Made in the Shade

Protect yourself from the elements with sophisticated outdoor structures.
Pergola shade at pool
Adjustable pergolas allow for ventilation and controlled shade when desired. Photography courtesy Carlton T. Ashbourne

Though Michiganders look forward to getting outdoors after a wallop of a winter, Mother Nature still can deliver extreme heat, glaring sun and heavy rain come summertime. But there is no need to confine yourself indoors. Modern pergolas and other overhead structures can turn a patio, deck or swimming pool into an open-air protected zone, creating a special outdoor destination like an al fresco dining area for entertaining.


Pergolas outdoors
Pergolas are ideal for various outdoors spaces, including rooftops, entryways and pool/spa terraces. Photography courtesy Carlton T. Ashbourne

Adjustable louvered pergolas let you control the ventilation and light with a remote control, said Nino Vitale, CEO of TEMO Sunrooms and Fun Space Direct in Clinton Township ( When it rains, the louvers can be closed for full protection. When the sun is overhead, they can be angled to provide some shade.

Pergola styles vary from contemporary to classic and can be attached to a house for a patio or deck or be freestanding for outdoor features like a spa. “An uncovered deck can be hard to use with extreme weather,” Vitale said.

Remote-controlled retractable insect screens keep the bugs at bay and help control the sun. Durable materials like an extruded aluminum frame with a low-maintenance finish are an added bonus, while a solid cover with high-tech glass panels lets you see the sky and keeps the outdoor area cool like a pergola with the feel of a pavilion.

“The space stays nice and light with protection from the rain and the sun,” Vitale said. There’s even a solar screen available that lets you turn your outdoor space into a home theater. “It’s really outdoor leisure at its best,” Vitale added.


Pergolas also are ideal for rooftops, lanais, verandas, entryways, outdoor kitchens/lounges and pool/spa terraces, according to Robin H. Bauer, founder and creative director for Carlton T. Ashbourne in Douglas (, a Michigan authorized agent for StruXure Outdoor and Phantom Screen.

Pergola styles vary from contemporary to classic and can be attached to a house for a patio or deck or be freestanding for outdoor features like a spa.

Made in the U.S., StruXure Outdoor pergolas are custom designed and installed. They can be freestanding or attached to existing structures to enhance any area in need of weather control. The powered louvers have a 170-degree range of motion, providing shelter for your outdoor oasis as needed. Add-on features include fans, LED lighting, heaters and more.

Home theater pergolas
Modern pergolas turn outdoor areas into special destinations while providing comfort and beauty to homeowners. Bring the inside out by using solar screens that can turn the space into a home theater. Photography courtesy TEMO INC.

With the touch of a remote, a motorized screen controls the intensity of the sun and pesky insects, while a clear vinyl screen offers protection from inclement weather. Remotes can be programmed to operate multiple screens simultaneously, while sun and wind sensors automatically adjust the screens based on the elements.

Other notable features include an integrated gutter system and iLouver technology for your smart device. Solar power options also are available. With so many ways to savor nature, you might refuse to go back in the house.

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