Category Archives: Pool and Spa Decks

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 We will keep the historical content here and we’ll occasionally post on “An Outdoor Living Space” here, too, for nostalgia purposes.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

 

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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

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

 

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…

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Go Outside and Dance

Welcome Home    Des Moines

Welcome Home Des Moines

We currently have a project featured in the January/February edition of the local magazine Welcome Home Des Moines.  The patio and deck project we designed and built for Steven and Marybeth Lytle in Urbandale also features an outdoor kitchen, a fire pit, a hot tub area and a retaining wall incorporated into existing landscaping. The retaining wall also serves as a seat wall from the patio side and has low-voltage outdoor lighting embedded for nighttime ambiance.  Steven also had a SunBrite outdoor TV incorporated into the kitchen counter area…strategically positioned for viewing all around the patio and from the hot tub.

The “New Living Room” article by Carol McGarvey for Welcome Home Des Moines and the accompanying pictures by Tim Abromowitz highlight some of the moments the Lytle’s enjoyed in their new outdoor living space last year – foremost, their daughter’s wedding reception.  I was told the Belgard Mega Arbel patio made a great dance floor!

About a year before that dance, the very spot where Steven and Marybeth’s daughter, Allison, and new son-in-law, Adam, danced  looked like this:

Lytle's Deck, pre-Archadeck

Lytle’s Deck, pre-Archadeck

The deck had served the Lytle’s well over their time in their beautiful Urbandale home.  But, the deck had lived its life…and now there was Allison’s wedding.

Over the course of a few weeks beginning late August of 2011, I worked with Steven and Marybeth to develop a new design and plan for their outdoor living space.  By late September, 2011, we had the design below, detailed specifications and a project plan for bringing the project together…in time for a wedding reception in June of the next summer.

Lytle Deck & Patio Design

Lytle Deck & Patio Design

Lytle Deck & Patio Design Rendering

Lytle Deck & Patio Design Rendering

With an Iowa winter in between and more ground-level patio work than above-ground deck work, the deadline could have proven to be more challenging than one might think.  But, we were blessed with a nice fall and the mildest winter on record so we were able to get a good jump on the project over the fall and winter and ease into the Spring deadline.  Yes, Marybeth…that’s what we were doing…easing.  No pressure, right?

We broke ground in mid-October, 2011.  Serious groundbreaking.  A lot of digging,  a lot of concrete and a lot of base fill.  But, all before the freeze/thaw cycle that disrupts hardscaping efforts in Iowa’s (normally) cold months.  So, we left the project in this state in early December.

Digging and Filling, Oct - Dec, 2011

Digging and Filling, Oct – Dec, 2011

In the Spring, trucks pulled up and unloaded tons of Belgard Arbel Stone for the patio surface and Cultured Stone for the retaining and seat walls.  By late March we were back in shorts and t-shirts, laying a paver patio in Des Moines, Iowa.  Imagine that!

Lytle Patio Progression, Mar - Apr, 2012

Lytle Patio Progression, Mar – Apr, 2012

The project also entailed replacing the deck on the upper side of the new patio.  So, in conjunction with the patio work, there was more digging, more concrete, more Cultured Stone, some pressure-treated faming lumber, and Gossen PVC decking.

Work on Lytle's Upper Deck

Work on Lytle’s Upper Deck

In the end… there was a patio to dance on.  A fire to gather around. An outdoor theater for watching the Summer Olympics.  A hot tub to sit in and relax after a long bicycle ride.  An outdoor living paradise.

Lytle's Urbandale Patio; Completed, May 2012

Lytle’s Urbandale Patio; Completed, May 2012

And in the end, there was a deck offering a prime seating location overseeing one of the Des Moines-area’s finest greenbelt systems and Lakeview Pond.

Lytle's Urbandale Deck; Completed, May 2012

Lytle’s Urbandale Deck; Completed, May 2012

And in the end, there was the little grill that could…

Lytle Outdoor Kitchen Progression, April - May 2012

Lytle Outdoor Kitchen Progression, April – May 2012

…the little grill that could become an outdoor kitchen.

Lytle's Urbandale Outdoor Kitchen; Completed, May 2012

Lytle’s Urbandale Outdoor Kitchen; Completed, May 2012

And in the end, there was a fairy tale dream of a young girl, a sentimental father and a wedding dance.

The Dance - June 23rd, 2012

The Dance – June 23rd, 2012

Thank you Steven, Marybeth, Allison, Adam and Madison for sharing your outdoor living space with Archadeck of Central Iowa.

Go outside and dance.

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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!

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