An exterior structure for your property can mean added shade and protection from a light rain, wind and even chilly temperatures when you want to sit outside. An exterior structure can also enhance the look of your yard and serve as a backdrop for landscaping. When you're ready to choose an outside structure, you might see far more choices than you realised were available. Note a few differences in those choices so you choose find the right structure for your needs, and know what to discuss with a contractor.
A pergola is freestanding and made of beams and studs with spaces between them; you can grow plants and flowers inside the pergola, as they'll get lots of sunlight and fresh air. A ramada is basically a pergola with a solid roof, and this can be good for very sunny areas but not for those who actually like bright sunlight while they're sitting outside.
A very small pergola that just covers a walkway is called an arbour. These provide a nice framework for climbing vines and other greenery but are usually too small for sitting underneath. You can install a gate across the width of an arbour that is attached to a fence for more privacy and security for your property.
Talk with pergola builders to better understand what will work in your yard.
A gazebo will have an enclosed roof, its own floor, and walls or screens that create an enclosure. Gazebos may be good for providing maximum protection from sun and inclement weather, but they can feel closed-in. You might choose a gazebo for entertaining, and they can protect an outdoor grill or an exterior kitchen, but consider how a gazebo can cut you off from the elements if you prefer lots of fresh air and sunshine while outdoors.
A greenhouse is made of specially insulated glass that helps to control the temperature inside the structure, making it easier to grow plants and flowers. Some greenhouses even have their own heating, cooling and humidity control systems for those who are serious about their gardening!
A greenhouse can double as an outdoor space, but it will be fully enclosed and may seem overly warm, so it's not the best choice for those who prefer lots of fresh air while outside. The glass used for greenhouses may not be tempered or toughened, so it's typically not a good choice if you're worried about vandalism, if you have children who play sports outside or if you live near a roadway that may result in flying gravel and other debris.