Is a Combined Deck and Patio Project Right For You?

How do you know if a combined deck and patio will fit your outdoor needs?

When planning your outdoor living project, there are many factors to consider as far as which project is best for you. Many of our clients end up combining spaces, very commonly decks with patios. But how do you determine if combining these different spaces is right for you?

One of the first questions our design consultants ask is “how do you plan to use your space?” This answer will be different from client to client, whether it’s for cooking, dining, entertaining friends, gathering with family, or for relaxation. Many times we learn our clients need their outdoor area for multiple functions. By having separate outdoor spaces, different places can be designated for different activities. Doing this expands the function of your design and increases your area for multiple uses. Maybe this need applies to you?

What different activities could you use your outdoor space for? Perhaps you have a pool that needs a neighboring deck, but you still want a separate area for seating. Or maybe you want a paver patio specifically for a fire pit to gather around with friends in the evening, while still needing a different area for a grill and dining. Sound like anything you might need?

 Here are some different examples of deck and patio combination projects we have custom designed and built.


This low maintenance deck with patio project meets a few different needs for the home owner. The deck features a large area for a spa, as well as a separate space on the deck for a grill. The paver patio creates another living area featuring a seat wall and fire pit for the client to enjoy.


This combined patio and deck space also features a pergola to be used for a shade structure. The large deck space can be used for seating, dining, and enjoying some shade. The paver patio features a fire pit as an additional area for the family to gather on a summer night, or a cool fall evening.


This deck and patio combination creates separate areas for different activities. The deck is used to access the above ground pool, and can also be used as a seating area. The paver patio defines a separate space for dining, entertaining, and enjoying the fire pit!

At Archadeck of Chicagoland, we are the premiere builder of combined outdoor living spaces. If you are considering a combined deck and patio project, we would love to hear from you to create your outdoor sanctuary. Feel free to contact us for a free design consultation at 847-496-4333 or download our Free Design Guide.

See you in the backyard!



Top 4 Things to Consider Before Building Your Outdoor Project

You know you’re ready to add an outdoor living space to create your dream sanctuary, but how do you know which project is right for you? Are you dreaming of a gorgeous paver patio to add to your landscaped garden? Or maybe you’re thinking about an enclosure to enjoy protection from the rain. When it comes to deciding between a deck, patio, room, or maybe a simple shade structure, there are many factors to consider. Our process at Archadeck will help guide you to the project that best fits your outdoor living needs.


  1. Timeline

Do you need a deck built in time for an upcoming graduation party? Or are you looking for a room to enjoy a warm cup of cocoa in time for a chilly fall evening? In the Archadeck process, one of the first questions we ask is the time frame you’re looking to build your project. Having plenty of time to allow for the design process, obtaining permits, material delivery, building, and checking final details is important to keep in mind. Knowing what type of space you want and when you need it by is necessary before we begin the design process.


  1. Space and Function

Maybe your current deck is too small for your large family and needs to be replaced with a larger alternative. Or maybe a smaller patio will meet your need for an intimate area for seating and dining. Our design consultants will learn about how much space you want and specifically how you plan to use it. Do you want a deck that runs along the entire back of your house? Or do you need a combination project to separate different areas of your yard? When you and the designer discuss these details, it will help them create a design that will match your needs; this is an essential step in our process.


  1. Aesthetic and Taste

Looking for rich colors low maintenance Timber Tech decking offers? Or maybe you are deciding between Mega Arbel or Lafitt pavers for your patio. Your design consultant will discuss your taste to get an idea of what best fits your style. We will also show you pictures of previous projects to get an idea of your likes and dislikes. The second meeting with our design consultant is held at our showroom so you can see examples of specific pavers, low maintenance deck boards, and screened window options.

Belgard patio with stone grill surround and outdoor bar by North Chicago suburb patio builder Archadeck of Chicagoland


  1. Budget

Knowing your budget is an important piece of our design process. This is covered initially during your consultation so that we create a design appropriate to what you’re comfortable investing.

Whatever project you decide on, whether you fall in love with a paver patio, wood deck, or screened in porch, your Archadeck design consultant will learn about these four considerations to build your dream project. No matter which space you are considering, we’d love to hear from you. We can be reached at 847-496-4333 or sign up for our free design consultation.

See you in the backyard!

The s’more, the merrier

smores3Winter has arrived in Chicagoland and that means two things; sweater weather and outdoor fire feature weather! As it turns out, both have a lot in common when it comes to their cozy benefits.  Outdoor fireplaces and fire pits are now considered the “must have” accompaniment to any outdoor living space combination. Chicagoland outdoor fire features make the perfect partner to a backyard patio or porch, and outdoor fireplaces are often used to add style and ambiance to a screened porch or 3-season room. You may be asking “what’s all the hub-bub about?” If you have ever had the chance to sit in front of an outdoor fireplace on a crisp winter evening with friends and family–you already know the coziness of its warmth, the crackle of the fire, and the intoxication of watching the flames dancing–destined to draw you into their magic as it does a moth to a flame.

As if all these reasons weren’t enough, an outdoor fire feature is the perfect spot to prepare and enjoy sweet treats. An open flame is truly the only way to toast marshmallows and indulge in the age-old favorite – s’mores! The practice of making s’mores originated from a 1927 recipe for “some mores” which was published in Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts after Loretta Scott Crew, who allegedly made them for Girl Scouts by the campfire, is given credit for the recipe. This warm, delicious treats always leave you wanting some more, hence the name. Today the recipe is called s’mores which is thought to be a contradiction to the recipe’s original name.

homemade marshmallow s'mores with chocolate on crackers
homemade marshmallow s’mores with chocolate on crackers

The name s’mores stuck as a campfire favorite. However, the concoction of marshmallow and chocolate melted between two graham crackers has come a long way since the Girl Scouts first enjoyed it. Decadent variations of the original include everything from integrating brownies to indulgent Tiramisu into the mix!

Add an outdoor fire pit to your yard and roast s’mores year round right at home. Visit our website to fill out a form for a free consultation. Or, give us a call at 847.496.4333 or email us at

Do you have to choose between a screened porch and a porch that also includes vinyl windows?

Screen Porch with FireplaceWhether you have an existing screened porch or are thinking about adding a porch, you might want to consider a porch that includes both screens and vinyl windows. You don’t have to choose.

There are a couple popular brands that make 4-track window systems for screened porches. These include WeatherMaster by Sunspace, Eze-Breeze by PGT and some smaller brands such as EzePorch. At Archadeck of Chicagoland, we have been installing porch window systems for years on both new porches and retrofitting existing porches.

If you’re just getting started with your research on whether to consider an open porch, screened porch, 3-season room, 4-season room or sunroom; you certainly have your work cut out for you. A good starting question would be whether you are looking for protection from dust, pollen, precipitation and some temperature protection. All of these protections are afforded to you when you have an enclosed system whether it’s with vinyl windows or in a full window sunroom.

Here is how the window systems work. The vinyl windows work on a track system with 4-tracks. This provides the ability to open three tracks to expose 75% screen or to only open one track exposing 25% of the screen. If you take a look at either of the videos above, you can see 2 different porches with installed vinyl window systems. You’ll note the extreme clarity of the vinyl. It’s durability rivals it’s clarity.

Vertical 4 Track windows on custom screen porch
Vertical 4 Track windows on custom screen porch

As mentioned above, when determining which porch option is best for your home, among the key considerations are what you want to keep out of the room. For example, if you want to have full exposure to all of the elements and want to be able to walk freely from your porch to your yard, an open porch or covered porch is the best option.

Adding screens to your porch encloses your porch to a degree. This provides protection from flying insects and from some flying particles such as dust or pollen. Depending on the screens and strength of a rain shower, it will also provide some protection from the rain allowing you to enjoy the sound of the rain under cover. You will not receive sun protection from screens but you will receive sun protection from the roof itself. The degree of sun protection from roof cover depends on the strength of sun to that area of your yard which is influenced by your home’s orientation and the degree of shade your porch achieves due to trees and other structures.

Screen Room with 4-Track Windows - Designed by Archadeck of Chicagoland
Screen Room with 4-Track Windows – Designed by Archadeck of Chicagoland

For those of us who struggle with airborne allergens such as dust or pollen, being able to turn screened windows to clear vinyl windows with the ease of opening or closing a window, you will love having a track window system. If the transition to lower temperatures forces you indoors, a vinyl window system can provide a reprieve for you. Depending on the transition to your house and whether you have a space heater and ceiling fan, you may be able to enjoy your porch quite a bit longer in the cooler months.

As you can see, there are a number of benefits of selecting Eze-Breeze or SunSpace windows for your porch. If you have an existing porch and would like us to retrofit your windows, give us a call for a free consultation. We look forward to your call.

Do you want composite, capstock or PVC for your Chicagoland area low maintenance deck?

Composite TimberTech deck with Built-in Bench by North Chicago Suburb Deck Builder Archadeck of Chicagoland
Composite TimberTech deck with Built-in Bench

If you’re considering adding a new deck to your Chicagoland area home, you have no doubt considered the amount of maintenance you are willing to do on your new space. Do you want to scrape? Do you want to strip? Stain? Sand? How about splinters? Fading? Insect damage? Believe it or not, all of these maladies that befall natural wood can be eliminated by using low-maintenance materials. You have probably heard the term “composite” as it relates to low-maintenance decking. What you may not realize is there are several different types of composite decking – enough that the material choices are now lumped into the category of “synthetic” because of the number of different materials and compositions. Our goal is to share those with you to help you make your decision.

Composite decking

To provide good information about composite decking, we have to talk a little bit about the history. Believe it or not, synthetic decking has been around for 20+ years. The industry has grown and evolved quite a bit over that period of time. Quality issues sprung up many years ago that were later greatly reduced with product improvements.

TimberTech Twin Finish composite deck
TimberTech Twin Finish composite deck

Composite decking was the first generation of synthetic decking. As the name implies, it consists of a combination of wood fibers and plastic. This combination allows composite to claim protection from material defects, from splinters and damage from termites or rot. Although traditional composite is still available, we work exclusively with the two upper end synthetics because mold issues still exist on traditional composite.


Capstock low-maintenance decking is a composite core surrounded by a stronger polymer shell or cap. Some capstock boards are protected on 3

TimberTech Terrain Capstock decking
TimberTech Terrain Capstock decking

sides and some have the polymer shell on all 4 sides. This shell does provide the additional benefit of stain resistance, scratch resistance and fade resistance. It has all of the same protection as composite in that it resists mold and mildew along with resisting moisture damage. Depending on the board or collection, many include texturing or other custom finishes that emulate natural wood textures or more current textures. One of the best benefits of capstock is that it comes with not only the 25-year limited warranty that composites have but also has a 25- to 30-year fade and stain warranty. TimberTech has a couple lines of capstock decking including the Legacy Collection, Tropical Collection and Terrain collection. Check back for a future post to look at these options in greater detail.

Solid Synthetic

AZEK deck by Archadeck of Chicagoland

At the high end of the synthetic decking options is solid synthetic decking. Solid PVC has the greatest strength because it does not utilize any natural materials. While intuitively, natural materials such as wood may seem desirable, solid PVC eliminates all of the maladies that befall wood or wood fibers.

Solid synthetics come with the longest and typically the most comprehensive warranties. AZEK’s warranty covers your decking boards for 30 years. It’s quite likely that you will have moved to another home before your decking warranty expires.

How in the world do you choose?

Don’t try to choose on your own. Work with a local custom deck builder that’s experienced in working with all of these materials. They will give you the pros and cons as well as provide insight about colors and how those look when they are installed on a large deck vs. on a website or a small color block.

David Berryhill Archadeck of Chicagoland
David Berryhill, Owner Archadeck of Chicagoland

Give us a call for a free consultation at 847.749.2373 or drop us an email at We look forward to working with you to design your Chicagoland area deck.



Chicagoland Pool Deck Design Ideas

A good pool deck design is functional, enhances your backyard, and transforms your pool into a complementing water feature.

Turn your backyard into the destination spot this summer with a pool and pool deck!  Dip your toes into the water while the children play, do cannonballs into the pool, soak up some sun next to the water, or throw a spectacular outdoor party.  A pool makes a great addition to any backyard, but it’s the pool deck or patio that really pulls it all together into one fantastic outdoor living space.  Here are a few of our favorite pool deck design ideas with options ranging from small to expansive.  When you work with a custom design and build firm like Archadeck of Chicagoland, you have the opportunity to create a deck space that fits your family’s lifestyle.

Designing a deck that leads from your home to the pool is an excellent way to create multiple spaces for seating, dining, and sunbathing.  This allows the adults to steal away to a quieter section of the deck while the kids splash in the pool or the space to throw an outdoor party with plenty of room to entertain.

Composite Pool Deck with TimberTech Brown Oak by Chicago Deck Builder Archadeck of Chicagoland

Continue reading “Chicagoland Pool Deck Design Ideas”

Grilled Ribeye Steak with Gorgonzola Butter

Low carb and gluten free, these delicious steaks are sure to please the whole crowd!

Melissa Sevigney from I Breathe I’m Hungry has once again wowed our taste buds with her recipe for Grilled Ribeye Steak with Gorgonzola Butter. This simple recipe, a blend of butter, Gorgonzola cheese, parsley, and garlic, is bursting with flavor.  Low carb and gluten-free, these delicious steaks are sure to please the whole crowd!  But don’t take our word for it; light up the grill and try them for yourself.

See the full recipe…

Steak Recipe - Grilled Ribyes with Gorgonzola Butter

Archadeck of Chicagoland Earns Esteemed 2015 Angie’s List Super Service Award

“It is an honor to receive this award as it represents our true commitment to providing our clients with the best quality, care, and customer service in the industry,” said David Berryhill, president of Archadeck of Chicagoland.

The Angie’s List Super Service Award reflects Archadeck of Chicagoland’s consistently high level of customer service.

Archadeck of Chicagoland has earned the service industry’s coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award, reflecting an exemplary year of service provided to members of the local services marketplace and consumer review site in 2015.

Archadeck of Chicagoland Angies List Super Service Award 2015

With showrooms in Rolling Meadows and Naperville, Archadeck of Chicagoland is a local Design & Build firm that sets itself apart from competitors by considering customer service a top priority. Continue reading “Archadeck of Chicagoland Earns Esteemed 2015 Angie’s List Super Service Award”

How to Create a Unique Deck Design

Looking for a unique deck design? From colors to materials to amenities, explore creative design elements with your local deck builder, Archadeck of Chicagoland.

Mother Nature offers the best design inspiration, so look no further than your backyard when planning your outdoor living space.  Bold colors beautifully accent blended neutral tones while countless textures tease your senses. Pulling design ideas from these earthy elements helps you create a natural looking space that complements both your home and yard. We did just that with this unique deck design.

Deck Design with Picture Frame by Chicagoland Deck Builder ArchadeckBy incorporating both wood and composite materials we were able to create a stunning multi-colored deck design.  The main deck areas are constructed with natural wood, beautifully stained to pull in accenting colors from the yard.  The surrounding border you see is a double picture frame. Continue reading “How to Create a Unique Deck Design”

Chicago Area Outdoor Living Trends for 2016

Archadeck brings you 2016’s top 4 outdoor living trends for the Chicago area.

As Jack Frost starts painting Chicagoland with his frosty charm and outdoor building begins to slow, we at Archadeck take a moment to reflect on the great year we had, favorite projects we built, and the trends we see coming for 2016.

Chicagoland Outdoor Kitchens

Designed for climates that cycle through seasons, these outdoor kitchens are durable enough to withstand cold Chicago winters so you can enjoy your kitchen summer after summer.  Completely customizable, Archadeck’s Chicagoland outdoor kitchens are designed to only include amenities you want and plan to use.

Belgard patio with stone grill surround and outdoor bar by North Chicago suburb patio builder Archadeck of Chicagoland

Built-In Fire Pits

Easily incorporated into your outdoor space, a built-in fire pit comes with plenty of design options, including the choice of wood burning or a gas line and ceramic logs or fire beads. Continue reading “Chicago Area Outdoor Living Trends for 2016”