What to Invest in and what to DIY in your Outdoor Living Space

The best outdoor living spaces provide for just that, living outdoors. But with home and property obligations, it can be too expensive to have the best of everything from the beginning. We’re often asked what to invest in and what you can wait to save for. Well, here are thoughts and some ideas to make your space look fantastic without spending the big bucks.

When it comes to saving your dollars and investing in the outdoor spaces of your home, you definitely want to invest in the actual structure. While you can switch out furnishing relatively easily, you can’t do that with a deck, porch, patio, screened in porch or sunroom. You also want to know that whatever you have is built to code and will last for years.

If you are looking to add on smaller structures, like an outdoor kitchen, fire pit or fireplace, this is something we also suggest investing in because it will add value to the space and be there for a long time. Anything this isn’t mobile, we suggest investing in.

In terms of furnishings, this is where you can save in some areas and spend in others. If you are going to spend over a few hundred dollars, make sure that you absolutely love it and it will last. When my husband and I were looking for a new outdoor dining table, for instance, we set a threshold. We said if we were going to go over $XXX dollars, it had to be great quality and something we both loved. Below that, we could consider purchasing knowing that we may upgrade in a few years.

The smaller items in your outdoor living space are great places to save and create some easy Do it Yourself pieces. Here are some ideas that are cost effective, but also chic…

iStock_000004874324XSmallPlant it in something unique. Anyone can go into a home improvement store, buy some planters or pots and plant some flowers in it. Some homeowners however may want something a little more special. Look for things that can function as a planter, but have some visual interest. My aunt has a birdbath on her property that she didn’t want birds in (too many mosquitoes) but was too beautiful to get rid of, so she planted some herbs in it. I’ve also seen people plant in old wheelbarrows like this one.

Don’t forget about the pots. Just because planting in a terracotta pot may be predictable, doesn’t mean you can’t use them in your space. They are great bases for side tables. You can either flip it upside-down and place a piece of Plexiglas on top or sit it upright and do the same thing. If you keep it upright, you can also add something special in it, like shells or sea glass. Pots are also great ways to add color into the space. They not only are available in fun colors, but they are easily updated with spray paint.

Keep those pallets. Old wooden pallets are as multipurpose as they get. They can be used in so many different ways. Using a pallet as the top of an outdoor coffee table is just one idea. You can sand and stain it or paint it any color you want. They are a great option that fulfills the purpose and looks great while you find something that you love.

Think about it before you throw it away. Just because something wasn’t initially purchased for the outside of the home doesn’t mean it can’t end up there (this isn’t the case with all things). Take an old bureau or bookcase for example. If you treat it with an outdoor protectant to ensure it doesn’t rot, it could work incredibly well in a covered outdoor area, like a porch. An outdoor wet bar perhaps?

A gorgeous outdoor living space is normally a mixture of some “investment” pieces and some quick finds. The more important thing is that at the end of the day, you love it. If you have any questions, please contact your local Archadeck Outdoor Living office.

Put a little holiday in your step with a new deck by Archadeck

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This gallery contains 2 photos.

Archadeck focuses on the joy of the season with this “Christmas deck” by Archadeck of Greater Atlanta, which is truly a deck for all seasons packed with functionality and style. A deck like this can be yours with Archadeck. Continue reading

Tip-toe through the tulips with a custom patio cover by Archadeck that showcases your own patio garden

Belgard patio and patio garden

This patio cover, created with Belgard pavers showcases this lovely patio garden beautifully.

When you think of the reasoning behind building an outdoor structure such as a patio cover in your backyard you have to really focus on the term “outdoor”. Homeowners make the decision to ultimately add such a structure because of a deep love for the outdoors. It can be the way the wind feels in your hair. It can be the smell of the brisk fresh air after a summer rain. It can be the way you love to gaze upon the clear night sky. Or maybe you love the way the sun feels on your face. Whatever the personal reason, it all comes down to mother nature and all she has to offer us. Among the many reasons homeowners choose to build an outdoor structure  maybe the number one reason that comes to mind is the love of flowers, and gardening.

Covered patio by Archadeck of Fort Worth

This patio cover by Archadeck of Fort Worth includes custom stone planters into the design of the structure for close proximity to plants and flowers.

One way to incorporate flowers and the joy of gardening into your lifestyle and bring it closer to your home is by way of the patio garden, and no patio garden would be quite as enchanting without a patio to enhance the beauty and folly associated with cultivating and nurturing your  own patio garden. Covered patios, or patio covers are the perfect way to bring the beauty of the patio garden to life and share the beauty of your bountiful blooms within closer proximity than having to venture into your backyard.

Patio covers can also add valuable outdoor living space to your backyard. They can be incorporated into a design that includes a deck, where the deck would spill into the patio cover adding an abundance of added functional space. Patio covers can also be designed to include other luxurious outdoor amenities such as outdoor fireplaces and outdoor kitchens. There is no limit to what can be included into your patio cover design, the choices are as endless as your own imagination. In terms of working in correlation with a patio garden, your structure can be designed with custom planting areas, so you can watch season to season as the colors and textures of your plantings change.

The same artful design elements that go into creating a patio garden, are also used to create the perfect covered patio as well. Patio covers are usually constructed of hardscaping materials. Whether you choose a synthetic or natural stone, concrete, or even pavers; elements like color, shape, size and location all play a major role in a well designed patio cover. The same can be said about the elements you choose to fill your patio garden with as well.

Covered patio Austin from back

Covered Patio by Archadeck of Austin showcases gable-end detailing.

Archadeck uses high quality materials and expert workmanship as the basis for all their patio cover installations. One of our most popular hardscape materials to use when constructing an outdoor structure such as this are Belgard pavers, as well as various natural stone variations and  flagstones. These materials, among the many other choices we offer, have a huge style and color selection available for homeowners to choose the perfect size, shape and color as the foundation of their patio covers design.

Of course when you take the facade of the patio cover into consideration you can’t leave behind the beauty and functionality of the interior. We can create a covered patio  that will not only complement your gardening skills, we can also turn the patio cover into a place of endearing relaxation by adding ceiling fans for those warm days and even if you so desire, outdoor water features, outdoor fireplaces, and an outdoor kitchen as well. We can finish out the interior ceiling of your patio cover to make it as beautiful from the inside, as it is from the outside, by the use of design elements such as bead-board ceilings, and even open rafter systems to bring out the rustic side of you. Whatever you fancy, we can incorporate your desires into the design of your patio cover.

Patio cover and outdoor fireplace

Patio cover and outdoor fireplace

If you are ready to “tiptoe through the tulips” by creating a serene environment to enjoy the benefits of a patio garden and any other luxuries mother natures bounty has to offer, contact Archadeck to create a patio cover design that is tailor-made for your love of the outdoors.

To find an Archadeck location close to home visit our locations list which is available by visiting our website.

You can also see more photos of patio covers by visiting our patio and hardscapes gallery also located on our website.

Don’t let the chill in the air discourage you from enjoying your outdoor living space

Arch. of maryland screened porch w skylights

This magnificent screened porch by Archadeck of Maryland uses skylights to add additional height to the vaulted ceiling, this result is open and airy.

The chill in the air is beginning to become more noticeable all around the country. It signifies the end of summer splendor and its long balmy days spent enjoying your deck. Just because summer has ended doesn’t mean you have to cuddle up inside to keep warm and miss mother nature’s splendor that is still unfolding all around you. Many homeowners are considering the ever-popular option of closing in their existing deck, or a portion of their deck and creating a three or four season room  or other outdoor structure that can extend your outdoor living enjoyment into and beyond the cooler months of the year. In order to determine if closing in to create an extended season outdoor living structure would be right for you there are several considerations that have to be bought to the forefront.

The first consideration that has to be addressed is the structural integrity of your existing deck. In order to accommodate the weight of a roofed structure. Many decks are not built to withstand the weight of adding a roof. In order for a deck to be able to withstand the weight of a roof. The foundation of the deck will have to extend all the way to the corners of the structure. In cases where the foundation does not extend to the corners, changes must be made to have the foundation extended and new footers will have to be added in order to safely support and hold the weight. Determining whether or not your deck fits conversion criteria can be answered from a quick inspection by a professional outdoor structure builder, and  depending on their findings will let you know how you wish to proceed with getting the deck structurally compatible to withstand a conversion such as a three or four season room, a screened porch or even a sunroom.

Cedar screened porch in Ankeny Iowa

Cedar screened porch in Ankeny Iowa

Once the issue of foundation reinforcements has been addressed, the next step is to decide which type of conversion would best suit your individual needs. Screen porches are very popular and can be enjoyed late into the fall in many areas around the country, but this all depends on your geographical location and whether the area you live in experiences mild autumns or more harsh, cold autumns. Making the decision to convert your deck or a section of your deck into a screened porch will have benefits even in the warm summer months by keeping insects at bay and protecting you from the sun. Screen porches can be in use even during inclement weather since they are roofed. This means that the backyard dinner you had planned won’t be put on hold with a little rain because you  would have a roofed screen porch to utilize. Many homeowners also opt to use a sliding window panel system to make use of their screened porch later into the year. A convertible windows like the EZE breeze sliding panel system and the Artistic Enclosures Screen Plus System offer you the ability to convert your screened porch into a three season room on demand. These convertibility systems use sliding glass panels that mimic the function of a sliding door and can be set into place very easily and quickly. By adding a space heater to the structure you can utilize the space for longer periods through even the chilliest season. By using a convertible system on your screened porch you can still feel the warm breezes of summer, and when the temperature drops you have the peace of mind  knowing that your screened porch also offers more function with added cold weather protection as well.

Archadeck of Chester County sunroom and deck

This design by Archadeck of Chester County includes a deck and a custom sunroom.

Another viable option when making the decision to enclose a deck or portion thereof, is a four season room or a sunroom. These type of structures function as an extension of your homes living area as well as an extension of your outdoor living area.  Four season rooms, as well as sunrooms give you an unobscured view of nature by the use of  numerous windows that sometimes even feel as though they are window walls. These structures can be used year round, snow or sleet because sunrooms and four season rooms require a HVAC system, or instill the use of a wall mounted electric inversion  heating and cooling system that offer individual room control  like those offered by Mitsubishi electric. In essence the presence of HVAC, or heating and cooling system creates a dynamic where you actually are getting a room addition when you choose to convert to a four season room or sunroom.

Here is an example of a sunroom that makes beautiful music with Velux skylights.

The world is your oyster in terms of design,when you choose to transform your deck into a four season room or sunroom.

Another benefit of converting your deck into a sunroom or four season room is the freedom of material choices that can be used within  it and to finish out your structure. A whole new set of design choices open up to sunroom and four season room owners. All of the same materials that can be used safely within an interior room inside your home can become finish options for your sunroom or four season room. These include sheetrocked walls, carpet, hardwoods and a myriad of other design choices. An added benefit is that the furniture used within your structure won’t have to be weatherproof when considering using it on your sunroom or four season room. The world is truly your oyster.

If you are on the fence about considering an enclosure or conversion of your deck, or a part of you deck into a screened porch or three season room or even a sunroom or four season room Archadeck can make it happen. Contact us today to learn more about improving the lifestyle you lead on your deck.

To learn more and find an Archadeck in your area, see our locations list located on our website.

You can also get more ideas and design inspirations by visiting our screened porch gallery, sunroom gallery, and our three and four season room gallery, also located on our website.

Archadeck invites you take the plunge with a stunning hot tub or spa deck

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This hot tub deck has the added luxury of a bar

This hot tub deck has the added luxury of a bar

When those  chilly autumn winds start to blow, thoughts turn to cozy and unique ways to get warm but still enjoy the scenic panoramic views and crisp, clean air of the season. One way to knock off the chill of fall and take advantage of mother nature’s beauty is to take a dip, or two, in your very own hot tub or spa. The soothing warm water and sound of the bubbles can not only work wonders on your muscles but your spirits as well. Imagine soaking in your spa with the harvest colors of autumn as you backdrop enjoying a glass of your favorite beverage while wafts of steam mingle into the cool air that surrounds you. This imagery sounds tantalizing enough to the senses but the location and surrounding area around your hot tub or spa can really make or break the whole experience. Incorporating a deck or patio into the design of your hot tub’s location can really improve the appeal and aesthetics of your entire backyard.

This Archadeck hot tub deck has adequate and convenient bench seating built into the deck's design

This Archadeck hot tub deck has adequate and convenient bench seating built into the deck's design

Hot tub decks and spa decks help turn the functionality of the hot tub or spa into a total experience. A deck can add valuable outdoor living space for entertaining , grilling and dining as well. When you think in terms of how you will use your spa or hot tub deck it is important to factor in the little nuances that will add to your enjoyment of the spa.  Hot tub and spa decks can be built to include storage areas for towels and other accessories you will need when the spa is in use as well as built-in bench seating for sitting and removing your shoes  so, if you so choose you can just dangle your feet over the side of your spa if you don’t feel like taking the whole plunge. The variations and range of hot tub decks and spa deck design is endless. We pride ourselves on thinking outside the box when it comes to getting the most out of your deck’s design even moving the hot tub or spa out of the usual centered location on the deck and placing it in a location within the deck that will give you better views while using your spa and create more usable  deck space for other outdoor living endeavors.

If you are considering a hot tub or spa deck one important consideration is the decking material and the underlying strength that is needed to properly house a hot tub or spa. When the spa or hot tub is filled with water it will add a tremendous amount of weight. Archadeck pays close attention to these needs and added requirements and builds a spa support deck with many of our hot tub and spa deck installations. The use of a support deck will take the excess load off the deck itself and make the deck and the hot tub or spa safe and free of any areas that might compromise your structure. Archadeck of Fort Wayne recently installed a spa deck for homeowners that wished to incorporate a Micheal Phelps swim spa into the decks design and as you can tell by reading the article about this particular installation, that if you are thinking of buying a spa strong enough for Micheal Phelps then it is important to have a deck that is equally as strong. When considering materials for your hot tub or spa deck you want to choose a material that is kind to bare feet and will not splinter or retain an excessive amount of heat. Another key factor is reducing or eliminating slippage when those bare feet exit the hot tub and are wet. There are many high quality decking choices available for use on spa decks that offer little or no heat retention and decrease slippage.

Archadeck Greenville Spartanburg Gazebo and Hot Tub Deck

Archadeck Greenville Spartanburg Gazebo and Hot Tub Deck

Some key considerations to remember when you make the choice to build a hot tub or spa deck are you want the hot tub or spa to be where it is 18″ above the deck and not flush to the deck so you will be able to sit on the sides and swing around when necessary. You also want to ensure you can enter and exit the deck from all sides with adequate walk-around room at a minimum of 4 feet , by having 6 feet you will have room for bench seating to sit down and remove your shoes, etc. Another key element in good spa deck design is never place your spa deck under a window because it will become an eyesore when looking out from the interior of your home.

This hot tub deck by Archadeck is an oasis of relaxation

This hot tub deck by Archadeck is an oasis of relaxation

If you are ready to take the plunge by building a hot tub or spa deck then contact Archadeck to learn more. We can design and build a hot tub or spa deck that will make you never want to leave the comforting warmth of your hot tub or spa when it is surrounded by the beauty of one of our masterpieces of deck design.

info@archadeck.net

To see more delectable pool, hot tub and spa decks visit our photo galleries

Archadeck and Eze Breeze enclosures give you a breath of fresh air without the headaches

TimberTech Screened porch with EZ Breeze windows and Pergola

TimberTech Screened porch with and Eze Breeze system and Pergola by Archadeck

We’ve all been there. We eagerly await going out on the screen porch for some morning coffee or to do our daily crossword puzzle or relax for a few minutes and grab the sports scores or weather before heading out for the day. Only some days, mother nature puts a damper on those plans. Maybe you live down south and are greeted with a yellow covering of dust all over everything. Maybe it rained last night and there’s a faint moistness to your fabric-covered chairs. Maybe it’s just too darn cold out there.

There is a way to “convert” your screen porch without having to sink a fortune into windows.

There is a company called Eze Breeze that has a convertible enclosure system allowing you to convert your screen porch into more of a multi-season room. These screens can add protection from temperature as well as the elements.

We have been using this system for homeowners who want to get access more time on their screened porch. Eze Breeze systems are easy on the eye and on your wallet in terms of adding more seasons that you can spend on your porch.

Extending the time frame for use in your screened porch is not the only reason many homeowners are using the Eze Breeze system, other factors are influencing their decision as well. Let’s face it, sometimes you want the freedom of the screen but you don’t want the negative things that can still get through that screen. Screens keep out the insects and the harmful direct rays from the sun but pollen still comes through a screen, as does the wind, some the rain and the cold. Eze Breeze makes it possible to enjoy your porch without those negative factors getting in the way of your enjoyment. When the weather turns cold, you can also add the use of a space heater within your porch with Eze Breeze and turn your structure into a 3-season  outdoor living room as well. The beauty is that anytime you want to take advantage of the favorable weather or an unobstructed view, this system can be slid out-of-the-way either horizontally or vertically, depending on which system you have,  to get you back to the very reason you wanted a screened porch in the first place – to be closer to mother nature and take advantage of all that fresh air.

Our Archadeck location in Charlotte sums it up in this short clip about the Eze Breeze system :

PGT Fist shot for web

Eze Breeze is strong and durable.

Eze Breeze enclosures are easy and affordable, here’s how they work- the system is made from 10-mil vinyl glazing that gives you the same clarity of glass. This innovative material is not susceptible to cracking or breaking and with many mishaps will return to its original shape within minutes. The enclosures can be installed either horizontally or vertically and the panels can be slid out-of-the-way to obtain a unobstructed view and take advantage of the “feel” of nature. Eze Breeze presents homeowners with a win/win answer to having your cake and eating it too!

Contact Archadeck to learn more about Eze Breeze enclosures and start maximizing your outdoor structures function and beauty. If you are interested in turning your outdoor structure into a safe haven from the elements, the insects and the pollen and don’t want the expense or building constrictions that are present with glass, contact Archadeck today 888.687.3325 or 804.353.6999 • info@archadeck.net

Outdoor Fireplace or Outdoor Fire Pit? Some Considerations.

patio-and-fireplace-w-star-hardscapes

This custom fireplace is big on style and has plenty of radius for entertaining by the firelight.

Fall is in the air, maybe you have noticed it in the wisp of the wind that seem a little crisper than usual, or the way night is upon us sooner with each passing day. There is no denying that the masterpiece that mother nature paints for us each autumn is just around the corner. With cooler temperatures come less insects, less humidity and more time to enjoy the outdoors. Certain outdoor structures just seem to be tailor-made for the fall. Custom outdoor fireplaces and fire pits are among the best candidates for fall focal points within the landscape. Imagine the crackling fire, roasted marshmallows, hot cocoa and conversation.  Even though both of these structures offer the warmth and glow of one of natures most intoxicating elements, they differ in many aspects. Deciding which kind of structure is right for you all depends on what you most want to get out of the structure in terms of functionality.

Even though it might seem simple, there is a lot more to it. Most folks think in terms of their budget, they assume that if they have more to invest they will go with the custom outdoor fireplace as opposed to having less, in which case they assume that a fire pit is the lesser investment. Both structures have their advantages, and both structures can be constructed as elaborate or as simple as you wish.

maryland_screened_porch_with_outdoor_fireplace

This screened porch by Archadeck of Maryland incorporates a beautiful stone fireplace in its design.

An outdoor fireplace makes a statement within the landscape, or when used in conjunction with another outdoor structure such as on a patio or even a covered porch. The fireplace offers a more intimate setting to its users with a typical 90 degree radius of room for entertaining, or to gather around the structure. Outdoor fireplaces require the use of many elements such as design, position, stonework, masonry, gas and plumbing. An experienced licensed builder can assist you in making many of the decisions, but there are many options available with today’s fireplace that can make a simple fireplace an amazing fireplace. From customized mantel pieces, to compartments custom-built within the fireplace to store wood and accessories. Fireplaces can be built in all shapes and sizes and in a variety of beautiful hardscape mediums such as brick,  natural stone, and man-made hardscaping materials such as those offered through Belgard. The source of the fire itself can be obtained through gas or propane with a ceramic log that looks like real wood without the messy cleanup , or in some cases a wood burning fireplace may be your best option. Your fireplace design is only limited to your imagination, whether you choose a modern streamlined fireplace with no hearth, or a rustic beauty of natural stone, an outdoor fireplace can really heat up the conversation and the intimacy when entertaining, as a focal point of beauty and relaxation.

Fort worth fire pit

This fire pit by Archadeck of Fort Worth makes for unforgettable evenings among family and friends.

Custom fire pits have become a work of art within the world of outdoor structures in their own rite as well. A fire pit can offer you that same ethereal glow and ambiance , and can lend itself to dazzle a larger crowd.  Fire pits offer a typical radius area of 180 degrees for entertaining and enjoyment. The addition of a ledge can add seating and a vantage point to enjoy the glow of the fire without having to purchase additional furniture. Fire pits can also be constructed with a large selection of materials, much like the fireplace but can also serve double and even triple jobs that can change from season to season. A fire pit can be easily equipped with a drain which makes it possible to be used as a planter during the summer. It can even serve as a tranquil water feature as long as there is an exterior outlet nearby. Archadeck of Austin wrote a story about a homeowner who created an “all season” structure with her fire pit, you can read the story by visiting http://austindeckandpatiobuilder.com/2011/03/14/a-flame-of-many-colors-a-fire-pit-with-multiple-personalities-integrated-into-the-design/ Custom fire pits can also be equipped with a dazzling array of glowing glass fire rocks that come in a wide variety of colors. Fire pits that are powered by gas can even have a gas star installed where the flame is emitted in a unique star pattern.

austin-fire-pit

This unique custom fire pit by Archadeck of Austin, is a chameleon in its ability to transform each season.

Even though both these fireside outdoor structures differ greatly, they both have the ability to set a mood and change a mood for the better. Archadeck can plan, design and build a custom outdoor fireplace or fire pit that is ablaze with quality and style, and can turn your autumn into something really “wonderfall”. Contact us today to learn more 804.353.6999 • info@archadeck.net

You can also see more tantalizing outdoor fireplaces and fire pits by visiting our photo galleries at http://www.archadeck.com/pickYourProject/PatiosAndHardscapes.html