Category Archives: Welcome Home Des Moines

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

 

 

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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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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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Home Show Expo 2010, Tuscany Village at Reed’s Crossing in West Des Moines

Full Disclosure:  You won’t see any of Archadeck of Central Iowa’s custom-designed and built decks, pergolas, porches or any of our other outdoor living structures at the Des Moines Home Builders Association’s Home Show Expo 2010 which runs thru August 1st in West Des Moines’ Tuscany Village at Reeds Crossing. 

But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go see the 9 beautiful homes on display at this year’s Home Show ExpoThe show, as it has now for 35 years, showcases some of the best styles and trends that homebuilders are incorporating into their homes.  Whether looking for ideas for your new home, or for ways to enhance your existing home…or just a fun outing to see what’s new and exciting in Des Moines area homes, I’m sure you’ll find the show entertaining and educational.  And, convenient to get to!  Parking is at the NW corner of the Jordan Creek Town Center Parking Lot with free shuttles to/from Home Show Expo 2010 just a few blocks to the west.

More information about this show can be found in the program guide created by the folks at Welcome Home; available at the show or see the digital version at the Welcome Home web site.  Note on page 74 the nice feature article on “Outdoor Living Trends.”  There is a section in there about outdoor kitchens still being “hot.”  Archadeck has a team dedicated to the design of outdoor kitchens in our outdoor living space projects.  They will work with you directly to configure an outdoor kitchen to your taste.  Contact us to learn more about how to get cooking with an Archadeck Outdoor Kitchen.

More Disclosure:  You can see any of our custom-designed and built decks, pergolas, porches, multi-season rooms, patios or any of our other outdoor living structures and spaces at many other locations around the Des Moines and Central Iowa area.  Altoona, Ames, Ankeny, Clive, Johnston, Norwalk…we’re all over and our clients are glad to show them to you.  If you don’t want to intrude on them, come visit us at our office and showroom in Urbandale.  We’ll be glad to show you pictures of our (their) projects.  We’ll be glad to show you samples and displays of decking and railing styles, pergolas and, yes, even a multi-season room.  Ultimately, we’ll even be glad to custom design and build one of our outdoor living structures or spaces on your home…and you can see it there everyday.  No shuttle required.

So…go to the Home Show Expo 2010 in West Des Moines.  Enjoy the beautiful homes and the quality craftsmanship.  If the decks and porches and outdoor spaces you see there leave you begging for more, whether on your current home or a future home, contact us to learn more about how an Archadeck custom designed and built outdoor space can become a reality for you.

Spring Into Action: Outdoor Living – and Building!

Wow, what a wonderful spring we are having!  Its amazing how fast we can go from Winter to Summer when living in the wonderful state of Iowa.  Around the Des Moines and Central Iowa areas, we have some big, annual events coming up such as the Drake Relays and the Pella Tulip Festival; lets hope this awesome weather continues for those. 

Not to mention…this weather is really helping out our spring building schedule.  We’ve got a couple of deck enhancement projects underway now, we just completed a nice, new deck up in Polk City (the couple said they’ve danced on it already!) and we’ll be starting a 3-season room and deck project next week in West Des Moines.  And more in the queue behind these.  Its good to be building decks, porches, rooms, pergolas, patios, outdoor kitchens and more, again.  Its good to be working – and living – outside again.

And speaking of outside, Welcome Home Des Moines has its annual Outdoor Living section inside its most recent edition.  Entitled “Spring Into Action:  Outdoor Living,” it features several local firms who provide varying products and services around the concept of “outdoor living,” including Archadeck of Central Iowa.  Pick up the magazine around the Des Moines area or check it out online here via these links.  It’s a great magazine; you might even want to consider subscribing.

Oh yeah, one more “spring into action” thing…April 15th…Tax Day.  Drat.

WHO’s on Deck for Radio in Des Moines?

I am going to be on the Welcome Home Radio Show, hosted by Sherry Failor, tomorrow (Saturday, Feb 6th) morning on WHO Radio, 1040 on your Central Iowa (and further) AM dial.  The show runs from 11am to noon; not sure if we’re the first or second segment…but good talk radio on either side.

We’ve been on this show with Sherry the past 4 or 5 years…and Sherry has always been kind enough to put us on just ahead of the Des Moines Home and Garden Show, which is next weekend (Thursday – Sunday) at the Iowa Events Center in downtown Des Moines.  We’ll be displaying there for the 13th year!

Sherry is a fun hostess and keeps the show interesting; who knows what might come up!  We’ll be talking “outdoor living” during our segment.  Tune in to hear the “latest” in decks, porches, patios…outdoor living rooms…and to learn more about Archadeck of Central Iowa.  Welcome Home’s Jan/Feb magazine edition included one of our projects in a “Perspectives on a Pergola” feature.  We’ll discuss some of the aspects of that West Des Moines project that included many of the outdoor living components we focus on:  deck space, patio space, a multi-season room…all configured into an outdoor living room design framed by a multi-level, cedar pergola.  Subtly lit at night, its a daytime/nighttime, indoor/outdoor family room….year round!  The Zyblicki’s are enjoying it this winter! 

If you do miss us on the radio show tomorow, check our web site and Facebook page for replay opportunities.  And, follow-up there anyway…there’s likely to be some other Welcome Home Radio and Home and Garden show surprises there, too.