Marrying Multiple Structures Together for the Perfect Combination Project

What does your dream backyard include? Is it a deck? Porch? Patio? Or maybe it is combination of several structures? For me, I’d love a screened in porch that opens up to a deck or patio with an outdoor kitchen and fire pit. That’s the dream.

Combination projects are a great way to create more space and designate different areas for different purposes. Here are three combo projects from Archadeck Outdoor Living to give you an idea of how multiple structures can work together.

deck-patio-pergolaThis first outdoor living space includes a deck, patio and a multilevel pergola. While it’s pretty open, the different structures serve different purposes. The deck is mainly used for dining, while the patio is the area where people sit back and relax or chat with friends and family. Changing up the material and level creates the delineation of the spaces. The dining area is just a few steps up from the patio. Keeping the two spaces together is the retaining wall that incorporates colors from both the patio and the deck.

deck-open-porch-patioOur next example truly does have it all: a deck, open porch, stone patio and custom fire pit. Who wouldn’t want to spend time outdoors here? While designing this combination project, the Archadeck team had to consider all the different ways that owners use their outdoor space and how it can work together without taking up all of their property. First was cooking. They love to eat and dine outdoors. This was the easy decision in the design as it didn’t make sense for them to have their grill down a flight of stairs instead of right outside their kitchen door. The elevated deck created a covered space large enough for an open porch underneath. A rain decking drainage system was installed to keep the space dry so the owners could install outdoor furniture and a TV in the space for entertaining. And who wants to be forced inside at night? To fix that issue, Archadeck designed and built a custom designed fire pit on the patio.

Screened-porch-deck-patioThe final example was created for owners who wanted space for sun and shade, so this screened porch, deck and patio combination was designed. The screened porch provides the shade and area away from mosquitoes from the homeowners. It has plenty of space for an outdoor living room set to host friends and family. The deck’s main purpose is dining. The lower level patio was designed as a place to lounge and enjoy the backyard.

If you’re considering updating your backyard in 2015 or later, please contact your local Archadeck Outdoor Living office. We’re confident we can help you create the backyard of your dreams.

Screening in your Existing Porch

Last night my husband and I went out to dinner with a friend of ours. He and his wife purchased a home last summer and learned some of its downfalls throughout the summer. One of the reasons they bought the home was that it has great outdoor space including a great covered porch. Well, they found out that they yard also has a ton of mosquitoes to the point where they couldn’t enjoy the space. They’re now looking to screen in the existing space, but weren’t sure of the process.

Screening in your existing open porch is definitely possible, but it involves more than just putting up some screens.

Building codes change over time to make sure that outdoor structures are safe and secure. Before adding screen panels to your porch, your porch builder will need to inspect and ensure that the existing structure is up to code. If not, it may require more work including additional footings, connections and more.

Depending on the type of existing structure, you make need to do some extra work for your screened porch to fulfill its purpose. For instance, in may cases a screened porch is built to provide a dry, shady space to enjoy the outdoor without bugs. Well, if you have a porch with deck boards as flooring, you’ll need to make sure that mosquitoes can’t come up through the board cracks.

Archadeck 2012When going through the process with your porch builder of enclosing the space, it’s the perfect time to consider updating the porch’s finishes. Take our friend for instance, his current open porch has a concrete floor and smaller columns. The floors aren’t in the best condition, so he’s considering having the floor updated to a more interesting tile option. Additionally, his home has a craftsman look and the small columns don’t really fit. While the porch builder is working on the projects, the homeowner has asked the builder to add some more weight to the columns.

If you are looking to enclose a porch or transform any existing outdoor living structure, please contact your local Archadeck Outdoor Living offices. Our trained designers will work with you to create a space that you’ll love using!

Making a new space complement your existing home: it’s all in the details

Just a few weeks ago, I went to visit a friend who had recently purchased a new home. We walked through the living space as she pointed out things that they loved and projects they knew they would have to tackle. When we got to the back of the house, it was clear that a new sunroom/living space was on the project list. It was obviously an add-on, and not one that was done well. The finishes were a completely different design and architectural style than the rest of the home. It just didn’t fit.

At Archadeck Outdoor Living, when we design and build outdoor living structures, we want them to look like they’ve always been there. They should not look like an afterthought. Often, it’s the details of the project that make this a reality. Here are two examples that show how a space can fit right into an existing home.

sunroom-builder-augusta-gaThe owners of this Augusta, GA home wanted to replace an existing deck with a screened in porch. They felt they would use a screened porch more, especially if it could include a fireplace.

Archadeck of Augusta designed and built the porch to fit the owners’ needs and tastes, as well as their home. As you can see, it looks like it has been there for years! There are two design details that make this happen: the white trim and the brick. The home has white trim along its roofline and windows. The crisp white looks great against the green. By having the framing, skirting and railings of the space be white, the screened porch “fits” with the rest of the space.

The outdoor fireplace brick, as well as the brick walkway, are a more subtle detail. You can barely see in the picture, but the foundation of the home is brick. The color and size of the bricks are nearly identical to the ones used in the porch.

BeforeThis next example comes from our porch, patio and deck builder in Denver. Like the first example, this home had an existing deck. It was old and needed to be replaced. Instead of building another deck, the owners wanted a sunroom that they could use even when there was snow on the ground.

sunroomoutsidefortcollinsCurtis Crays of Archadeck of the Front Range designed the addition, paying particular attention to the windows and the color. The home’s color is unique and by being just a little off in the color, it would be noticed. Curtis worked with the homeowners to learn the exact color of the home’s siding and trim and was able to use the same ones. Can you imagine what it would look like if it were white?

The sunroom windows were also an important part of the design. The main home’s windows are pretty simple, without a lot of panes in them. Curtis used similar windows to make the transition to the sunroom smoother.

Whenever you are considering adding on an outdoor space to your home, make sure that you pay attention to the finishing touches, both inside and out. Your sunroom, porch, patio or deck designer should be able to work with you to define what details need to be incorporated into the site. And, as always, please contact your local Archadeck office for any questions or to discuss your outdoor living needs or concerns.

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.