Blog November 2013

Christmas Gifts for the Outdoor Living Lover

At Archadeck Outdoor Living we are all about enhancing your enjoyment of your outdoor living spaces. We take great pride in designing and building custom decks, porches, patios, sunrooms and more that our clients enjoy frequently.

With the holiday season just beginning, we wanted to offer some outdoor living gift ideas that any outdoor lover would enjoy. Hopefully one of these ideas will help you with someone on your gift list.

A great rug instantly transforms an outdoor structure into an outdoor living or dining room. The key is to make sure that it is outdoor-friendly and will stand up to the elements. When buying for someone else, think about some of the other items they have in the space, or their general design aesthetic, to find someone that complements the space. Outdoor rugs have come a long way with regards to design. To get you started, here are some that Frontgate currently offers.

If you have a chef on your list, consider some outdoor cooking tools as a gift. A nice grill set is something that they can use all year round. When looking at grill sets, there are a few items that will make outdoor cooking easier: a spatula, tongs, a knife, and a grill brush. The number one thing to check is that it is metal and won’t melt over the hot grill.

Color is important to any indoor or outdoor space. Think about ways to add a pop of color to an outdoor area. From a beautifully painted planter, like this one from Plow & Hearth, to a side table or pillow, any color will bring life and personality onto an outdoor structure.

For those that entertain a lot outdoors, think about ways to make their get-togethers easier. A beverage cooler of some sort keeps the party outdoors when people don’t have to go in and out to grab cold drinks from the refrigerator. Coolers are available in a variety of styles, price-points and sizes. For example, my mother has a beautiful stainless steel tub, while my brother has a wooden cooler that has a top that opens for ice.

A friend of mine hosts loves to have people over to tailgate and watch football. Last year his wife bought him an outdoor television so he wouldn’t have to carry their living room TV in and out of their open porch. Make sure the TV is weatherproof. Two companies to look into are Sunbrite and Skyvue.

From games to grills, an outdoor living gift is sure to be a hit with your friends or family. If you are looking for something a little more permanent, please contact your local Archadeck Outdoor Living office. Whether a shade structure like a pergola or arbor is best, or possible a fire pit, it is sure to please.

Defining Spaces in Outdoor Rooms

When I was little the idea of outdoor living didn’t mean the same as it does today. Back then it was a deck or patio off the back of the house were you put some basic outdoor friendly chairs to sit and enjoy a drink before dinner. My how things have changed. Outdoor living now is about truly living outdoors. From outdoor living rooms to a place to cook and eat dinner outside, outdoor spaces have come a long way.

Creating rooms outdoors is all about you and how you intend to use the space. Defining the space is one way to make it feel like a real room. When creating a patio or deck design, this is something that we at Archadeck consider. Here are some popular ways of creating definition and separation for an outdoor room.

deck-design-ideasShape and structure. Shape and structure are the foundation of any outdoor living space, but they are also the first thing to consider when defining different sections of a space. For example, imagine you want areas for both lounging and dining in your backyard. There are much more interesting ways to accomplish that than by having a simple rectangular deck on the back of your home. Maybe the space has a deck for an outdoor living set and then it leads to a patio for dining. Or, take this dining area for example, it has its own nook in a different shape off this deck.

Archadeck 2013 PhotographyPrivacy fences and railings. Indoors it is often walls that set one room apart from another. Well, the outdoors version of walls is privacy fences and railings. They are a great way to designate different areas of a room. Also, privacy fences help to make an outdoor space really feel like a room. Take this deck for example, the lattice privacy screens around the space make it feel like a cozy place to sit back and enjoy friends and family.

Pergolas. Pergolas are one of my favorite outdoor structures. Not only are they visually interesting, but they also a great option if you’re looking for a shade structure or a way to add definition to your space. Roof structures like porches and sunrooms are wonderful, but they can be pricy. Pergolas, in some instances, can play a similar role as a roof structure by defining a space, as seen in the image above.

Material. One of the easiest ways to break up an outdoor living space is to work with the material of the space. We’ve had franchisees change the color of deck boards throughout a space, or use different materials all together to create transitions. If you only want to use one material, for instance decking, you can still create different areas. Ask your deck builder to lay the boards in different directions.

If you have questions on how to create the best outdoor living space for you and your needs, please reach out to your local Archadeck office.

Decorating Your Outdoor Living Space for the Holidays

The holiday season is my favorite time of the year. Not only is it the season to get together with friends and family, but it’s also a time to add to the cheer. Beautiful outdoor decorations make everything so festive in the winter months when it is usually dark and cold. If you are looking for ways to dress up your outdoor living spaces, here are some ideas to consider.

What areas should you decorate? Because the holiday season tends to be cooler, focus on the outdoor areas where you either spend time or can be seen from the street. The goal is to not waste your effort and make sure your decorations can be appreciated. Your front porch is a great area to start with, then focus on the other spaces, like sunrooms, porches and decks.


Trees. Evergreen trees have become synonymous with the holidays. Growing up, my mom went crazy decorating with trees. Not only did we have some trees that were wrapped in string lights in our yard, but we put Christmas trees on our outdoor living spaces. Our front porch was just big enough for a Christmas tree that we decorated with outdoor ornaments. It was the perfect way to welcome visitors. And since we had a small sunroom off the back of our living room, we had a simple tree there that we could see from our couch.

Garland is a common way to dress up your outdoor living spaces. Garland can be strung over doors, around columns or along railings. They are beautiful if left in their natural form, but you can also dress it up if you wish. For example, if you have garland along your deck railings, consider adding bows where the garland connects to railing posts. Pinecones and holly berries are also popular decoration ideas.

Ornaments. While the majority of ornaments may be made for the indoors, there are some that you can use outside as well. If you have a covered porch, you can hang some ornaments with beautiful ribbon from the eaves and ceiling at different heights. Additionally, they can be hung in between railing posts.

Incorporate your favorite things about the season. We all have our favorite memories of the winter season. Why not try to fit that into your outdoor décor? I grew up in Maine with a lot of snow. When I think winter and the holidays, sledding is one of the first things that comes to mind, so I actually placed a sled on my deck a few years ago (which we can see from our family room). I put holly leaves and berries on top to dress it up. My friend, on the other hand, will hang bells instead of a wreath from her front door because it reminds her of Santa bells.

Lights. Personally, when I think holidays, I think lights. From simple candles in the front windows to stringing lights amongst all of your decorations, adding lights to your holiday décor instantly makes it more festive.

The most important aspect of holiday decorating is that you love it and it makes you happy. Have fun! From everyone here at Archadeck Outdoor Living, have a very merry holiday season.

Enjoying the Seasons with a Sunroom

One of my favorite parts of the fall is the color of the changing leaves. They are absolutely beautiful. However, it is also the time of year that the temperatures drop and we are often forced inside to warm up. Sunrooms are the perfect place to enjoy the outdoors all year round from the comfort of your home.

From escaping the summer heat to feeling as if you are in the middle of a winter wonderland while the snow falls around you, sunrooms allow you to appreciate the outdoors 365 days a year. A room is considered a sunroom when the walls (usually 3 of the 4 walls in a typical square or rectangular room) are made up primarily of windows, allowing sunlight to come in easily. When considering a new outdoor living space, a sunroom is a great consideration.

Sunrooms increase the square footage of your home. From a dining space or family room to a playroom for the kids, sunrooms are versatile rooms in your home that you can use however you need. In my parent’s house, they use their sunroom as a place to have drinks and appetizers before moving indoors for dinner.

As opposed to decks, porches and patios, sunrooms can be used all year round if built with that intention. As you work with your sunroom contractor to design the space, make sure you can tell your designer that you want the space heated in the fall and winter. When the weather is nice, all the windows can be open to let the fresh air and breeze, but when it is cool outside, you may need a built-in heating option. Generally, sunrooms are energy efficient, heating up with the sun’s rays, but there will be times a heater is needed.

When my parents added their sunroom to the existing home, we were all surprised by how much it affected the rest of the home. It not only allowed more light to come into the general living space (which was a nice surprise), but it also made the layout of the house flow better.

Design is key when adding on to your home in any fashion. Pay particular attention to detail if making it look like it has always been there is important to you. For example, if you have crown molding and a certain type of window throughout your home, you may want to include it in your sunroom design. Mimicking the style and architecture of the home is one method to make sure everything works together.

If you have questions regarding sunrooms and sunroom design, please reach out to your local Archaeck Outdoor Living office.

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