Category Archives: Under-Decking

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


2013 Crystal Ball for Archadeck Outdoor Living

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

—–  Home Shows  —– 

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

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

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

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

—–  Econ 101  —–

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

—–  Products, Supply Chain and Relationships  —–

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trex Transcends Front Porch, West Des Moines

Trex Transcends Front Porch, West Des Moines

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

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

—-  Re-Energize  —–

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

—–  Pictures Are Worth A Thousand Words  —–

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

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

Best wishes for a Happy and Prosperous 2013!


A Super Time to Plan for Outdoor Rooms, Des Moines

No Shadow for Phil! An Early Spring for Us!

From the Super Bowl of football to the Super Bowl of love (Valentines Day) to the Super Bowl of racing (the Daytona 500), February has become quite the action-packed month.  And, thanks to that ground hog named Phil from Punxsutawney, it looks like February is just a short span away from Spring!  For us winter-weary folks in Des Moines and Central Iowa, Punxsutawney Phil says we’re on the fast track to outdoor living!  Won’t be long until we’re out grilling, relaxing and entertaining outdoors on our decks, porches and patios around Des Moines and Central Iowa!

Sounds like Phil is telling us we need to get our outdoor living enhancement projects on the fast track as well.

In that regard, February is a very busy month for Archadeck of Central Iowa as we prepare for Des Moines’ rush to live outdoors this spring…summer, fall…year-round with a 3- or 4-season room or sunroom.  We have two big events on our February calendar.

First, the Archadeck franchise system gathers annually for a workshop to connect with our co-horts, franchise support team and key vendors and suppliers.  This fun, educational and “re-charge your batteries” workshop has traditionally been held in January but was moved into February this year.  I’ll be attending that workshop, held near Daytona Beach, on Monday, February 8th, thru Friday the 11th (and darn, I’m a NASCAR fan but can’t stay another week for the Daytona 500).  I’m looking forward to the meetings and new “outdoor living” announcements and will have more “outdoor living” news to share when I return.  Stay tuned.  And if you’re thinking “patio” Des Moines (hint, hint), really stay tuned.

Second, the 2011 Des Moines Home and Garden Show runs Thursday, February 10th thru Sunday, February 13th.  You may notice an overlap with our annual workshop dates there, but we’ve got it covered!  I’ll be back for the weekend shift; David is covering the setup and front end.  Outdoor Rooms are a feature of the show this year.  But, this will be the 14th year running that we’re displaying Archadeck-designed/built outdoor rooms at this Des Moines Home and Garden Show.  We invite you to stop by our display, see examples of our outdoor living spaces, rooms and accessories and learn more about Archadeck’s approach to your project.  You’ll find our Archadeck | Outdoor Living display space in the Lobby at the Main (East) Entrance to Hy-Vee Hall off of 3rd Street.

The lobby, you say?  What, we couldn’t afford a booth?  Actually, its all a result of Polk County’s renovation project at Vets Auditorium.  The Main Entrance at Vets Auditorium will be open, but the auditorium space itself is not available for the show this year.  So, the show display areas have been condensed to be located all (mostly) within the adjacent Hy-Vee Hall (and its hallways and lobbies).  If you come in the Main Entrance at Vets, you’ll follow the skywalk to Hy-Vee Hall…and the East Entrance Lobby…where you’ll find our Archadeck | Outdoor Living display space.  Or, you can come directly in at the East Entrance to Hy-Vee Hall…and there we are.

In conjunction with this show, we’ll be offering a Home & Garden Show Special; check the Special Offers section of our web site for details on how you can save $500 – $1,000 on an Archadeck project this spring.

In addition, we have a limited number of complimentary show passes to give away.  Yes…give away!  All you have to do is…become a fan of, or “like,” Archadeck of Central Iowa on Facebook.  Or, if you prefer Twitter, follow us at GoOutsidePlay.  Or, do both!  We figure if “The Social Network” is good enough for an Oscar Nomination, its good enough for us!  Just “like” us on Facebook and/or “follow” us on Twitter and we’ll get that notification and be in touch regarding acquisition of the tickets – likely an exchange at (outside) the show.

February is a super month – for football…for racing…for lovers…for groundhogs (and even me – my birthday is later in February).  And, it’s a super time to start shaping your plans for transforming your backyard into that outdoor refuge you envision as the highlight of your leisure time. 

Archadeck of Central Iowa uses February to shape up our plans and services that help design and build the outdoor living spaces, rooms and accessories that Des Moines and Central Iowa envisions.  And we’re offering Super Savings, too!  And, if not February, we’ll be ready when you are.  But remember, Punxsutawney Phil says there are now less than 6 weeks until we can spring out onto our patios, porches and decks.  Don’t see your shadow!

Outdoor Living…Emphasis on “Living”

I am glad to know that we now can count two of the luckiest, most grateful, people on the planet as Archadeck of Central Iowa clients.  We hope that rubs off on us.

As reported on KCCI  TV 8, a lighting strike Sunday evening caused a fire at an Adel home, resulting in a complete loss of the home.  It was home to Archadeck clients, Larry and Sandy Schmitz, for whom we just recently completed a project.  The project involved re-decking their existing deck with TimberTech Twin Finish decking, adding TimberTech’s DeckLite system to the railing and installing DrySnap underdecking under their deck and screen porch areas to enhance and expand their use and enjoyment of the patio below.  They had future plans for a spiral staircase, a new patio and an outdoor kitchen. The Schmitz have a beautiful backyard setting above the golf course, north of Adel.  I’d show pictures of the dramatic improvements made to their outdoor living spaces but…I hadn’t gotten there yet for that photo shoot.

And if I went today…dramatic, but in a whole different sense.  The video story on KCCI’s web site says it all.

Sandy and Larry came into our Urbandale office/showroom early this morning…already chasing the insurance claim trail.  I am glad to report that they are as upbeat and positive – and grateful – as ever.  Very inspirational.  Even after listening to their stories, I’m not sure I can really grasp how surreal it must be to be woken by firefighters in full gear in the middle of the night in a smoke-filled home….who’s burning roof collapsed seconds later.   I’ll admit…I’m not a real touchy, feely, guy…my wife says I’m kinda cold, actually.  So, I don’t hug many of our clients, regardless of how well we’ve gotten to know/like each other over the course of our Archadeck projects with them.  But, I did today.

Thank you, Sandy and Larry, for the inspiration and the reminder that life, itself, is the most precious thing we have.  Good luck getting re-established; our thoughts and prayers go out to you.

Deck, Porch, Pergola, Patio Projects Showcased via YouTube – ArchadeckCentralIowa

Between her internship at the Iowa Events Center and taking summer classes at Iowa State University, my daughter Courtney has been helping us out at our office/showroom this summer.  She is (as well as are all her parents) looking forward to a December graduation from ISU and the “real world” that follows.  Until then, if a nice, bubbly voice answers or returns your call with “Thanks for calling Archadeck, this is Courtney…” she’ll help you out with the first steps of your interest in a deck, porch, pergola, patio – whatever outdoor living project you have in mind.  That often quickly results in some connection with/to “dad” (me), most often as an appointment scheduled for your complimentary design consultation visit.

Courtney is of the generation that grew up on whats ultimately (so far) evolved as Facebook and Twitter and all the other electronic social media tools that are second nature to this generation.  I’ve learned a lot from all my kids regarding these tools…they are my guinea pigs when dad tries things on Facebook and Twitter.  And, believe me, they really enjoy this.

Now I’m returning the favor…to Courtney, at least…by showing her….uh, having her help me with…how to put those tools to a more productive use.  Not that there’s anything wrong with the non-productive uses.

Courtney recently completed a new YouTube video for us; find it on our YouTube Channel, ArchadeckCentralIowa. The video showcases a collaboration between Archadeck of Central Iowa and Wright Outdoor Solutions on a project completed earlier this year for Don and Sue Neiman of West Des Moines. The transformation made to the Neiman’s backyard was nothing short of astonishing. 

Courtney reviews the project nicely in the video; see it here.

Check out  some of our other deck, porch, and pergola projects around the Des Moines area on our YouTube channel as well.  We invite you to share comments and subscribe if you’re so inclined.  The subscription will keep you alerted to new videos we’ll be creating in the coming weeks.  We’ve got a backlog of completed projects we’d like to feature on YouTube (as well as get updated into our web site photo gallery).  Courtney’s going to be busy!