Personalized Pergolas

Cover photo by Scott Selzer.

Customized pergolas bring the best of the indoors out — whether used as an airy yoga studio, home theater, or al fresco living space.

The pergola, an outdoor structure with support beams and a decorative roof design, is a great way to extend living space and increase the amount of time spent outdoors. Providing shade on a hot day, pergolas are traditionally associated with entertaining in the spring, summer or fall. Now, one company’s personalized, high-tech pergola with a fire pit, hanging heaters, and retractable, vinyl screens can extend the outdoor season into Northern winters as well.

StruXure creates custom exterior pergolas with wind, rain, snow, and freeze sensors that automatically activate the pergola to open, close, pivot, and slide. CEO and Chief Product Architect Scott Selzer was a middle school teacher working part time in construction, until he discovered a niche market in the construction industry — the pivoting louvered-roof structure that could be controlled and customized by its users.

The system can be operated through voice commands by integrating technology such as Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant. “You’re in control of the weather instead of the weather being in control of you,” Selzer says.

When the weather is warm, the  screens will open to allow fresh air to fill the space. The louvers pivot 170 degrees; open and close the louvers as the sun shifts in the sky to ensure maximum comfort.

“Bringing the indoors out can change the way you live,” Selzer says. “The Pergola X and Cabana X serve as an extension of the home, making it possible to spend more of your life outdoors.”

“To me, a pergola is a really cool, personal space,” Seltzer adds. “I’ll go under my Pergola X with my laptop and it’s a great place to get work done.”

Made from fully extruded aluminum, the structure can be used as a home office, outdoor kitchen, workout area, or an additional living or dining space. Selzer has even created an outdoor home theater, complete with motorized screens, an integrated projector, and stadium seating. “I’ve seen it all,” he says. “If you can think it, you can do it.”

The Cabana X is a freestanding structure that can be taken down at any time and does not need to be professionally installed.

Photo courtesy of Cabana X.

The TraX system allows shades, screens, and lights to be seamlessly integrated into the anatomy of the pergola.

From small patios to large decks, the Pergola X can be a great addition to any outdoor space. This structure was built to open, close, pivot, and slide at the touch of a button.

Photos by Shaye Price.

The TraX system allows shades, screens, and lights to be seamlessly integrated into the anatomy of the pergola. Clients can incorporate curtains, speakers, and ceiling fans as well.

Pergolas can be customized to match any architectural style to ensure the structure will blend effortlessly with the rest of the property. Add corbel ends for a more traditional look, or wrap the columns with rough cut cedar for a rustic, woodsy design.

“By itself, the pergolas look super modern, but you can really customize the product to look like it fits right into any aesthetic,” says Selzer.

When asked what advice he’d offer first-time buyers, Selzer says, “I would challenge homeowners, designers, and architects to think about how the structure will function in the backyard and how the homeowner will live in and use the space. Before the structure is built, consider the accessories that you’ll want — such as motorized screens, heaters, and misting systems. Then, uniquely design the pergola to meet those needs.”

By Jordan Fuller
Golf Expert / Editor-in-Chief
E: jordan@golfinfluence.com | www.golfinfluence.com

Whether you’re looking to add a basketball or tennis court, or something more adventurous like a putting green, home golf simulator or bocce ball court, having the ability to play these sports while at home can provide countless hours of enjoyment.

Here are a few ideas that can convert that downtime into a fun time.

Tennis Court

If tennis is your game, and you have the room, a backyard tennis court can be a convenient solution for stepping up your game. Traditionally, tennis court surfaces are made from clay, grass or asphalt, all of which are available for backyard construction.

Opting for synthetic grass makes a better option for an all-weather court, providing a lower-impact playing surface that can be easier on your ankles and knees. Another benefit of opting for artificial turf for your court is that it can be easily converted into something else if your interests shift. 

Keep in mind that tennis courts take up more space than almost any other common backyard sports court, so unless you have an unused space that is at least 130 feet long, a backyard tennis court might not be an option.

Basketball Court

Most homeowners with a driveway, and kids, will have a basketball hoop assembly of some sort. Of course, there are ways to take that to another level. If you went ahead with the tennis court and opted for an asphalt surface, the same area can be utilized as a full-court basketball court as well.

However, if you’re only interested in a half-court setup, you’ll only need about 50 feet of court space in front of the hoop, and about 40 feet of overall width to provide the realistic feel of being on the hardcourt.

There are several options for surfaces available, with court designs and graphics to suit your style.

Baseball/Softball Batting Cage

Depending upon the available size of your project, there are batting cage setups that range from a full-length pitching distance to a shorter, screen protected delivery. 

Pitching machines are now readily available from simple, self-fed models to those with sophisticated automatic feeds. It’s probably a good idea to incorporate some artificial surface for the batters’ boxes to provide a level, sturdy, and most importantly durable spot to take your swings.

Golf Simulators and Putting Greens

Installing an outdoor putting green is a great addition for any golfer’s backyard, particularly if you are wanting to work on your short game and is a great way to get your kids interested in taking up the game. 

Artificial turf is a common choice for most at-home greens and is the best way to ensure a proper putting surface without the maintenance that comes along with using natural grass. If you’re looking for an all-year option, there are many indoor putting greens available as well.

For those seeking a more advanced golfing experience while at home, indoor golf simulators have become increasingly popular. Golf simulators have revolutionized how golfers experience the game, and playing and practicing indoors is now more realistic than ever. Simulators allow for a good game of golf regardless of the weather. There are many options to suit all purposes and budgets.

Interesting read: 5 Trends In Kid Bedroom Decor

Bocce Ball Court

Bocce ball is an easy, low-impact game enjoyed by players of every age, making it a popular choice for many backyards. Courts for bocce ball can be made of clay or by manufactured grass, which provides an easily maintained, level surface that is necessary for a good game of bocce.

An advantage to a bocce ball court is that it can be installed in an underused area of your yard, and without much maintenance can give a lush, green appearance when not in use. The long and narrow dimensions of the playing court allow for some flexibility in locations, and many players opt to install them in little-used side yards.

In today’s market, the demand for unique luxury residential amenities has never been more important. For those who live in ever-growing urban jungles across the nation, buyers want to have everything they could ever need right at their fingertips while enjoying the cityscapes surroundings.

With this in mind, this residential community is taking luxury amenities to new heights. Positioned seven stories above the bustling city of Baltimore, the custom sky park at 414 Light Street features an elevated amenity-laden lifestyle — with everything from a pet spa and pet park to a 16-foot outdoor dual-sided movie theater.

 

Developed by Questar Properties, 414 Light Street is a 44-story tower of 394 luxury residences and is the tallest residential tower to stand in the city of Baltimore and the state of Maryland. Featuring hospitality-inspired services and amenities, the apartment tower includes 40,000-square-feet of outdoor and indoor amenity space.

“We were looking to do something unique and distinguishing,” says developer and owner Stephen M. Gorn, CEO of Questar Properties. “We really like what we’ve done here. We’re truly creating a new standard of luxury, which is a blend between a five-star resort, five-star hotel and a luxury, residential building.”

 

The sky park offers multipurpose activity lawns, Al fresco kitchen and dining, community and resident gardens, a skyline terrace with a pool and cabanas, and an urban bosque with bi-monthly harvesting.

 

There are also several outdoor seating areas, all offering sweeping views of the city. While some offer privacy and seclusion, much of the space is also curated with entertainment in mind — boasting activities such as pool tables and televisions.

Indoor amenities include a fireside retreat room, game room, media room, entertainment kitchen and bar, yoga and meditation room, club-caliber fitness room and business lounge.

“The combination of unique amenities is really my favorite part about 414 Light Street,” Gorn says. “The sky park was inspired by this desire to create a full living experience, and to serve this market that was really underserved.”

Located in Downtown Los Angeles, Oceanwide Plaza is following a similar trend. As the largest mixed-use development in Downtown Los Angeles, Oceanwide Plaza comprises three towers and boasts a 100-foot high, 2-acre sky park outfitted with 2 dog parks, a basketball court, lawns, a running track and swimming pool.

According to Gorn, the expansive design process took around six to nine months, and the project took more than 3 years from start to finish.

 

From the exterior to the interior, the team was very mindful of design. “We really wanted to create a design that appealed to a diverse demographic palette, from millennials to baby boomers and everything in between,” Gorn says.

 

Questar Properties worked in collaboration with landscape architect Wolff Landscape, and architect Solomon Cordwell Buenz. “We got together and we really challenged each other to do something creative. We wanted to do something that was very dynamic and creative,” Gorn says.

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