Trends in Outdoor Living Ramp Up Comfort and Warmth

Home magazines, television shows and websites are showcasing outdoor living trends as never before. So it’s no wonder you’re itching to transform your old-school patio or cookie-cutter deck into an impressive and functional space. Start by looking at trends that fit your lifestyle and have the legs to make your home irresistible to future buyers. Here are some things to consider:

Seating Clusters

Tops in the comfort category are seating clusters. Thick, comfy cushions and strategically placed outdoor furniture arrangements can spark conversation and help build relationships with family and friends. Designers are big on outdoor furniture that brings people together, stands up to the elements and showcases personal style.

Archadeck 2013 PhotographyFire it Up

Fire pits and fireplaces are still all the rage, adding both fashion and function. By night they create summer-camp ambiance from early spring right through the fall. A fireplace, paired with an outdoor television that has integrated speakers, adds a whole new dimension to game-day get-togethers.

Landscaping that Fits the Land

To give your outdoor living areas maximum appeal, choose an overall landscaping look that makes sense for your home, the weather and how busy you are. If you live in a dry desert climate, choose succulents that need minimal watering. If you’re retired, you may want to add a flower or raised-bed vegetable garden that becomes a favorite hobby. If you’re always on the run with work and your family’s schedule, don’t put in a complex landscape or garden that will need lots of maintenance.

287814661210_0_BGGet in the Cooking Zone

Goodbye grill, hello cooking zone. Whether you call it your outdoor summer kitchen like they do in chic, seaside resort communities, the trendiest outdoor living areas all have places to let your inner chef loose in the great outdoors. Just like gourmet indoor kitchens, your outdoor kitchen can be built with warming drawers, outdoor cooking stations with integrated storage, even a prep station and mini fridge, along with a more traditional gas grill. Newer amenities include a hybrid grill that lets you cook both gas and wood or charcoal.

Easy-Care Conveniences

Kitchen appliances, advanced deck materials and high-tech spas are making it easy to adapt new design trends into your great outdoors. But be careful not to overlook the big picture. Your primary goal is to enjoy your new outdoor living space, rather than spend money maintaining it. Always ask if products are low-maintenance and easy to take care of.

It’s always best to talk to your deck builder about how you intend to use the space to ensure your patio and deck design works well for you and your family. If you have any questions, please contact your local Archadeck Outdoor Living office.

Outdoor Furniture- which material is right for you

To make your deck, porch, patio or other outdoor structure into an outdoor living space, patio furniture is necessary. The problem is that there are way too many options! Here’s a quick guide to help you choose the right material furniture for your space, tastes and budgets.

Outdoor Dining and Living Rooms on DeckAluminum

Aluminum is a great outdoor furniture option for many areas of the country. Its powder-coat finish is extremely durable and doesn’t rust or fade, making it perfect for salty or wet locations. Aluminum is easy to clean with some soapy water and it’s easy to move around with its light weight. Because it is so malleable, aluminum outdoor furniture tends to come in a wide variety of styles.

Aluminum’s light weight is both a pro and a con of the material. High winds can move the furniture around so it’s good to protect it by placing it inside when particularly bad weather is expected. Additionally, aluminum does hold heat and can be hot to sit on when left out in the sun.


Plastic is often the cheapest option when it comes to outdoor furniture. Sold at most big box stores, it is very portable and usually stackable for easy storage.

Although it’s the least expensive option, plastic is also the least durable option for outdoor furniture. It can fade when left out in the sun and break easily.


Steel is very durable and, unlike aluminum, won’t move around in hard winds. When protected appropriately it can withstand the elements well.

Steel, because of its heft, can be expensive and difficult to move around in a space. It requires a protective coating of some sort to prevent it from rusting.


Wicker can come in both woven wood or synthetic versions (synthetic wickers holds up well in the elements, wood may need to have some type of sealant). It is both lightweight, making it easy to move around your outdoor living spaces and durable. Cleaning wicker is easy with a hose and mild soap.

Wicker outdoor furniture sets tend to be pricey and can be too bulky for a lot of smaller spaces.


Wood furniture is classic. It’s sturdy and doesn’t hold heat as much as aluminum furniture does. Cedar and Teak are two of the harder woods that are great for the outdoors. They see little effect from rain and actually have enzymes that protect against decay.

Wood furniture can be expensive and there don’t seem to be as many different styles. Softer woods, unlike cedar and teak, can absorb moisture and rot over time. Paint or sealant would be needed to keep water out.

Archadeck lays the foundation to your fantasy with the perfect patio.

Archadeck of Atlanta

This patio and hardscape wall by Archadeck of Atlanta encompasses the essence crisp and clean style.

There is nothing quite like summer. We all wish for an endless summer of sunshine, a landscape of forever green, flowers that never stop blooming and cherished time spent with family and friends among the great outdoors. With a beautiful custom-built patio by Archadeck you can make this wonderful time of the year even more special. Whatever your mood, walking onto a stylish patio by Archadeck can turn even the cloudiest day into sunshine.

Fort Worth covered patio

This patio by Archadeck of Fort Worth includes a covered section as well as a fire pit.

The origins of the patio come from deep within the history of Spain. The actual word itself was borrowed from Spain and means “an inner courtyard or paved area that is adjacent to the home”. With today’s homeowners discriminating tastes, we offer patios custom-built in a manner to express your individuality . From scored and stamped concrete, natural stone and hardscapes such as Belgard pavers. From modern to rustic we can build a patio to suit your needs and complement your homes integrity, creating the kind of backyard you dream about.

Archadeck of Austin covered patio

This gorgeous covered patio by Archadeck of Austin is finished out with stunning furnishings.

Of course, today’s patios wouldn’t be complete without the proper accoutrements to define and complement your space. The perfect patio furniture and accessories create the perfect way to turn up the style on your patio by Archadeck. Patio furniture such as those seen in catalogs like Frontgate offer European inspired outdoor furnishings, and those in  Grandin Road offer a more casual, contemporary feel. From Teak, to wrought iron to the elegance of wicker, the choices are endless.

If modern, clean, crisp lines are your style  imagine a stain and stamp patio finished with a stunning suite of contemporary metal furnishings with a sleek design. The pairing of carefully chosen outdoor furnishings on your patio can pull everything together like a harmonious work of art.

Maybe a laid back rustic country chic attitude is more your choice. The vision proceeds with rustic old world hardscape detailing underfoot along with washed wooden furniture with overstuffed cushions to wisp you away to comfort. Whatever your taste, whatever your fancy Archadeck can lay the foundations to your fantasy with a custom-built patio or outdoor structure.

Archadeck of Charlotte

This stone patio by Archadeck of Charlotte portrays a gracious, old world feel.

Patios, whether covered or uncovered create the perfect place for entertaining, cooking, relaxing and spending quality time with the ones you hold close to your heart. Not only do they provide function, their form provides the perfect complement to your home and landscape. A patio is a wise investment in terms of adding value to your home. Constructed of durable and long-lasting materials that withstand the elements better than wood, a patio is a solid choice in terms of materials and as an investment.

Contact Archadeck today to find out more about creating the perfect patio to fit your lifestyle. 804.353.6999 •

You can see more beautiful patios in our photo gallery by visiting

Return on Martha Stewart patio furniture investment

Pretty pitiful. I have this beautiful Martha Stewart patio furniture with 5 chairs and 3 different seat back cushions. I tried to justify “uglifying” my set by telling the story of why I have an mismatching assortment of seat back pillows. My set is over 10 years old – more about that later in the article. So, it’s understandable that the original seat cushions are no longer around.

So, about 5 years ago I decided to buy new seat cushions because I had a big family party coming up. I started out at Target because their design is always exquisite. And, as expected, the selection at Target was really nice. But there were 2 problems. First, the cushions that included a seat back were $70 per piece. Yikes, that’s $350 for a full set of cushions. I can’t remember exactly but that might be what I paid for my full furniture set that came complete with a gorgeous glass table and lazy Susan about 10 years ago. And, since I couldn’t confirm that there was any weather-proofing to the fabric, it was incredibly easy to dismiss the Target cushion idea. I will say that in a moment of hurry, I briefly re-considered the Target idea but when I saw they only had 2 on the shelf (as was the stock situation pretty much across the board), I realized how bad the Target solution was for me.

So, what’s one to do if Target is too expensive? Well, Walmart of course. And, generally Walmart carries more stock on the shelf. When I arrived at the Walmart patio furniture and seat cover section of the store, they had two groups of seat cushions – comfortable but expensive and, well, just cheap and ugly. So, being the cheapskate that I am, I decided that the cheap ones were the best option. After all, they were new and would at least look really nice for the party.

Mismatched patio furniture seat cushions

Mismatched patio furniture seat cushions

There was only one problem though. My 90-year old grandfather was coming. I could hardly imagine putting my grandfather on one of those cheap 1-inch thick cushions. Not only did it take Grandpa a long time to sit all the way down in a chair, but he was also likely to be sitting most of the time. So, I decided I would get a “focal” cushion. This was my fancy way of saying one nice cushion and 4 cheap ones.

I could further justify that bad idea because the “focal” cushion Walmart had was really beautiful, it was half the price of the focal cushions at Target and it would be an aspirational cushion. My aspirational cushion was the one my other cushions aspired to look like and the one I aspired to upgrade my cheap cushions to.

Now, what’s funny is how pitiful this logic is. Why would I spend money on cushions that I knew I didn’t want and ones I knew didn’t match the rest of my set? It wasn’t that I didn’t have the money to do it right the first time. I just didn’t want to spend the money to do it right the first time.

Well, here it is, 5 years later, and my ugly cushions are still “aspiring”.

But, the Martha Stewart patio furniture set that I bought 10 years ago doesn’t look a day older than it did when I bought it. So, if I do my math a little smarter, here’s the argument. My patio furniture set costs $424 at Home Depot today. I’ve had it for 10 years and it still is stunning. That’s $42 PER YEAR! I would have paid that much to rent the furniture – even just for one party.

So, I’m taking my new logic a step further. The deck my patio furniture sits on is also 10 years old. Being the deck that “came with the house”, it hasn’t held its age. I’m frankly lucky that it’s still standing. So, as it comes time to replace the deck, I think my cushion math has finally taught me my lesson. I will have to take the price of the deck and divide that cost by the lifespan of the deck.

The great news is that professionally installed decking material can last from 10 years all the way up to 50 years – and it comes with a deck warranty to boot. It’s hard to imagine that wood can last up to 50 years. Exotic hardwood like IPE has an average 50-yr life span. Other hardwoods have a 30-year lifespan. And, unlike the decks that “come with the house”, the construction quality is guaranteed. So not only will it look better, it will be safer for my family, last longer, and really help my house sell whenever I decide to sell it. I’m certain that with an Archadeck deck, my home will even fetch more which just makes the return-on-investment even better.

To see lots of deck photos, patio photos, porch photos and sunroom photos, check out the Archadeck website. There are literally thousands of great photos to get some ideas. There are Archadeck locations in many cities around the country. Click to see if there’s an Archadeck near you.

By the way, after finding that the Martha Stewart patio line is now carried at Home Depot, I searched their site and found the new patio cushions that I’m going to invest in – for my entire set. It’s called Cayenne Paisley. The paisley is subtle and the colors are very fun – lots of orange, green, and of course cayenne.