by Christy Heitger-Ewing

Nearly a decade ago, Claudio and Anna Bertolini, built an outdoor eating area in their backyard which they could rarely use due to intense heat, the sun’s blinding rays, or spitting rain.

“We put in umbrellas, but they would fly with the wind and only provide partial shade,” says Claudio, an Italian who moved to Indiana 16 years ago with his British wife, Anna. At the time, Claudio was an executive for a medical equipment company, but in 2014 he was introduced to StruXure Outdoor, a product manufacturer in Georgia. Claudio and Anna asked them to retrofit their pergola and during the conversation they learned that the manufacturer was looking to expand their distribution.

In August 2014, the Bertolinis retrofitted their pergola and absolutely loved it. Based on Claudio’s engineering background and after bringing on board talented construction professionals they took over exclusive distribution of StruXure for the state of Indiana. The couple created and registered the name The Smart Pergola®, the pergola which allows customers to enjoy a rain-tight area by automatically closing the louvers when a sensor detects rain. The Smart Pergola® also provides shade, light, and air circulation by angling the louvers against the sun without creating a dark area underneath and inside the house.

The Smart Pergola® offers features that benefit the customer in multiple ways. The patented shape of the louvers, which interlock when closed, allows complete rain tightness, and eliminates any heat radiation underneath the pergola. The Smart Pergola® is operated with a remote-controlled motorized system. When connected to the Wi-Fi or home automation system, the louvers can be operated with a Smart Device and programmed to move to pre-set positions throughout the day. The Smart Pergola® is maintenance free as it’s made of high-quality powder coated extruded aluminum and stainless-steel components.

“Sometimes people worry that it’s too modern because it’s metal and their house is traditional,” says Anna. “But the Smart Pergola® can look modern, traditional, contemporary, or rustic. For instance, we have wood-grained patterned louvers, so it looks like you have wooden slats above you. “We have several decorative trims and we have even wrapped the structure in cedar, when the homeowner didn’t mind losing the maintenance free feature of The Smart Pergola®. We often add retractable screens as well to protect the west facing side of the area the afternoon sun but wanted the full wooden look.”

For more than eight years, the Bertolinis have represented the same manufacturer. This loyalty to the manufacturer and to their customers is why they have all five-star reviews.

“I believe we have the best customer support in the industry because we live and breathe this product every day,” says Claudio.

This means that they have four crews who are constantly working in the field. Sometimes they receive calls from people who lament having not purchased The Smart Pergola® years ago. They bought another system that’s now giving them trouble and the manufacturer is nowhere to be found.

“Someone once told me that good work is not cheap and very often cheap work is not good,” says Claudio. “Unfortunately, that can be true.”

But even more important than that is the uncompromised dedication to customer satisfaction that is at the top of The Smart Pergola®’s values and priorities. Those who invest in The Smart Pergola® can rest assured that should they ever have an issue down the line, they will be taken care of immediately. The Smart Pergola ® is based in Indianapolis, but they install all across Indiana with partners/sub-dealers in Ft. Wayne, West Lafayette, Columbus, and Evansville.

“We have a commitment to the communities we serve so no matter who buys our product, we give them the same level of quality they would get as if we installed,” says Claudio.

Commercial businesses also appreciate The Smart Pergola® because the structure enables them to expand their business, thereby increasing revenue.

“The biggest nightmare for a restaurant is having customers seated outside and it starts to rain. Then they have to relocate those people indoors,” says Claudio. “Unless there is zero chance of bad weather, restaurants will not seat people outdoors. By adding heaters and retractable vinyl drops they expand the use of the area to the cold months”

The owners at Ford’s Garage in Hamilton Town Center wanted to match the look for the outdoor seating to the restaurant’s trims and atmosphere so The Smart Pergola ® installed a vinyl drops that look like garage doors coming down, together with a multi-color trim.

“We got an award for most creative installation in the country from the manufacturer,” says Claudio. They’ve also worked with Muldoon’s on Main in Carmel, recently completed, several Bru Burger, Livery, Provision, Ruth’s Chris, Meridian Hills Country Club and 60 more restaurant and commercial clients.

To learn more about The Smart Pergola®, call (317) 682-4072 or visit