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Which Works Better: Debonair Deck or Grand Gazebo?

Written by Michael Franco
Updated August 24, 2015
Using the same materials and design for your gazebo as your deck can give a nice, unified look. (Photo courtesy of Angie’s List member Robert C. of Barrington, Ill.)

Decks and gazebos both expand the usable outdoor space of a home and provide attractive areas for entertaining and relaxing.

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They both also increase the value and charm of your home, and you can construct them either as simple or elaborate structures. Yet the differences between the two might make one more ideal than the other for your home or yard. Taking the time to understand these differences and weigh your decision will ensure that — when it comes time to expand your outdoor space — you get exactly the look and feel that's right for you.

Some gazebos sit atop an existing deck rather than out in the middle of the yard. (Photo courtesy of Angie’s List member Gary S. of Lorton, Va.)

Evaluate your space

Gazebos are freestanding roofed structures typically set away from the home, somewhere in the yard. Decks, on the other hand, are usually attached to the home either on the first or second story and are normally built without a roof. So the type of home you have and the overall terrain that surrounds it could greatly affect the type of structure you choose.

If your front and backyards are extremely hilly, you might have trouble finding a suitable spot for a gazebo and may find a deck a more ideal solution. However, if the area immediately around your home is dense with trees or close to neighboring homes on the sides where you'd need to place a deck, a gazebo could provide you more flexibility.

If you value your privacy, consider whether a deck would leave you feeling "in view" of all your neighbors. As an alternative, you might find a gazebo tucked away in a more secluded section of your property more desirable.

Consider your needs

Both structures provide a way to increase your living space and bring you closer to nature, but gazebos and decks can serve different functions.

If you're thinking of adding outdoor space onto your home to enjoy meals in the fresh air, a deck is likely more appropriate for you. Often, you can place decks with easy access to the kitchen so that you can carry food and dishes back and forth with ease. A gazebo is usually placed far from the home, so traveling back and forth with glassware, food and drinks could be an issue. Because gazebos are covered by a roof, they're often not ideal for outdoor cooking, whereas the open plan of a deck more easily accommodates a grill.

If you're more interested in creating a peaceful outdoor sanctuary, a gazebo should rank high on your list. Even though it might be only a few feet from your home, a gazebo can feel worlds away, creating an almost cottage-like getaway on your very own property. You can increase this atmosphere by screening in the gazebo, installing a ceiling fan and filling it with cozy, comfy furniture.

Look into the costs

You should consider size, complexity and materials when determining the budget for your deck or gazebo project. However, unlike decks — which typically require hiring a contractor — you can buy prefabricated gazebos or gazebo kits that should cost less than a full-on deck construction project. You'll need to check local codes to be sure, but you might be able to put a gazebo in your backyard without needing to obtain building permits, which could save extra expense.

Rather than isolating your gazebo in the middle of your yard, consider connecting it to your deck with a patio. (Photo courtesy of Angie’s List member Patrick W. of Medina, Ohio)

Get the best of both worlds

If you're drawn to the whimsical nature of a gazebo but need the practicality of a deck, why not incorporate them both? You get to enjoy the covered space of the gazebo when you want and can soak up the sun and grill to your heart's content on the deck. While this will raise the price, the incremental cost of adding a gazebo to a deck-building endeavor shouldn't be as expensive as installing each as a separate project.

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