Enjoying the Holidays in a Sunroom

I’m from the great state of Maine and with it being the holidays, I often reminisce about the holiday season back home. The family, the friends, the laughs, it was great. On Christmas Eve, my large family and I would go over to my aunt’s house for lobster stew and a holiday gift swap. Oftentimes the night ended with all the cousins playing games in the (heated) sunroom watching snow fall outside. It’s memories like those that make me miss family and having a sunroom.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASunrooms may be a larger project than building a pergola or patio, but it is truly an addition to your home that you can use day and night, all months of the year. At Archadeck Outdoor Living, we design and build sunrooms that fit your home and your needs.

Sunrooms, like any outdoor living structure, are not a one size or design fits all scenario. There are so many aspects that need to be considered to create the perfect space: the size, shape, light, etc.

Some homeowners can be surprised at how much a sunroom can impact their existing home when not properly designed, lighting being one of the main effects. For example, an existing home may get a lot of natural light in the back during the afternoon. If you build a large sunroom off the back, it may impact the amount of light that gets to the main home. Archadeck may suggest adding skylights to the sunroom to ensure the difference isn’t too dramatic to homeowners.

Archadeck 2013 PhotographyThe windows of a sunroom are also a large consideration when designing a sunroom. The style depends on the owners taste and sometimes their location. Some clients prefer a sunroom that has floor to ceiling windows. It provides and unobstructed and open view of the outdoors. It’s stunning, but it may not be perfect for a home in New England if the owner wants to use the space year-round. They would have to spend more in heating than if the windows were smaller.

These are just a few of the considerations that come into play while designing a sunroom. If you’re looking at adding one to your home, talk to a local sunroom builder, like Archadeck Outdoor Living, who will walk you through the options and process.

Happy Holidays from all of us at Archadeck Outdoor Living!

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.

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.

What are the Top Outdoor Living Trends in 2014?

Archadeck 2013 PhotographyGone are the days of lawn chairs on a concrete slab in the backyard, in are the days of beautiful outdoor living spaces. The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) recently released the results to their annual Residential Landscape Architecture Trends Survey. Each year, the ASLA surveys residential landscape architects about what aspects of outdoor living will be big for 2014. I must say, we at Archadeck Outdoor Living aren’t that surprised, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t excited by them!

The survey is lumped into different categories. Number two in the Outdoor Design Elements in category is outdoor living spaces (kitchens, entertainment spaces, etc). 92% of the surveyed landscape architects said that outdoor living spaces will be popular or somewhat popular in 2014. At Archadeck Outdoor Living, we’ve been building custom outdoor structures since 1980, but we’ve seen an evolution of what that means in the last 5 to 10 years. What once was thought of just a simple deck is now considered an outdoor living space that serves a particular purpose.

More specific is the Outdoor Living Features category of the survey. The ones that we are often asked about the most are seating and dining areas (97.7%), fire pits and fireplaces (95.4%), grills (94.3%), and installed seating (89.6%). Not surprisingly, this goes well with outdoor living spaces, as to have a useful space it has to fulfill a need. The features are what make them living areas and not just a structure.

Nancy Somerville, ASLA Executive Vice President and CEO explains the interest in outdoor living: “Homeowners known that designed landscapes add value to their lives as well as their property values…They’re interested in livable, open spaces that are both stylish and earth friendly.” Source.

When designing a structure for a client, we at Archadeck Outdoor Living talk to the homeowner about the way the space will be used and how they envision it flowing. With the goals in mind, we can create a patio or deck design complete with the features to make the backyard of the client’s dreams.

If you have any questions on designing outdoor living spaces, please contact your local Archadeck Outdoor Living office.

Archadeck Outdoor Living Helps Launch E-Magazine

For over 30 years, Archadeck Outdoor Living has been designing and building some of the most beautiful outdoor living spaces. We’re truly passionate about outdoor living and are thrilled to announce the launch of a new electronic magazine that shares our love: Loving Outdoor Living.

Loving Outdoor Living CoverLoving Outdoor Living is a free e-publication focused on all things outdoor living. It’s great for anyone who’s planning updates to their outdoor spaces or just enjoy being outside!

Archadeck Outdoor Living teamed up with its sister brands, Outdoor Lighting Perspectives, Mosquito Squad, and Renew Crew to launch the premier issue, available here. Articles cover all things outdoors including: vacation spots, enhancing your outdoor comfort, entertaining, recipes, lighting, mosquito control and fashion!

Loving Outdoor Living is a growing resource for the outdoor living industry both with the publication, but also with its growing blog.

At Archadeck, we’ve been dedicated to enriching the lives of our clients through outdoor living from the beginning. Our approach to deck building is different than your typical contractor…

It starts and ends with you. Our projects are not one size (or design) fits all. An Archadeck project starts with an at home consultation with you to discuss your needs and wants for the space. We’ll walk your property with you and discuss options that will fit your home’s architecture and the surrounding property.

After the consultation, we’ll design a space based on that conversation, and we’ll show you the design in a 3D rendering so you can envision the space easily in your backyard.

Once the design is agreed upon, we’ll build the project with the best quality products. From beginning to end,  you’ll experience the Archadeck difference.

If you have any questions, please contact your local Archadeck office.

Screened Porch Details Create Warm and Inviting Space

Whether you are buying a car, hosting a party or building an outdoor living space, the details matter, and they can make a big difference on the final outcome. From colors and texture to shape and space, choosing the right finishing touches can take an OK outcome, to something you love.

This screened porch from Archadeck of Fort Wayne is a great example of a space where the details created a warm space for the family to spend time outdoors.

screened-porch-ftwayneBefore we talk about the great details inside the porch, let’s talk about the outside. As always, one of our goals at Archadeck is make sure the project doesn’t look like an afterthought. Baron Biedenweg of Archadeck of Fort Wayne used white on the outside of the porch to match the white trim of the home and installed the same railing around the screen porch and deck as was used on the small balcony off the second level of the home. Keeping the colors consistent makes sure that everything works together.

For me, the finishes inside the porch is what makes me want to have a drink or read a book in the room. Screened porches are a unique type of space because they really are both indoors and outdoors. screened-porch-designYou are inside a structure, but outdoor-friendly materials have to be used because rain, pollen and some other outdoor elements can get inside. Many homeowners choose to keep their siding on the wall that attaches to the porch to the home because it 1) matches and 2) is weather-proof. In this screened porch, however, Baron used a stone veneer on the wall. It makes a statement visually, but the warm tones also make the porch cozy.

There is a vast variety of flooring options for screened porches. I love how the wood flooring was finished in this space to feel like an extension of the indoor living space. It was treated with a shiny finish to mirror the floors that run throughout the home. That detail makes the transition from inside to outside even smoother.

When discussing your screened porch or other outdoor living space with your designer, make sure you tell them what mood you want to set in the finished space. From warm and relaxing to vibrant and full of fun, choosing the right finishing details will help you accomplish your goals. If you want to talk about ways to enhance your outdoor living areas, please contact your local Archadeck Outdoor Living office.

Unique Deck Design Allows Client to Enjoy More of their Property

There are so many components that have to work together to create the perfect deck design: tastes, budget, shape, flow and property. The physical property often plays one of the biggest roles in how a space will work.

Austin_Deck_Oddo_Odom Jimmy_Before 2This project from our deck builder in Austin is a great example of a deck design where the property is the star. The owners of this large Texan property wanted to take advantage of their gorgeous land. Not only does it have beautiful trees, but it also sits on a body of water. Unfortunately, before this project, much of it was covered with patchy vegetation and too many of the water views from the outside of the home were blocked by the trees.

Austin_Deck_Oddo_Odom Jimmy_After 3The homeowners didn’t want to lose any of the trees, but wanted an outdoor living space that jetted out further into their property, closer to the water.  Jimmy Odom, of Archadeck of Austin, designed this deck to work around the property and create amazing views for the owners.

The multi-tiered deck winds around the trees providing several spots to place some chairs or even an outdoor dining table. The owners can go past all the trees and have unobstructed views of the water, or they can stay in the trees’ shade and still enjoy their surroundings. Even their cows are interested in enjoying the space!

Austin_Deck_Oddo_Odom Jimmy_After 1Pressure-treated pine was used to build the deck in Austin. Pressure-treated pine is a great decking option for many parts of the country. It’s a natural and less expensive than some other decking materials. The boards were installed in different patterns to add some visual interest to the space. With the numerous angles of the deck, it didn’t make sense to keep everything parallel throughout because it would have looked slightly “off” in different areas.

This project is a great example of how the property can impact design.  The property does have a slight slope going down towards the water. If the owners wanted the same shape and size, the lower level would have had to be raised significantly. Not only could this impact cost, but it also would have impacted the view from the higher spots on the project. By designing a multi-level space, Jimmy was able to keep the view as the focal point while providing the space the owners wanted.

If you have questions on designing decks, porches, patios or other outdoor living space, please give your local Archadeck Outdoor Living office a call.