We’ve been waiting for this day since February 1st! Back in February we launched Archadeck’s first Dream Backyard Makeover Contest. For nearly three months we received photo submissions along with descriptions of backyards across the country. From over 2,000 submissions, we narrowed the field down to 6 finalists and opened up Facebook voting then the decision fell in our panelists’ hands. They had an extremely difficult time choosing the Grand Prize Winner, but ultimately the decision was made!
On Friday morning, Rick and Merea Bentrott had what they thought was a normal appointment with Harold Cross of Archadeck of Central Iowa. Harold had called earlier in the week asking to see the yard as the last part of the contest decision making process. Little did they know that they had already been named the Grand Prize Winners! When Harold walked them around their house to the backyard, they were greeted with other members of the Archadeck of Central Iowa team, a Belgard representative, balloons, wine and a large sign claiming them the winners. I think their faces say it all:
Rick and Merea were one of our March finalists. Their photo description not only described why and what they wanted in a new backyard space, but it also gave us insight into how fantastic this couple is:
As parents of four kids under ten who, essentially, live outside the majority of the year, we’re in dire need of backyard help! Recently, we adopted two incredible kids from foster care and instantly became a family of six. The addition of these little ones enriched our lives, but shrunk our home! Hence, the move to a larger house with good bones and smarter space but also a need for serious updating. Since the move, we’ve slowly been saving money and fixing up the interior. Unfortunately, the backyard has received little attention as it’s been placed at the end of our long list of to-dos. Despite constant competition from technology, my continual goal as a parent is to keep my kids outside playing, imagining, and dreaming. Currently, we rely on a homemade sandbox, trampoline, a rickety, hand-me-down play-set, and deteriorating, wooden deck. My backyard dream is to give my kids a safe, fun place to play and my husband a space to relax with a beer in one hand and grill tongs in the other, standing next to a Green Egg Grill. All I really want for myself is a comfortable spot to sit and watch it all happen.
I was lucky enough to speak briefly with Rick and Merea on Friday and needless to say they were beyond happy and surprised to be chosen our Grand Prize Winners (they are as sweet as can be too!).
After visiting the property, we could tell that it isn’t the safest spot to occupy four young active children. The existing deck is deteriorating and splintering which is a cause for concern. Additionally, there are wooden beams on the property that are rotting away.
On Friday’s visit, Rick, Merea and Harold discussed their dream backyard project. The outdoor living structure will include both a deck and patio component with products from Archadeck suppliers TimberTech and Belgard. We know that we’ll be able to provide the safe and beautiful space that they desire and we’ll be sharing each step with you. Next up is the design phase. Armed with the Bentrotts’ needs, wants and tastes, Harold is creating a 3D rendering of the space.
More information to come on the 2nd and 3rd place winners.
Congrats to the Bentrotts!
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.
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!
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!
I was recently looking through some of our Archadeck Outdoor Living projects when I noticed a theme. A theme that was both useful and beautiful: under decking.
For those that are unfamiliar with under decking, it is a type of drainage system that is installed on the underside of a deck, creating a space below that is dry and usable as another outdoor living space. While some decks don’t need or wouldn’t benefit from under decking because they are too low to the ground, it’s perfect for raised decks.
So, how does under decking work? A sloped drainage system is added on the underside of the deck that catches water that falls between deck boards and leads it away from the structure to a gutter, leaving the space below dry. The bottom of the system can be finished in a variety of ways that look like any other type of ceiling.
Under decking creates more dry space that can be used in a variety of ways. The most common use is having a porch below. Many of our clients essentially have outdoor rooms below their decks that can be used as living rooms or dining rooms. Because the ceiling of the structure stays dry, lights and fans are often added to finish the space.
Some of our clients have also added enclosures of some type under their decks using under decking. Screened porches and sunrooms can be built under an existing or new deck to create more space.
Here are some great examples of under decking:
Over the last few weeks there have been a few stories of deck collapses in the news where people were injured. We’ve talked about the importance of making sure your deck is safe to use, but safety in your outdoor living space doesn’t end at the deck.
A friend of mine spends a lot of time in his backyard doing projects. He’s cleaned up a lot of the dead trees and branches, cut back bushes and much more. After he removed a large tree, he decided to make a fire pit out of the stumps. For a while it was fine, but eventually the stumps burned up as well and parts of his yard were scorched that weren’t meant to be. Luckily no one was hurt and there haven’t been any more fires in the pit sense, but it did get me thinking about safety. Now I’m not DIYer, but I know a lot of people that really enjoy building things outdoors, but when building something you have to make sure that you are paying attention to local building codes, how you are going to use the space and what materials you are using.
Fire pits are one of the most commonly DIYed projects in outdoors. They’re small, so they must be easy to build, right? Wrong. Not all materials that people think would be fine for a fire pit are. You have to make sure you are getting the right type of stone, the right type of concrete, etc. Make sure that you talk to a professional about the best course of action to taking on that project.
Outdoor fireplaces, like indoor fireplaces, needs to be inspected from time to time to ensure their safety. Soot can build up in the flu and create blockages for the smoke. Also, because they are outdoors year round, they can be affected by the elements. Make sure you are checking for wear periodically.
Patios, walkways and retaining walls also need to be checked for safety periodically. People are constantly stepping on the edges of hardscapes (and sometimes sit on retaining walls). If the project is older some of the pavers or stones may become loose. If one slips when someone is on it, it can result in injury.
If you have any questions regarding the safety of your outdoor living areas, please contact your local Archadeck Outdoor Living office. We will come out and check it to see what changes you need to make now and help you plan for future changes and upgrades.
In previous posts we have talked about planning your entire backyard space at once and building it in phases as schedules and budgets allow. A recent project from our deck builder in Chicago did just that. David Berryhill owns Archadeck of Chicagoland and last year was contacted by a customer who wanted to upgrade their outdoor living area.
The homeowners originally called David to take down their existing deck and build a new screened porch in its place. While there, they talked about possibly adding a patio in a year or two when they were ready. Knowing the future plan, Archadeck of Chicagoland built the screened porch in 2011. They constructed it out of pressure treated pine that was finished to complement the home’s siding and trim.
Inside the screened porch, two skylights were installed to let more sunlight in as well as a ceiling fan for those hot days. The ceiling itself has wood finish with exposed beams for a more rustic look.
After enjoying their screened porch for a year, the homeowners were ready to add the patio they had initially talked to David about. The low to grade patio was constructed using Belgard Mega Arbel product that has a stone appearance with slight variations in color. For added visual interest, Archadeck Outdoor Living finished the spaces with curved edges instead of the normal straight lines.
Because the addition was planned at the start of the original build, the combination of the screened porch and the patio work extremely well together. Check out these photos of the final product:
I love looking at images of our franchisees projects. They do an amazing job of transforming outdoor spaces into absolutely beautiful retreats. The other day I was on the phone with a franchisee that was showing me an image of what I thought was a flagstone patio. Come to find out, it was concrete. I was floored. It looked so much like flagstone that it took him a little time to convince me otherwise.
Working with Archadeck Outdoor Living I’ve learned a lot about stamped concrete patios and its uses and why it’s a great option for a lot of homeowners. The possibilities, like with so many other outdoor living options, are endless when it comes to concrete patios, driveways, walkways and more.
Stamping concrete became popular in the 1970s as a budget friendly option for homeowners to expand their outdoor living spaces. Since then, the options for colors and finishes have expanded exponentially while it still remains a cost effective finish for many properties.
Paver patios, although beautiful, can be expensive. For homeowners that want the beauty without the price, concrete is a viable alternative. Concrete, like I mentioned in the title, is the chameleon of the patio world as it can take on the look of other materials including flagstone, slate, tile, brick and even wood. So how do patio builders achieve the final look? They do it through coloring and stamping the concrete.
When I think of concrete, my mind goes to the bland grey color, a far cry from the look of tile or brick. A base color, in the form of color hardener powder, is added to the concrete to dye it the right color. Concrete takes color well and can be as vibrant as the client wants. Accent colors are then added to produce the texture. It can come in both powder and liquid forms.
The stamp itself is the key to transforming the concrete into another material when looking at it. Most stamps are made of polyurethane and pushed into the top of the concrete shortly after it’s poured and before it dries. Once dried, the concrete can be stained for more color or accents or sealed to help hold up against the elements.
Stamped concrete has been used both indoors and out for years. If you are interested in learning more about stamped concrete, contact your local Archadeck Outdoor Living office.