Category Archives: Low-Maintenance Decking

Navigating the Curves of Decks…and Life

question-pic-01In one sense, I’m not sure where this is going to go. In another sense, I know exactly where its going.

Starting with what I know…

For one, I know we’re going outdoors. Outdoors in Central Iowa. Where we’ve always been…on Archadeck designed-and-built decks, porches and patios around Des Moines and the surrounding area.

For two, I know we’re going to move. We have hosted this “An Outdoor Living Space” blog on WordPress since its inception in the fall of 2009. Counting this post, we’ve published 87 posts on our blog here to date and there have been over 100,000 views of these posts over this timeframe. All a testament to the popularity and interest in outdoor living spaces as a valuable and necessary extension of your home and our experience in successfully bringing those spaces to life in hundreds of Central Iowa backyards. Thank you for following and reading us here over the years…wherever you live.

For three, I know where we’re going to move. In concert with this post, we will be transitioning to hosting our blogging on our central-iowa.archadeck.com web site. Look for the same outdoor living conversations and content at the “Our Blog” tab at central-iowa.archadeck.com. We look forward to seeing you on the other side! We will keep the historical content here and we’ll occasionally post on “An Outdoor Living Space” here, too, for nostalgia purposes. So don’t lose us here!

Now, as far as what I don’t know…

curves-pic-012016 threw us a couple of curves. Personally, the curve was physical and mental…the way a hard-breaking Nolan Ryan curve ball leaves your knees weak…and the way a Joe Frazier rounder punch to the gut leaves you gasping for air.  And more.  Professionally, the curve was visual…geometry and radiuses coming together…bringing soft and aesthetically pleasing curves to lines in a world that are too often harsh and rigidly square.

What I don’t know is how far to go in connecting the dichotomy of these two “curves.”  In my mind, they are connected because when you own your own small business, everything in your life is connected. There are certainly personal and professional lines, but they are blurred – if not erased – more than they are clear. So its hard for me to ignore the personal “curve” – the tragic accident this past spring that took the life of our granddaughter’s father and severely injured her mother…our daughter – and the impact that event had on me, personally and professionally.  Suffice it to say that if you’ve noticed a “silence” here (nearly 18 months since my last post), this “curve” was a significant factor in that.

But, amidst the events of that tragedy and our daughter’s subsequent miraculous (and ongoing) recovery, the business of Archadeck of Central Iowa continued and, in fact, thrived. Thanks in great part to the entire Archadeck team (David Cross, construction manager; Nolan Benge, design consultant; our crews) who stepped up to spell me when I was otherwise consumed with our family’s tragedy (particularly in the spring…our really busy season). Part of the thriving, too, is the nice outdoor living project opportunities our clients continue bringing us to design and build. Thank you for those opportunities! 3 of those opportunities this year resulted in deck spaces featuring significant curved features, something we’ve done once before but something we see becoming more popular and curved-decks-des-moines-archadeck-01commonplace…like curved patios. So commonplace, in fact, that we invested in and acquired our own Trex Custom Curve machine to help facilitate curved decks with curved decking in those 3 projects in and around Des Moines (with many more to come). Don’t let the Trex name fool you, we can (and have) also curved Azek decking in addition to Trex’s decking products. So, that was the professional “curve” thrown us this year. And with that, we’re now ready to throw you some curves! Continue to watch our web site’s photo galleries and our new blog site there for more photos and information on our Des Moines area curved deck projects and capabilities.

profile-hcOne last point of closure as we transition this blog to our web site, speaking of connections and personal and professional lines being blurred: A couple of years ago, I started a side blog project called “Outdoor Living Notes” where I occaisionally write about the convergence of two passions of mine: outdoor living and music. One professional, one personal…but with more connections and overlap than one might think (especially if you don’t think like me). Needless to say, that site, too, has been quiet as a result of the curves thrown at me this year. But, music being the healer it can be and has been, there are a lot of pent up words to be written there, too. So, look for that to soon become active again; give it a read…listen, too, if you’d like. The “Outdoor Living Notes” blog will remain here on WordPress.

Go Outside and Play!  Run circles (curves) while you’re at it!  Then circle on over to our web site-based version of “An Outdoor Living Space.”  See you there!

Profile with Sig - 2015

 

What Color Is This Des Moines Deck?

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! If you’ve followed this blog (thank you) about outdoor living spaces, rooms and accessories around Des Moines and Central Iowa, then you know that there’s always a theme here this time of year: Color! Playing off, of course…green beer.

I’m always fearful of recycling this content, fearing that you’ll lose interest and the lack of creativity will drive you away. But, you don’t seem to mind as these posts, collectively, are still some of our most popular…just like green beer.

What Color Is This Dress?

What Color?

So this year, on the heels of the recent release of the “Fifty Shades of Grey” movie and the “What Color is this Dress?” viral social media story, we’re playing off more than just green beer.  New color stories seem to be everywhere, including in the Archadeck world of decks, porches, patios and…(stay tuned) outdoor furniture.

New color offerings in the world of decking include:

  • Trex Transcends capped composite decking now comes in two new colors since last spring: Island Mist and Havana Gold . These add two more hues to the already vibrant tropical color line that still includes Spiced Rum, Tiki Torch and Lava Rock.
  • TimberTech expanded their very popular Earthwood Evolutions Legacy collection of capped composite with a nice Ashwood color. In their Terrain value collection, 3 colors were added: Rustic Elm, Silver Maple and Stone Ash.
  • Azek introduced a beautiful new Vintage Collection of PVC decking just this spring; the 3 color offerings in this line include Cypress, Dark Hickory and Mahogony.
Trex Transcends - Spiced Rum over Lava Rocks

Trex Transcends – Spiced Rum over Lava Rocks

For those keeping score, that’s 9 new color offerings across just those three brands of wood-alternative decking products in the past year. Breaking that score down further, 4 of those were some shade of grey. Believe it or not, 50 shades of grey decking is not beyond the realm of possibility…someday.

burst_DR_ExpressYourselfIn the world of railing, I think Feeney’s DesignRail aluminum system has introduced the biggest color splash for spring: BOLD COLORS!  The opposite of grey.  Bold, as in green, blue, red, orange and yellow…nearly all the colors of a vibrant rainbow!

In an effort to accommodate these ever-changing colors in the world of decking and railing, we re-worked our office and design studio last spring to allow more flexibility in our displays of these products. When you’re ready to custom-design your outdoor living space with us, we’ve got a very effective facility to help take the “fear of the unknown” out of your decision-making process.

Archadeck Office & Design Studio

Archadeck Office & Design Studio

In the Archadeck world, a whole new spectrum of colors has been introduced through our new offering this spring of Casuwel outdoor living furniture and accessories. Archadeck of Central Iowa – along with our Casuwel All CollectionsOutdoor Living Brands, Inc. franchise cohorts, – is proud to announce that we are now certified sales reps for Casuwel premium outdoor furniture. We offer substantial savings off published internet prices and our initial offering consists of 4 woven collections, all with a wide variety of color and pattern fabric options for their cushion options. Accessories include pillows, rugs and umbrellas…also offered in a wide assortment of colors. Did I say colors? We have all the weave and fabric samples in our office and design studio now, along with brochures and catalogs. So, we can easily work with you to configure the furniture needs of your outdoor living space – whether an existing space or a new Archadeck designed/built space. In early April, we will have two of the Casuwel collections on display in our office / design studio, allowing you to check out the fine quality and styling of Casuwel for yourself.   We are excited to be offering this new product line. Beautiful, custom-designed/built decks, porches and patios, and now the outdoor furniture to allow you to fully enjoy your outdoor living experience.

With the nice, warm weather we’re having, I hope you get a chance to celebrate some of the early rites of spring – St. Patrick’s Day, March Madness (never madder than in Iowa, this year) and the First Day of Spring – outdoors on your decks, patios and porches around Des Moines.   If your outdoor living spaces aren’t up for these types of celebrations, contact us for a free design consultation to see how we can brighten your outdoor living spaces.

Go Outside and Play!

Profile with Sig - 2015

Central Iowa Backyard Makeover Dream Becomes Reality

DBYM LogoIts been quiet here in regards to Rick and Merea Bentrott’s Dream Backyard Makeover since our May completion of their deck, patio, porch and outdoor kitchen project in Huxley, IA, a few miles north of Des Moines. But, it’s time to break that silence!

For those new to the Bentrott’s project proceedings, it was a $70,000 Dream Backyard Makeover Contest conducted in early-spring last year. Our Archadeck franchisor, Outdoor Living Brands, Inc., and two of our preferred product suppliers, TimberTech and Belgard Hardscapes, teamed up to sponsor this first-ever contest across our national Archadeck | Outdoor Living system. The Bentrott’s were the lucky winners of the $70,000 Dream Backyard Makeover Grand Prize! Archadeck of Central Iowa was honored to have winners from Central Iowa and to design and build the project for the Bentrott family.

Grand Prize Winners Rick & Merea Bentrott with Archadeck and Belgard staff

Grand Prize Winners Rick & Merea Bentrott with Archadeck and Belgard staff

Unlike many contests like this, we didn’t have things like keys to a new car or a big cardboard – or real – check to hand to the winners to enjoy instantly. Instead, we offered Rick and Merea our award-winning outdoor living design/build services in exchange for their backyard. We did surprise them with a “Publishers Clearinghouse”-style announcement, though; $70,000 was certainly worthy of that. After that surprise settled in, we worked with the Bentrott’s and our project sponsors through the summer to design what that grand prize project would actually be.

Through several design iterations and a construction phase that was interrupted by an early, harsh and long winter, a beautiful, multi-purpose outdoor living space emerged. The space includes a deck that flows to a multi-purpose patio. Part of the patio is covered with a freestanding, cedar-finished, open porch, with the remainder of the patio open to the big Iowa sky.

Patio, Porch and Deck by Archadeck of Central Iowa for Dream Backyard Makeover Winners

Patio, Porch and Deck by Archadeck of Central Iowa for Dream Backyard Makeover Winners

The deck features TimberTech’s capped-composite Earthwood Evolutions low-maintenance decking, with TimberTech’s Radiance railing system. The open patio area includes a firepit and seat wall. An outdoor kitchen resides underneath the porch, complete with a built-in American Outdoor Grill and a Big Green Egg smoker. Belgard Hardscape’s Elements division custom-built the kitchen and we used Belgard’s Urbana and Mega Arbel pavers and Weston Wall Stone throughout the patio space. TimberTech’s DeckLite low-voltage lighting components softly illuminate the entire space under the stars.  The Bentrot’s new outdoor living space was completed last May.

TimberTech Deck viewed from outdoor kitchen under the open porch

TimberTech Deck viewed from outdoor kitchen under the open porch

Scheduling of follow-up yard work with the busy schedules of a young-professional family – with four children – and Central Iowa’s favorite deck, porch and patio builder precluded a “grand reveal” and celebration of the makeover until early this Fall. We christened the space with the Bentrott’s and several of their friends on a beautiful, early fall evening a few weeks back.

We’ve put together a video chronicling the makeover as it evolved from dream to reality in the Bentrott’s backyard, starting with the contest-winning announcement and culminating with our celebratory “launch party.”

The pictures in this blog post are our first public showing of the completed project and all of its features. Look for the video and more pictures to be published on our central-iowa.archadeck.com web site as well as throughout our various web-based media channels (Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Houzz, Pinterest). Additionally, the project will be featured in an early-spring 2015 edition of our local Welcome Home Des Moines magazine.

Open Porch over Belgard paver patio and outdoor kitchen, as viewed from the deck.

Open Porch over Belgard paver patio and outdoor kitchen, as viewed from the deck.

The Bentrott’s $70,000 Dream Backyard Makeover project showcases much of what Archadeck | Outdoor Living provides through our custom design/build services. But, more than just a showcase, it’s a real space that real clients really love. We don’t often get to experience that love firsthand with our clients as we did the evening we celebrated with the Bentrott’s and their friends in their new deck, porch and patio space. The glow of the firepit. The aroma of grilled meats and vegetables. The clinking of glasses. The camaraderie of good friends and the laughter of children. Outdoor Living at its best. Merea told me that they use and enjoy their outdoor living space like this often in their family-oriented neighborhood. “What you see tonight, is what you see every weekend,” Rick added, “and I can assure you that any other winner of the contest would not have enjoyed their space any more than we enjoy ours.”

Firepit on the patio adjacent to the deck and porch

Firepit on the patio adjacent to the deck and porch

Congratulations, again, to Rick and Merea Bentrott and their family. For winning the contest. For living outdoors.

Harold Cross, Archadeck of Central Iowa

 

 

Memorial Day: Celebrating Life, Outdoors in Central Iowa

Happy Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day

Memorial Day weekend. Already. And, yet, it seemed so long in coming. A tough winter here in Des Moines…Central Iowa…and many places across this great country. And a tough spring (or was it winter?) followed.

Maybe moreso than any other holiday, there are many events, celebrations, milestones and memories associated with Memorial Day and the weekend(s) around it.

  • Memorial Day

    Memorial Day

    First and foremost, the “true meaning” of Memorial Day: Originally known as Decoration Day, it was a day set aside to remember soldiers who died in the Civil War. Unfortunately, more wars followed and so have the lives of (too) many American service men and women. So, the day has evolved to remember all Americans who have sacrificed their lives in military service for the freedoms the rest of us enjoy. The “decoration” part comes from the tradition of decorating soldiers’ graves with flags and flowers. That aspect of the tradition has further expanded to general maintenance and decoration – and memorials – of all family members’ graves sites, regardless of their military service. Cemeteries never look better than they do on Memorial Day.

  • Folks in the southern half of the country may not appreciate this as much as those of us in the Des Moines latitudes and above, but Memorial Day’s place on the calendar positions it at what has become the “unofficial” start of summer. Or, some might say, the “official” start of the outdoor living season…maybe the first weekend of full-blown outdoor parties or social gatherings on your deck or patio. Not to mention pool openings and pool parties. Technically, the summer solstice happens on June 21st (give or take a few hours), when the sun hits its peak. Technically, outdoor living season can be anytime…if you’re properly equipped with a 3-or-4-season room, a firepit or fireplace, a heated pool or hot tub…or skis and layers of Thinsulate.   But, why wait?
  • School’s Out For Summer! Going hand-in-hand with the start of summer, school years end around Memorial Day as well. And with that comes various graduation celebrations as our children and grandchildren pass from one education level to the next…ultimately into the “real world.” Many of these celebrations also occur outdoors on decks, porches and patios with outdoor kitchens as functional as the one next to your living room inside. But, with a better view of the big Iowa sky and landscape.
  • Two of auto racing’s biggest events dominate sports entertainment
    Indianapolis 500

    Indianapolis 500

    around Memorial Day weekend (Sunday). In Indianapolis, Indiana, its Indy Car’s crown jewel…maybe racing’s overall crown jewel…the Indianapolis 500. Later in the day, Charlotte, North Carolina (home of our largest Archadeck office), hosts NASCAR’s Coca Cola 600, its longest distance race. Good luck to Kurt Bush, who will try to become only the fourth driver in history to complete both races on the same day. Maybe you will catch many of his anticipated 2,400 left turns on the outdoor TV’s that are getting installed more frequently on the patios, porches and decks we’re designing and building here in the Des Moines area.

While all these activities may seem a bit disparate, a common theme here is all the opportunities that Memorial Day gives us to (finally – after a long winter) get outdoors…to live outdoors…to celebrate outdoors, eat and drink outdoors.

Archadeck of Central Iowa designs and builds spaces for these purposes year-round. Not just for uses around Memorial Day, but for year-round use (seasonally, depending on the space). This year, though, we had an exceptional number of projects that were started last fall and over the winter (a very tough winter for the building side of our business) that were specifically targeted for many of these activities associated with Memorial Day.

Clive  (Des Moines) Trex Transcends Deck

Clive (Des Moines) Trex Transcends Deck

A Clive family engaged us last fall for a new Trex Transcends deck with Westbury aluminum railing, to be completed in time for their Memorial Day weekend graduation party; started in early November, we completed it a couple of weeks ago. We actually had breathing room on this one.

Waukee (Des Moines) TimberTech Azek XLM Deck

A Waukee family considered several design options for the new TimberTech/Azek XLM deck space they wanted for their graduation party, ultimately settling on a curved deck with a hot tub and an outdoor kitchen. Stone columns were incorporated into the design to enhance the aesthetics of this space. This design effort was completed in December. But a surprise need for a variance with the City (resulting from a prior contractor’s oversight) delayed our construction start until mid-January; the cold and deep frost then slowed our efforts dramatically.   But, we had the project ready for their party held on May 3rd.

Trex Transcends over Elevations Steel Framing – Ankney (Des Moines)

We built a new Trex Transcends deck – structured with Trex’s Elevations steel framing system – for an Ankeny couple last fall. The deck leads to their in-ground pool and includes built-in seating and wide stairs book-ended by stone columns…which didn’t get fully installed before it got too cold last fall.   That stone went on this week – the same day they opened their pool. Their deck will make a big first splash this Memorial Day weekend.

TimberTech Earthwoods Open Porch – Des Moines

A Des Moines family (and a neighbor of mine) engaged us last December for a new open porch over a TimberTech Earthwoods Evolutions deck with Westbury aluminum railing. Their son serves in the military, stationed in Alaska, and was scheduled for a Memorial Day weekend leave to visit his family at home…and celebrate with them on their new porch and deck.  Stone column work was completed this week and the project was ready for this soldier’s return. I think I hear them celebrating now!

To be sure, Mother Nature’s harsh winter complicated our efforts to get these four Des Moines-area outdoor living projects completed in time for their various Memorial Day timeframe deadlines. But, we did complete them….by the skin of our teeth. Additionally, our delays in getting the Dream Backyard Makeover Contest-wining project in Huxley completed last fall was also a factor of the early, hard and long winter we had. That project was also completed earlier this month and the Bentrott’s have been enjoying the space the past couple of weekends.  But we’re waiting for the “grand reveal” of that project until the official “launch” party, currently targeted for mid-July (stay tuned).

On the flip side, two springs ago (2012) we were laying Belgard paver patios in March in 80-degrees in shorts and t-shirts.

Weather – particularly in spring – and its impact on our outdoor living space building capabilities, is a roll-of-the-dice anymore. All the more reason that if you want a new Central Iowa outdoor living space to enjoy early next year, you should be contacting us sooner than later. All the more reason to celebrate Memorial Day and all it has come to represent. All the more reason to…Go Outside and Play!

Happy Memorial Day!

Harold Cross, Archadeck of Central Iowa

 

Dream Backyard Makeover Project Moving at the Speed of Mother Nature

CrashThe premise of the 2004 movie “Crash” is:   When you are moving at the speed of life, we are bound to collide with each other.   It’s a great movie; one of my all-time favorites.

I had a “Crash” moment with Rick Bentrott and his daughter at the PetSmart in Ankeny yesterday afternoon.  You remember Rick:  Winner of our 2013 $70,000 Dream Backyard Makeover Contest.  You remember the contest:  The one you hoped to win…but didn’t.  DBYM LogoYou remember the project:  The TimberTech deck; the open porch over Belgard Hardscapes patio space, outdoor kitchen and firepit ; all in the Bentrott’s backyard north of Des Moines in Huxley.  And…ahem…the project we didn’t finish before our 9th coldest winter on record froze the ground hard and early back in November (a harbinger of the winter ahead)…literally as the outdoor kitchen was delivered.

Hiatt...at the Archadeck Showroom

Hiatt…at the Archadeck Showroom

The speeding lives of the Bentrott’s and the Cross’ collided at the checkout line at PetSmart.  Rick and his daughter buying fish to replace the hamsters.  My wife and I buying more dog food and a new leash for our new puppy, Hiatt.  Life.

I asked Rick if his ears were burning this week.  He said he hoped not because people talking about him usually meant something bad.  I assured him not, that it was good news; that I had conversations with our crew about the timing of restarting – and finishing – their outdoor living space project.  I appreciate Rick’s sense of humor…and patience; they’ve been necessary traits with their project.

Winter's Grip on Dream Backyard Makeover

Winter’s Grip on Dream Backyard Makeover

To be sure, we have unfinished business in the Bentrott’s backyard in Huxley.  But just as sure, when Mother Nature allows we will be back up there to complete the patio and outdoor kitchen components and put the finishing touches on the deck and open porch. We only need about a week to finish up; but we need a week above freezing and a prolonged thawing period ahead of that week.  Unfortunately, Mother Nature put us in a very early and deep freeze this year – the coldest winter in 35 years and frost at unprecedented depths (nearly to our 42” frost line).  While we did get a nice week last week (getting a couple of above-grade deck and porch projects going), Mother Nature is not letting go without a fight – a little overnight snow and a good portion of the coming week with highs only in the 30’s.  So, restarting our Dream Backyard Makeover project is still an elusive goal at this point.  But, it’s the goal at the top of our list.  In the meantime, more humor…more patience…more life.  At the speed of Mother Nature.

Harold Cross, Archadeck of Central Iowa

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

Outdoor Living Dreams Do Come True In Central Iowa

Dream Backyard Makeover Poster

Dream Backyard Makeover Poster

Remember that February 3rd post here about our first-ever Dream Backyard Makeover Contest?  The one with the $70,000 deck and patio combination space Grand Prize?  Yeah, that one.  The one that Rick and Merea Bentrott of Huxley, Iowa, just won!  The one that Archadeck of Central Iowa will now get to design and build for the Bentrott family.

This past Friday, May 17th, I got the extreme pleasure of surprising the Bentrott’s with this announcement in the very backyard so in need of the makeover they dreamed of.  With banners and balloons flying, with cameras rolling, and with a few tears and many smiles flowing… a proclamation was made of the Bentrott’s selection of our Grand Prize package.  And its a package the Bentrott’s could really use; with all due respect, their existing deck area is a real mess.  Their backyard is very conducive to the deck-patio combination space our contest sponsors, Belgard (patios and hardscaping) and TimberTech (decking and railing) manufacture such high-quality materials for.

Bentrott's Existing Deck Space

Bentrott’s Existing Deck Space

But, what their new outdoor living space will actually be…that’s where our work comes in now.  The Bentrott’s have many good ideas all centered around the concept of having an enjoyable and safe outdoor space in which to share family time, amongst themselves as well as with their friends and neighbors in the Huxley community, just north of Des Moines.  To be honest, I don’t have too many ideas about their project yet…whether the Big Green Egg will go on the patio or the deck…whether Rick and the kids get a koi pond, and where it will go if Merea approves…whether Merea gets a hammock, now that she surprised Rick with that one…and whether we can trust Rick not to burn trees down with a fire pit.   It’s a lot to comprehend on top of the fact that I’m still in a state of disbelief that a Central Iowa entrant actually won our contest.  I can only imagine how the Bentrott’s feel…they are the winners here, not me.  Winners…or “Rock Stars” as I call them.

Dream Backyard Makeover Contest Winners - Rick and Merea Bentrott; Huxley, IA

Dream Backyard Makeover Contest Winners – Rick and Merea Bentrott; Huxley, IA

We at Archadeck of Central Iowa are excited to be working with the Bentrott family to bring their Grand Prize, outdoor dream, alive.  The ideas and plans will come.  We’re scheduling ongoing and future efforts to design and build their new outdoor living spaces.  We’ll keep you posted on our progress over the remainder of the summer, so stay connected here to follow the project status.

We are also proud to be representing the entire nationwide system of Archadeck outdoor living space designers and builders in this endeavor.

A big thank you to our contest sponsors, Outdoor Living Brands (our Archadeck franchisor), Belgard Hardscapes and TimberTech; without them, none of this would have been possible.  We are also proud to be representing our sponsors.

Grand Prize Presentation Strategy

Grand Prize Presentation Strategy

Lastly, I want to thank the Bentrott’s neighbors and the Huxley Police for not turning us in and not arresting us for trespassing as we…trespassed…across a couple of adjacent backyards and a city park while setting up the surprise announcement in the Bentrott’s backyard.  It was a 3-pronged plan of attack General Patton would be proud of….and not possible to pull off without good troops, which included  Chris Boyd (Belgard Territory Manager), David Cross and Nolan Benge (Archadeck of Central Iowa) and Dan Welk (Click! Photography).  And pulled it off we did!

Grand Prize Winners and the Archadeck and Belgard "Troops"

Grand Prize Winners and the Archadeck and Belgard “Troops”

Archadeck | Outdoor Living.  Dream Backyard Makeovers by Design.  For nice families like the Bentrott’s.

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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…

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I’ll Have Another Green Beer and a Spiced Rum Trex Deck Chaser

One year ago, St. Patricks Day, 2010, I wrote what turned out to be the most popular posting to date, in terms of reads and search terms “hits”, on this “An Outdoor Living Space” blog site.  What put that one over the top in terms of popularity wasn’t just the insightful information about the decks, porches, patios, pergolas and outdoor living spaces, rooms and accessories we do around the Des Moines area.  What put it over the top was…its reference to “green beer.”

What does “green beer” have to do with Des Moines-area decking, railings, 3- and 4-season rooms, brick paver patios or outdoor kitchens?  Well, the premise of that posting was “color” and the title said it all:  “Green Beer and Decking / Railing Color Combinations” (click that to read it).  St. Patricks Day, with its “green” color theme, seemed an excellent opportunity to talk about the multitude of color choices in the various decking and railing systems that can be used in your outdoor living project.  While I try hard not to recycle themes here, this one seems worthy.  Plus, the theme has continued unabated over the past year.  For some examples…

  • I bet many of us will be drinking a little green beer again this St. Patricks Day (in fact, I learned that many folks drink – or look for – green beer year round…and, therefore, the high hit count on that search term).  And, if the Des Moines area weather holds with these temperatures, maybe even some of you will be doing that on your own decks or in your own porches.
  • TimberTech tweaked their XLM line of PVC decking and now offers 6 colors of decking in that line, two of which are modified or new from last year:  Harvest Bronze (formerly Desert Bronze) and HarborStone (a new, grey-streaked board).
  • TimberTech reformulated their Earthwoods line of wood-plastic composite (WPC) decking, now called Earthwood Evolutions and now the hybrid, WPC/PVC-capped technology introduced by Trex in their Transcends line last year.  This resulted in 3 modified Earthwood colors as well:  Pacific Teak, Pacific Rosewood and a very nice (one of my favorites) Pacific Walnut.
  • TimberTech also now has out 2 new colors of their Radiance Rail system to better compliment their new decking colors.  And, TimberTech also offers more mix-and-match coloring options in their Radiance Rail line.
  • Azek’s PVC-based Arbor line now also includes 2 new colors of decking:  Cobre and Silver Oak.  No new railing colors for Azek; apparently they think the 6 colors they already have are sufficient.  But, with TimberTech now having 7 colors in their Radiance Rail line, I’m sure Azek is looking for 2 more colors.
  • Trex expanded their Transcends line of hybrid, WPC/PVC-capped decking to include colors/styles called Lava Rock and (my personal favorite name of a decking color) Spiced Rum.

Archadeck Design 3D Rendering of an Urbandale Outdoor Living Space

As I said, its continued unabated.  The choices can make your head spin as much as green beer might.  Fortunately, the hangover from color options in decking and railing combination decisions (as well as others related to your new outdoor living space project) can be avoided.  Our design process can show you the impact of the various color combinations you like as they look on your home thru near-photo-realistic 3D renderings.  In our showroom in Urbandale, we’ve got many of these new products and colors in various display forms to see, touch and even walk on.   Our design process eases you through the selection process and gives you the security of knowing what you’re going to get before you get it.  And then we make it happen.  And we go so far as to guarantee it will happen. 

Archadeck | Outdoor Living.  All the fun and enjoyment of green beer on St. Patricks Day, without the hangover.

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.