Blog August 2013

The Archadeck Grand Prize Winner’s Backyard Design

Posted by: janegwalker

Last week, we showed you the finished patio for the second place winner of Archadeck’s Dream Backyard Makeover contest. We received some requests for an update on the Grand Prize Winners’ home and who are we to disappoint?!

The last time we visited Merea and Rick Bentrott, their backyard looked like this, but Merea’s contest write up was hard to ignore:


“As parents of four kids under ten who, essentially, live outside the majority of the year, we’re in dire need of backyard help! Recently, we adopted two incredible kids from foster care and instantly became a family of six. The addition of these little ones enriched our lives, but shrunk our home! Hence, the move to a larger house with good bones and smarter space but also a need for serious updating. Since the move, we’ve slowly been saving money and fixing up the interior. Unfortunately, the backyard has received little attention as it’s been placed at the end of our long list of to-dos. Despite constant competition from technology, my continual goal as a parent is to keep my kids outside playing, imagining and dreaming. Currently, we rely on a homemade sandbox, trampoline, a rickety, hand-me-down play-set, and a deteriorating wooden deck. My backyard dream is to give my kids a safe, fun place to play and my husband a space to relax with a beer in one hand and grill tongs in the other, standing next to a Green Egg Grill. All I really want for myself if a comfortable spot to sit and watch it all happen.”

When the contest voting was over, we were thrilled to surprise the Bentrotts at home to tell them they had won:

Since then, Harold Cross of Archadeck of Central Iowa has been working with the Bentrotts to finalize a patio and deck design that will fit their needs. We are thrilled to announce that the design is now complete, and we should be breaking ground in the next few weeks! But, let’s talk about the design!

The Grand Prize Winners will receive a $70,000 backyard makeover that will include both a deck and patio component, with products from our partnering sponsors, TimberTech Decking and Belgard Hardscapes. Merea and Rick really wanted a place to entertain family and friends so Harold came up with a combination project that includes a deck, covered patio and outdoor kitchen. Doesn’t it look like a nice place to enjoy time outdoors?

Despite the condition of their current deck, the Bentrotts did like having a deck off their main living area and wanted to keep that in the design. Railings will be installed around most of the deck not only for safety (which is very important with four young kids), but also to guide visitors into the lower covered patio portion of the project. The patio has plenty of space for Merea and Rick to prepare meals with their new outdoor kitchen! Harold decided to cover the majority of the patio not only to define the space, but also to provide some shade and coverage from the sun, rain, and in Iowa, snow.

We are thrilled to start the building phase of the project. We will share images throughout the build through their first party on their new space!

If you have any questions about outdoor living structures, please reach out to your local Archadeck office.

Dream Backyard Second Place Winner Receives New Patio

Posted by: janegwalker

It’s been a while since we updated everyone on our Dream Backyard Makeover Contest. Some of the projects are in final design and build, but one second place winner is now the proud owner of a brand new Belgard patio, designed and built by Archadeck of Chicagoland.

This is what the Hall family had to begin with. Underneath the snow there was a small concrete patio that wasn’t the beautiful space they envisioned relaxing on. The family explained in their contest description that they bought this house only days after the birth of their first child. While they love the home, they really wanted a space to entertain friends and family outdoors.

The Halls were second place winners in the Archadeck Dream Backyard Makeover, which means they won a $7,000 patio project with material from Belgard Hardscapes. David Berryhill of Archadeck of Chicagoland worked with the family to design a space that fit the space and worked for their needs. The patio design, as seen in the picture below, was set off of their main family room. Existing walkways both from the other back door and the front yard, were left to work as additional entry points.

The property is on a corner lot which lacks privacy. While the Halls wanted a space that was open, a retaining wall was added to the design for a little privacy and to clearly define that side of the space (not to mention retaining walls make great seating!).

One of the most noticeable aspects of the design is its shape. David created a curved patio instead of the more common square or rectangular patio. Sometimes straight lines can make furnishing the space more difficult (unless the space is very large). Curved lines allow for more creativity.

The actual build of the space took about a week. Demo was the first step. There was a concrete slab off the back of the house to begin with that needed to be ripped out. While the team was chopping up and removing concrete, they also dug the space needed for the patio base and added drain tiles to make sure water doesn’t pool on the surface.

The patio was done in Belgard’s Holland Stone pavers and placed in a random pattern. Below the pavers are inches of base to anchor the space and keep it level and in place. There are 4 to 6 inches of crushed limestone covered with just under an inch of sand. The sand allows the patio builders to lay the pavers in place and keep them sturdy.

Doesn’t the space look great? We think that David did a great job! The Halls are now enjoying their new space, which we are thrilled about.

If you have any questions regarding paver patios or other outdoor living spaces, please contact your local Archadeck Outdoor Living office.

Enjoy the Outside from the Inside with a Beautiful Sunroom

Posted by: janegwalker

I was recently in Maine visiting family. Like always, I did my duty as a loving niece and went around to each of my aunts and uncles’ houses for a visit. My aunt Linda had recently moved and it was my first time seeing their new home. As I received the tour there was a clear winner as to my favorite spot in the house, the sunroom.

The sunroom at my aunt’s house is set back off the kitchen and is surrounded by three walls of windows. They have a small backyard that abuts a wooded area behind it. The sunroom, to me, was the perfect place to curl up with a cup of coffee or a good book, relax and enjoy the natural beauty beyond the windows.

Sunrooms make great additions to the home because you can enjoy them, and the changing seasons, all year round. Take Maine for instance, it has a beautiful summer. When I visited my aunt, all the windows were open, allowing a nice breeze to go through the room and into the rest of the house. Unfortunately, Maine weather isn’t that spectacular all year round. The winters are cold, very cold, but that doesn’t mean that my aunt won’t be able to enjoy the sunroom. The windows will definitely be closed tightly, but it will still be a great place to enjoy the surroundings. Who doesn’t love to curl up and appreciate a good snow fall in a sunroom?

When having a sunroom designed, it’s important to tell your designer how you intend to use the space. Is it something that you want to enjoy all year round or just during the nicer months? Some people may think of sunrooms and think of rooms that they can’t use all the time, and that is true in some cases. If you want to use the space all year round, make sure your builder knows this so they can use enough insulation to ensure the room stays warm efficiently in the cooler months.

Flow in and out of the sunroom to the rest of the house is also an important piece of design. If the intension is only to use the space a few months a year, it may be OK if the space is a little more closed off from the rest of the house. If the space is going to be utilized all the time, you may want to have a wide doorway that provides a seamless transition.

At Archadeck, we aim to design and build custom sunrooms that fit the clients’ needs and budget. The existing home is a major part of that design, not only do we want it to flow nicely, but we take into consideration any way that the new home could be affected. For example, if the sunroom is more of a closed off space it may decrease the amount of light going into the rest of the home.

Finishes are important to design as well. Our goal is to make the sunroom seem like it was always there. Colors, architectural style and textures are a great way to make the whole space cohesive.

If you are interested in learning more about sunroom design or any other outdoor living structure, please contact your local Archadeck Outdoor Living office.

Portico Welcomes Guests in Style

Posted by: janegwalker

We post a lot about the absolutely beautiful backyard spaces that our porch, patio and deck contractors design and build, but sometimes we don’t give enough credit to the front of the home. When I saw the pictures of this front porch I knew I had to share it. It’s classically beautiful that gives the home a true “wow” factor.

The owners of this property needed an updated place to welcome guests and entertain them. They live is a great neighborhood that they wanted to be able to enjoy from their front yard (and then have privacy in the back). Our deck builder in Boston created a space that spans the width of the house and includes both covered and open spaces.

When designing the space, the Archadeck of Suburban Boston knew they wanted a portico area that provided guests with some coverage. In the cold Massachusetts nights, the homeowners didn’t want friends and family waiting in the falling snow (or rain). The portico only covers the front door because if it too went the width of the house it would block too much sunlight into the home. Many deck and porch designers don’t take the inside of the home into account when creating the space, but an outdoor project can have a major impact on the inside of the house. The front windows wouldn’t allow much sun into the home’s front windows if the porch area were any wider.

While we didn’t want the covered area to be too wide where it affects light into the home, it is wider than the average portico. Most porticos aren’t much wider than the front door and that can oven make it look cramped. By creating more room under the roof structure, it makes the whole space look more inviting and accessible. The width is kept at the bottom of the front the stairs and then tapers down the to the walkway (which we will talk about below).

The columns, ceiling and railings were finished in white to give a clean look. If a darker color were used, it wouldn’t have the same crisp first impression. It’s so light.

While many front porches have stone floors, wood decking was used across this entire project. It makes it unique and the deep browns look great with the blue of the home and white of the railings.

I love the front walkway to this home because it isn’t cookie cutter. It’s special. The three colors are the perfect complement to the rest of the front facade. The dark lines bring out bring out the black shutters and door, but it would be way too dark for the entire walkway.

If you have questions on how to make your home more welcoming, please reach out to your local Archadeck office.

Learn More About Archadeck on Our New Recruitment Site

Posted by: janegwalker

We are thrilled to announce Archadeck Outdoor Living’s new franchise recruitment site, ArchadeckFranchise.com!

Some of you may not have realized that Archadeck is actually an outdoor living franchise. Each local owner and operator has a network of support, peers and vendors behind them ensuring that the each project is the best it can be. We realized, however, that people interested in a franchise didn’t know enough about Archadeck as a business model and process when they visited our site, so we launched a brand new one!

ArchadeckFranchise.com is a site aimed to help people looking at an outdoor franchise decide if Archadeck is a viable option for them. It is split up into 5 sections:

Section 1, About You – The first few pages will help you evaluate your goals and current lifestyle to see if they sync. We’ll talk about franchising and Archadeck on a high level and answer some of the more frequently asked questions we hear from franchise candidate.

Section 2, About Archadeck – Here you’ll learn about us as a brand and business. You’ll hear about our market leadership and hear from our current clients.

Section 3, Training and Support – Corporate support is a key part of any franchise system. In this section you’ll learn about the team that stands behind each location and how we work with our franchisees.

Section 4, Available Markets & Investment Considerations – If you are interested in learning more about Archadeck, we want you to know the basic startup numbers. We also show some of our target and available markets.

Section 5, Next Steps – We will walk you through the steps of the Franchise Validation and Qualification process.

For those existing owners, we have a section built just for you. ArchadeckFranchise.com has a page dedicated to illustrating how diversifying an existing business by adding-on an Archadeck location can help grow your bottom line.

Go ahead and take a look! ArchadeckFranchise.com.

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