Here at Inspired Living, outdoor living is truly a way of life. That’s why we’ve equipped each community with beautiful, functional outdoor living spaces with a variety of places and environments to enjoy. Every community features a spacious outdoor courtyard with a gazebo and a pergola, and we also have screened-in porches that are a favorite gathering place for almost all of our residents.

So, exactly what are gazebos, pergolas, and porches? How are they different, and how do they help us keep the sun under control while enhancing our enjoyment of the outdoor spaces?

Let’s explore all three and find out!

Gazeboes & Pavilions

Gazeboes are some of the most popular and widely used features in outdoor living spaces all over the world. Generally, a gazebo is a round-shaped wooden deck with benches built into the perimeter. They’re fully open to the air on the sides and covered by a roof on top. Most gazeboes are actually eight-sided, also called “octagonal,” and relatively small in size, accommodating up to a dozen or so people at the most.

We’ve built gazeboes in all of our outdoor courtyards to provide residents with a more private, intimate place to spend time with friends and family. They’re a cool, shady spot to sit on a hot day, and they’ll even keep you dry in the event of a sudden afternoon shower—so familiar here in Florida and across the Southeast!

Pavilions may seem similar to gazeboes, but they’re usually larger and square or rectangular in shape. They most often have A-frame roofs and open sides, so they can almost look like a house with no walls. Pavilions are very popular for larger gatherings like wedding receptions, reunions, parties, banquets, and other events.

Pergolas & Arbors

Pergolas are all the rage lately, but many people aren’t actually familiar with the term. At the same time, many people have seen pergolas in many places and not known what to call them.

Simply put, a pergola is a semi-open lattice that’s held up by posts supporting cross-beams. They can be built to cover a sitting area, walkway, or an entire patio. Pergolas are easy to identify because they look like a simple roof, yet they’re still partially open on top. That means pergolas provide some shade while allowing some sunlight through. Lots of people love them because they can help you keep cool during the day without cutting off your starry view of the night sky.

Pergolas are also great for growing plants, especially vines. As plants and vines cover more and more of the pergola’s roof structure, they create more and more cooling shade, as well as a beautiful place to get some fresh air any time of the day or night.

What about so-called “arbors,” then? This term is often used interchangeably with “pergola” and “trellis,” so they often mean the same type of structure. However, some arbors include latticework around the sides to give plants and vines even more support and help create a natural tunnel-like structure that will beautify any outdoor space.

Porches & Screened-In Porches

Most people know that a “porch” is a covered deck that’s built onto the front, sides, or rear of a building. Many porches are open to the outside air, but we prefer our porches screened-in. That means they’re covered on top for shade and protection from the rain, but they’re also enclosed with screens around the sides to keep out bugs and pests while still allowing a fresh, cooling breeze through. This is why our screened-in porches are so popular among our residents—they’re the perfect place to enjoy all the benefits of being outside with none of the drawbacks!

Now that we’ve defined our various types of outdoor living structures, we hope you’ll join us for a cool summer breeze on a hot day. There’s just nothing like a nice chat and a cold beverage in your screened-in porch, pergola, or gazebo!

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