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.

Deck and Patio Design Coming Together in Richmond, VA

Posted by: janegwalker

It’s been a long time since we updated you on the outdoor living structure that we designed and are building for our corporate office and we are happy to say that it is 99% finished. The remaining items on the list are primarily clean up. So what’s been going on since we last updated you? In short, a lot.

To recap, this is the boring side yard that we had at our office:


And this is what we have now:


It is quite the difference, right? In our last post about the project, we had just finished framing the deck and started laying the deck boards. As you can see, that and more has been completed.

TimberTech-benchThe majority of the deck is a dark brown TimberTech composite material. It was installed at an angle for added visual interest with highlight boards that are a brick red color (I apologize for the shadows in the pictures). The composite material will minimize our need for regular maintenance. Pressure-treated wood, as opposed to composite, needs to be pressure washed and stained to ensure that water, dirt and other debris don’t settle in the wood cracks and cause splitting.

As you can see in the picture, the built-in benches have been added to the space. One of our goals in creating this outdoor living space at the office was to have a space that everyone in building would really use (not just look at). Seating is extremely important for regular use and with a commercial space that does get some traffic, the seating couldn’t be movable. While the retaining walls offer some seating, benches were added throughout the space to invite people to relax and take a seat.

With such a large amount of dark decking, our deck designers decided to complement the structure with white highlights in the form of railings and the pergola. Timbertech vinyl railing was installed around the open edges of the deck for safety purposes. Any deck that isn’t low to grade, meaning that it rises at least 36 inches off the ground, must have a railing by code. Once the railing was up, everyone here started to see the whole the project come together. The crisp white makes it really pop.

When the Archadeck Outdoor Living team discussed what they wanted in the space, a shade structure was a key component. The pergola was added to the design and covers nearly half of the 900 square foot deck. In a space that gets a lot of sunlight, the pergola offers a reprieve.

While the building part of the space is pretty much finished, there are a few finishing details that are still to come. Outdoor lighting is going to be installed for safety and security (as well as beauty). Besides that, we just need to get rid of any construction debris and we are ready to host our first barbecue at the office.

If you have questions on how you can enhance your backyard with a custom outdoor living space, please reach out to your local Archadeck office. Our trained designers will work with you to create something that works for you, your family, your needs and your budget.

Deck and Patio Design that Gives You All You Need

Posted by: janegwalker

One of my pet peeves is wasted space. When my husband and I were looking at new homes, it was something that always jumped out at me. Getting the most out of a space is important to me; it has to have purpose. And that goes for outdoor living spaces as well. A lot of our Archadeck clients use their outdoor living spaces for multiple purposes which makes the patio or deck design all the more important. The flow of traffic and areas for different purposes have to be considered so that the homeowner gets exactly what they want, without wasted space!

deck-builder-BostonThis recent project from our deck builder in Boston really stood out to me because it is multi-purpose and laid out beautifully. The homeowners wanted an outdoor living structure that could be used a lot of ways, but they didn’t want it to feel completely disjointed. They love to be outside and wanted areas for sitting and relaxing, dining, a place for their hot tub, a shaded area and a fire pit for the cooler fall nights.

deck-design-ideasJim Finlay from Archadeck of Suburban Boston was put to task to create a space that could fit all of these needs, and personally, I’d be thrilled to have a space like this. Because the main level of the house is two stories up in the back, it was clear that an elevated deck would be a large component of the space. The deck is used for seating and for dining. Having the dining area on the deck was a logical decision due to its proximity to the kitchen. To define the space, Jim designed a portion of the deck that is multi-sided and the decking boards were installed in a different direction. Small stone columns were added to the entryway of the space adding more definition.

composite-deckThe deck also acts as a sitting area. This section has a three-sided built in bench that provides adequate seating for multiple guests. As you can see in the picture, additional seating was placed around the bench to make it even more conducive to conversation.

Off the side of a deck is a staircase leading down to the other parts of the space. Because the hot tub is the only space they would like a little more seclusion (without being completely cut off from the deck and patio) that space was kept to the right of the stairs. To the left is a large partially-covered patio.

Archadeck 2013 PhotographyThe patio was a perfect spot for both the fire pit and shade. Classic pavers were used for the patio. The fire pit section jets out past the deck and into the yard so that people on the deck can still see and speak with visitors below. One of my favorite details is the stone surrounding and defining the fire pit. They match the stone on the columns on the deck and underneath the porch.

Since the deck had to be elevated, it became the perfect place to escape the sun. Under decking was added to ensure that the space stays dry even when it is raining. The homeowners installed a television on the porch beams for nighttime entertainment outdoors. Talk about relaxing!

This patio and deck design fulfills all of the homeowners needs and is stunning. If you are looking to have a space designed for your yard, make sure you consider how you are using the space and even what furniture may be placed. If it doesn’t flow well, ask for changes. As always, your local Archadeck office is there to help you will all your outdoor living questions.

Spheres, curvilinear, bowed, arched – it all means one thing – gorgeous rounded edges

Crack open the pages of an upscale architectural magazine, or a hot new catalogue, or an outdoor living design book and you will see rounded edges everywhere. You’ll see landscaping with rounded edges. You’ll see patios with rounded edges and decks with rounded edges. In landscaping and in patios, this is not very difficult to accomplish but in deck building, it’s quite a feat of deft craftsmanship and carpentry.

Tim Stephens of Archadeck of West Central and Southwest Ohio loves to build rounded edges into his decks. I was talking to him about it the other day after seeing some of his work.


Deck with rounded edges

Deck with rounded edges


On the decks from the images and above and below, I wasn’t sure what I was more impressed with – the inlay or the rounded edges. After our conversation, I was certainly more impressed with the rounded edges and what goes into making that happen.


Deck with rounded edges and decorative inlays

Deck with rounded edges and decorative inlays


In order to build a deck with rounded edges, the first critical component from a design perspective is the rounded fascia board. In order to bend a board to the degree it needs to be bent to build a structure with true rounded edges, composites must be used. Tim says that the deck area needs to be larger in order to be able to use rounded edges. His rule of thumb is not to go smaller than 14′ in diameter and a 7′ radius.

The board is bent without using any heating ovens. By working in the hottest days of summer, Tim’s crew of craftsmen are able to bend the fascia boards to the appropriate degree. I wondered if bending the boards would cause them to become more brittle once the weather became cold. He indicated that once the board was successfully bent, it did not crack or strain in the cold or any other times of year.


rounded fascia board shown with deck sub-structure

rounded fascia board shown with deck sub-structure


With the radius edges, there is quite a bit more structure that needs to go beneath. That’s why these decks need to be a little farther off the ground than traditional decks.

To get roundness (depending on height off ground) we have to use angled beams and put more footers in to support structure” says Stephens.

You can see in the photo above that the deck and fascia boards have a different thickness. The structural support uses a thick hearty board while the fascia is thinner which allows it to bend.

So what can you expect in terms of pricing for rounded edges? As you can imagine, the amount of workmanship, additional materials, and time do add up. Tim says you can expect about a $1,000 – $2,000 upcharge with each curved edge. But what you receive is that much more valuable. That’s why both the decks you see above won design awards in prestigious national publications.


TimberTech inlay for rounded deck

TimberTech inlay for rounded deck


According to Stephens, the deck inlay you see above came about to deliver a creative solution to an age-old problem. Decking boards are only 20 feet long. If your deck is longer than 20 feet long, your boards will need to be joined. Butt joining boards can cause trouble and can look terrible depending on how it’s done. So by creatively inserting the above inlay, it make the joinery area a focal area instead of an eyesore.

The inlay above is TimberTech Earthwood Teak with Walnut inlays.


Rounded bar on rounded TimberTech deck

Rounded bar on rounded TimberTech deck



close-up of rounded bar using TimberTech and decorative tile

close-up of rounded bar using TimberTech and decorative tile


The deck you see above is located in Centerville Ohio. One of the nice things the owners did is asked for a rounded bar on the deck to further the rounded theme. Their backyard was already meticulously professionally landscaped using all spheres or what landscapers call a curvilinear design.

Tim Stephens’ Archadeck area covers the Dayton and Cincinnati areas of West Central and Southwest Ohio including Blue Ash, Centerville, Cincinnati, Dayton, Germantown, Kettering, Liberty Township, Loveland,  Springboro, Sycamore Township, Symmes Township, Washington Township and the surrounding area.

Give a call to discuss an outdoor project for your home.

(937) 848-7040

(513) 897-2040,

(513) 874-0101

Visit the website – Archadeck of West Central and Southwest Ohio

or email