Blog Contractors and sub-contractors

Choosing the Right Contractor can Make all the Difference

Spring has sprung and it’s time to think about moving family and friend time outdoors. Whether you’re in the market for a deck, patio, or just some new landscaping, you want to feel good about who you hire and invite onto your property. Many of us have had bad experiences with hired professionals when expectations weren’t met or communication was unclear. At Archadeck Outdoor Living we hope to make you feel comfortable about hiring us and want to leave you with the backyard of your dreams.

If you’re in the market for a patio or deck builder, visit our website and take a look at our Choosing a Contractor checklist. The checklist will help you to learn more about your choices and guide you as you make your decision. Some of the topics we include are:

Picking a contractor that understands your location. Each area of the country is different and what’s expected of a contractor is different as a result. A contractor should be able to clearly articulate what’s required for building permits and safety standards while also understanding the unique terrain and weather that may impact your structure.

Verifying their expertise and reputation. It’s one thing to say “we build beautiful decks,” but it’s quite another when a company can show you a portfolio of their work. Ask to see images of different projects they’ve built. Additionally, ask for some clients references if you’d like to speak directly with someone that they’ve worked with. A professional outdoor structure builder should have a list of happy clients they can easily provide.

Reviewing contracts is not always apples to apples. If you’re meeting with multiple contractors, be aware that not all bids can be the same. Be sure that you’re comparing estimates for the same scope of work and material quality.

Checking the warranties. If a contractor doesn’t offer a warranty on their work, not just the material warranty, there is no guarantee that everything gets completed as quoted and you may not be left with options if something goes wrong 3 months after the build date.

If you have questions on custom designed and built outdoor living spaces, please contact your local Archadeck Outdoor Living office.

Enjoying Fall Nights in Screened Porch and Patio

To me, fall is the perfect season. The colors are beautiful and the cool temperatures call for nights cozying around a fire. When our deck builder in Rolling Meadows, IL and the surrounding areas shared this project with me that he completed this last summer, I couldn’t help but imagine spending my fall nights on it.

The owners of this home in Mokena, IL wanted to update their backyard with areas for shade, sun and plenty of warmth. The Archadeck of Chicagoland team designed a combination screened porch and patio with two fire features that will allow for plenty of use.

Attached to the back of their home, the owners wanted a roof structure that had room for both a living area and a dining area. The Archadeck team not only gave them what they asked for, but took it to the next level. The large screened porch easily fits a large couch/sectional and dining table for 6, but doesn’t feel at all cramped due to the square footage and the cathedral ceilings. Higher ceilings make spaces feel larger. At one end of the room, a large, and gorgeous fireplace was installed to make it feel cozy and to increase use.

While this room is technically a screened porch, the Archadeck team installed 4-track windows to make it a porch and sunroom in one. Tracks slide up and down as needed. The tracks may be open all spring and summer, but be moved up in the fall and winter as the nights get cooler.

Personally, I love the finishes of this porch. The pressure treated pine-decking complements the brick of the home and gives it that rustic feeling that is so beautiful.

But let’s not forget about the patio design! Right off the screened porch and next to the home are square pavers and then freeform stones were used around the custom fire pit. The two types of pavers work beautifully with the home’s subtle brick and provide transitions from space to space. Instead of a square or rectangular patio, Archadeck designed a curved patio for visual interest and flow.

The homeowners are thrilled with their new outdoor living space. To me, it’s a great example of how design can make all the difference. The combination of screened porch with track windows and outdoor fireplace with a patio with a custom fire pit is the perfect space for the Illinois area. It truly maximizes the amount of time the owners can enjoy it!

If you’re interested in updating your backyard, please reach out to your local Archadeck Outdoor Living office.

Design Tips to Create the Perfect Outdoor Living Space

At Archadeck Outdoor Living, we love creating the perfect outdoor living spaces for our clients. Not only are no two clients a like, but there are no two properties that are exactly alike as well. Creating a beautiful and functional patio or deck design is something our Archadeck teams take great pride in. If you’re looking to enhance your outdoor living spaces, here are a few things to consider:

1.) Your home’s overall architecture. Any great porch, patio or deck design fits seamlessly into the overall look and feel of your home. For instance, a traditional colonial house would look silly with a deck with ultra-modern lines. The shape, structure and finishes of the structure should complement the existing architecture.

2.) The finishes of the home. The finishes of your home should play a role in choosing the materials and finishes of your deck or patio. For example, take a look at this deck. You can how the vertical deck boards and skirting are the same color as the window frames of the house. We at Archadeck always look to make sure our material choices work with the home. For instance, this same space would look overwhelming with a brick patio with the brick house.

3.) The grade and size of the property. The property itself will play a major role in the design and construction of any outdoor living space, especially for properties on a hill or slope. The size also plays a role, smaller yards call for smaller or smarter design. For those properties that do have a slope, we may need to adjust our recommendations based on the cost or complexity of install. Decks, for instance, are much better for elevated spaces.

4.) Function is everything. At the end of the day, if a space, be is a deck, porch, patio, sunroom or combination there of, doesn’t work for its intend used, it will not be used much. During your design consultation with Archadeck, you’ll be asked how you would like to use your yard, entertaining, dining, reading, cooking, etc. With its use in mind, your designer can create a space with a form and flow to fit the function. For example, this combination project called for both sun and shade with plenty of room to entertain friends and family.

If you’re interested in a new design for your backyard, please reach out to your local Archadeck Outdoor Living office.

Creating More Living Space in a Small Backyard

This 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.

The 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.

By 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.

Warm Up this Fall by an Open Flame

This summer has truly flown by. It’s hard to accept that football is now on TV and kids are going back to school. As I look forward to autumn, I’m excited to spend time outdoors with friends and family. One feature that makes it more comfortable: an outdoor fireplace.

Fire features are a growing trend in the outdoor living category. Whether you have a fire pit or an outdoor fireplace, they often become the centerpiece of any outdoor living space; the perfect spot to sit and enjoy friends and family. When it comes to outdoor fireplaces, the perfect one can be designed and built just for you.

At Archadeck Outdoor Living, we design and build custom outdoor living structures for our clients. Each homeowner has different needs and tastes and we create spaces around their preferences. An outdoor fireplace is no different; just take a look at these unique structures to get an idea.

Some homeowners enjoy a traditional or classic style. This first outdoor fireplace sits within a screened porch and complements the classic finishes of the entire room. A clean red brick was used as the primary material to go with the crisp white trim and finishes. To bring extra attention to the piece, traditional sconces and wood mantle were added to the fireplace.

This large wood burning outdoor fireplace has a completely different look and feel than the first example. It anchors the patio that it is a part of. Instead of traditional brick, it’s made out of a neutral, natural stone. High mantles on either side were designed to define the space and make it feel like a true room that just happens to be outside. The sides also act as storage for the firewood for the piece. I love the rustic earthy feel of this fireplace.

This last example comes from our deck builder in Charlotte, NC. Their screened in porch includes a lot of earth tones and natural wood on the ceiling. A red brick just wouldn’t fit the overall design of the space. Instead a stone outdoor fireplace was designed with a wood mantle to complement the ceiling of the porch. Doesn’t it look like a cozy place to curl up?

Outdoor fireplaces not only allow you to use your outdoor spaces longer into the season, but are also a great design statement. From stone and brick to gas vs. wood burning options, Archadeck Outdoor Living will design the perfect fireplace for you.

From Structure to Outdoor Living Space

Be it a deck, porch or patio, many homes have some types of outdoor structure in the backyard. But just because you have a structure doesn’t mean you have an outdoor living space. An outdoor living space is place where people go to spend time, but it requires at least one of these attributes.

Function. To be a room that’s used, whether indoor or outdoor, it needs to have a function or purpose. Otherwise, it’s a wasted space. Homeowners are all different and use their outdoor spaces for different purposes. For some, they need a space to entertain friends and family, others want a place to cook, or maybe they just want a cozy space to read a book.

Function leads to the second attribute for an outdoor living space: design. At Archadeck Outdoor Living we pride ourselves on our patio and deck design. When the perfect outdoor space is created, it will invite the owners, friends and family outside and they aren’t all the same. The space created for the homeowner who enjoys cooking outdoors and entertaining friends and family needs a different space than the person who wants to sit and read a book. A great design will create a nice flow and define the areas of the structure.

The last attribute that makes a deck, porch, or patio a true outdoor living space is furniture or at least a place to sit. People will only go out and stand in an empty space for so long before looking for a place to sit. The furniture that’s added to an outdoor space should reflect its function and design. For instance, if you like to eat and dine outside, you may need a table and chairs, while a built-in bench may be enough for a space that’s just used for happy hours.

A professional deck designer and builder will help you to create an outdoor room that you’ll use. To ensure you get the best space possible, be clear on how and when you expect to use it. For questions or to speak with a deck designer about your outdoor space, please contact your local Archadeck Outdoor Living office.

Gather Outside to Watch the Game this Fall

It’s nearly August which mean we are just a few short weeks away from the NFL and college football season. If you’re like me, you can be found in front of a TV on Saturdays and Sundays taking in all the action. But do you know what’s better than watching the game inside with some food and beverages? Watching it OUTSIDE with food and beverages. With the right outdoor living design you can invite friends and family over to enjoy the sporting events and movies!

Outdoor entertaining is a topic we discuss frequently with our clients. We are always interested to know what type of entertaining they do so we can create a spaced tailored to that purpose. When it comes to hosting sports and movie parties, there are a few items and design ideas that make it even more enjoyable.

Something to watch the game on. You can’t watch the game without a screen of some sort, right? Technology has improved and evolved so much that there are a number of outdoor TVs on the market that work beautifully. When designing your deck, porch, or patio, however, you want to discuss with your designer where’d you like it. With the plan in place, cables can be run appropriately. If you aren’t interested in TV, there are also screen and projector options for you to consider!

Space. If you want to host friends and family, you need space for all of them to hang out and enjoy the evening outdoors. Let your porch, patio or deck designer know that you need ample room for everyone to view the screen without obstruction. If you like to have large parties, a 6 ft. × 6 ft. deck just won’t do!

A fire feature. The best games are often played in primetime and in the fall (and winter in playoffs) that can result in some cooler temperatures outside. An outdoor fireplace or fire pit is a great way to enjoy all the action outdoors comfortably (and maybe with s’mores!). If you want the area to really feel like a room, placing the TV above the fireplace works wonders!

Food. What’s a football game or movie without snacks? While your contractor may not be there to help you at kickoff, we can help you now! Here’s an easy recipe for delicious queso for your next party!

When you’re ready to have the ultimate viewing space in your backyard, please reach out to your local Archadeck Outdoor Living office.

This is Why you Don’t DIY a Patio

When it comes to outdoor living spaces and structures, there are aspects that you may be able to do yourself, and others that are just too complicated. When it comes to the structures themselves, we say leave it to the professionals. This article from the New York Times illustrates how hard it can truly be to build a patio yourself.


Small, low to the ground patios may look simple enough; can’t I just place the pavers on the ground? Trust the professional patio builders, there is more to it than you think. The author of the article, Bob Tedeschi, can attest to that. The witty article explains how something that looks so simple can, in reality, take days to complete. Here’s his explanation of the help you may need:

“… Get a multitude of muscle, spread out over at least two bodybuilder friends who owe you a huge favor. Ideally, one of those friends will own a truck and the other will own a skid-steer machine, like a Bobcat. If not, you should consider renting one of those, or finding more friends to help carry the load.” Source.

A beautiful paver patio can be a great place to sit back, relax and enjoy time with friends and family, but a lot of work goes into creating that space. First off the area for the patio needs to be dug out and leveled. This involves digging up any grass that is currently in the place and creating an even space to start with. This can be a tedious task on properties that have any type of slant or slope, but it is incredible important. If you don’t start with level ground, your patio won’t be level either.

After preparing the ground, base layers of gravel and sand are placed on top. Each layer has to be level too. The base keeps the pavers from moving around and allows water to flow through the base without pooling on your patio’s surface.

When all of that is done, pavers can now be placed and secured, creating a lovely patio. Concrete or polymeric sand are just two of the options to lock everything in position.

If you are considering adding a patio to your property, save yourself the time and hassle and hire a professional patio designer and builder. Not only will they do all the dirty work, but they will also work with you to design and create a space you’ll love for years to come.

An outdoor living space that has it all

When it comes to creating a custom patio or deck design, we at Archadeck like to have a clear understanding of how you intend to use the space. Do you need space for cooking? Dining? Relaxing? Homeowners who may not know the type of structure they want still have an idea of how they’d like to use the space. From there, our trained designers can map out a space that is perfect for them.

When I saw this project from our Archadeck of Central Maryland office, I knew I had to share it. It has a ton of living space without being too overwhelming.

The owners of this property like to spend as much time as possible outside when the weather permits. By designing a multi-level space, John Barrett of Archadeck was able to create clearly defined areas for the owners, each one just as beautiful as the next.

At the lowest level (to the right on picture) is a large paver patio. It’s an open area that provides easy access to the yard below. A custom outdoor kitchen was constructed closer to the home’s back door so the chef can easily go to and from the kitchen. John and his team recommended a light stone paver with subtle grey variations since the home is brick. Brick would have been too overwhelming throughout the space.

Up a few steps is a small deck area with two lounge chairs. The homeowners enjoy laying out in the sun from time to time, and this spot is the perfect transitional area. The octagonal shape keeps it fun and interesting and because it has steps on all sides a railing isn’t necessary by law. Railings are incredibly important for safety purposes, but can make structures look closed off. Without railings, this deck is way more open to the rest of the yard.

Just one step up is a dining and entertaining area. The deck is just a few steps away from the outdoor and indoor kitchens, making it easy to serve dinner outside. Again, John and the homeowners didn’t want to block off the space with railings. Instead, a built in bench and planter were used. They not only look great, but the bench provides plenty of additional seating for friends and family.

The last level of the space is an open porch that works as an outdoor living room. Guests can escape the sun and cozy up underneath the roof structure.

If you have questions on designing outdoor living spaces to fit your needs, please contact your local" Archadeck":https://www.archadeck.com/ office.

Deck Collapse Puts a Damper on any Outdoor Event

Every year there are stories of deck failures. Either there are too many people on the structure, it’s not built to code or it is just too old. The newest viral video spreading online is from a dock collapse in Minnesota that sent an entire bridal party into the lake below as they posed for pictures.

They may have needed some time to dry off before the big wedding celebration, but the bride and groom are lucky that no one was hurt when this dock gave way.

Deck (and dock) safety is a serious concern. People are injured each year as a result of deck footings giving way or the deck detaching from a home. In the case of the video above, it may have been a case of too many people on a small dock. Over the past few years, videos of deck failures at special events, like weddings or proms, have been released online. If you are hosting a graduation party, wedding or other special event at your home, make sure you evaluate the safety of your outdoor structures.

Your deck may feel safe normally, but can it withhold the weight of a large number of people? If your deck has ever shook or felt at all uneasy before, it’s important to have it inspected by a professional deck builder. A professional will be able to look at the structure and tell you the overall shape it is in, what, if anything, should be addressed now or if it should be replaced entirely.

There are certain parts of a deck that are key components of the overall safety of the space, while others can be easily replaced or enhanced in the short term.

The structure, footings, connections and attachment are all very important to the deck’s safety. If one of these fail, it could cause the deck to collapse. Conversely, decking boards, stairs and rails can be updated or replaced until the entire structure is enhanced.

If you have concerns over the safety of your deck, please reach out to your local Archadeck office.

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.

When 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!

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.

Before 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.

Converting a Patio to Open Porch

In life, it doesn’t always make sense to start from scratch with something. Working and enhancing what you have will sometimes provide you with the best end result. That was the case with this project from our patio and deck builder in Greensboro.

This home in the Piedmont Triad of North Carolina had a large patio off the back. As you can see, it was a raised patio that was accessible from many parts of the house. It had an area for an outdoor dining room and an outdoor living room. However, the homeowners didn’t feel they were getting much use out of it. They felt it would be better for them if the space had a roof.

Archadeck of the Piedmont Triad’s John Mallard was brought in to design and build the open porch. The existing patio was in good shape structurally, and it would be extremely costly for the homeowners to start anew. Instead, John suggested adding on to what was already there. The space and flow of the layout works well, all it needed was a roof structure.

The existing brick retaining walls called for the perfect spots to add some columns to support the roof. Only four were needed for the entire space. For the roof, John suggested a few design details to make the space interesting, usable and light. The horizontal beams of the roof were left visible in the space. By simply painting them white, it added a unique design detail that could be appreciated by the family. To me, it also make it cozy.

Outdoor ceiling fans were added over the dining and coffee tables of the space. While open porches provide shade and a cooler space to relax than out in the sun, they still can be warm, especially in North Carolina. Those fans can go a long way in making the space more comfortable.

Light can be an issue with any covered area, especially one as large as this. Shade is key, but when the sun is blocked, it not only impacts the porch, but also the rooms inside that it is connected to. To allow for more sunlight to come in, John did two things. First, he did not attach the roof structure to the home on the sides. There is still space between the roof of the home and the roof of the porch, allowing light to come down and into the space. Secondly, skylights were placed right above the doors to the main living spaces to the home, allowing more light to come through the glass.

The existing patio of this project was nice, but by enhancing it just a little bit, it is now absolutely beautiful. If you have questions on how you can improve your outdoor living spaces, please reach out to your local Archadeck Outdoor Living office.

Reworking an Outdoor Living Space to Fit your Needs

From decks and porches to patios and sunrooms, outdoor living spaces are not one size fits all. What functions and works well for one homeowner may not be perfect for another.

When I initially saw this project from our patio and deck builder in Chicagoland, I thought the before picture was a pretty nice space. Seen in the picture to the right, the deck was large spanning across the width of the house, but it didn’t work for the homeowners. It wasn’t their taste and didn’t function as well as they believed it could.

The homeowners wanted to replace the existing deck with a patio. For how they envisioned the space working, they felt that a patio would work and look better than a deck. Luckily they worked with Kristen Berryhill of Archadeck of Chicagoland to design their new space and the end result was just what they were looking for.

The owners of this home enjoy entertaining and wanted space for cooking, dining and relaxing. Kristen created a unique patio design with multiple layers, materials and shapes give the clients exactly what they wanted.

The top level of the patio is where the family does their cooking. The grill is here and it has easy access to the kitchen doors. Access to the indoors is an important piece of outdoor design; it has to flow. Having the grill, for instance, on the opposite side of the space than the kitchen door would make it more cumbersome to use.

My favorite area of the space is down two steps from the grill, where there is a bar area with outdoor stools. It’s the perfect place to eat or just sit and have a drink with friends and family. The curved space makes it special and it overlooks their beautiful property. You can see how the curved perimeter is mirrored on the materials on the base of the patio. A darker paver was used set this particular area apart from the rest of the space.

Beyond the bar area is an open space that can be used for just about anything. Right now the homeowners are using it as an additional place for dining outdoors. In this area, you can really see why the homeowners wanted a patio instead of a deck. By keeping the space level with the ground no railings were needed and it opens up seamlessly to the beautiful yard!

And if you take a step back and look at the project as a whole, you really can see that this space is a step up from the previous deck. It complements the home’s finishes instead of looking like an afterthought. It’s a wonderful space and wonderful patio design from Archadeck of Chicagoland!

If you have questions on enhancing your outdoor living space to work better for you, please contact your local Archadeck office. One of our trained designers and builders can surely help!

Thinking about a new outdoor living space? Not sure where to start?

With all of these cold temperatures, I am counting down the days until the weather turns and starts to warm up again. I can’t wait to sit outside, relax and enjoy some time outdoors without a freezing face. If you are considering building a new outdoor living space, now is the time to start planning. Here are some things to consider that will help when it comes time to talk to a patio and deck builder.

How do you intend to use the space? Gone are the days of a one design fits all attitude to outdoor living. Say good-bye to the square deck or patio and hello to a custom space built for you and your goals in mind. Take some time to think about how you plan to use your new patio, deck, porch or combination there of. Is it an oasis for you to curl up with a book? Do you need space for grilling, dining and entertaining? With a clear idea of its use, your patio and deck designer can create something that will fit those goals.

What time of the year will the project be used? Spring and summer is the easy answer to the question, but outdoor living spaces can be used all year if it is designed correctly. If you live in the south, for example, it may entail building an outdoor fireplace or firepit, while you may need a sunroom if you live in New England.

Why type of structure or structures do you want? The first two questions definitely play a roll in deciding whether you want a porch, patio, deck, sunroom, outdoor kitchen, etc. You’ll also have to keep your property in mind. If you have a large slope off the back of your home, a deck may be a better choice than a patio for example. If you aren’t sure what is right for your goals, talk to your contractor about the best options for you. They will keep your goals and budget in mind.

At Archadeck Outdoor Living, the best project designs are often collaborations between the homeowner and us. To help guide those conversations, we created the Archadeck Design Guide a few years ago. This free download will get you thinking about what you want in your backyard right now and what you may want in the future. It will ask you questions about your goals, your property and your tastes. The guide is a great place to start if you are thinking about building a new outdoor living space.

If you have any questions on outdoor living considerations and options, please visit Archadeck.com or contact your local Archadeck office. Our trained designers and contractors are happy to help you in any way.

Building a patio – so much more than you see

Working at Archadeck Outdoor Living, I’ve seen some beautiful patios, walkways, outdoor kitchens, outdoor fireplaces and other hardscaped areas over the years that our offices have designed and built. The beauty of the finished product can be misleading however. At its surface, the patio looks gorgeous, but what lies below is what keeps it looking that way in the long run.

Building a patio that will hold its shape and structure is more difficult than the looks of it show.

The first step is to prepare the ground for the patio. This includes grading and digging footings. Grading is the process of leveling the ground. If the ground isn’t properly graded, it will lead to an uneven outdoor living space. Grading may include removing or adding more dirt to the space and packing it down until it is firm and even.


If the patio is a simple patio, footings may not be required while preparing for the build, but if you are adding something with extra weight, like an outdoor kitchen or outdoor fireplace, footings need to be created. Footings are essentially bases for extra large structures. For this example, let’s use an outdoor fireplace. Due to its weight, it needs more support from below. A large hole is dug underneath where the fireplace will ultimately sit. That hole is filled with concrete that, when hard, will be able to hold up the outdoor fireplace for years to come.

After the footings are dug and the ground is leveled, the layers begin. The first layer that is placed on the ground is called base stone. Base stone is key to keeping the patio level over time and seasonal changes. Once the stone is laid in place, it is then impacted down. Like the dirt below it, the base stone will be leveled.

After the base is all set and in place, sand is spread and leveled on top of it. Sand is a helpful as the pavers are placed down on top of it as it helps to keep it all in place before everything is locked in tightly.

Laying pavers can be as simple or as complex as you’d like. It just depends on how intricate you want the design of it to be. At Archadeck, we’ve done some that are simple rows and others with circular or curved patterns.

Once everything is in place, it has to be secured. Along the sides of the patio, there will be an edging materials that digs into the ground. It works as a barrier for the pavers. The most common way to lock your paver patio in place is to use polymeric sand. This sand is spread and swept on the surface of the patio, working it’s way into all the nooks and crannies of the entire space. Then it will be exposed to water. When it gets wet, the sand will harden, similar to concrete.

As you can see, building a patio is much more difficult than simply picking out a stone that you like. At Archadeck, we take great pride in our work and take the time to do it all correctly so you can enjoy the space for years to come.

If you have any questions on designing or building custom patios, please contact your local Archadeck office.

A Contractor for your Outdoor Living Space

One of the most important decisions when building a new outdoor living space is choosing the right contractor. There are so many factors to deciding who is a reputable company and who will leave you unsatisfied. The following tips will give you the peace of mind that you’ve chosen the right contractor for your project.

1. Think Local

Choose a company with an established reputation in your area. Only someone who has built decks, porches, and outdoor living spaces in our community will have the local knowledge you need to ensure that your project is beautiful and functional. A local expert will know what types of weatherproofing your deck will need, implement the right treatments, and plan for protecting appliances in your particular climate.

2. Visit their Business

Don’t just meet with the contractor at your home, go to their place of business too if possible. Again, this lets you see yourself that this contractor is an established local business that is here and here to stay.

3. See the Work

Take time to personally inspect three or four projects the contractor has done near your home. Doing so will let you have full confidence that a specific contractor knows the local building codes and the landscape of the area. Seeing projects a company built and talking to several references is the only way to know for sure that other homeowners have had a good experience with a contractor. Reading online testimonials and reviews is another good way to see what others think of the contractor.

14. Verify their Level of Expertise

Especially if you’re considering an alternative design or elevation, you want to be sure your prospective contractor has considerable experience with multi-level decks, built-in outdoor kitchens, fire features, and the latest outdoor lighting systems. By looking at examples of their work, you can also see if a contractor has experience with the type of materials you’re considering for your project.

5. Check Regulations

Many states, but not all, require contractors to be licensed and/or bonded. Contact your state or local licensing agencies to ensure a contractor meets all government requirements.

6. Investigate Possible Complaints

Check with the government Consumer Affairs Offices and the Better Business Bureau to ensure they don’t have adverse files on record for the contractor.

By following these six steps, your are more likely to find a deck contractor that will leave you with the outdoor space of your dreams.

Trends in Outdoor Living Ramp Up Comfort and Warmth

Home magazines, television shows and websites are showcasing outdoor living trends as never before. So it’s no wonder you’re itching to transform your old-school patio or cookie-cutter deck into an impressive and functional space. Start by looking at trends that fit your lifestyle and have the legs to make your home irresistible to future buyers. Here are some things to consider:

Seating Clusters

Tops in the comfort category are seating clusters. Thick, comfy cushions and strategically placed outdoor furniture arrangements can spark conversation and help build relationships with family and friends. Designers are big on outdoor furniture that brings people together, stands up to the elements and showcases personal style.

Fire it Up

Fire pits and fireplaces are still all the rage, adding both fashion and function. By night they create summer-camp ambiance from early spring right through the fall. A fireplace, paired with an outdoor television that has integrated speakers, adds a whole new dimension to game-day get-togethers.

Landscaping that Fits the Land

To give your outdoor living areas maximum appeal, choose an overall landscaping look that makes sense for your home, the weather and how busy you are. If you live in a dry desert climate, choose succulents that need minimal watering. If you’re retired, you may want to add a flower or raised-bed vegetable garden that becomes a favorite hobby. If you’re always on the run with work and your family’s schedule, don’t put in a complex landscape or garden that will need lots of maintenance.

Get in the Cooking Zone

Goodbye grill, hello cooking zone. Whether you call it your outdoor summer kitchen like they do in chic, seaside resort communities, the trendiest outdoor living areas all have places to let your inner chef loose in the great outdoors. Just like gourmet indoor kitchens, your outdoor kitchen can be built with warming drawers, outdoor cooking stations with integrated storage, even a prep station and mini fridge, along with a more traditional gas grill. Newer amenities include a hybrid grill that lets you cook both gas and wood or charcoal.

Easy-Care Conveniences

Kitchen appliances, advanced deck materials and high-tech spas are making it easy to adapt new design trends into your great outdoors. But be careful not to overlook the big picture. Your primary goal is to enjoy your new outdoor living space, rather than spend money maintaining it. Always ask if products are low-maintenance and easy to take care of.

It’s always best to talk to your deck builder about how you intend to use the space to ensure your patio and deck design works well for you and your family. If you have any questions, please contact your local Archadeck Outdoor Living office.

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.

Backyard Contest Update: Fire pits and building

It’s been a few weeks and it is time for an update on our Archadeck Dream Backyard Contest winners! Last we checked in with Rick and Merea Bentrott they had finalized their deck and patio design and were ready to start building. Harold Cross and the rest of the Archadeck of Central Iowa have been hard at work on the space!

Before we get to the building update, there was one last tweak to the design. In the last update the design looked like this:

And now, it looks like this:

The Bentrotts decided to enhance the patio portion of the space and add a fire pit and a seating wall. Extending the patio provides for more entertaining space and the kids (they have four) are sure to enjoy roasting some s’mores around the fire pit.

Much like the benches on the deck, we are providing built in seating on the Belgard patio. Retaining walls, when built with the correct height in mind, not only provide the perfect place to sit, but also another way to define the space and create the flow.

With the design plan in place, Harold and his team were set to break ground and start constructing the Bentrotts’ Dream Backyard. Videos of the build throughout the process can be seen on Archadeck of Central Iowa’s YouTube channel.

After six days of finished work, a lot of construction has been done. Demolishing the existing deck and leveling the area for the structure were the first tasks. On day two on site, a lot of dirt needed to be dug out for both the base of the patio and all of footings on the space. The footings are essential to the safety of the structure and were needed for the deck and covered porch.

Unfortunately, there are some things we cannot control, like the weather. A few days of rain delayed us, but we are back on track! The deck framing is finished and the boards have been installs. The decking was provided by our contest sponsor, TimberTech. The color of the boards is Brownstone and they were laid in a diagonal patterns instead of the classic straight version.

The frame and roof of the covered patio have been installed. Underneath and beside the covered area is the patio itself which will be done using Belgard Pavers. What goes beneath the pavers, called base, is incredibly important with respect to the integrity of the structure. Without a good base, the homeowner may notice some uneven areas over time. A base layer of rock has been spread over any area where pavers will ultimately be.

We can’t wait to see the final product and how the Bentrotts will enjoy their new backyard space. In the meantime, if you have questions concerning any outdoor structure, please contact your local Archadeck office.

Fall is the perfect time to build an outdoor living structure

Posted by: janegwalker

While spring and summer arguably are the best seasons to spend time outdoors on your deck, patio or other outdoor living structure, is it the best time to build your structure? At Archadeck Outdoor Living, we believe there are benefits to building an outdoor structure in the fall months.


Spring and summer are our busiest design and building months, but it is also the time when homeowners want to be outside. If you’ve ever had work done on your home, you may know that at times it isn’t safe to be in certain areas. Building in cooler months ensures that you get your project built before, not during the nice weather. The biggest benefit of building in cooler months is that when it turns warm again you have a completed space that you can enjoy.

Deck builders and contractors are typically more available during the winter months as the workload gets smaller. This means that the building phase can be done soon after you sign off on a final design and product is purchased.

I remember when we had a deck and patio built in our backyard growing up. While the finished project was gorgeous, we were surprised by how the construction phase affected the surrounding areas. It seemed to take months to get everything back to normal. This is less likely to happen when building in cooler months. Plants and grasses go dormant at the end of fall and winter, reducing the amount of damage they will incur.

If you are building with pressure treated wood, you may want to consider building in months that have less humidity. When the air is dry it allows wood to dry and stabilize more evenly than when it is humid out. Wood absorbs moisture in the air and when it is humid, it is more apt to warp or loosen. If you do decide to build a wood deck, wait until spring to stain or seal it. Building in the winter will give the wood time to cure, but it won’t be ready to stain until there are several consecutive days of sunshine.

One of the misconceptions about deck and patio building is that it can’t be done in the winter. There may be times when it doesn’t make sense due to weather, but our franchisees build almost all year round.

If you have question on building your outdoor structure in the fall and winter months, please reach out to your local Archadeck office.

Firepits and Outdoor Fireplaces Most In Demand Outdoor Living Feature

Posted by: janegwalker

In the last few years, we’ve noticed an increase in the number of projects that are including an outdoor fire feature, whether it is a firepit of fireplace. It’s not surprising when you look at the American Society of Landscape Architects’ (ASLA) Survey of the top Outdoor Living Features for 2013, firepits and fireplaces is at the top.

According to the ASLA, more U.S. homeowners are enhancing the outdoor areas around their home for added entertainment space. Nancy Somerville, Executive Vice President and CEO of the ASLA explains, “in this uncertain economy, homeowners want to get more enjoyment out of their yards. They want attractive outdoor spaces that are both easy to take care of and sustainable.” Source.

As people look to improve their outdoor living spaces, it doesn’t surprise us that firepits and fireplaces are at the top of the list of trends. Fire features are a great way to make a space feel more intimate and cozy.

At Archadeck, we see an uptick in interest in firepits and outdoor fireplaces in the fall when the weather begins to cool down. Personally, I love gathering around a fire on a cool fall or winter night with friends and family.

Outdoor fireplaces and firepits are great add-ons to existing structures that will extend the amount of time you can use your decks, patios, sunrooms and other outdoor areas. You may be forced inside as it cools off in September for instance, but with a fire feature, you can enjoy it into November possibly. At Archadeck, we custom design outdoor fireplaces and firepits to fit the spaces they are incorporated in. We’ll talk to our clients about how often it will be used, if it should be gas or wood burning and other aspects they may want to include.

The other outdoor trends mentioned on the ASLA survey align pretty closely with what our clients are asking us about. Here are the rest of the top 5:

2. Grills – Outdoor kitchens are growing in popularity and in most cases the grill is the focal point (you need somewhere to do the cooking, right?). Grills can be as simple or as complex as the client wants. Personally, I just need to know it can cook a mean burger.

3. Seating and Dining Areas – Outdoor living is truly about that, living. A deck or patio without a way to enjoy it is just a structure. The key to making sure that the space is as usable as possible is the design. Talk to your deck builder about how you intend to use the space so the size, shape and flow allow you to have the space you’ve always wanted.

4. Lighting – Gone are the days of floodlights attached to the side of the house. In are the days of beautiful outdoor lighting that accentuates the space entirely. Lighting will also allow you to spend more time outdoors and will illuminate traffic paths for safety and security.

5. Installed Seating – Installed seating can take the appearance of benches, seat walls, ledges, steps, etc. This plays into the seating and dining areas at number three. It is sometimes easier and better to create seating that is installed in some areas as opposed to pieces of furniture.

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

Deck and Patio Design Coming Together in Richmond, VA

Posted by: janegwalker

It’s been a long time since we updated you on the outdoor living structure that we designed and are building for our corporate office and we are happy to say that it is 99% finished. The remaining items on the list are primarily clean up. So what’s been going on since we last updated you? In short, a lot.

To recap, this is the boring side yard that we had at our office:

And this is what we have now:

It is quite the difference, right? In our last post about the project, we had just finished framing the deck and started laying the deck boards. As you can see, that and more has been completed.

The majority of the deck is a dark brown TimberTech composite material. It was installed at an angle for added visual interest with highlight boards that are a brick red color (I apologize for the shadows in the pictures). The composite material will minimize our need for regular maintenance. Pressure-treated wood, as opposed to composite, needs to be pressure washed and stained to ensure that water, dirt and other debris don’t settle in the wood cracks and cause splitting.

As you can see in the picture, the built-in benches have been added to the space. One of our goals in creating this outdoor living space at the office was to have a space that everyone in building would really use (not just look at). Seating is extremely important for regular use and with a commercial space that does get some traffic, the seating couldn’t be movable. While the retaining walls offer some seating, benches were added throughout the space to invite people to relax and take a seat.

With such a large amount of dark decking, our deck designers decided to complement the structure with white highlights in the form of railings and the pergola. Timbertech vinyl railing was installed around the open edges of the deck for safety purposes. Any deck that isn’t low to grade, meaning that it rises at least 36 inches off the ground, must have a railing by code. Once the railing was up, everyone here started to see the whole the project come together. The crisp white makes it really pop.

When the Archadeck Outdoor Living team discussed what they wanted in the space, a shade structure was a key component. The pergola was added to the design and covers nearly half of the 900 square foot deck. In a space that gets a lot of sunlight, the pergola offers a reprieve.

While the building part of the space is pretty much finished, there are a few finishing details that are still to come. Outdoor lighting is going to be installed for safety and security (as well as beauty). Besides that, we just need to get rid of any construction debris and we are ready to host our first barbecue at the office.

If you have questions on how you can enhance your backyard with a custom outdoor living space, please reach out to your local Archadeck office. Our trained designers will work with you to create something that works for you, your family, your needs and your budget.

Third Place Dream Backyard Makeover Winner Receives New Lighting Package

It’s been nearly a month since the winners of the Dream Backyard Contest wrapped up. While the first and second place winners are currently having their new outdoor structures designed by the respective Archadeck Outdoor Living offices, the third place winner is already enjoying his prize: an outdoor lighting system from Outdoor Lighting Perspectives.

Outdoor Lighting Perspectives is our sister company who designs and installs residential, commercial and holiday outdoor lighting. They were gracious enough to offer up an outdoor lighting system (a $3,000 value!) to our third place winner. Our third place winner, William Jakes, is located in the Columbia, South Carolina area and had an unfortunate experience when trying to update his backyard:

“We hired a contractor to rebuild our deck and he did about half the work and abandoned the work site. After inspection, we found out that nothing was to code and he did not have a contractor’s license. This was part of our retirement savings and now we will have to wait until we can save up the money to have the deck torn down and rebuilt.”

William’s story is all too familiar and something we heard over and over again the contest submissions, people left stranded by deck contractors mid-way through a job to find out that they weren’t a reputable company. We were thrilled to award the Jakes family with a lighting system to enhance their home and sent Kenny Kaufman of Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Columbia to the house to design and install a system. Understandingly, William decided to have the system installed in his front yard as opposed to his backyard (he didn’t want to install lighting on a space that doesn’t get any use right now due to unsafe conditions).

The Outdoor Lighting Perspectives team installed architectural and landscape lighting around the front of the home. The house itself had some interesting textures with its siding that Kenny wanted to highlight using well lights that shine up on the house. Column lighting was added to the porch columns to accentuate the covered porch structure and to allow some additional lighting on the porch as well. In front of the porch, there is a paver patio that didn’t have adequate lighting for family and friends. Copper path lights were installed in the surrounding planters to light the patio.

It not only looks great, but William and his wife are thrilled with the results. Here’s an email we received from him last week…

“I cannot express the excitement we had in winning 3rd place in a national contest. It was fantastic and the lighting is unbelievable. Since it was installed, we have stayed up at night to watch the lights. It really showcases our house. Also, I want to that your company and Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Columbia, especially Kenny Kaufman. They were very professional and have restored my faith in having work done on our house. I just wish there were more professional companies with your work ethic.”

We are so happy that the Jakes are happy with their lighting system and can’t wait to see the next steps for the grand prize winners as well as the second place winners. Our Archadeck Outdoor Living owners are currently designing the winners’ new backyards and then permitting and building will begin!

If you have questions on how to enhance your outdoor living space, please reach out to your local Archadeck office. Whether it’s a deck, porch, patio, pergola or other structure, our locations are trained to design and build custom projects that fit your property, tastes, needs and budget.

Patio Design Installed at Archadeck Office

In this next installment chronicling the new deck and patio combination project at the Archadeck headquarters, I’m happy to announce that we can check the hardscape installation off as complete! Our beautiful walkway, large patio, fireplace and retaining walls were finished yesterday and it looks great!

Prepping the ground to lay pavers is a time-consuming process. As we’ve covered in previous posts, the ground first had to be leveled out so that the entire space is even. Once the ground was leveled and the footings for the retaining wall were complete, a layer of base stone is packed on the ground and then a layer of sand. Grading, base stone and sand ensures that the paver patio is level and will stay that way.


In our case, the majority of our pavers are from Belgard Hardscapes’ Dublin Cobble line. The pavers are very classic but have subtle variations of color that add visual interest. Because the building itself is brick, as is our main entrance walkway, we needed to incorporate another paver design so that nothing looked like an afterthought. Had we done the smaller walkway in Dublin Cobble, it wouldn’t have flowed as nicely. Instead we used a classic brick look lined with the Dublin Cobble. It really marries the two areas and finishes nicely.

Once all the pavers are set in place, polymeric sand is brush across its surface, filing the cracks between each paver. Polymeric sand is the best way to lock the patio in place. The sand, while dry, is just like any other sand, working its way into all the small spaces between pavers, but when it gets wet, it hardens and locks in place like cement. Without the sand, the pavers could become loose.

While prepare to lay patio pavers can be time consuming, laying them down doesn’t take too long, unlike building retaining walls. I am lucky enough to have a window that I can see the process and progress on our patio and deck installation. It was very interesting to watch the installation of the retaining walls as opposed to the patio. The team carefully checked the level frequently while building, making sure everything was even throughout. Those repeated checks definitely made it take longer, but it is an important step that shouldn’t be overlooked if you want a sturdy and secure retaining wall.

The next step in the build process is the deck. Our team of deck builders will be on site tomorrow to get started. The large deck will be built with TimberTech decking and will abut the patio and retaining walls (the walls will also act as built-in seating for the space). The deck footings were dug at the same time as the patio footings so that we could have them all inspected at once.

Just to recap, here is what we started with….

And now…

It has been really fun for our entire team at Archadeck Outdoor Living to watch the entire design and build process. We’ll keep you posted on the next step!

Deck and Patio Installation Begins at Archadeck Headquarters

Several weeks ago, we announced that we at Archadeck Outdoor Living’s corporate office are getting a new outdoor living area. We are thrilled to let you know that after some weather delays, we officially broke ground today!

To recap, up until now, our corporate office has been of void of any outdoor living structures (we know, it’s sad considering what we do). This year, we decided to change that and designed this custom deck and patio combination project. A large pergola will cover part of deck for shade and built in benches and retaining walls will provide places to sit throughout the space.

Last week all of the patio material was delivered and trust me, it is a lot of pavers. Included in the material is the outdoor fireplace that will be installed on the project.

In preparation for the first phase of building, we had to file for building permits. After the county reviewed our plans and specifications, we were able to grid out the deck and patio on the property. Victor, our Director of Construction and Drafting who is spearheading the build for us, went outside with members of his team and sprayed a pink paint to illustrate where the building will take place. This allows the sub-contractors to envision the space and know exactly where to build. With the paint and permits in place, we were ready to build! Of course, Mother Nature had other plans for us. After a few days of rain, the ground needed to dry out a bit before we started digging. And finally today we were ready!

The first phase of the build is the patio and footings for the deck. This morning, bright and early, bulldozers started digging into our lawn to grade the area. Grading is the process of leveling out the ground. For us, the land that we are building the patio is uneven, sloping down to the road. The bulldozer cuts out the grass and dirt to level the area so that when the patio is built is it sturdy and level. It has been pretty interesting to see the difference in just a day, these guys are fast! Grading is also key for the drainage of the patio. Uneven surfaces hold water and puddle instead of properly draining and may cause future problems.

The footings for the structure will also be dug this week. Footings are the load bearing parts of an outdoor living structure. Before we start building the deck portion of the project, a county inspector will come out and test the ground and evaluate our footings. When they are all given the green light, we will be ready for to start the deck!

Everyone here is more than excited for an outdoor space at the office. On a beautiful day like today, it would be wonderful to have a nice spot to sit and hold a quick meeting while enjoying the sunshine. Our goal in designing the space was to create a combination project that not only features some our most commonly built structures, but also to create a space that is usable. By including the outdoor fireplace and outdoor kitchen, we are ensuring that it is used. The other offices that are part of the building are just as excited to have a space to enjoy the outdoors as well!

Multi-Level Deck Opens Up Yard in Arkansas

We’ve discussed at length the importance of a good deck design. It not only has to work for the intended use, but also for the home and the rest of the yard. All components of the property should complement one another instead of combat it. When our deck builder in Little Rock, Tom Duncan, shared the following project with me, I noticed it was a great example how design can impact a yard.

This particular backyard had an existing pool, but no deck. Instead, it had an enclosed area under the the small roof structure seen in the picture. The two spaces didn’t work with each other and inhibited interaction between people using the outdoor areas. The enclosed area was too small to entertain guests and the only access to the yard was on the opposite side of where the pool was. It just didn’t make sense for homeowners who like to entertain and have pool parties and barbecues when the weather is nice.

Tom and his team looked to create an open entertaining space that created a smooth transition from the deck to the pool. They designed a multi-level deck with wide steps Deck-builder-arkansasto open up the space. By having only three steps at any one place, the different levels, although separate, don’t feel disjointed and invite conversation and interaction between people throughout the whole yard. It also created a low-to-grade deck at the lowest level. A low-to-grade deck or patio is low to the ground and doesn’t require a railing by code. Without a railing blocking views, it invites the eye out into the pool area and yard. The higher parts of the deck do include a railing for code purposes, but the homeowners enjoy the definition and seclusion of those areas.

Access to the pool and the yard was one of the biggest issues with the home’s existing outdoor living space, but the Archadeck of Central Arkansas opened it up. Not only is all of one side of the pressure treated deck open to the pool area, but there is also an opening from the far deck area to the yard below.

This once closed off and fragmented space is now open and conducive to entertaining and interaction. There is space and areas for everyone to enjoy. The built in bench on the low deck offers a place for people to sit and enjoy the sun, while the now open porch is perfect for the person who would like some shade. It was important to the homeowners to incorporate the existing roof structure into the space. By keeping the bones and support of the structure, it was a perfect shaded addition to the structure.

Tom and the Archadeck of Central Arkansas team enhanced the utility of this backyard completely by creating a space that truly works. It all comes back to design. A good design makes for a useful space. A bad design inhibits it. If you aren’t sure what will work best in your yard, make sure you consult a professional outdoor living designer.

On an unrelated topic, we at Archadeck Outdoor Living are thrilled to open voting for our Dream Backyard Makeover contest tomorrow, April 23rd! Make sure you place your vote for the homeowner you want to win the $70,000 backyard makeover!

Four Days Left to Enter Dream Backyard Makeover!

Over the past two and half months, we at Archadeck Outdoor Living have been thrilled to be running the Dream Backyard Makeover Contest. Unfortunately, there are only 4 more days to enter! If you haven’t submitted a photo of your current backyard along with a description of what you would like in your dream backyard, make sure you do it by April 22nd, 2013! Voting on the six finalists will be begin on Wednesday, April 23rd and the contest winner will be announced on or around May 6th.

As of this morning, there have been just under 1,700 submissions. It’s been wonder reading all of the entrants’ stories and learning more about how they intend to use the space (some of you have great plans!). The grand prize is obviously the $70,000 backyard makeover which will include both a deck and patio component using TimberTech and Belgard products. Recently, I’ve been receiving questions on how the deck design will be settled on and built, so I wanted to describe the process the winner will be experiencing.

Our deck designers and builders take their job very seriously. It is our goal to provide you with a space that is not only beautiful, but also usable and the homeowner is key to that conversation. After the winner is chosen, our local Archadeck owner will visit with the homeowner, survey the entire yard and discuss the needs and wants of the family. By knowing the intended use of the space as well as some of the homeowners likes and dislikes, a custom outdoor living environment can be created that will make everyone happy.

Just like the typical Archadeck Outdoor Living client, the Dream Backyard Makeover Contest winner will be given a 3D design rendering of the space so they can easily envision the end outcome and what it will look like in their backyard. I must say, it can be incredible to see the before, the design and the after.

Once the design is settled on, Archadeck will pull all the necessary permits and get all the necessary building materials ready to get started. And, from there, the transformation begins! Our franchisee and their local team will work to get the space built so that the homeowners can once again enjoy their backyards. Everyone at Archadeck can’t wait to get started on the contest winner’s backyard. Only a few weeks until the winner is finalized!

As always, we’ll be here updating you on the project along the way.

Again, if you haven’t yet submitted your entry yet, you have four more days to do so! You can enter at DreamBackyardMakeover.com.

Good luck everyone!

Picking a Contractor that Won’t Leave You High and Dry

Over the past month I’ve been spending a lot of time reading and looking at the Archadeck Dream Backyard Makeover submissions and themes have started to emerge. One that seems to be recurring is homeowners being left high and dry by their deck contractors.

Several entries have shown (including one of our February finalists) decks that are half or barely finished. The descriptions reference a contractor that they found out wasn’t licensed and the building they did do wasn’t to code. It’s no wonder why so many homeowners are hesitant to invite contractors to do projects on their home.

Deck construction is a serious topic that can lead to personal injury or damage to the home when done incorrectly. To ensure that the person you hire is going to treat your property as if it were they own, make sure that you ask all of your candidates these questions:

What’s your contractor license number? Many homeowners ask prospective contractors if they are licensed, but reading the contest entries has made me realize that sometimes people lie. You should be able to get the contractor license number from the people you are thinking of working with. That way, if something happens, you have it on file.

How are you insured? A good contractor has the appropriate insurance to protect you against damage that is done to or on your property. If something happens, it shouldn’t have to go through your homeowner’s insurance.

Will you pull the local building permits and have them on file? Any structures built on your property need to be built to the local code. Permits must be pulled and inspections must be made (sometimes a few times during the building phase). A contractor who is good at patio and deck construction will do this for you, but you should have access to permit numbers if needed.

What warranties do you have? No one wants to invest is a large home improvement project just to have it break or fail. It’s even worse when there is nothing you can do about it. At Archadeck Outdoor Living, we pride ourselves one having 2 guarantees to protect our clients. Additionally, if you have an issue with the material, we will work with you to get in touch with the manufacturers to look at their warranties.

Could I have some references? It’s understandable that homeowners are careful about who they invite into their home. Every deck contractor should have a list of clients that you can reach out to and ask questions.

Asking these questions will help you to choose a deck construction provider that you know you can trust. If you have questions regarding our process, please contact your local Archadeck Outdoor Living office.

Screened In Porches – Rooms You’ll Use

As a kid, I remember visiting my aunt and uncle’s house to see their new screened in porch. It was nice, a square room that had 3 screened walls. It fulfilled its purpose as a place to sit and enjoy the outdoors without bugs, but it wasn’t special. It was pretty standard for screened porches of the time, but man have things changed. Knowing what I know now, I see that the plain square screened room is a lost opportunity for a really special space in your home.

Our Archadeck franchisees design and build some of the most beautiful screened in porches I’ve ever seen. As I look at them, it becomes more apparent that the custom design is the key to making sure the room is a true outdoor living space and not just another room added on to the house. Before designing the space, our porch designers will ask questions like: how do you intend to use the space, what time of the day do you want to do use it, how many people does it need to accommodate, etc. These questions lead to projects like these:

This screened in porch in Des Moines is beautiful inside and out and may be one of my favorite examples of an “outdoor” structure that is truly usable. The homeowners wanted an additional porch where they could have a drink with friends and family, enjoy the outdoors without the elements, but most importantly, they wanted an additional outdoor living room. From there, our porch designer in Iowa, Harold, designed this space. You can see from this angle that the structure itself blends perfectly with the finishes of the home. To ensure the inside get optimum amounts of light, windows surround three of its sides and skylights were installed on the roof. While the outside looks beautiful, it’s the inside and its details that define the screened in porch as a living room. Take look at that outdoor fireplace! The large stone fireplace warms up the space both literally and figuratively, and its mantle and hearth give it a homey look. The placement of the TV is key to making the space it a true living space. It clearly isn’t an afterthought. I also love the lantern like light fixture on the roof.

The needs and wants of this homeowner in Charlotte were a little different. He wanted to add a screened in porch to back of his home for an additional place to sit and relax, but needed it to also be a smooth transition to his outdoor patio. His neighborhood is newer and because of construction as well as close neighbors, he needed the ability to block off some of the sides from time to time. Archadeck of Charlotte designed a simple space that fit all of the homeowner’s requirements. All of the woodwork was finished in whites and creams to provide the brightness. Archadeck 2012The transition between porch and patio was achieved by using the same concrete inside and outside the space. The last issue to work through was privacy. The homeowner didn’t want anything permanent and building in any privacy walls would take away from the airiness of the porch so they decide to install some curtain rods along the exterior that can be opened and shut as needed or wanted by the homeowners.

If you have questions regarding screened in porches and how one may add to your outdoor living experience, don’t hesitate to call your local Archadeck Outdoor Living office.

Combinations of Outdoor Living Spaces Define Use

One of the first questions our outdoor living designers ask our clients is “how do you intend to use the space?” Without that answer the design won’t be as good as it can be. Answers to that question can vary from cooking with and entertaining friends and family to sunbathing and relaxing. For many of our clients their outdoor living spaces need to multifunctional. If that’s the case, the designer needs to create a project that has a flow that defines the separate spaces for different functions.

Many of our clients choose combination outdoor living spaces, meaning a deck with a pergola, patio with outdoor kitchen, etc. Using different structures is a clear way to define separate areas within an outdoor living area. Here are some beautiful examples from our Archadeck Outdoor Living franchisees.

This project from our patio and deck builder in Boston transformed this backyard into a multipurpose space using a patio, deck and sunroom. The sunroom is a beautiful extension of the home that looks as if it’s always been there. It can be used most of, if not all, year when the cold Massachusetts weather may keep the homeowners off the patio. The sunroom is a great place to sit and relax or have a glass of wine with friends and family. The patio’s main use is dining. You can see that dining area is clearly defined by a circular paver pattern that’s different than the rest of the space. Changing the pattern of a building product, deck or patio, is an easy way to break up a space. Lastly, a small raised deck was added as an entrance into the hot tub.

The homeowners of this project wanted space to eat, entertain, enjoy and escape the sun. Our deck builder in Newton created a space that could encompass all those uses. The bottom patio level is made from brick pavers and is the perfect place to enjoy the sun whereas the screened porch is the best place to escape it. The deck is really two spaces with the pergola creating isn’t own space to the right.

While this project is all one deck in Nova Scotia, its multi-level design break it up for its numerous purposes. On the top level, a custom outdoor kitchen, table and chairs define that space as the dining area, while the built-in bench and fire pit create a great place to sit and relax on a cool night.

Talk about a multi-purpose space! This project from our patio contractor in Macon has it all! The custom outdoor kitchen has a large eat in bar to sit or stand at while cooking and the fire pit is clearly defined with a different colored paver. The large patio surrounds a pool where everyone can sit and relax.

If you are interested in learning how a combination project can enhance your outdoor living space, contact your local Archadeck Outdoor Living office.

Outdoor Classrooms Gain Popularity

I periodically visit the college I graduated from (go Spiders!) to see how the campus has grown and changed. Since I was there as a student, numerous changes have occurred including a new International studies building. It’s beautiful, but one of things I found most interesting was actually outside the building. Behind the building there was an outdoor classroom. It has a few rows of retaining walls made for seating and an outdoor chalk board for teachers to write notes.

Outdoor Classrooms, according to Newsday, are gaining in popularity as they provide an opportunity for students to spend more time outdoors instead of constantly inside. Some schools are using their outdoor classrooms as a place to learn about nature and science. For younger students, this could be a great place for some of the messier experiments that usually are done inside.

The designs of outdoor classrooms vary widely. While some, like the one at my alma mater, have rows and a chalkboard, others are a little more unconventional. At Mount Olive College in North Carolina, their outdoor classroom is circular and from above creates a Celtic cross. It was created for outdoor lectures and can hold up to 30 people.

To me, this is an exciting development. I can’t remember how many times throughout school I wished we could go outside for a class.

At Archadeck Outdoor Living, our hardscapes or covered porches would make for great outdoor classrooms. An important design feature is to make sure that anything new on a particular property doesn’t look like an afterthought, but as an extension of the space. If a school, for example, consists of all brick buildings, the finishes on the outdoor classroom should be brick as well.

Another point to consider is how the space will used as some components may not be portable. Should it have rows? Are tables better? Will a chalk board of some kind be necessary for students and teachers to write notes to follow along? These are all things that your outdoor living designers and contractor should be asking you so you get an outdoor classroom that not only looks great, but will be used.

If you have questions about if an outdoor classroom is right for your school, please contact your local Archadeck Outdoor Living office.

Construction Details that Make Your Deck Last

Deck safety is a topic that we cover regularly on Beautiful Back Yard blog because it’s important. We at Archadeck Outdoor Living want your deck, or other outdoor living space to not only last, but stay safe as time goes on. After each completed project we survey our clients regarding their experience with us and our craftsmanship is a common theme:

“The materials and workmanship are very high quality” – customer in Birmingham

“High quality of workmanship delivered with excellent communication in a very professional manner" – customer in Golden, CO

“The whole experience was positive – from the planning phase, to the construction, and then finally the finished project. We’re extremely happy with the result.” – customer in Kansas City

“The sturdy construction, the ingenuity and the way it looks like it was always meant to be on the house.” – customer in Pittsburgh

The way you build a deck is the key to making both beautiful and worth the investment, that’s why we make sure that go above code requirements. On average, our projects are built to exceed code by 40-60% to guarantee that our clients have a solid and secure structure. Strong craftsmanship is often noticed in the details. While nails can be used to add decking to a structure, Archadeck Outdoor Living regularly utilizes screws or hidden fasteners that are less likely to back out of the board with time.

How the boards are placed is also important, especially if it’s wood. Whenever we can, we place the boards so the grain is perpendicular to traffic so that the splintering becomes less of an issue as it ages.

Our Archadeck standards also emphasize the small details that make a big difference. Risers are incorporated on stairs, trim hides unsightly board ends, and hidden fastener systems are employed where applicable. These are the finishes that make your space extra special.

If you have questions regarding Archadeck Outdoor Living and our construction process, please contact your local office.

Homeowners Move it Outdoors

Outdoor Living is both a fun and growing category. As Angie Hicks, from Angie’s List explains,

“In our Angie’s List annual project poll, we found about 35 percent of the respondents plan to invest in the exterior of their house…When it comes to making outdoor living spaces, they can become elaborate these days. More of us want to spend time outside, but if you are on a budget, be very clear and upfront when you are planning the process. Potentially, get your project broken into phases so you can do parts of it in any given year.”

At Archadeck Outdoor Living, we totally agree with Angie. We know that the “dream backyard” can be expensive depending on what your dream space includes, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t tell your contractor what you eventually want. As we’ve discussed before, we build in phases when needed, but we like to design the space completely from the beginning. Whenever you are talking to your deck and porch builder, tell them everything that you would ultimately like included in your outdoor living space and then prioritize them. Maybe the patio is most important now because you want to be able to host friends and family sooner rather than later, but the outdoor fireplace can wait for a better time.

Many of our franchisees ask their potential clients to download the Archadeck Design Guide to spur their thinking so we can design the perfect space for our clients. The Design Guide asks a series of questions that when put together will aid in creating an outdoor space that you are sure to love.

Angie’s List also recently provided their tips to kicking off your outdoor living project:

  • Check rules and regulations. This is incredibly important as you may not be aware of the regulations or codes that may impede your building process. Unfortunately, this research and figuring out what you do and don’t need to pay attention to can be difficult. At Archadeck Outdoor Living, we handle all parts of the permit process so you don’t have to.
  • Who to hire? Make sure that you are hiring a contractor that can manage your outdoor living project. Some builds may require multiple professionals (for instance a plumber or electrician) so be sure to ask what contacts your main contractor has so you are working with a trusted source.
  • Set your goals. Like we said, tell your deck or porch builder everything that you eventually want out of your space so they can design it accordingly.
  • Establish a budget. Be realistic about what you can invest in the space now and what you may have to save for. Give your contractor a hard number so there isn’t any confusion.
  • Create something you will use. If you aren’t going to use it, why build it?

If you are interested in learning more about Archadeck Outdoor Living process, contact your local office to schedule a consultation.

This three-season porch by Archadeck of Central Connecticut becomes a hero

There are certain things that are part of our daily lives that are made to protect us from harm and disaster. Automobiles are equipped with seat belts and air bags to protect us in the event of a crash. Medications are packaged with child-safety caps to keep our children from harmful medications. The list of items that are designed to keep us safe can go on and on. But who would dream a 3-season porch would be on that list? We just added this 3-season room built by Archadeck of Central Connecticut to that list.

In the quiet of a recent Sunday morning at around 1:30 a.m. in Central Connecticut, something happened to these homeowners while there were fast asleep in their beds. A huge tree fell within their yard and was heading straight for their house. Fortunately, the tree hit their 3-season porch built by Archadeck of Central Connecticut first. Although the tree was tall enough to hit the main house. The tree removal people told us that it would have “sliced the house open” were it not for the porch taking the brunt of the tree’s falling force. This means that not only did the structural quality of the porch sustain the blow of the tree and keep it from destroying the home, it quite possibly could have saved their lives as well.

The only damage to the porch, other that some slight damage to the rake edge of the roof, was a large branch that punctured the upper half of the Artistic Enclosures Contemporary panel. This tragedy is proof of how crucial it can be to choose a qualified, reputable custom builder to engineer and build your outdoor structure.

Very often, homeowners will take the easy way out by choosing a less-reputable builder to construct their outdoor living space. Usually this decision is made to save a little money, or to get their project completed sooner. Unfortunately, for many homeowners this decision proves to be a mistake in the long run. Shoddy workmanship, and inferior quality materials may not be visible to the naked eye early on, but after only a short time the faults will come to the surface. As was the case with this Connecticut homeowner, making the decision to hire a reputable professional builder really paid off. Archadeck prides themselves on quality products and expert design and craftsmanship on every structure we build.

Archadeck’s construction standards are mandated across the entire Archadeck network. This is just one facet of the pride and care we take in every outdoor structure we build, other facets include…

  • Archadeck Unified Structural System governs construction process.
  • Strict adherence to our proprietary Construction Master File documenting all construction details.
  • Construction to and above local and national code.
  • Professional project documentation throughout.
  • Meticulous attention to finish details assure aesthetic integrity.
  • Constructed as an extension of your home, not an “attachment.”
  • Entire process reflects professional craftsmanship and utmost respect for your property.


With Archadeck, you get more than just a well-built outdoor structure, you get the experience and integrity to go along with it. A professionally designed and built outdoor structure from us gives you the peace of mind that you are getting the most from your investment, and peace of mind as well. Contact Archadeck to learn more about the “Archadeck difference”, you will be glad you did. Contact us today to learn more.

To locate an Archadeck location in your area visit our locations list, and locations map, located on our website.

Thanks again to Phil Brown, owner, and his entire staff and crew at Archadeck of Central CT for keeping this family safe from the storm.

Archadeck is Thinking Outside the Box When it Comes to the Location of Your Outdoor Fireplace


When you think about outdoor fireplaces, your mind probably immediately takes you to a crisp Autumn evening with you and your family sitting around the outdoor fireplace, sitting in Adirondack chairs and roasting marshmallows over a crackling, welcoming fire…did you visualize the fireplace in an outdoor setting? Of course you did. The image in your mind automatically takes you Outdoors.


At Archadeck we think outside the box. We have started to place the outdoor fireplace in a setting we usually think of as indoors. Imagine, how calming a crackling fire would be on your screened porch or covered patio. That’s right, you and Archadeck can design a plan that is innovative and challenges the way we classify the outdoor fireplace.

We have constructed many beautiful fireplaces within beautiful additions to your outdoor space enjoyment. We can add a fireplace to a screened porch or covered patio. Either attached or separate from your home. All of these spaces after all are just an extension of your outdoor living area. When not in use a lot of our clients add a flat screen TV over the fireplace mantel to make a formidable use of the space even when there isn’t a crackling fire abound. Even without a TV, the fireplace, as in every setting, becomes the center and a gathering spot for fun, conversation and a place to make lasting memories with your family and friends.

We abide by all county and state fire codes and setbacks when we build a fireplace in a setting such as this. Safety is our number one priority, so when considering an addition such as this, make sure your licensed contractor has checked with all the proper legalities to obtain important rules regarding a fireplace.


Gorgeous detailing draws you to this fireplace built into the corner of this screened porch
If you would like to entertain the idea of adding an outdoor fireplace to your screened or covered porch, give Archadeck a call, we can keep those home fires burning. 888-OUR-DECK

Yep, clean up matters!

I’ve had a couple experiences lately working with contractors and they’ve both been really good. Both times I’ve noticed how very important clean up is when a contractor is working. It’s not just important at the end of the job. It’s important at every phase of the job.

When we’ve commissioned someone to work on a new project for us, we’ve likely waited a really long time and saves money to make the addition or change to our homes. What makes clean-up even more important is if the contractor is working inside our homes.

I recently had someone re-do all my flooring on the downstairs. This was a multi-day project. The exacerbating factor is I have a very nosy Springer Spaniel that really liked the contractor and seemed intent on inspecting absolutely every piece of hardwood the contractor brought in. And, of course, she created her share of glue paw prints on the new Bruce hardwood floor before she figured out it wasn’t much fun to clean glue off her paws.

Not only did the contractor genuinely seem to like my dog but I could hear him show affection to her when I was on a different floor. I offered to clean the gluey paw prints and he would never let me.

Every night when he left, there were no boxes, no buckets, and no tools left in my house. I knew that must have been frustrating to have to set up again each day but he knew the importance of making it easy to live through a renovation.


The other experience that really rung true with me was some local masons who were working to help a soon-to-be Eagle Scout work on his Eagle project. I watched them as they cleaned the area after a long day’s work. The older mason even took several minutes sweeping the dust out of the bushes that lay very close to the stone wall. They had stone dust on them. But, I was amazed at the care and detail that went into every bit of detail. Surely rain and wind would have removed the dust from the bushes quickly enough but it was important for him to remove the dust himself.

That was even more meaningful for me because of the Boy Scout mantra – “leave no trace”. It’s actually my son who’s working in conjunction with the masons to build the stone wall for his eagle project. I found out when commenting about the amazing clean-up that the elder mason who was working on the wall was over 70 years old. Now that’s impressive.

How well the contractors clean on a day-to-day basis is likely something you won’t know until you experience it. But, if your contractor takes care of all these details

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