Column: Hot shade, cool sun


This stunning Carmel outdoor living space speaks well to the modern view of luxury we defined a few weeks ago. Let’s be clear, incredible patios, smartly planned landscapes and grill stations remain the centerpieces of outdoor living. But, our clients are demanding more. We want spaces not only that we love, but spaces that are low maintenance, offer shade escapes and provide a bit of privacy.


Both ornamental and shade trees play leadership roles in establishing shade. Often, however, it’s simply not enough. That’s when more creative strategies are employed from our growing solution kit, and the sexy pergola remains a primary tool. 

Notice the top 2-foot by 8-foot cedar members on the abbreviated pergola structure and how they are notched into the overhead beams? This extra detail fuels the appreciation for craftsmanship and establishes an anchored feel. It is amazing the volume of shade this structure provides at just the right moment of the day, too. 

The homeowner (recently relocated) elected not to have the pergola cover the entire patio for a few strategic reasons. It would have interfered with the beautiful golf course views and they still preferred a dedicated chunk of sun.


As with many spaces, the late afternoon/evening sun escapes the pergola’s responsibility. The custom lattice structure spanning between the pergola beams gives a late afternoon assist and has completely grown into a solid privacy wall of dueling clematis and wisteria as they compete for attention. Also, a healthy maiden grass takes over from 6 to 8 p.m. on sunny summer evenings.

As low maintenance, shade and privacy conversations grow, expect more creative solutions and products to percolate the market and designs to reflect those luxury demands.

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