Category Archives: Pergolas

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 We will keep the historical content here and we’ll occasionally post on “An Outdoor Living Space” here, too, for nostalgia purposes.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!

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Green Beer and Spiced Rum Decking Still Cool in Des Moines Outdoor Spaces

Luck of the ISU Cyclones

Luck of the ISU Cyclones

Happy St. Patrick’s Day Weekend!  With the green beer and all the Irish festivities falling on a Monday, it can only mean its going to be a party all weekend long.  Unfortunately, our weekend weather isn’t all that conducive to celebrating the luck of the Irish (and the Iowa State Cyclones – Big 12 Tournament Champs!) outdoors on your decks, patios and porches around Des Moines.   A cold nip in that wind today.  Rain and snow tomorrow.  No problem for those of you with fireplaces in your Central Iowa porches.  But even for the rest of you, with the winter we’re coming off of, I’m sure it will hardly stall the flow of green beer wherever you celebrate.   Have fun.  Be safe.  Then call us about that fireplace in your porch for next year!

Multi-Colored Trex Transcends Deck and Rail

Multi-Colored Trex Transcends Deck and Rail

St. Patrick’s Day also means that parties of all kinds will soon be moving outdoors (really, spring and summer are coming).  With that, folks will start considering improvements to their outdoor spaces in earnest.  Four years ago, I kicked that theme off here with a post about decking and railing color combinations and tied that to St. Patrick’s Day because of the green colors associated with all things Irish…shamrocks, leprechauns, four-leaf clovers and, of course, beer.  That post and a couple of follow-ups are linked below.  I really try not to recycle content here.  But in this case, you don’t seem to mind – its one of the most-read topics here…probably as much because of the reference to green beer as to Trex’s Spiced Rum decking color.  But, we like both, right?

For 2014, the updates are focused on the product consolidation and integration activities associated with Azek’s holding company purchase of TimberTech a couple of years ago.

Azek Silver Oak Decking

Azek Silver Oak Decking

As part of that effort, TimberTech’s PVC-based decking products have been re-branded as Azek XLM such that all PVC-based decking under the CPG umbrella is now branded as Azek.  With this, there are now 17 different styles/colors of Azek PVC-based decking boards now available.

TimberTech’s wood-plastic composite (Twin Finish (3 colors), ReliaBoard (2 colors)) and PVC capped-composite (Earthwood Eviolutions) products have remained as TimberTech-branded boards.  The Earthwood Evolutions product has been expanded to include a Legacy line of boards designed around a hand-scraped hardwood look; these new boards are stunning both in coloring and look.

TimberTech Earthwood Evolutions Legacy @ Archadeck Showroom

TimberTech Earthwood Evolutions Legacy @ Archadeck Showroom

We’ve had these new boards laid in our Urbandale showroom for just a couple of weeks now, but they are quickly gaining rave reviews.  Overall there are 12 different styles/colors of TimberTech’s Eathwood Evolutions line of PVC capped-composite decking.

If you’re trying to keep score at home…the Azek/TimberTech score for 2014 is:  34 different styles and colors of deck boards.  In addition, TimberTech offers 4 different rail styles in a 9-color spectrum, while Azek offers 3 styles across a similar color palette.

Now…are you ready for Trex Transcends and Belgard pavers and wall stones…and colored and stamped  concrete colors?

Belgard Wall Stone, Concrete Patio, Outdoor Kitchen,  Cedar Pergola

Belgard Wall Stone, Concrete Patio, Outdoor Kitchen, Cedar Pergola

The good news (from a simplicity perspective) is that new product and coloring offerings here are minimal – if any – compared to last year.  So, I will refer you back to last year’s posting, particularly for the Belgard and concrete information.  Last year, though, Trex started offering their Trex Pergola product in all the sold colors of Trex decking.  With that, low-maintenance pergolas no longer are confined to white or beige color options.  We’ve yet to do a colored Trex Pergola in the Des Moines area, but my counterpart at our Archadeck of Ft Wayne office did a very nice project that exemplifies the new aesthetics offered with the Trex Pergola product.

Trex Transcends Deck Railing West

Trex Transcends Deck Railing West

From other Trex perspectives, we really like – and therefore, focus on – Trex’s Transcends line of PVC capped-composite decking and railing products.  So much so that we became Central Iowa’s first TrexPro installer last year.  Trex has maintained their Transcends product and color offerings from 2013 into 2014 – 8 colors of deck boards, 7 colors of railing (and Spiced Rum is still my favorite name and color).  What excites us about Trex is their innovation around the decking and railing spectrum.  Their Elevations steel framing system is the future of deck framing and ultimate structural performance…if you consider the future now; we did two deck projects here in the Des Moines area last year using Trex’s Elevations steel framing system.

Trex Elevations Project - Des Moines

Trex Elevations Project – Des Moines

Additionally, Trex’s new offerings of spiral staircases, Trex furniture, Trex deck and landscape lighting and aluminum railing solidify their commitment to offering the best in outdoor living products.  We are proud to be associated with their products and innovations thru our TrexPro relationship and we’re excited to bring more of those into Des Moines and Central Iowa backyards.  We’ll feature more of our Des Moines-area Trex projects and our TrexPro relationship in future posts here.

Colors galore.  Options galore.  It really does take more than the luck of the Irish to put these together nicely in an outdoor living space design.  With preferred supplier relationships with TimberTech/Azek and Belgard and now our TrexPro relationship with Trex, Archadeck of Central Iowa is uniquely positioned to design and build your outdoor dream spaces.  All backed by the strongest warranty and guarantee programs through a proven 34-year franchise system.  When it makes sense for you to pursue your outdoor dreams, contact us for a complimentary design consultation.

Better Building by Design.   The Archadeck Difference.

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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.

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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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Green Beer Means Spring, Outdoor Living and More (Colors) Coming to Des Moines

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  Lots of reasons to celebrate…the Luck of the Irish (but what about those Notre Dame basketball uniforms?), Spring Break, the NCAA Basketball Tournament and much more.  And, lets not forget, the NCAA Wrestling Championships – huge here in Des Moines, being hosted at our own Wells Fargo Arena this week.  March Madness, I believe its called.

Move It Outdoors!

Move It Outdoors!

All this can mean only one thing:  Spring is just around the corner!  Just like the green beer we’re going to drink today (and/or we drank yesterday), our outdoor landscape will soon be turning green, too.  And with that, lets move it outdoors!  More time on our Des Moines-area decks, patios and porches.   More time around our outdoor kitchens and dining areas enjoying cool drinks and grilled food with family, friends and neighbors.  More late late-night relaxation by the firepit or fireplace.  The phrase “less is more” does not apply to outdoor living.  I was first reminded of that several years ago, early in my Archadeck career, when a client whom I was working with on a deck/porch project design said to me “Think Big, Harold.”  Beth’s comments still ring in my head, today – it is a big outdoors!

Here are two topics that underscore that:

  • The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) recently published results of their survey of the top outdoor living trends for 2013.  All the elements, features and amenities they’ve associated with outdoor living spaces epitomize how “big” outdoor living has become.  But, more importantly than “big,” it also highlights how critical enjoyable outdoor living areas are to homeowners’ (current and future) satisfaction with their homes.   “In this uncertain economy, homeowners want to get more enjoyment out of their yards,” said ASLA Executive Vice President and CEO Nancy Somerville, Hon. ASLA. “They want attractive outdoor spaces that are both easy to take care of and sustainable.”
  • Three years ago, St. Patricks Day, 2010, I wrote what then became the most popular posting on this blog.  Its 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.”  I followed up on that in 2011 with an update on the color choices available in decking and railing colors.  Those two blog posts combine for the now second-most popular all-time blog topic here.  That colorful trend continues unabated since, and now even expands to the hardscaping and patio surface options; just a few examples follow:
TimberTech Deck with Colored Concrete Patio, Urbandale

TimberTech Deck with Colored Concrete Patio, Urbandale

Enough color choices to match the “big-ness” of the great outdoors.  Enough to make your head spin…like green beer the day after St. Patrick’s Day.  But also, enough to make your neighbors green with envy when they see your stunning outdoor living space by Archadeck of Central Iowa.   We are uniquely positioned and qualified in the Des Moines market to help you thru all the design decisions related to your deck, patio and porch projects – from function, size, layout, colors and value.  Our design process can show your outdoor spaces and structures as they look on your home thru near-photo-realistic 3D renderings.  In our Urbandale showroom, we’ve got a wide assortment of decking, railing and patio 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 guarantee it will happen.

Archadeck | Outdoor Living.  Better Building by Design.

Dream Backyard MakeoverPS – Our Dream Backyard Makeover Contest runs thru April 22nd.  If you haven’t checked that out yet – or submitted your backyard entry – you’ve still got time.  Visit our Facebook page for details.  Good Luck!

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Dream Backyard Makeover Opportunities for Central Iowa

What is your Dream Backyard, Central Iowa?  Maybe an inviting deck and patio space offering ambiance, functionality and beauty your family and friends will enjoy for years?  Tell us about it and you could possibly win it!  Yes, it could be – could be – that easy and thats the big news I teased you with in the last post.  Its no longer a tease…its real…and its underway.

Dream Backyard Makeover Poster

Dream Backyard Makeover Poster

Archadeck of Central Iowa is excited to offer our market the opportunity to participate in our very first contest – your chance to win an outdoor living space Grand Prize valued up to $70,000!  2nd and 3rd Place prizes as well.  Our franchisor (Outdoor Living Brands, Inc.), TimberTech (decking and railing)  and Belgard (patios and hardscapes) have partnered-up to sponsor this nationwide contest across the Archadeck | Outdoor Living brand of outdoor living space designers and builders.  S0, yes, not only will you be competing with your neighbors around the Des Moines area, you’ll be competing with our other 60 markets as well.  That will make it more suspenseful, fun and impressive to win.  And, as we are often told here in Central Iowa, you can’t win if you don’t play.  So…go outside…errrr…go online and play!

Dream Backyard Makeover Flyer

Dream Backyard Makeover Flyer

This Dream Backyard Makeover contest will play out over Facebook, so it does require you to like our Facebook page, ArchadeckCentralIowa, to enter the contest.  If you already like us (“thank you”), click on the “Win a Backyard” icon to submit your entry.  Rules, regulations, the contest entry itself and status updates are all available thru our Facebook page so check your news feeds and our wall regularly.

The contest opened February 1st, 2013, and will close near the end of April, 2013.  Two finalists will be selected each month.  Fan voting (yes, you’ll even have some say in who wins) and sponsor selection from the 6 finalists will occur at the end of April.

Again, for complete information, rules and regulations and, of course, your opportunity to enter and win, visit and like our Facebook page at ArchadeckCentralIowa.  Many of the links here will take you there.

Of course, you can get that awesome backyard with Archadeck of Central Iowa even without winning the contest.  Our highly popular Archadeck Outdoor Living Design Guide, our industry relationships and expertise and our attention to design details bring dream backyards to life every day.  And, contest or not,  none of our projects just happen magically; they all take time…for design and planning ….for construction.  Which is why we want to choose a winner by the end of April…so we can build the lucky winner’s project (hopefully yours!) later this summer.

Better building by design.  Value by design.  It’s the Archadeck Difference – included in every project!

The luck – you’ll have to provide!  Good Luck!

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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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