As more homeowners seek to bring the indoors to the outdoors, smart pergolas are becoming one of the hottest trends in outdoor design.
Traditionally, a pergola is a garden feature forming a shaded sitting area. The effect is a seating or dining area that allows for breeze and soft sunlight without the harsh glare of direct sunlight.
The smart pergola is the modern take on this classic structure. Using a smartphone, the homeowner can adjust the slats in the pergola roof to create the perfect amount of sunlight or shade. And if it rains, the homeowner can shut the slats, providing a shelter from the rain.
The smart pergola can even be preset to position the slats automatically based on the time of day, the position of the sun. And if the sensors sense rain drops, the smart pergola becomes a shelter on its own.
Smart pergolas are going to be one of the biggest trends in 2018 for homeowners wanting to upgrade their outdoor living spaces, predicts Tom Dyson, an outdoor living expert.
Garden features such as smart pergolas “not only add ambiance to an outdoor space but also provide shade and shelter that allows you to use your patio earlier in the day and later into the year,” says Dyson.
Smart pergolas also make great outdoor dining locations and gathering spots, Dyson says. They’re becoming very popular at country clubs, restaurants with large outdoor sitting areas, and places that host wedding receptions. “Smart pergolas stop rain ruining the occasion and the light can be adjusted to produce amazing photography.”
The Marriott, Ritz-Carlton and Hilton Hotel chains have all recently installed smart pergolas.
“The patio or lawn will always be a favored gathering spot for family and guests, especially during the summer. Eating and drinking is part of modern outdoor experience. Modern outdoor living combines these two traditions into one with smart pergolas,” according to Tim Mittelstaedt, outdoor design architect.
The Awning Association says smart pergolas are growing in popularity.
Homeowners are drawn to pergolas because of their “versatility, modern design, and classic style,” the patio association says. Smart pergolas which are up to 12 feet wide and 20 feet deep are designed to withstand hurricane-force winds and heavy snow loads. They can be attached to existing structures or erected as stand-alone structures. They can be installed on balconies and inside pool screen enclosures.
Explaining the smart pergola trend, home remodeling and design website Houzz says: “The natural element is simply a primal source of satisfaction. Now people can control the elements much more easily.”
John Walter is editor in chief at the Pergola One, a Florida-based company that helps people design and build the perfect patio and outdoor living spaces.