In the last five years, outdoor structures have become an increasingly popular feature of landscape design. Some would even categorize the upward trend as “explosive.”

“Preengineered structures have been growing rapidly year over year, and we have seen upwards of 25 percent growth in individual product lines,” notes Andy Sears, vice president and chief operating officer of Structureworks Fabrication in Fredricksburg, Va. “And pergolas are the driving factor.”

The popular garden feature may be behind the surge, but it’s a new demographic of homeowners and an interest in durability that have dictated a shift in the style and materials used to build them. This is directly reflected in the most recent products to come to market. The latest offerings have moved from wood to more durable materials like fiberglass and steel for a low-maintenance alternative that will withstand the harsh realities of ever-changing extreme weather patterns. Modern design aesthetics cater to the influx of millennial buyers.

Here we highlight four recently launched pergolas that illustrate the new look of an old classic.

Louvre the Outdoors
The adjustable aluminum louvre pergola Solisysteme from BioClimatic Structures is fully adaptable to any architecture. Motorized louvres are operated by remote and rotate up to 160 degrees. Rain sensors detect water and automatically close the louvres, and an exclusive integrated gutter system prevents water from splashing over its sides. Wind sensors activate the louvres to crack open to allow air to flow through without banging. When enough cold air and moisture is detected, frost sensors will open the louvres.

The Ideal Marriage
Brown Jordan Structures delivers a cabana vibe with the blend of modern and traditional found in Havana. The simple lines are complemented by a manually retractable, fire-resistant canopy made of anodized extruded aluminum profiles and Phifertex Plus mesh fabric, which blocks nearly 93% of the sun’s rays. Stainless steel cables provide support for the anodized aluminum rails. Available in six different column options, 10 canopy fabric selections, and seven paint finishes, the low-maintenance pultruded structural fiberglass pergolas are finished in a matte sheen using the proprietary ColorLast paint process.

Tradition with a Twist
Not all clients are seeking sleek lines, but most desire simple care. HB&G Building Products’ fiberglass pergolas are suitable for any climate. The durable and insect-proof structures will not expand, contract, twist, warp or bow, and resist corrosion. The pergolas are wind load–rated at 90 mph with standard installation and 160 mph with optional wind load/deck plates. The stock kits come in white and are available in three sizes, with a choice of square or round (no-taper) columns. Custom pergolas also are available.

Singin’ in the Shade
Trex’s latest series of pergola shades—Air, Balance, and Vision—emphasize style and sun protection. Canopy fabrics come in a number of colors and provide better than 90% UV protection. Available in both freestanding and attached models, Air (shown) features a RainFlex motorized canopy, while Balance offers a freestanding structure with a unique floating frame and a ShadeFlex motorized canopy. Vision is versatile and can be completely open or feature a partially enclosed frame with a tensioned or retractable canopy. All come in standard white cellular PVC finish or 17 ColorLast finishes.