering days but they can also keep flying pests at bay which is great news if you’re constantly battling unwanted garden guests like biting flies or mosquitoes. 

Gazebo Cons

  • They need a base: If you don’t already have a patio or deck to put your gazebo on you’ll likely find yourself mowing and weed whacking around the frame. 

  • They can make your space feel smaller: Gazebos are big and take up a lot of yard space. Unless you have expansive land, they might make your outdoor space feel a bit cramped.

Deck vs. Gazebo

When it comes to choosing between a deck and a gazebo, there are some factors to consider. 

Options and Customizations​

While tweaking the design of your gazebo is possible—there are a variety of sizes and shapes to choose from—you’re tied to a pretty standard design of supporting posts and a roof. With decking, you can create a variety of different layouts including floating, raised, and tiered styles. 

Most customizable: Deck

Price​

Decks tend to be more expensive because they require more materials to be built. The average deck costs $7,630, while a gazebo costs as little as $1,500 on average. Least expensive: Gazebo

ROI and Resale Value

Decks may cost more, but you’ll get more money back in the long run. This is because decks get homeowners a notoriously high return on their investment. It’s believed that you can expect to get around 76% of the cost back when you sell your home. For example, if you build a $4,000 deck, you can expect it to add around $3,040 to the value of your home!

Best ROI: Deck

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.