Do You Know What to Expect from Your Patio or Deck Builder?

Have you ever gotten to the middle of a project and realize, you don’t know what’s coming next? While that can be exciting in some ways, when it comes to large investments like outdoor living spaces, the unknown can be scary. If you’re considering enhancing your property, it’s important to discuss the process with potential patio and deck builders.

At Archadeck Outdoor Living, we’re very upfront with the designing and building process. Here’s how working with us goes:

Step 1. Connect

The first step in the client/Archadeck relationship is a connection. Whether you call or submit a lead online, a member of our team will call to schedule an at home consultation at a time that works well for you.

WCOL-016Step 2. Consult

One of our designers will visit your home to get to know you. We’ll have a conversion about what you need or want in your outdoor living spaces. While we’re walking and measuring your property, we’ll leave you with a portfolio of past designs to give you and idea of what we can create.

Step 3 Design

From our no-obligation consultation, we will have enough information to create a deck, porch, patio or other outdoor living structure that functions perfectly for you. Our trained designers will create a custom plan and 3D rendering so you can envision what the finished project will look like on your property. We’re happy to tweak and update the design so you feel comfortable with what you’re adding to your home.

Step 4 Build

We want the building process to be as seamless as possible, that’s why we’ve created a detailed Job Progress Methodology to make everything go smoothly. From filing for any building permits to the final walk through, Archadeck Outdoor Living wants to make sure you’re informed and satisfied with the building process.

Step 5 Enjoy

At the end of the day, Archadeck prides itself on enhancing the lives our clients with quality outdoor living projects. Our goal it to give you a space you’ll love for years to come.

If you want to discuss adding an outdoor structure to your backyard, please contact your local Archadeck office.

Choosing the Right Contractor can Make all the Difference

Spring has sprung and it’s time to think about moving family and friend time outdoors. Whether you’re in the market for a deck, patio, or just some new landscaping, you want to feel good about who you hire and invite onto your property. Many of us have had bad experiences with hired professionals when expectations weren’t met or communication was unclear. At Archadeck Outdoor Living we hope to make you feel comfortable about hiring us and want to leave you with the backyard of your dreams.

Archadeck 2013 PhotographyIf you’re in the market for a patio or deck builder, visit our website and take a look at our Choosing a Contractor checklist. The checklist will help you to learn more about your choices and guide you as you make your decision. Some of the topics we include are:

Picking a contractor that understands your location. Each area of the country is different and what’s expected of a contractor is different as a result. A contractor should be able to clearly articulate what’s required for building permits and safety standards while also understanding the unique terrain and weather that may impact your structure.

WCOL-004Verifying their expertise and reputation. It’s one thing to say “we build beautiful decks,” but it’s quite another when a company can show you a portfolio of their work. Ask to see images of different projects they’ve built. Additionally, ask for some clients references if you’d like to speak directly with someone that they’ve worked with. A professional outdoor structure builder should have a list of happy clients they can easily provide.

Reviewing contracts is not always apples to apples. If you’re meeting with multiple contractors, be aware that not all bids can be the same. Be sure that you’re comparing estimates for the same scope of work and material quality.

Checking the warranties. If a contractor doesn’t offer a warranty on their work, not just the material warranty, there is no guarantee that everything gets completed as quoted and you may not be left with options if something goes wrong 3 months after the build date.

If you have questions on custom designed and built outdoor living spaces, please contact your local Archadeck Outdoor Living office.

How to Decide What You Need in an Outdoor Living Space

Updating and enhancing your outdoor living space is a big decision and can be a big investment. As you go through the process, you want to be confident that the final product will be a space that you love. At Archadeck Outdoor Living, our design process is incredibly important to ensure that the right structure and space is built, leaving you with an area you’ll enjoy and use.

100_0254When creating the perfect design and structure, we ask a lot of questions, including:

How do you intend to use the space? It’s easy to say “I want a bigger deck,” but that’s too simple. Getting a clear understanding of how you’d like to use the space makes form and function a goal. Someone who wants to have a glass of wine on an outdoor couch needs a different type of space than the homeowner that hosts large parties and eats in the backyard every night. The more ways you want to use the space, the more planning that’s involved. For example, if you want to use your outdoor space into the night, it makes sense to plan for outdoor lighting and a fire feature.

What’s the topography of your yard? Do you have a flat yard? Does it slope? The topography can make a big impact on the best structure types for your property. If you have a large slope or your main living floor is higher off the ground, a deck may be the best option. Flat land is more forgiving in structure type, be it a deck, patio, porch or other structure.

ornate-pergolaDo you have favorite views of your property? If you love looking out onto the rolling hills to the east of your home, your deck designer and builder should create a space that allows you to appreciate that. Where and how the deck, porch or patio is built impacts your view.

How is your property situated? Do you need area for shade and sun? Some people like to spend time in the sun, while others prefer the shade. If you like the shade, why have a deck that’s in direct sunlight most of the day? It doesn’t make sense. Archadeck Outdoor Living often combines projects to fulfill both needs. You may have a porch that leads to a patio or a deck with a pergola.

Getting the perfect outdoor living space really depends on your preferences. We often ask our prospects and clients to download and fill out our FREE Design Guide to help guide our conversations.

If you have questions on enhancing your backyard, please contact your local Archadeck Outdoor Living office.

Marrying Multiple Structures Together for the Perfect Combination Project

What does your dream backyard include? Is it a deck? Porch? Patio? Or maybe it is combination of several structures? For me, I’d love a screened in porch that opens up to a deck or patio with an outdoor kitchen and fire pit. That’s the dream.

Combination projects are a great way to create more space and designate different areas for different purposes. Here are three combo projects from Archadeck Outdoor Living to give you an idea of how multiple structures can work together.

deck-patio-pergolaThis first outdoor living space includes a deck, patio and a multilevel pergola. While it’s pretty open, the different structures serve different purposes. The deck is mainly used for dining, while the patio is the area where people sit back and relax or chat with friends and family. Changing up the material and level creates the delineation of the spaces. The dining area is just a few steps up from the patio. Keeping the two spaces together is the retaining wall that incorporates colors from both the patio and the deck.

deck-open-porch-patioOur next example truly does have it all: a deck, open porch, stone patio and custom fire pit. Who wouldn’t want to spend time outdoors here? While designing this combination project, the Archadeck team had to consider all the different ways that owners use their outdoor space and how it can work together without taking up all of their property. First was cooking. They love to eat and dine outdoors. This was the easy decision in the design as it didn’t make sense for them to have their grill down a flight of stairs instead of right outside their kitchen door. The elevated deck created a covered space large enough for an open porch underneath. A rain decking drainage system was installed to keep the space dry so the owners could install outdoor furniture and a TV in the space for entertaining. And who wants to be forced inside at night? To fix that issue, Archadeck designed and built a custom designed fire pit on the patio.

Screened-porch-deck-patioThe final example was created for owners who wanted space for sun and shade, so this screened porch, deck and patio combination was designed. The screened porch provides the shade and area away from mosquitoes from the homeowners. It has plenty of space for an outdoor living room set to host friends and family. The deck’s main purpose is dining. The lower level patio was designed as a place to lounge and enjoy the backyard.

If you’re considering updating your backyard in 2015 or later, please contact your local Archadeck Outdoor Living office. We’re confident we can help you create the backyard of your dreams.

The Perfect Outdoor Kitchen Just for You

When it comes to design and needs, we’re all a little different, and it shows in both indoor and outdoor design. When creating an outdoor living space for one of our clients, our Archadeck designers are sure to discuss the clients goals and how they intend to use the space thoroughly. Even within the same type of project, the needs can be vastly different. Here are some examples of outdoor kitchen designs that were created with the household’s chef in mind.

Austin_Combo_Hill_Martin Steve_After 3The first project comes from Archadeck of Austin. They designed a covered patio with stained concrete for the homeowners. When the weather is nice, the owners prefer to cook and dine outdoors, so they needed a well-equipped outdoor kitchen. This curved design fit the needs by providing plenty of space for prep and cooking. There’s a grill and smoker as well as an outdoor refrigerator to store food and drinks. Counter space was of utmost importance and the curved U-shape provides the perfect result. Because the owners would like to talk as they cook and eat outdoors, a bar-height counter was included as a dining space.

The free form rock works perfectly with the stained concrete for the rustic look they were looking for.

DSCN2045This second example is much more classic in design with straight lines and natural stone square and rectangular pavers. While these owners only needed a grill and stove for cooking, they still wanted a lot of counter space for buffet style parties. One side of the outdoor kitchen was dedicated to counter space for food prep and presentation. It was also important to the owners that all the dirty dishes aren’t brought inside all the time so a corner sink was installed for on the go cleaning.

287814661210_0_BGOur final project to display is the ultimate outdoor kitchen for the gourmet chef. The owners of this space LOVE to cook outdoors and they love pizza! A custom wood-fired pizza oven was designed and built to create the perfect pizza (there is even an area to store wood underneath). Additionally, there is a grill, stove, sink and refrigerator. With ample prep space, and a bar that can fit 6 diners, there is no reason to go inside!

All three of these outdoor kitchen designs are vastly different, but each of them fulfills the needs of the homeowner. If you’re interested in creating the perfect outdoor cooking space in your area, please contact your local Archadeck office.

The Many Uses of the Pergola

When designing an outdoor living space, Archadeck Outdoor Living looks to create functional, yet beautiful spaces. They have to work well for the client and their needs, but also their home and property. Sometimes a deck is the best option, sometimes it’s a patio or sunroom or other outdoor structure.

One of the most versatile outdoor structures is the pergola. With the ability to be built in a number of sizes, shapes and finishes, the pergola is a multi-purpose structure that works with both new and existing outdoor living spaces. Here are three different pergolas that service different purposes in their respective space.

Archadeck_Godley_001A copyThis small pergola acts as the perfect entryway into the space past it. Instead of having a walkway between retaining walls, the homeowner wanted something more impactful and visually interesting. With all of the natural stone in the space, Archadeck of Charlotte designed this rustic pergola with dark stained wood and arched beams at the top. It’s the perfect transitional spot from the driveway into the outdoor living space.

WCOL-014This second example is larger than the first and comes from Archadeck of Columbus. It sits on a large low maintenance deck that has space for a dining table, outdoor fireplace and living area and hot tub. One of the design challenges of such a big deck is creating flow from space to space, otherwise all the areas just mash together. Retaining walls and this pergola were just some of the ways that Archadeck defined the purpose of each area. By building the pergola directly over the hot tub it essentially created a room outdoors. It’s very clear how that area of the deck is to be used.

AUS-010The last pergola we’ll cover is from Archadeck of Austin. This home has a large pool in their backyard with surrounding low maintenance deck. The owners like to keep people outside as much as they can, but that task can be difficult during the hot Texas days. The pergola was added to provide a place for visitors to cool down. It not only offers shade, but fans were also installed to give some circulation to the area. Shade is one of the most common reasons why someone would be interested in adding a pergola to their backyard space.

If you have interest in adding a pergola to your yard, please contact your local Archadeck Outdoor Living office.

Increasing Your Home’s Curb Appeal with a New Portico

Last year my husband and I sold our first home. Just last week I was in the neighborhood and drove past the house. I was surprised that the home looked different. The new owners had built a new portico and it made a big different. It truly did enhance the curb appeal of the home.

Front porches and porticos are great additions to any home when done well. They make the home more welcoming to friends and family as well as increase the curb appeal of your home. When they are not well designed, however, they stick out like a sore thumb because they don’t blend into the existing structure.

Sierra Exif JPEGHere are a few examples of Archadeck Outdoor Living front porch projects that complement and blend seamlessly into the existing home. The owners of this first porch had some unique needs. The house is a beautiful brick and they didn’t want the porch to look like an add-on. Instead of front steps, they also needed a ramp for wheelchair access. Archadeck designed the perfect portico for them. They were able to get a brick patio and ramp that matched the home’s façade perfectly and the columns and eaves were finished in the same color as the rest of the home’s trim. For the ramp, they put it behind a flowerbed so passersby didn’t see the side of it.

To increase the usability of the structure, enough space was created for a small living area complete with and outdoor light and fan for the warm summer evenings. It’s the perfect place to have a drink with a neighbor.

DSC03787Our next example is smaller, but still made a big impact on the curb appeal of the home. Before this front porch was built, the whole front façade of the home was flat across. There was no dimension. Creating this small portico added visual interest and depth to the building while also providing a sheltered space for visitors to stand waiting to be welcomed. The white trim and grey skirting matches the home’s exterior while the stained wood provides a rustic finish.

If you have questions on how to enhance your home’s exterior with an outdoor living space, please contact your local Archadeck Outdoor Living office.

Enjoying Fall Nights in Screened Porch and Patio

To me, fall is the perfect season. The colors are beautiful and the cool temperatures call for nights cozying around a fire. When our deck builder in Rolling Meadows, IL and the surrounding areas shared this project with me that he completed this last summer, I couldn’t help but imagine spending my fall nights on it.

The owners of this home in Mokena, IL wanted to update their backyard with areas for shade, sun and plenty of warmth. The Archadeck of Chicagoland team designed a combination screened porch and patio with two fire features that will allow for plenty of use.

Kuehl 7 LOGOAttached to the back of their home, the owners wanted a roof structure that had room for both a living area and a dining area. The Archadeck team not only gave them what they asked for, but took it to the next level. The large screened porch easily fits a large couch/sectional and dining table for 6, but doesn’t feel at all cramped due to the square footage and the cathedral ceilings. Higher ceilings make spaces feel larger. At one end of the room, a large, and gorgeous fireplace was installed to make it feel cozy and to increase use.

While this room is technically a screened porch, the Archadeck team installed 4-track windows to make it a porch and sunroom in one. Tracks slide up and down as needed. The tracks may be open all spring and summer, but be moved up in the fall and winter as the nights get cooler.

Personally, I love the finishes of this porch. The pressure treated pine-decking complements the brick of the home and gives it that rustic feeling that is so beautiful.

Kuehl 2 LOGOBut let’s not forget about the patio design! Right off the screened porch and next to the home are square pavers and then freeform stones were used around the custom fire pit. The two types of pavers work beautifully with the home’s subtle brick and provide transitions from space to space. Instead of a square or rectangular patio, Archadeck designed a curved patio for visual interest and flow.

The homeowners are thrilled with their new outdoor living space. To me, it’s a great example of how design can make all the difference. The combination of screened porch with track windows and outdoor fireplace with a patio with a custom fire pit is the perfect space for the Illinois area. It truly maximizes the amount of time the owners can enjoy it!

If you’re interested in updating your backyard, please reach out to your local Archadeck Outdoor Living office.

Design Tips to Create the Perfect Outdoor Living Space

At Archadeck Outdoor Living, we love creating the perfect outdoor living spaces for our clients. Not only are no two clients a like, but there are no two properties that are exactly alike as well. Creating a beautiful and functional patio or deck design is something our Archadeck teams take great pride in. If you’re looking to enhance your outdoor living spaces, here are a few things to consider:

1.) Your home’s overall architecture. Any great porch, patio or deck design fits seamlessly into the overall look and feel of your home. For instance, a traditional colonial house would look silly with a deck with ultra-modern lines. The shape, structure and finishes of the structure should complement the existing architecture.

deck-design-idea2.) The finishes of the home. The finishes of your home should play a role in choosing the materials and finishes of your deck or patio. For example, take a look at this deck. You can how the vertical deck boards and skirting are the same color as the window frames of the house. We at Archadeck always look to make sure our material choices work with the home. For instance, this same space would look overwhelming with a brick patio with the brick house.

3.) The grade and size of the property. The property itself will play a major role in the design and construction of any outdoor living space, especially for properties on a hill or slope. The size also plays a role, smaller yards call for smaller or smarter design. For those properties that do have a slope, we may need to adjust our recommendations based on the cost or complexity of install. Decks, for instance, are much better for elevated spaces.

Archadeck 20124.) Function is everything. At the end of the day, if a space, be is a deck, porch, patio, sunroom or combination there of, doesn’t work for its intend used, it will not be used much. During your design consultation with Archadeck, you’ll be asked how you would like to use your yard, entertaining, dining, reading, cooking, etc. With its use in mind, your designer can create a space with a form and flow to fit the function. For example, this combination project called for both sun and shade with plenty of room to entertain friends and family.

If you’re interested in a new design for your backyard, please reach out to your local Archadeck Outdoor Living office.

 

Creating More Living Space in a Small Backyard

IMG_6883This is an all too familiar sight: a backyard with a small concrete slab off the back of the home as the only true outdoor living space. As you can see with the fire pit, Adirondack chairs and outdoor dining table, these homeowners enjoy spending time outdoors. While there isn’t a lot of backyard space to work with, they needed to update what they had. Archadeck of Charlotte created the perfect patio design for the size.

The clients on this project knew there wasn’t a ton of space to work with, but they felt like their existing outdoor living areas were disjointed, primarily because some of it was on the grass. They were willing to lose a lot of the grass space as long as the new outdoor living structure felt open and addressed their current design dilemmas.

DSCF1317The patio designers at Archadeck laid out this curved paver patio that gives them all they wanted without losing their entire yard. The owners were clear in their desires: space to eat outdoors as well as a built-in fire pit around which to sit.

When planning the space it was clear that a standard square or rectangular patio wouldn’t work. Significant space was needed to fulfill the owners’ outdoor needs, but squaring it off would take up too much space leaving them with no lawn. It also may have resulted in less flow to the patio. By curving the edges of the patio, it gives a it a clear direction, not to mention it gives it a little more style and makes it feel more open.

DSCF1318By moving the fire pit closer to the home and making it a permanent feature, it not only gets more use but also becomes a focal point in the backyard. The feature was finished in the same paver color and design as the patio. A wide edge around the pit was created to give it more weight and provide additional seating when the fire isn’t lit.

Patio designs should be created with the homeowner in mind as each one is different and will use the space in their own way. At Archadeck Outdoor Living, we pride ourselves on getting an idea of what our clients’ dream backyard would entail and create a space around it. If you’d like to discuss improving your outdoor living space, please contact your local Archadeck Outdoor Living office.