MADISON (WKOW) -- Outdoor living is a $5 billion industry that figures to only get bigger as more and more people outfit their backyard decks and patios with indoor conveniences like ovens and refrigerators. The latest trend? Smart pergolas.
Ginger Darrough doesn't spend much time inside her house anymore. She's usually enjoying her back patio under her new smart pergola. "I've had work parties out here. I've even had employees come and work here for the day, so it's just been a hit,” said Darrough. “Everybody loves it. Very few people have ever seen it, but they love it.”
Regular pergolas have been around since ancient Rome, but only recently did they become "smart"… equipped with movable louvers that allow you to control the amount of sunlight filtering through. "You can have shade any time of day because it doesn't matter where the sun is,” said outdoor design professional Anna Bertolini. “You can rotate the louvers as 150-degree rotation, so you can create shade but maintain an open roof."
Keeping the louvers open allows the heat of the day to escape instead of being trapped underneath. And if the weather turns wet, the adjustable aluminum slats can close completely. Built-in sensors can do this automatically, even when you're not home. "It's rain tight - has the gutter system that goes all the way around that collects the water. And that's taken away in a downspout that's inside one of our columns,” said Bertolini.
"A new trend we're seeing is smart pergolas, which allow you to enjoy your outdoor space even when the weather isn't ideal,” said Angie's List founder Angie Hicks. “They can be placed near your home or even out in the yard, but remember when talking to your contractor, they may require a building permit to install."
Ginger's 800-foot structure took over a week to install. That was longer than expected, but still well worth the wait. "It looks good, it feels good,” said Darrough. “It's still very open. I just love it.”
The cost to cover an average-sized deck is $17,000. If you have a unique space you're trying to fit, Angie says to request a free on-site estimate and make sure any adjustments to the standard unit won't affect the warranty.