An outdoor living space that has it all

When it comes to creating a custom patio or deck design, we at Archadeck like to have a clear understanding of how you intend to use the space. Do you need space for cooking? Dining? Relaxing? Homeowners who may not know the type of structure they want still have an idea of how they’d like to use the space. From there, our trained designers can map out a space that is perfect for them.

When I saw this project from our Archadeck of Central Maryland office, I knew I had to share it. It has a ton of living space without being too overwhelming.

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The owners of this property like to spend as much time as possible outside when the weather permits. By designing a multi-level space, John Barrett of Archadeck was able to create clearly defined areas for the owners, each one just as beautiful as the next.

At the lowest level (to the right on picture) is a large paver patio. It’s an open area that provides easy access to the yard below. A custom outdoor kitchen was constructed closer to the home’s back door so the chef can easily go to and from the kitchen. John and his team recommended a light stone paver with subtle grey variations since the home is brick. Brick would have been too overwhelming throughout the space.

Up a few steps is a small deck area with two lounge chairs. The homeowners enjoy laying out in the sun from time to time, and this spot is the perfect transitional area. The octagonal shape keeps it fun and interesting and because it has steps on all sides a railing isn’t necessary by law. Railings are incredibly important for safety purposes, but can make structures look closed off. Without railings, this deck is way more open to the rest of the yard.

Just one step up is a dining and entertaining area. The deck is just a few steps away from the outdoor and indoor kitchens, making it easy to serve dinner outside. Again, John and the homeowners didn’t want to block off the space with railings. Instead, a built in bench and planter were used. They not only look great, but the bench provides plenty of additional seating for friends and family.

The last level of the space is an open porch that works as an outdoor living room. Guests can escape the sun and cozy up underneath the roof structure.

If you have questions on designing outdoor living spaces to fit your needs, please contact your local Archadeck office.

Get more out of your deck with lighting

We often talk about the importance of design when enhancing your outdoor living space. Size, structure, flow, material, it is all part of creating a space that you love to spend time in. But as the evenings get darker earlier, homeowners are often forced inside. Incorporating outdoor lighting into your patio and deck design is a great way to ensure that you get the most use out of your space as possible.

Deck lights come in a variety of different styles, but their purpose is clear: to increase the safety and usability of your outdoor living space. When it is dark outside, it becomes harder to see exactly where you are stepping. Lighting the areas where people are walking is the best way to make sure no one trips and falls on your property.

When it comes to design, there are sure to be deck lighting options that can be incorporated into your structure. The most common forms of deck lights are:

step-lightsStep lights. Steps are arguably the most likely place a visitor may trip and fall in the backyard space. To minimize the risk of injury, we suggest including step lighting on all the stairways on your deck, patio, etc. Deck lights, like the ones seen here, are installed on the vertical portion of the step, shining downward to illuminate the step below. They come in a number of difference sizes, shapes and finishes. For example, maybe these dark colored ones aren’t your style. You may ask for a copper option that better fits your outdoor décor.

WRI-013Post Lights. Post lights are down lights that are installed on the deck railing posts. Like step lighting, they increase the safety of the space, but they are also a major factor in usability. Take this deck for example, without the post lights (which you can see sporadically around the space) the deck wouldn’t be nearly as usable as it is now. The light invites the visitors outside to enjoy the space.

post-lightsCap lights. Like post lights, cap lights define the usable space on a structure and are located on the railing posts. They are specifically located on the top portion of the railing or the cap (hence the name). There are two main types of caps lights. The first is where the light is incorporate in the cap, like this picture to the left illustrates. The light isn’t noticed during the day and is a nice design feature at night. WCOL-004The second type of cap light is that which sit on top of the cap. These are more decorative in nature and can take the form of a path light or lantern like the one seen here. When considering your overall style of your space, you could look for cap lights that enhance the ambiance.

Deck lights are important piece of the safety of your space. No one wants their family and friends to hurt themselves while enjoying a nice night outdoors. While they are easier to install in the building phase, deck lights can be added to existing outdoor structures. Please reach out to your local Archadeck office for more information.

Multipurpose Deck Design

At Archadeck, our goal is to create custom deck designs that work for our clients. That’s why every space is different. No two clients and homes are exactly alike, thus no two decks are the same.

Our Archadeck of Suburban Boston location recently completed a job that is a great example of a multipurpose deck. Their clients wanted an enhanced outdoor living space that would be used in multiple ways. They wanted a space for an outdoor dining table and space for an outdoor living room. Additionally, they wanted an area for their hot tub and wanted it all open to the yard to account for their kids.

Archadeck 2013 PhotographyJim Finlay of Archadeck of Suburban Boston designed a deck that would span the width of the house with two distinct areas. On one side there is the entertaining space that has the outdoor living room furniture. Jim decided to incorporate the hot tub into this part of the deck. That way, people who are enjoying the hot tub can still talk with those that aren’t.  To keep communication easy, the hot tub was not installed on the deck, but below. That way the people inside the hot tub are not above those that are outside of it, but right at eye level.

Archadeck 2013 PhotographyOn the other side of the space there is a large open area that has enough room for the outdoor dining room the family wanted. With a deck this large, defining the distinct areas of the space can be a concern. While there are numerous ways to achieve the goal, the Archadeck team used the decking boards to do it. Take a look at this image of the dining space.  The boards were installed at an angle. Then you will see a board going straight out from the house. This is a subtle way to block of the “dining” space from the “living” space.

Archadeck 2013 PhotographyTo keep it open, the deck was designed without railings throughout the majority of the space. The deck is low-to-grade which means that it isn’t very high off the ground. Low-to-grade patios and decks are not required to have railings by law. This is a great option for homeowners who want the space to be open to the yard and have a home that doesn’t need a raised deck. Built in benches do act as a railing in a few areas while providing additional seating. The picture to the right shows how open the space is with the lack of railings. People on the deck can see out in the yard and vice versa. On another note, how smart was the slide idea for the kids to get down from the raised yard?

If you have questions on patio or deck design, please reach out to your local Archadeck office. Our deck contractors are sure to help answer all your questions.

Building a Deck at Archadeck Corporate Headquarters

Posted by: janegwalker

It’s been a few weeks since we updated you on the progress of our deck and patio installation at the Archadeck Outdoor Living headquarters, and there has been a lot done! We have a fully installed and functional outdoor kitchen and the large deck is in progress.

installing-outdoor-kitchenWe didn’t show you in the last picture, but there is a smaller patio that is set down beyond the deck. It was installed at the same time as the rest of the Belgard paver patio and retaining walls. We designed the space with this extra patio for our outdoor kitchen as it could be a little removed from everything else. Our team of designers kept the layout of the kitchen simple, with a large grill (yes, we already broke it in) and some counter and storage space. The kitchen was finished with a natural stone to complement the Belgard patio pavers, but we chose a dark black countertop to dress it up a bit.

deck-frameOnce the patio and outdoor kitchen were complete, the Archadeck team of deck builders was hard at work on this 900 square foot composite deck. The footings were dug prior to the patio going down, but the deck frame took a few days to complete before the county inspected it. The frame was built using a pressure treated wood and you can see that each beam and joist were securely put in place with large bolts as no deck can be safely built with only nails (that’s a deck collapse waiting to happen).

After the county inspector came on site and passed the deck frame, we began laying our deck boards. For the decking material, we chose a TimberTech composite from their Evolution line. As we hope to get a lot of use out of the deck, including hosting corporate events, we needed something that would stand up against scratches and wear and tear, which TimberTech does.

timbertech-deckYou notice in the picture of the decking going down that you don’t see a lot of nails, and that’s because there aren’t any. These decking boards have hidden fasteners that lock everything in place without the need for nails, which helps create a clean look.

While building the deck, we also constructed the stairs leading down to the outdoor kitchen and small patio. The framing of the stairs were inspected at the same time as the deck and the decking began shortly after.

Unfortunately, as with many outdoor builds, Mother Nature hasn’t been too cooperative and has put us a little bit behind. The team is finishing the decking and then will begin on the railings. The railings will be white vinyl  from TimberTech that will border the entire deck for safety and code purposes.

If you have questions about designing custom decks, porches, patios, sunrooms or some combination thereof, please contact your local Archadeck Outdoor Living office.

Enjoy Your Neighborhood from Your Front Porch

I have two rambunctious nephews that cannot sit still. They’re 5 and 3 and as you can imagine, full of energy. They live in a great neighborhood with a ton of young kids. Like clockwork, when everyone is home from school, the kids race outside to play. I was visiting them a little while ago and watched the outdoor antics all from my brother’s front porch.

My brother lives in a newer subdivision in South Carolina. There are five or six floor plans for people to choose from, but it’s the outside finishes which stops them from looking all the same. One of those finishes is the front porch. Some have just a simple stoop, others have a front porch that spans the width of the home and others have wrap around porches.

Front porches and porticos are a great way to add personality and function to your home. My brother’s porch was the perfect place sit back, catch up and still have a clear view of my nephews. Neighbors stopped by for a few minutes, chatted and went on their way. What can I say? Porches make great outdoor living spaces for spur of the moment visitors.

Growing up in Maine (yup, I just made the jump from South Carolina to Maine), our front porch was where we took off our muddy or wet shoes before we stomped our ways through the house. It was essential to my mom’s sanity. When it was raining or snowing, we would slip out of our boots and step right inside. We were safe from the elements and didn’t have to track dirt inside.

Beyond functionality, front porches and porticos add personality to a home. Custom porch designs make sure to add to the beauty of the home while not making it look like an afterthought. The colors, trims and finishes should complement what is already there. Here are some examples of beautiful front porch designs from Archadeck Outdoor Living:

This homeowner in Rhode Island wanted a extra space on the front of your home. The porch and added gazebo were finished with the same roofing and trim that was on the house previously.

This front porch in Arlington, VA is a little different. It’s a low to grade, meaning the drop to the ground isn’t large, so it’s a more open porch design. Instead of stairs, it incorporates a ramp in the front. A fan was added to the ceiling to make the porch a comfortable place to sit and entertain family and friends.

This craftsman style home has unique finishes. When updating the front porch, Archadeck Outdoor Living paid special attention to the details so the porch didn’t look like an after thought. The same shingles line the outside of the project and the rail posts match the posts along the base of the home perfectly.

This front porch is located in Montgomery County, Maryland. It’s curved roof and matching lanterns create a beautiful space to welcome guests. The base of the front porch match the color of the home perfectly and the bright white gives it that special pop.

If you are interested in how a new front porch or portico can enhance the front of your home, please contact your local Archadeck Outdoor Living office.

 

 

 

Archadeck of Charleston breathes new life into this deck in Summerville, SC

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Archadeck of Charleston was able to breathe new life into this deck with new supports, re-decking and new railings.

When choosing the materials for your anticipated outdoor structure it is important to look at things from the “big picture”. I think a lot of times the homeowner makes decisions based on visualizing their completed outdoor structure from afar, like a distant wish or the way we perceive a star in the night sky when looking up above from down below. It is important to try to visualize your outdoor structure from the vantage point where you and your family are most likely to view the structure itself while in use. The main idea is to make design and material choices based on the inside looking out, rather than the outside looking in, after all you are the one who will be using and enjoying the structure. Case in point is a recent upgrade and re-decking that was completed by Archadeck of Charleston, which gives a perfect example of what a huge difference detailing can make.

Clyde Hess and the crew from Archadeck of Charleston were able to breathe new life into this 20-year-old deck for these Summerville, SC homeowners. Their deck not only had a little age on it, it also had been the victim of many amateur repairs during it’s lifetime. The existing deck was treated wood decking as well as the framing which was attached solely with nails. This situation of using “only nails” had turned into a constant problem of having to continually re-nail the structure to try to compensate for the fact it was coming apart. The structure had no joist hangers, no bolting of any manner and no columns to joist. The railing was only tied in by toe nailing and had become dangerous to lean on.  This dilemma was not only structurally inept, it carried the potential to become a safety hazard.

Charleston_replacement_deck

This image shows the deck before Archadeck of Charleston began.

Archadeck of Charleston efficiently addressed all the issues present with the existing deck and set out to make it structurally sound and also make it a feast for the eyes. Using 2×10 drop beams for the front and back for free-standing, we began adding support and strength to the deck in anticipation of the re-decking. The beams were supported and double bolted onto notched out 6×6  posts secured in a 16″ concrete footing. We then added Cox columns as rail posts in line on the deck,  double bolted to the deck band and blocked.  We then added stairs out to compensate for the property line setbacks and water runoff due to the steep grade of the lot. We then re-decked the entire structure with #1 premium grade Yellow Pine pressure treated wood. The homeowner decided to upgrade the wooden railing to a metal railing for aesthetics as well as strength, this decision also opened up the view where the homeowners can now take in all the lovely vistas of their backyard. These views were not as visible before with the old wooden railing.

Making the decision to replace the old style railing with the metal railing opens up a world of possibilities for these Summerville, SC homeowners and they are elated. By changing this one  simple element of the deck, they feel like they have more room and definitely more of a view. This is a fine example of looking out as opposed to looking in at your outdoor structure. The new railing and new deck is certainly beautiful from the outside, but from the inside it is breathtaking and adds more style and functionality as well. Making sure your outdoor structure is structurally sound from the bottom up is crucial, as is the little nuances and changes that can certainly breathe new life into your outdoor structure. Making elemental changes within the design when re-vamping an existing deck can make a world of difference as to how you use and perceive your deck. The addition of railings, directional changes in a staircase or even using built-in benches or planters in lieu of railings if you have a low-to-grade deck can really change the feel and personality of the entire structure.

Clyde Hess owner, Archadeck of Charleston

If you are ready to transform your existing deck into a masterpiece of strength and design contact Archadeck  of Charleston to learn more. Get the most out of your outdoor structure today at (843) 873 – 6236
charleston@archadeck.net

You can also take a tour of other beautiful decks by our Archadeck locations all over the country by visiting our galleries http://www.archadeck.com/pickYourProject/Decks.html

804.353.6999 • info@archadeck.net

There is More Than Than Meets the Eye When it Comes to Privacy Screens

Juan Cardona at Archadeck of Chester County

Juan Cardona at Archadeck of Chester County

When you think of a privacy screen you think of a structure whose sole purpose is to block the view of something you don’t want to be seen or don’t want to see. Today’s privacy screens are made for so much more than just privacy. Sure, they still block the view, and add intimacy and privacy in the setting in which you use them in. Privacy screens are also used as design elements and a way to perk up a space without going overboard. There is so much more than meets the eye with today’s modern privacy screens.

There are any number of possibilities for privacy screens depending on your likes and dislikes; any homeowners associations requirements you may have; budgetary constraints; or simply what seems to fit your particular design preferences or your property. Different designs have regional popularity.

The following designs were custom designed and built by our Archadeck of Chester County office. Owner Juan Cardona and his staff enjoy coming up with creative solutions for creating privacy using a variety of materials and finding the perfect solution for each individual home.

Made from a Brazilian hardwood to match the deck, the privacy screen below uses a shadow-box design.

Hardwood privacy fence

Hardwood privacy fence in Chester County PA by Archadeck of Chester County

Similar to above, here is another privacy screen using a shadowbox design however this one is made of composite decking materials.

Composite wood privacy fence Chester County PA

Composite wood privacy fence Chester County PA

This privacy wall below uses cedar lattice with an AZEK trim

Cedar privacy lattice with Azek trim

Cedar privacy lattice with AZEK trim

Cedar privacy fence in solid board style with aluminum balusters incorporated to match the deck railing that was already there.

Cedar privacy fence with aluminum balusters

Cedar privacy fence with aluminum balusters

In this instance, the homeowner’s association dictated this design. This privacy wall uses stained cedar with the slats on a 45 degree angle.

Stained cedar privacy wall with angled slats

Stained cedar privacy wall with angled slats

A serving Bar can also provide some privacy as you see in this picture. This particular screen blocks out the heat of the daytime sun to make this area a place of refuge even when the temperatures soar.

Serving bar and lattice for privacy

Serving bar and lattice for privacy

The vinyl privacy fence below incorporates a decorative pergola-style top. This decorative element is also great for hanging plants.

Vinyl privacy fence with decorative pergola top

Vinyl privacy fence with decorative pergola top

As you can see, there are a myriad of options and likely more than one option that can be right for you. The best thing to do is call your local Archadeck office for some ideas and suggestions. It’s what we do all day long.

If you live in the Chester County PA area and you are thinking of building a deck, sunroom, screened porch or other outdoor structure in the Chester County area, give Archadeck of Chester County a call. (610) 696 – 3340. Or, email us a chesterco@archadeck.net