At Archadeck, we love creating custom outdoor kitchen designs that fit our clients’ needs, tastes and budgets. The majority of the outdoor kitchens we build include a built-in grill and counter space. Having a space outdoors to prepare and cook your food is great, but a set of simple tools will enhance your outdoor cooking and dining experience even more. Here are some tools and accessories that we find incredibly helpful.
A good grill set. When it comes to cooking outdoors, you need more than just a spatula. At the very least, we recommend a high-quality grill set that includes a spatula, tongs, basting brush and grill fork. There are some sets that have upwards of 10 pieces, but these four pieces will cover the majority of your grilling needs. When choosing your grill set, make sure that they’re sturdy (stainless steel is a popular choice) so they last for multiple seasons.
Grill brush. Have you ever looked at a grill that had the burnt crust on the grates? I sure have. That happens when a grill isn’t properly cleaned before or after cooking. A grill brush with steel bristles will remove the majority of if not all built up dirt. The grates should be cleaned off after each use to make it easier as you go.
Meat thermometer. This is especially important for those picky eaters. It can sometimes be difficult to determine how well cooked a piece of meat is while grilling. A reliable meat thermometer will ensure your meat is prepared just how you like it.
Grill Basket. When it is grilling season, I like to cook the majority of my meal components right on the grill. That, however, can be difficult without a good grill basket. Baskets for the grill come in a variety of shapes and sizes. I have a simple square one that I use to cook veggies, but there are options for specific purposes as well, like fish and corn. Baskets make sure that whatever you are cooking doesn’t fall through the grates and become inedible.
Barbecue Light. Don’t let the sun going down stop your grilling fun and keep it going with a grill light. Custom outdoor kitchen designs often include some type of lighting component, but there are plenty of light fixtures that are specifically designed to be around the grill. When looking for one, make sure that they are indeed built to withstand the heat (there are specific barbecue lights, like these, that are made for grilling).
Unbreakable dishes and glasses. For me, it’s always easier to use unbreakable dishes when entertaining or eating outdoors. You never know when something may slip and fall and it’s more difficult to clean up glass outside than in. Just because you aren’t using glass dishes doesn’t mean you have to abandon your sense of style, however. There are a ton of great outdoor dishes, like these options from Pottery Barn. Melamine and plastic are both good materials for outdoor dining.
These are just a few of the outdoor cooking accessories that are available, but we at Archadeck are big fans of anything that makes your outdoor living experience more enjoyable. If you have questions regarding outdoor kitchens, contact your local Archadeck office.
As Spring is just around the corner, it is time to look at what is hot in the outdoor living category for 2013. Every year we at Archadeck Outdoor Living find our clients asking for different finishes or types of projects that would enhance their outdoor living spaces. The America Society of Landscape Architects, or ASLA, recently released survey results on what is hot for this year. Here are some of the highest ranked projects:
Ninety-seven percent of respondents rated fire pits or outdoor fireplaces as in demand. We’ve discussed the growing popularity in fire features over the last few years. As outdoor living spaces have evolved into true extensions of the home, we see that outdoor fireplaces are being added to include the homey feeling outdoors. Not to mention they allow homeowners to use the space well into the fall. Who doesn’t enjoy bundling up by the fire and enjoying s’mores or hot cocoa? I know I do.
Rated just under outdoor fireplaces and fire pits were grills. Grills have been popular additions to outdoor living spaces for years. When it comes to grills, and outdoor kitchens, the possibilities are endless, but they should also be planned for. We’ve all seen grills that are placed on a deck or patio but don’t really seem to have a place. Even if the grill isn’t built into the outdoor structure, make sure to tell your patio or deck builder to create a space for the grill. When it has a designated space, it increases the flow and design of the space.
Third and fourth on the list were seating and dining areas and outdoor lighting. This doesn’t surprise us at all. For an outdoor living space to be an extension of the home and to be used, it has to have purpose. No one spends time in the empty rooms of their house, why would they outside? When considering adding a deck, porch, patio, sunroom, screened porch or other outdoor structure to your property, make sure you tell the designer how you intend to use the space. You may find that you want separate areas for different purposes: one place to sit and read a book and another to dine with friends and family. And, if you want to use the space after dark, add outdoor lighting. Outdoor lighting can be added to outdoor living spaces at any time in most cases, but will be more seamless if you plan to add it while the project is being built.
The trends in outdoor living spaces do change, but as Nancy Somerville, ASLA’s executive vice president and CEO 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.”
If you are interested in enhancing your outdoor living spaces, contact your local Archadeck office.
And in case you’ve forgotten, it’s not to late to enter Archadeck’s Dream Backyard Makeover Contest! The first set of finalists will be announced in just a few days. Make sure to submit a photo of your backyard and let us know why your yard deserves the $70,000 grand prize!
As many of you know, Archadeck Outdoor Living is in the middle of the $70,000 Dream Backyard Makeover Contest (make sure you enter!). The entry form asks for a 250 word description of a photo of your backyard. Many entrants have included what they would like to see in the backyard design. One common theme is the outdoor kitchen, a perfect place to cook and entertain friends and family.
There are number of outdoor kitchen design ideas to consider. With different sizes, shapes, layouts, finishes and appliances to look out, the possibilities are practically endless. So how do you decide what is right for you? Answering these questions may help you define what exactly you want in your outdoor kitchen?
How do you pictures using your outdoor kitchen? If you are simply going to throw your food on the grill, a big outdoor kitchen may not make sense. A built in grill and small counter space may work just fine. For those people that like to prepare, cook and eat outside, more space is needed in the layout.
What appliances are necessary? Most outdoor kitchens include a grill of some sort, but outdoor appliances go well beyond the grill. We’ve designed and built outdoor kitchens that have included sinks, ice makers, small refrigerators, smokers, pizza ovens, stoves and more. When thinking what appliances you need, think about how you like to cook and what you would rather have right there with you as opposed to those things you can walk inside for.
How many people will be cooking with you? No one likes to feel crammed, especially with the heat and dangers that may accompany cooking. Consider how many people may be with you while you are cooking. Some of our clients will add a place to sit so that whoever is cooking can have company. If several people in your family are known to man the grill simultaneously, you may want to look at larger outdoor kitchen designs.
What finishes should be included? We at Archadeck Outdoor Living are big believers in integrating new outdoor living features in with the old structures (and the home) seamlessly. We don’t want a new outdoor kitchen, for example, to look like an afterthought. When thinking about your outdoor kitchen, think about what is needed to make it complement what’s already there? Do you have a brick patio? Maybe a brick finish will work. What color counters would look good?
Outdoor kitchens, like indoor kitchens, can be very personal to the homeowner. What seems extremely functional to me, may not work for my best friend. A professional outdoor kitchen designer and builder should ask you questions like these to make sure you get the most out of your new space. If you have any questions regarding outdoor kitchens, our outdoor living in general, please contact your local Archadeck Outdoor Living office.
It’s that time of year again, Christmas time. I love to go on walks and drive around neighborhoods this time of year to see the different outdoor decorations on display. Some are traditional while some have wonderful themes. When growing up, there was a house in our town that every year had a who-ville theme from the Grinch Who Stole Christmas.
If you are looking for some ideas to decorate your outdoor living areas this holiday season, take a look at these:
Christmas Trees. Instead of lighting up the trees in your yard, buy a Christmas tree for your deck, porch or patio. You can get outdoor string lights and ornaments that can withstand the harsh winter elements. Doesn’t this deck in Atlanta look beautiful with the tree?
Use what you have. If you have outdoor features that mainly go unused in the winter, dress it up for the holidays! Placing greenery with berries or pinecones in a bird bath and planters or around a statue will make it stand out and it’s easy!
Garland. While garland is beautiful when placed around columns, railing and doors, hanging it in unexpected places can dress up your outdoor living spaces. For example, if you have an open porch, arbor pergola or gazebo, hang garland from the roofline or in the lattice as seen in this picture from Better Homes and Gardens. You could also hang it off the back of your outdoor furniture.
Wrap it up. If you have outdoor pillows, tie a Christmas ribbon around them making them look like presents. To see what I mean, take a look at this post from Worthing Court.
Lights. Lights are obviously a key component of the holiday season. Placing lights in, above or around a space instantly dresses it up for the holidays.
Anyone else have some ideas?
A family friend of mine has a stunning oak tree covered with Spanish moss on their South Carolina property. It is a defining feature in their backyard, but when they were considering adding on to their already existing outdoor living space, they contemplated removing it. Luckily, they worked with a great patio designer who created a space around the large oak and it is now a focal point of the patio and deck.
At Archadeck Outdoor Living, our custom designs often incorporate the natural features of the property since many of our clients want to keep the outdoor elements in their outdoor spaces? One of the most common issues/design concerns are existing trees. While some homeowners may be OK with removing a few trees for an enhanced deck or patio design, others like to include the trees in their space. In these two examples, you can see that the deck is built around the trees. Here the decking is close enough to the trunks of the trees where additional railing isn’t needed, but sometimes it is necessary for added safety. Both of these projects remind me of tree houses, which I love.
Built-in planters are also a great way to bring some plants and flowers into a space in a clean, organized way. While they are permanent design features in the space, what fills them can also be changed out by the homeowner to fit the season. Daisies and petunias would be great in the spring and summer, while yellow and orange mums are perfect for the fall months. Whereas purchasing new outdoor furniture can be expensive, changing flowers and foliage in built-in planters is a great way to update the look and feel of a space quickly. Here are some great examples of ways to incorporate planters in your outdoor living space:
If you are looking to renovate your outdoor living space, ask your designer if there are ways for you to incorporate natural elements. To talk to an Archadeck Outdoor Living designer, please contact your local office.
This past Tuesday I got together with a bunch of my girlfriends for dinner. It had been a while since we were all in the same place at the same time, and we decided to take advantage. We all went over to my friend Kerri’s house where we prepared the food together while nibbling on appetizers and sipping on some cocktails. It was a great time until I realized, there really wasn’t a whole lot of room in her dining room for all of us. Just when I was about to say something, Kerri ushered us outside.
Off the back side of their house, Kerri and her husband have small deck that is set up perfectly for outdoor entertaining. It has a large dining table that easily fit 8 chatty ladies and the tree lined fence along the side of the yard provided privacy. It was lovely.
Outdoor rooms, as opposed to just some plastic furniture on a deck, porch or patio, have been gaining popularity in recent years. With all of the furniture and accessories that are now available from both big box stores and specialty store, it is easy to create the same homey feeling you have indoors, out. In the case of Kerri’s outdoor dining room, the table was lovely and she had placemats and accessories that were made to stand up to the natural elements. She finished off the space with candles and flowers that made it feel like a true room.
In warmer months it’s nice to spend time outdoors and the opportunities are endless. Check out some of these outdoor rooms that were created on some Archadeck Outdoor Living Structures:
It has been unseasonably warm throughout many parts of the country which makes me look forward to the warm days of Spring and Summer. I’m currently in the process of planning a lot of house projects, trips and events for the upcoming months. Why? Well, for one I’m a type A planner who likes to have things organized, and two, some of these things take time and I want to make sure I can enjoy them to the fullest, like updating my deck. You see, I know my deck needs some TLC and I want to make sure I can spend as much time as possible on it this Spring, so that means I need to get the ball rolling.
If you’re like me and enjoy your outdoor living spaces but are thinking of making some changes or may need to address certain aspects of the space, start now. Depending on what types of updates you would like to make to your outdoor living space, it may take some time.
Do you want new outdoor furniture? Look to see how long it will take to get it ordered and shipped so you have it at the beginning of the season. Some companies may have a quick turnaround while custom orders may take up to 12 weeks.
A custom outdoor living space can take up to three months from the first contact with a contractor through design and permits to the completion of the build. The longer you wait to start the project, the less time you get to enjoy it on the sunny and warm days of Spring and Summer.
Even if you aren’t in the market for a new deck, porch, pergola or gazebo, you may want to have your existing structure inspected for safety. Winter conditions will wear on an outdoor living structure so it is important to have it inspected by a professional if it is older than 5 years. You may not need a full replacement, but you may need some extra screws or a few new boards. A quick inspection now will ensure you can safely use your structure the rest of the year.
Outdoor Living is important to all of us here at Archadeck and we want to make sure you get the most out of your spaces outside. If you have any questions, please visit Archadeck.com.
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When thinking about building a memorable hardscape such as a patio, outdoor fire pit or outdoor fireplace or even an outdoor kitchen, it is the details and subtle nuances present in the design that make it a cut above the rest. Seeking areas to add design oriented touches and beauty can not only make your hardscape a pleasure to look at, but sometimes adding these touches can also add to the functionality of your structure as well.
We like to call these nuances and design details, creative hardscaping. Thinking outside the box when it comes to creating a backyard hardscape takes experience, and design expertise. One example of creative hardscaping is creating a seating or relaxation area with little more than an idea and additional hardscape material. For example, you can create a seating area to complement an outdoor fireplace or fire pit by incorporating a roomy hardscape ledge or hardscape bench seating. With this added seating area, there is no longer a need to bring in outdoor furniture for a place to sit while the fire pit is in use.
Using hardscape materials in an innovative manner is not exclusive to fire pit designs. There are endless possibilities of ways to use hardscapes to enrich and expand your outdoor living enjoyment through design. A simple patio can become a place of enchantment for a child by extending the patio area to include an area that shines new light onto the typical playful sandbox of yesteryear. An outdoor kitchen and grilling area becomes an outdoor bar perfect for entertaining with just a little imagination.
If you are planning an outdoor structure with hardscapes in your near future, contact Archadeck to plan, design and build a hardscape that uses the art of creative hardscaping in each and every design. Not only will you be the envy of the neighborhood, but the functionality it will add to your backyard enjoyment will astound you as well. To find an Archadeck location close to home visit our locations list, located on our website.
See more stunning hardscape designs by visiting our patio and hardscapes gallery also located on our website.
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- in Archadeck, Composite Deck, Composite materials, deck Design, Deck Information, decking stairs, Decks, Fire Pits, Home Decoration, House Parties, Multi-level decks, Multi-season rooms, Open Porches, Outdoor Decorating, Outdoor Entertainment, Outdoor Fireplace, Outdoor Living, Outdoor Parties, Outdoor Room, Patio cover, Patios, Porches, Screened porch, Screened porches, Stairs
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Archadeck focuses on the joy of the season with this “Christmas deck” by Archadeck of Greater Atlanta, which is truly a deck for all seasons packed with functionality and style. A deck like this can be yours with Archadeck.
Tip-toe through the tulips with a custom patio cover by Archadeck that showcases your own patio garden
When you think of the reasoning behind building an outdoor structure such as a patio cover in your backyard you have to really focus on the term “outdoor”. Homeowners make the decision to ultimately add such a structure because of a deep love for the outdoors. It can be the way the wind feels in your hair. It can be the smell of the brisk fresh air after a summer rain. It can be the way you love to gaze upon the clear night sky. Or maybe you love the way the sun feels on your face. Whatever the personal reason, it all comes down to mother nature and all she has to offer us. Among the many reasons homeowners choose to build an outdoor structure maybe the number one reason that comes to mind is the love of flowers, and gardening.
One way to incorporate flowers and the joy of gardening into your lifestyle and bring it closer to your home is by way of the patio garden, and no patio garden would be quite as enchanting without a patio to enhance the beauty and folly associated with cultivating and nurturing your own patio garden. Covered patios, or patio covers are the perfect way to bring the beauty of the patio garden to life and share the beauty of your bountiful blooms within closer proximity than having to venture into your backyard.
Patio covers can also add valuable outdoor living space to your backyard. They can be incorporated into a design that includes a deck, where the deck would spill into the patio cover adding an abundance of added functional space. Patio covers can also be designed to include other luxurious outdoor amenities such as outdoor fireplaces and outdoor kitchens. There is no limit to what can be included into your patio cover design, the choices are as endless as your own imagination. In terms of working in correlation with a patio garden, your structure can be designed with custom planting areas, so you can watch season to season as the colors and textures of your plantings change.
The same artful design elements that go into creating a patio garden, are also used to create the perfect covered patio as well. Patio covers are usually constructed of hardscaping materials. Whether you choose a synthetic or natural stone, concrete, or even pavers; elements like color, shape, size and location all play a major role in a well designed patio cover. The same can be said about the elements you choose to fill your patio garden with as well.
Archadeck uses high quality materials and expert workmanship as the basis for all their patio cover installations. One of our most popular hardscape materials to use when constructing an outdoor structure such as this are Belgard pavers, as well as various natural stone variations and flagstones. These materials, among the many other choices we offer, have a huge style and color selection available for homeowners to choose the perfect size, shape and color as the foundation of their patio covers design.
Of course when you take the facade of the patio cover into consideration you can’t leave behind the beauty and functionality of the interior. We can create a covered patio that will not only complement your gardening skills, we can also turn the patio cover into a place of endearing relaxation by adding ceiling fans for those warm days and even if you so desire, outdoor water features, outdoor fireplaces, and an outdoor kitchen as well. We can finish out the interior ceiling of your patio cover to make it as beautiful from the inside, as it is from the outside, by the use of design elements such as bead-board ceilings, and even open rafter systems to bring out the rustic side of you. Whatever you fancy, we can incorporate your desires into the design of your patio cover.
If you are ready to “tiptoe through the tulips” by creating a serene environment to enjoy the benefits of a patio garden and any other luxuries mother natures bounty has to offer, contact Archadeck to create a patio cover design that is tailor-made for your love of the outdoors.
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