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 to 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!
When it comes to large home projects, I do my research. Before reaching out to any companies or contractors I’m considering working with, I like to have an idea of what I want so I can provide clear guidance to whomever I choose to work with. At Archadeck Outdoor Living, we recommend our clients visit our website to get patio and deck ideas to spur our thinking.
Everyone’s tastes, styles and budgets are different. What works for me and my house may not work for my neighbor. Looking at images will inspire likes and dislikes that should guide your designer to create an outdoor living space that you love and complements the structure and finishes of your home.
When looking for different patio and deck ideas, keep these things in mind:
Color and Material – Fifteen years ago, the majority of decks were wood. If you like the natural wood look, look at different types. Do you like the standard pressure treated pine? Or maybe the IPE is a better option for you. Between decking stains, paint and composite options, your designer should be able to find the perfect color for your deck that enhances your outdoor space.
Material is also a key component of patio design because the options are so varied and are a large part of the design. Some people prefer the look of the traditional red brick, while others like a more natural flagstone finish.
Skirting – Unless you keep the space beneath your deck in beautiful shape, you may want to include some type of skirting to your design. Skirting gives the deck a finished and streamline look while adding another detail that some homeowners may not think of. A few types of skirting are lattice and solid board skirting. Lattice skirting, as seen to the left, has a crisscross look that you may also find on privacy walls. Solid board skirting can be installed in both vertical and horizontal patterns and is similar to the finished look of a fence.
Railings – Railings are not only necessary for safety concerns, but they are also a great place to add a design feature. From iron and glass to vinyl and wood, there are options of every kind.
Built-in features – the last component I would look at for ideas is built-in features. These can include anything from fire pits, fireplaces, kitchens, benches, planters and more. I personally like something that’s a little more functional, so while I think a planter is great, I would add a wider border to it so it can also work as a bench. Other people, however, are fine with just having something that looks great.
To get some patio and deck ideas that may work for your space, take a look at The Archadeck photo galleries. Also, if you want your Dream Backyard and want us to do all the thinking and doing to make it happen, don’t forget to enter the Dream Backyard Makeover Contest.
Do you want to enjoy your deck and not have to think about splitting, cracking, staining, warping, discoloration, mold, or having to scrub it year after year?
Guess what- you don’t have to. That’s right, with solid PVC decking and composite decking, to a degree, all these worries and chores are a thing of the past.
Composite decking such as TimberTech, AZEK, and Fiberon are worry free, strong, durable and beautiful as well. Archadeck is proud to build with these high quality composite brands to you along with our highly skilled installers and award-winning designs.
Today’s composites provide you with the flexibility and freedom to create designs within the deck itself that just aren’t possible with woods such as pressure treated pine. The design possibilities are endless and are reminiscent of meticulous wood inlays. Composite decking now has the natural look of real woods such as Ipe,cedar and redwood to name a few-and you will never have to stain it.
Today’s composites are also sustainable, being constructed to varying degrees, with recycled materials by using polymer technology. So you not only get a solid, and carefree material, you also get the pride of knowing your deck is eco-friendly as well.
TimberTech’s Earthwood Evolutions has a 25 year stain and fade warranty along with its superior scratch resistance. TimberTech’s XLM composite is designed to withstand heavy traffic and is super slip resistant and a solid choice among composite pool, spa decks and general decks.
AZEK composite decking also boasts superior stain and scratch resistance as well as mold and mildew resistance. It is also long-lasting and durable and comes in many hues to suit even the most discriminating tastes.
Fiberon decking has a 25 year stain and fade warranty as well as offering superior scratch, stain and mold resistance. It also comes in a myriad of true-to-life wood tones that you will have to see to believe.
Seeing is believing when it comes to the composites of today. To see more visit Archadeck or call us today to set up a free design consultation featuring your new composite deck. 888-687-3325
Wood Preservation goes back in history almost as long as the history of using wood itself. There are references to wood preservation treatments way back to Greek and Roman times. Commercial pressure treatment began in the late part of the 19th century beginning with the protection of railroad cross ties using creosote. Wood preservation grew dramatically during the 1970’s when homeowners began to expand their living spaces with outdoor buildings and decks. Today treated lumber has become more innovative, and a great deal safer with the use of safer applications to preserve wood.
The benefits of using pressure-treated wood are that it becomes low maintenance and also the wood becomes impervious to rot or infestation from insects and fungi. There are woods that won’t decay and rot without having to treat them such a Redwood and Cedar, but there are less economical when using them in general construction. In the U.S. depending on your state and local ordinances any outdoor structure and structures built that touch masonry are required by some building codes to be constructed using either pressure treated, composites or non-decaying wood.
What is pressure treatment?
Pressure treatment is the process of applying a pressurized solution to the wood itself to make the wood more resistant to fungi, insects and decay. Up until 2003, the most common solution used to treat the wood was CCA (Chromated copper arsenate). CCA is a chemical wood preservative that contains chromium, copper and arsenic. CCA was used to pressure treat lumber beginning in the 1940’s. The majority of the wood used in outdoor residential construction since the 1970’s was treated with CCA. In 2003 the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) put a transitional ban on the production of CCA for residential use.
The new standard in pressure treated wood is ACQ (Alkaline copper quaternary). ACQ was developed to provide long-term protection from wood rot, decay and insect damage. ACQ contains no arsenic, chromium or other EPA listed hazardous chemicals. ACQ was also developed in response to a growing concern about the chemicals used in pressure treated wood and their impact on the environment.
ACQ is a water based wood preservative which contains copper. Copper acts as a fungicide and insecticide. ACQ also contains a quaternary ammonium compound which provides additional fungus and insect resistance. Since ACQ does contain copper, the amount of copper used in treating the wood can vary and cause the wood to show slight color differences. After time ACQ treated wood without the application of paint or stains will weather to a gray patina.
It is hard to believe how far we have progressed in encompassing safety and sustainability when it comes to wood preservation. Not only have we made it environmentally sound, the choices we have are endless, from treated plywood to tongue and groove treated boards. Alexander the great was said to have soaked the boards to build his bridge in olive oil for wood preservation. We have certainly come a long way to get to the industry standards we have now.
If you are considering your next outdoor project, find an Archadeck location near you and consult with them about the best materials for your next project. Your local Archadeck office will educate you more about the benefits of using pressure-treated wood vs. using alternatives such as composite or a hardwood such as IPE or tigerwood. They will also give you ideas about your next project and work with you to identify the structure(s) that meet your needs.