What's the Best Poolside Cabana? Solarium vs Gazebo vs Pergola

What's the Best Poolside Cabana?
May 19, 2021

Having a backyard pool brings so many benefits, like getting to enjoy the sun in cool water on a hot day. Completing the space isn't just about the pool, though. Think about how you enjoy your pool and the kinds of poolside cabanas that would make it even better.

A shelter for your pool allows you the opportunity to extend the amount of time you use the space while keeping you safe from a full day directly under the sun's rays. You might not want to get into the pool to enjoy the sun, either. Depending on how you like to use your outdoor pool space, the kind of shelter you build might change.

Solariums, gazebos, and pergolas all have great benefits as poolside cabanas. Which one is the best isn't an accepted fact but depends on how you use that space. Read through our highlights and descriptions of each one while considering whether you need shelter from the sun or more time to bask in it, among other factors.

Why Have a Poolside Cabana?

When you first design your pool area, you probably focused solely on the pool itself. You might have wanted a unique shape, an in-built pool, or something customized to the exterior design of your home. However, once you take a step back from it all, you might realize that something is missing.

The most significant benefit of a poolside cabana is the way it enhances the functionality of your space. A pool gives you the chance to exercise, to have fun, and to soak up some vitamin D. There is only so long that we can stay in the water and only so much direct sunlight our skin can handle at one go.

A shelter next to the pool can offer you protection from the sun if you choose a shaded shelter like a gazebo. A pergola gives you the chance to soak up that sun, with adjustable shade to block the sun when you need to. A solarium will give you a sunroom that can aesthetically connect your home to your pool. 

Ideally, it would always be sunny whenever you have time to sit by or in your pool. Unfortunately, that isn't always the case. You can still enjoy some time outside under the protection of a pool shelter. If you already planned on hosting, it allows you to still do that without moving the party indoors.

Finally, a shelter of any kind, but especially beside a beautiful pool area, extends the time that you get to enjoy it. If you had been appreciating the time in the pool earlier but are ready to get out of the sun or the water, you can remain in the space under the shelter's safety.

A shelter keeps your pool area safer and gives you more time to appreciate the design and effort you put so much into developing.

In summary, the reasons why a poolside cabana is a must for so many pool owners is because: 

•             It can give you a shady, safe place to get out of the sun.

•             You can get a specialized glass to reduce harmful UV rays hitting your skin.

•             The shelter lets you enjoy nice weather while being protected from poor weather.

•             Shelters can increase the amount of time it is viable to use this outdoor space.

Sunny Solariums as Pool CabanasSunny Solariums as Pool Cabanas

Sunny Solariums as Pool Cabanas

Solariums are a great addition to any property. They’re designed to let in natural light while still protecting you from the elements. Also known as sunrooms, solariums provide endless possibilities for backyard fun and entertainment.

Freestanding solariums can be placed anywhere in the backyard, while wall-mounted solariums are secured to an exterior wall of your home. They have a durable, four-wall design that will create an inviting interior space in your backyard. Sliding windows and large doors can be opened or closed to suit the weather.

The pros of a solarium include:

•             Protection from flying bugs.

•             Increased home value and curb appeal.

•             A floor-to-ceiling view of your pool area.

However, not everything is always sunny underneath a solarium's ceiling. There are certain factors to think about before investing in one of these structures. Some of the cons of a solarium include:

•             They are hard to keep cool on a bright, sunny day.

•             A feeling of being indoors, removed from the poolside action.

If you do get a solarium, prioritize placement and design to maximize your potential ventilation.

Gazebos as Shady Pool CabanasGazebos as Shady Pool Cabanas

Gazebos as Shady Pool Cabanas

Gazebos present a different type of poolside cabana than a solarium does. A gazebo is often a pavilion-like structure that you can also attach to the house's side to minimize the amount of outdoor space it uses. Gazebos are essentially shade shelters, giving you a place to get out of the sun but still enjoy warm weather. You get protection from the elements and a cooler place to relax. 

The main allure of a gazebo as a pool cabana is that protection from the sun. It gives you a safe spot to stay outside but away from adverse weather, like when it starts to rain. There are plenty of styles of gazebos as well. You can get those that are essentially open with only a fabric roof over the top, or you can invest in one with tinted glass panes.

Gazebos, by nature, don't have walls. They might have fabric curtains that you can pull across, but the lack of walls limits the amount of wind and rain you might endure underneath.

Some of the pros for a gazebo include:

•             Shelter from harmful UV rays.

•             Cool temperatures to take a break from the pool.

•             Protection from some adverse weather.

Picturesque Pergolas as Poolside CabanasPicturesque Pergolas as Poolside Cabanas

Picturesque Pergolas as Poolside Cabanas

Pergolas are perhaps the most picturesque and definitely the most open out of these three options. They are typically made from wood or vinyl and do not have a ceiling or walls. Their purpose isn't protection from the weather. You can always throw fabric over the top to give you more shade, but otherwise, it isn't meant to protect you from the sun either.

A pergola is an excellent option if you want a shelter that is airy and open. Perhaps you want something that enhances the aesthetic of your outdoor space? A pergola with flowering vines growing over the top and lights strung through the rafters is a great way to do exactly that.

The pros of a pergola include:

•             An improved outdoor aesthetic.

•             Partial shade if you decide to use fabric over the rafters.

•             Airy, open space is great for hot summer days.

•             More affordable than a solarium or a gazebo.

The cons of a pergola are only important if they get in the way of the purpose you want it to serve. These include:

•             Not a very effective sun shelter.

•             Doesn't protect you from poor weather.

Which Poolside Cabana is the Best for You? Solarium, Gazebo, or Pergola

Ultimately, deciding which is best as a backyard cabana comes down to you and your goals and preferences for your pool space. Think about whether you want an area to take a break from the sun or rainy weather. Then a gazebo should probably be your choice. If you want somewhere to be completely protected from bad weather but still get to soak up the sun, a solarium is your best option. Perhaps you want something affordable and airy? Go with a pergola.

If you have trouble figuring out which would be best, speak with family members and friends to find out what your space needs. Ask them and yourself questions like "why do I normally leave that area and go back inside?" or "what reasons do I normally use for not going and enjoying the pool?" It might become clear that a little bit of shade is all you need to make it that much more functional.

Enjoy the Shade and the Sun

Choosing poolside cabanas starts as a big decision, but the solution becomes clear when you figure out exactly what you need to maximize the enjoyment in the area. We can help you figure it out by giving you plenty of creative project options. Explore SOJAG's lines of solarium, gazebos, and pergolas to find the perfect poolside structure for your home. 

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