Category Archives: Home and Garden Shows

Get Inspired+Started+Outdoors – Des Moines Home+Garden Show

Super Bowl XLVIII

Super Bowl XLVIII – Champion – Seattle Seahawks

What do Peyton Manning and Punxsutawney Phil have in common?

On Super Bowl Sunday, they were both frightened by their shadows and retreated to their respective burrows to hunker down for another 6 weeks of winter.

OK…so that was a bit harsh on Mr. Manning. On the other hand, its been a harsh winter.  But not just here in Des Moines; winter has been a nationwide epidemic this year.  That is, if you consider 2” of snow an epidemic…Atlanta.  Geesh.  But, Atlanta, we’ll give you the benefit of the doubt…we northerners don’t expect you to be prepared.  While lack of preparation likely wasn’t Peyton Manning’s downfall, team execution was.

So, the Super Bowl is behind us.  Ground Hog Day is behind us.  But, we’re still in the middle of a harsh winter…and, thanks to Punxsutawney Phil, no end in sight.  What to do while we’re hunkering down?  Try this:

Get Inspired. Get Started. And..Get Outdoors!

Get Inspired. Get Started. And..Get Outdoors!

“Get inspired” and “get started” are tag lines for this year’s Des Moines Home+Garden Show being held this weekend at the Iowa Events Center in downtown Des Moines.  I added the “get outdoors” because…

Trex Transcends Porch - Deck - Des Moines - Urbandale - Archadeck AAActually, there is a better place, but lets don’t tell the Home+Garden folks that.  For instance, your Des Moines area backyard is a pretty good place to get inspired and started…when its warmer.  The Des Moines Home+Garden Show only runs 4 days.  But, we do outdoor living year round and our office/showroom in Urbandale facilitates our mission year round.  In fact, we’re currently renovating our office/showroom to facilitate that mission even better (stay tuned for details).  So, ultimately we’ll meet in your backyard and at our office/showroom.  But, this weekend, the best place really is the 2014 Des Moines Home+Garden Show.  We hope to see you there.

Profile with Sig - Final 3X

Big Outdoor Living News: Porch and Patio Awards, Des Moines Home Show and…???

Des Moines Deck BuilderBig news coming this weekend.  Big as the great outdoors.

No, its not news that Archadeck of Central Iowa won two design awards at our recently-completed annual meeting.  But, we did…and thats pretty big, too.

Screen Porch, Patio and Outdoor Kitchen Project in Grinnell Wins Archadeck 2013 Design Contest (Combination Projects)

Screen Porch, Patio and Outdoor Kitchen Project in Grinnell Wins Archadeck 2013 Design Contest (Combination Projects – 1st Place)

These acknowledgements are big and humbling at the same time; we’ve got some great professionals in the Archadeck system.  Competition is fierce; bribes have been attempted…but not accepted.  Just kidding (sorta).

No, its not news that I will be on  Sherry Failor’s  Welcome Home Des Moines radio show this Saturday.  But, I will…and thats pretty big, too.  1040 WHO AM on your radio dial, noon to 1pm.  We’ll be talking decks, porches, patios and more…including, the big news!

No, its not that the Des Moines Home & Garden Show- The Big one! –  is coming up next week.  Starting Thursday, February 7th, running thru Sunday the 10th.  15th year running for Archadeck at the show.  You’ll find us in the lobby on the east side of Hy-Vee Hall.  Make us your first stop!  Or last.  Or both.  And be sure to ask us about the big news.

Patio in Johnston (Des Moines) Wins Archadeck 2013 Design Contest (Patio Projects - 3rd Place)

Patio in Johnston (Des Moines) Wins Archadeck 2013 Design Contest (Patio Projects – 3rd Place)

No…its bigger than all that…combined.  Thats all I can say now.  Other than…find us on Facebook.   Beyond that, I’m sworn to secrecy.  But, its big.  Stay tuned…


2013 Crystal Ball for Archadeck Outdoor Living

NY Eve Ball DropHere we are, putting another year behind us and setting our sights on the next.  Goodbye Twenty-Twelve.  Hello Twenty-Thirteen.

2012 was a very good year for Archadeck of Central Iowa.  Record-setting, even.  Central Iowans are truly embracing our trusted and time-proven approach to custom designing and building outdoor living spaces, rooms and accessories.  Many backyards around Des Moines were adorned with our decks, porches, patios, pergolas, outdoor kitchens and more…even a basketball court!

Screen Porch, Patio, Outdoor Kitchen Space by Archadeck of Central Iowa

Screen Porch, Patio, Outdoor Kitchen Space by Archadeck of Central Iowa

Multi-functional, combination spaces with amenities like fireplaces, firepits and lighting are driving growth in the value and popularity of outdoor living.

Three of our 2012 projects are soon going to be seen in some fairly prominent local and national publications in the coming weeks, so keep your eyes peeled for these:

  • Do It Yourself Magazine, a Better Homes and Gardens special publication used a West Des Moines composite deck project of ours as a backdrop for a feature article coming later this Spring; stay tuned for newsstand availability information.
  • Welcome Home Des Moines, a locally-produced magazine, is featuring an Urbandale deck and patio project, complete with a firepit and outdoor kitchen, in their January/February 2013 issue; find it online, in your mailbox (if you subscribe) and in fine establishments around Des Moines in January.
  • dsm Magazine, another locally-produced magazine, asked us to participate in a “Superior Interiors” feature that will run in their  Feb/Mar/April 2013 issue.  Interiors?  Archadeck?  Aren’t we a “Superiors Exteriors” business?  Well, yes, but the Urbandale screen porch project we’re featuring there will explain it all.  Look for that in late January as well.
TimberTech Deck - Wes Des Moines (soon to be seen in DIY Magazine)

TimberTech Deck – Wes Des Moines (soon to be seen in DIY Magazine)

What else does 2013 hold in store for Archadeck of Central Iowa?  Where is that crystal ball when we need it?  One thing is certain:  It won’t get any easier.  Our clients demand more.  We demand more of ourselves.  In other words, the bar keeps getting moved higher.  But, those are challenges that inspire us.   So, we’re preparing for another exciting year and we’re looking forward to summarizing another successful and record-setting year here again next year at this time.  Ahead of that, here are some of the challenges, excitement and preparations we see in Archadeck’s 2013 crystal ball:

—–  Home Shows  —– 

We will again be displaying at the Des Moines Home & Garden Show (February 7th – 10th, 2013; Iowa Events Center/Hy-Vee Hall) and at the Home Builders Association Home & Remodeling Show (March 8 – 10, 2013; Iowa State Fairgrounds/Varied Industries Building).

Custom Outdoor Living Space Design and Plan, Archadeck of Central Iowa

Custom Outdoor Living Space Design and Plan, Archadeck of Central Iowa

But, you don’t have to wait to see us at a Home Show.  In fact, if you’ve got a pre-Summer “deadline” (maybe needing a deck or porch or patio for a graduation party or wedding?), I’d highly  (highly!) encourage you to not wait.   We have a number of 2012 clients who have already approached us about “phase 2” planning (“phasing” projects is also becoming more common; for example, doing a room/porch one year and a patio the next).  We also have a queue of several proposals from late 2012 under consideration with January decision timeframes (some with those aforementioned deadlines).

—–  Econ 101  —–

With demand and popularity come higher prices, particularly with the building materials that go into our projects.  But on top of that, re-building efforts from massive and devastating storms like Hurricane Sandy and the Joplin tornado further stress supply and demand resources.   Construction industry watchers are forecasting 3% – 8% increases in building material prices over the coming years (source:  Ken Simonson, Chief Economist AGC of America, 9/21/12) .   The last few years have made providers lean, so absorbing these costs will be difficult for us.   Which I know makes purchasing decisions more difficult for you.  But it doesn’t have to be all bad news.  Done right – better building by design – does add value.  And again, if you can catch us early you might beat some of these price increases.

—–  Products, Supply Chain and Relationships  —–

Because of our national presence and our outdoor living industry leadership position, Archadeck has forged various forms of preferred supplier relationships with major manufacturers in the outdoor living arena, including:

There were some interesting partnerships and acquisitions within those suppliers last year and we’re looking forward to some exciting enhancements in their product lines as a result.

Azek acquired the TimberTech business last year.  What that means going forward is yet to be totally realized; for the time being the brands and products are being maintained independently.  I would anticipate some very positive outcomes from this in regards to new and improved product offerings in the near future.

From TimberTech Direct, Radiance Rail with Feeney's Cable Rail, new in 2013.

From TimberTech Direct, Radiance Rail with Feeney’s Cable Rail, new in 2013.

One precursor to what may be ahead with the Azek/TimberTech deal may be seen in the partnership TimberTech and Feeney Architectural Products developed to integrate Feeney’s Cable Rail system into TimberTech’s new Radiance Rail systems.

Locally, I am also working to forge a stronger relationship with Trex.

Trex Transcends Front Porch, West Des Moines

Trex Transcends Front Porch, West Des Moines

We’ve become a big fan of Trex’s Transcends decking and railing products.  In fact, we just finished a Trex Transcends front porch project in West Des Moines a couple of weeks ago.  Trex’s RainEscape product is becoming our under-decking drainage system of choice as well.  Several recent Des Moines-area Trex deck projects are lined up for review and I have paperwork completed and ready to be submitted…for what will soon make us the first TrexPro contractor in the Des Moines area.  We are excited to attain this level of local support with Trex, the number one decking/railing manufacturer in the country.   Stay tuned for more details on this relationship.

Vendors working together make it better for all of us downstream.  And with the relationships Archadeck has forged with these major suppliers, it makes it even better when you work with Archadeck.  The direct support we get from these relationships helps all of us, both before and after an outdoor living space project is designed, sold and constructed.

—-  Re-Energize  —–

The annual Archadeck workshop, held in conjunction with the other brands in our Outdoor Living Brands, Inc. family will be coming up in late January.   It’s a nice time to re-connect and network with our colleagues around the country and learn from those shared experiences.  In addition, we’ll be introduced to new business strategies from our franchise advisory groups.  I always come away from these meetings re-energized for a new season and am looking forward to this again.

—–  Pictures Are Worth A Thousand Words  —–

A few blog posts back, I mentioned plans to expand our offerings of project pictures beyond what we have on our web site and Facebook photo galleries to include Pinterest and Photosynth.  Those plans are…aside from adding some pins to my personal Pinterest site and adding a couple of panoramic “synths” to our Photosynth site…still in the planning phase.  But, I am committed to integrating these further into our web presence over the coming weeks.  So, look for announcements on these in the near future.

Slide09XOur online themes (across our web site, Facebook page, etc.) for the past few weeks has been a seasonal wish for “Merry Outdoor Living in the Happy New Year!”  Beyond that, thank you for your readership here and your support of Archadeck of Central Iowa.   And, if you need to improve your merry-making capabilities in your Central Iowa outdoor living space in 2013 – or beyond, we look forward to hearing from you soon.  Feel free to download our complimentary Design Guide, contact us via our web site and/or give us a call.

Best wishes for a Happy and Prosperous 2013!


Satisfaction Abounds with Des Moines-area Deck and Railing Projects

Satisfaction...Archadeck Style

We’re just back from our annual workshop where, among other presentations, our franchisor recognizes several achievements across the Archadeck network of outdoor living space builders and designers.  Customer Satisfaction Awards are some of the most coveted awards and we’re proud to announce Central Iowa’s third consecutive Customer Satisfaction Award.  Satisfied customers are satisfied customers regardless of project size, complexity or style.  Based on our awards and their consistency, unlike the Rolling Stones, we do get satisfaction…nearly everyday.

Beyond that award, we had two other nice, unexpected acknowledgements awaiting us when we got home.

2012 Fortress Railing Calendar - March, Archadeck of Central Iowa

First, a project of ours was selected by Fortress Railing Products as their 3rd Place winner nationally for their 2012 Calendar Contest.  As such, it is the March cover and feature on their 2012 national calendar.  Obviously, Fortress is a railing (and fence) company so the focus is on our use of their FE26 Traditional Iron Railing in the project we did for our client in Urbandale, a northwest Des Moines suburb.  The overall project scope included installation of a low-maintenance railing and cedar pergola on their existing builder-provided composite deck (but with wood railing, initially).  The sleek, crisp look of Fortress Railing was a key component of the stunning transformation we made to our client’s deck space.  The flared pergola concept was key, too.  Thanks to Fortress for selecting our project for March, 2012!  And, thanks to our clients for having the foresight to select Fortress Railing…and Archadeck…for their project!

On a side note, my co-hort Rick Conrad of our Archadeck of Bucks/Mont office in Pennsylvania won the 2012 Grand Prize – the calendar cover and January features in the same Fortress calendar.  Congratulations, Rick!  Rick’s Grand Prize follows on the heels of our Archadeck of West Rhode Island office winning the same award in 2009.  I’m in good company!

Ageless Deck Design, by Archadeck of Des Moines - circa, 2001 (?)

Secondly, a client of ours from 1997 – yes, 1997…from the tenure of the prior Archadeck of Des Moines office – called with a question related to their initial deck design and layout.  No problems or issues, she emphasized; in fact, said their deck is still the best investment they’ve made on their home.   They are reviewing options for addressing a new gas meter requirement in relation to the deck’s layout and wondered if I had any information relevant to that.  Unfortunately, due to the age of their project and retention limitations, I wasn’t able to provide much besides anecdotal discussion to assist her.  But, she said she was very appreciative of that and my call back and said it further validated their selection of Archadeck – 15 years later – to know that we’re still actively in business.

More active than ever, in fact!

We’ll be gearing up for the 2012 Des Moines Home and Garden Show at the Iowa Events Center in the coming weeks.  Stay tuned for more information and we look forward to seeing you there.

The Value of Nice Outdoor Living Spaces – Helping Make Nice Homes Happen

A comment I frequently overheard in our booth at the Home & Remodeling Show last weekend by people reviewing some of the pictures in our display, went something like “Oh, those are really nice homes.”  Often times it was followed by a “…though.”  The implication then being  “Oh, my house isn’t nice enough to have one of Archadeck’s fine decks, porches or patios on my home.”  One nice lady from Des Moines actually went so far as to ask me if we had pictures of outdoor living projects we’ve done on “just a plain ol’ home.”

The project pictures we selected to put on our display exhibit are certainly there to show our best side, so to speak.  At the same time, they were selected to be representative of the types of outdoor living projects designed and built by Archadeck of Central Iowa.  For example, the display includes:

Archadeck TimberTech Low-Maintenance Deck Project, Altoona

So, despite the thoughts behind some of those comments, our projects are designed and built for a wide variety of home styles, home values and for people – like you – representative of Central Iowa as a whole.  And, we leave a nicer home behind when we’re done than what it was when we started…regardless of where it started.    I realized I missed an opportunity with some of these folks at the show…

The outdoor living spaces, rooms and accessories that we design and build are one of the very things that make a “really nice home” or that make a home one that’s not “just a plain ol’ home.”  So, to that latter comment, I guess maybe it is hard to find one of our project pictures from a “plain ol’ home” after we’ve been there.  Maybe she had better luck at another booth. 😉

Seriously, what this made me realize (again) is that its often hard to appreciate what we do and what we provide in value to our clients without first seeing what we started with.  It reminded me (again) that I need to get a nice before/after gallery up in our photo gallery on our web site.  In lieu of that, I linked that to the web site of our Boston office of Archadeck (Thanks, Jim!) as a representation of what ours will ultimately show.  In addition, here are the before/after images of the 3 projects noted above and seen on our home show display:

Screen Porch and Deck, Urbandale

Open Porch, Deck, Patio, Des Moines

3-Season Room, Deck, Stamped Concrete Patio, Pergola, West Des Moines

The true value of outdoor living comes in having a safe, structurally sound, functional and attractive living space that is an asset to your home’s value and to your lifestyle.  And, one that “fits” your home and your lifestyle.  That doesn’t happen by just hiring someone to build the same deck they build for everyone else (or the same one you have) or to build it off a napkin while they’re there building.  It happens by paying attention to homeowners’ ideas, styles and lifestyle and applying that information to the detail of the project design.  It happens by following industry-recognized standards and procedures in the design and building process.  It happens by using someone experienced in all these areas who will warrant and guarantee their performance.

Archadeck makes it happen. 

And when we’re done, you’ve got a really nice outdoor living space.  On a really nice home.  Or so it would seem.

8 Words To Remember About Outdoor Living

I stopped in at the Urbandale Post Office the other morning to purchase stamps.  I was wearing my Archadeck-logo’ed jacket and the clerk must have noticed.  He asked “What’s the difference between a patio room and a sun porch?”  Given there was a line behind me, I just kinda laughed and said “Words.”  The clerk appreciated my response, though; he too laughed and said “I thought so.”

Wood-Alternative Deck-Patio Project, West Des Moines

About an hour later, I had some folks in our office/showroom exploring some possibilities for their outdoor living spaces at their Des Moines-area home.  Those possibilities ranged from a new, larger, low-maintenance deck to a deck/pergola or deck/room (or porch) combination project on their walk-out home…which then also demands patio space at the lower-level.  Of course, with the “room” option came the inevitable “What’s the difference between a 3-season room and 4-season room?” question. I again laughed and recounted to them my earlier encounter at the post office.  And, because there wasn’t a line behind me, I did give a better answer than just “numbers.” 

3-Season Rooms.  Patio Rooms.  4-Season Rooms.  Sun Porches.

Multi-Season Room, West Des Moines

Screen Porches.  Open Porches.  Gazebos.  To us, they’re all just rooms and spaces with roofs…designed and configured to feel as outdoors-y or indoors-y as you want.

Decks.  Patios.  Again, they’re just rooms and spaces without roofs.

Pergola, West Des Moines

Not sure how much roof or shade you want over your rooms and spaces?  Pergolas are a nice in-between option.  Other accessories include outdoor kitchens, fireplaces, firepits, benches, planters, lighting…virtually anything under the sun.  In (almost) any combination.

So, back to my opening…”words.”  There are a lot of words to describe what you can do with your outdoor living spaces today.  Particularly because there are so many options…choices.  We’re finding more and more that folks are combining the options…the words.  Like the second encounter described above, combination projects are becoming more prevalent because today folks desire more than just a slab of concrete or a plank of boards for their outdoor living spaces.  Thoughtful design and construction of these spaces is key to their viability as a functional and valuable addition to your home and to your lifestyle at home.  The words are important, too.

Archadeck – Spaces, Rooms and Accessories for Outdoor Living.  If you only remember 8 words from this, I’d recommend that sentence.  Archadeck of Central Iowa has been providing Archadeck | Outdoor Living design/build services in backyards (and some front) around the Des Moines and Central Iowa area for over 13 years.  We’re asked a lot of questions…most of them “outdoor living” related.  We’re committed to providing answers (in word, number and picture form) and we’ve got a wealth of “outdoor living” related resources to obtain the answers that make sense for the outdoor living space, room or accessories you are considering.  And, we’ll make it happen for you.

If you have questions, or an outdoor living project in mind, you can call us (515-266-8844) , e-mail us ( or complete the “contact us” form on our web site at  And, this weekend – March 11th – 13th, 2011 – we’ll be out at the Varied Industries Building at the Iowa State Fairgrounds for the Home & Remodeling Show presented by the Home Builders Association of Greater Des Moines (of which we are an associate member); stop out and see us there if you get a chance.

On the Fast Track to Outdoor Living

Its been a busy 2 weeks its been for Archadeck of Central Iowa

St. Augustine, FL - George St.

2 weeks ago the Archadeck franchise system gathered in Palm Coast, Florida, for our annual workshop.  The 3-and-a-half-day event included meetings to review both current and future initiatives to keep Archadeck at the forefront of outdoor living trends and as the nationwide leader in this field.  The workshop also allows us to re-connect with our peers and share personal and professional experiences that strengthen both our friendships and our respective businesses.  We also managed a quick day-trip up to St. Augustine, the oldest city in America.  At our awards banquet, awards are presented to various to top performers across our system.  I am proud and honored for Archadeck of Central Iowa to be included in some of these again:

Archadeck of Central Iowa 2011 Awards

  • For the second straight year, our local, web site was voted the best web site within the Archadeck system.  I do work hard to organize our site to give folks around the Des Moines market area a good sense of who we are and what we design and build (decks, porches, 3- and 4-season rooms, pergolas, patios, outdoor kitchens and more).  Its nice to see that recognized…in various ways…
  • It was reported, that on a percentage basis, the Central Iowa Archadeck Outdoor Living market saw sales increase over 2009 at the second highest rate within our system.   Maybe that nice web site helps!  Maybe you nice folks around Des Moines are to thank!  Maybe our attention to design and detail and to our clients’ needs plays some part…
  • Archadeck of Central Iowa continued its string of Outstanding Customer Satisfaction Awards again this year.  This award is offered to, basically, “A” performers based on our post-completion customer survey responses for the year and we achieved this level again in 2010. This award is the one we are most proud of and the one we strive hardest for.  Again, thanks to our clients for recognizing our efforts.  We may not always get it “perfect,” but it is our goal.

Archadeck's Outdoor Living Display at 2011 Home and Garden Show

Straight off the return flight from our national workshop, I finished up the weekend run of the Des Moines Home and Garden Show at Hy-Vee Hall.  Thanks to my brother, David, and nephews, Jonathon and Lucas, for setting up and kicking the show off while I was attending our national workshop.  This years’ show seemed one of the stronger ones in a while and we enjoyed talking to a lot of folks around the Des Moines and Central Iowa areas about their outdoor living space plans.  At times, we may have been overwhelmed with the crowds and likely didn’t get to everybody.  So hopefully, you picked up our information and we look forward to your call back.

This last week we spent hitting the first of the design consultation visits from the Home and Garden Show traffic; many more coming up this week.  We also

Re-Working the Archadeck of Central Iowa Showroom for 2011

 focused on getting our office and showroom in shape for the upcoming season.  We’ve re-worked our showroom again a bit to lay down and show some of the new decking and railing products that have come out since fall, particularly in TimberTech’s Earthwood Evolutions decking and Radiance railing lines.  I think you’re going to like what you’ll see there…and on your deck or porch! 

I think what made all this seem even more intense was the nice weather we’re having for mid-February in Iowa.  73-degrees last Thursday!  Wow.  I’m not one to ever complain about that, but that just seemed to amp everybody up about getting outdoors again….and it made it seem like its April or May already.  I felt like I lost 2 months…2 months I can’t afford to lose this time of year.  I realize its only a mirage, so to speak…it will all catch up in time.  But, it was a nice little jolt for me and it certainly turned up the heat on a lot outdoor living plans.  I love it!

Daytona 500

And speaking of things going by fast…enjoy today’s Daytona 500!  That new, 200mph game of leap frog they’re playing will make that an interesting race.  Kinda feels like how my last 2 weeks felt!