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”

DIY: Top 5 Fourth of July Decorations

Make this year’s 4th of July party one to remember with these easy and creative Do-It-Yourself decorations and party favors!

Patriotic Star & Stripes Sign

Bold and beautiful, this patriotic sign may be used as a decorative piece long after 4th of July.

Stars and Stripes Sign- Archadeck of Chicagoland

4th of July Jar Candle

Quick and easy, this fun craft is perfect for all ages.  Place around the edges of your deck or patio to create a soft glow for your nighttime lighting.

4th of July Jar Candle - Archadeck of Chicagoland

Fabulous Faux Firecrackers

Festive center pieces your guests will love!

Fabulous Faux Firecrackers - Archadeck of Chicagoland

Patriotic Party Favor Bags

Patriotic party favor bags your guests will be able to use time and again.

Patriotic Party Favor Bags- Archadeck of Chicagoland

4th of July Glow Stick Party Favors

Quick and easy party favors your guests can use during firework celebrations.

Glow Stick Party Favors- Archadeck of Chicagoland

 

Looking for tasty 4th of July recipes?  Click Here!

5 Awesome Gifts for the Awesome Dad

Looking for the perfect gift for the awesome Dad in your life?  Here are five unique gift ideas that are sure to make his Fathers Day a memorable one!

 

Wood Beer Caddy

Showcase your favorite brews in this rustic, handcrafted beer caddy.

Wooden Beer Caddy

 

Maple Chocolate Bacon Skewers

Can you ever go wrong with bacon and chocolate?  These tasty treats are perfect for the bacon loving dad!

Bacon Maple Skewers

 

Baseball Glove Oven Mitt

Perfect for the grill master who loves to knock his guests’ taste buds out of the park!

Baseball Glove Oven Mitts

 

Natural Branch Coasters

Unique and creative DIY Branch Coasters for the outdoor lover.

Tree Branch Coasters

 

Father’s Day Photo Collage

Give Dad a timeless gift that won’t fail to pull at his heart-strings; perfect for the hardworking family man.

fathers-day-photo-collage-3-001

DIY: Top 8 Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Mother’s day is just around the corner.  Over the years, your mother has sacrificed, worked tirelessly, and shown you unconditional love.  Show her your appreciation with a thoughtful gift.  Here are eight Mother’s Day gift ideas that are sure to touch her heart.

Tea Cup Herb Planters

Give your mother a lasting gift that will flavor her dishes and brighten her kitchen or deck.

Tea Cup Herb Planters - Archadeck of Chicagoland

 

Bloom a Smile

Smiles are contagious!  This creative gift is sure to make any mother or grandmother grin from ear to ear.

Bloom a Smile - Mothers Day

 

Mommy Survival Kit in a Jar

Perfect for the busy mothers on the go.

Mommy Survival Kit - Mothers Day - Archadeck of Chicagoland

 

Paint Swirl Vases

This easy craft creates a beautiful center piece.  Fill with flowers and bring the outdoors in!

Paint Swirl Vases - Gift Idea - Archadeck of Chicagoland

 

Photo Flower Pots

What better way to showcase the precious little smiles of the children and grandchildren?

Photo Flower Pot - Gift Idea - Archadeck of Chicagoland

 

Spa in a Bag

Mothers that work tirelessly deserve a little spa treatment.

 

Spa In A Bag - Gift Idea - Archadeck of Chicagoland

 

Herb Garden Gift Basket

Everything she needs to start her herb garden all in one basket.

Herb Garden Gift Basket - Archadeck of Chicagoland

 

Footprint Step Stool

Create precious memories with footprints painted on a step stool.  Mothers and Grandmothers will adore this memento.

Footprint Step Stool - Archadeck of Chicagoland

Deck Safety Checklist

Family on Deck - Archadeck
May is deck safety month. With barbecues, outdoor parties, and summertime fun around the corner, now is the time to inspect your deck and make any repairs necessary. As the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Follow these guidelines to ensure a thorough inspection.

Boards
Look at the condition of your deck boards. Most wood will show some cracks and splits over time, but is the general condition of the boards good, or are the boards splintering and unsafe to walk on?

Every Connection
A deck should be built using a variety of fasteners and metal hardware connectors to create a continuous pathway to ensure deck stability and safety. Check to see if the appropriate fasteners and connectors were used when constructing the deck. Is the hardware in good condition or need to be replaced?

Structure
If visible, look at the posts, beams and joists that provide the structural framework of the deck. What is their condition? Is there any noticeable sagging between supports?

Attachment
The attachment of the deck to the house (at an area called the house band) is the area where most deck failures occur. Pay special attention to this area and check to make sure that the deck is properly attached to the house band with appropriate screws or bolts and that it is properly flashed for water protection. Nails should never be used for this type of attachment.

Foundation / Footings
The foundation / footings receive and support the weight (also known as the load) on a deck and the columns that bear on them. A footing that is sinking may cause a noticeable sag in an area or a column separating from a beam.

Exits
Check the areas where people exit from the deck. These exits usually involve stairs so be sure to check the condition of the material used on the stair stringers, stair treads and risers.

Rails
Look at the condition of the rail posts and sections of railing on the deck to make sure that the railing is secure. Check to make sure that the pickets/balusters are fastened securely and spaced no more than four inches apart.

If you’re not sure you want to take the responsibility of inspecting the deck yourself, look up a local company in your area and have a professional complete the inspection. Nadra.org and AngiesList.com are great places to find competent, trustworthy professionals or go to Archadeck.com to see if there are deck safety inspectors in your area.

Outdoor Living Gift Ideas

Rain or shine, cold or warm, we at Archadeck enjoy helping you create the outdoor living space of your dreams.  Whether it’s a patio, deck, pergola, or even fun ideas for the great outdoors; we want to help you create the perfect backyard experience.  With Christmas right around the corner, here are a few gift ideas any outdoor living lover will enjoy using all year round!

Christmas Gifts for the Outdoor Living Lover

10 Tips For Growing Your Own Herb Garden

Herbs are great for creating fresh, tasty recipes and add a beautiful touch to your outdoor living space. Here are 10 easy tips for growing your own herb garden so you can get started today!

The weather is finally warming up here in the Chicago suburbs, and with it, outdoor living ideas are blooming.  Have you considered planting your very own herb garden?  Herbs are great for creating fresh and tasty recipes, home remedies, and much more.  They also add a beautiful touch to your outdoor living space, whether they’re planted in a garden or pots around your patio or deck.  So how do you get started?

Growing your own herbs

1.  Just do it! Growing your own herbs is cheaper than purchasing fresh herbs from the grocery store. The convenience of having fresh herbs on hand for your meals and the gratification of spending some time outdoors in the sun growing your garden is invaluable.

2.  Pick a sunny spot with good drainage. You will find most basic herbs love the sun and don’t like being too wet. Only a few ( like cilantro, lemon balm, and mint) like partial shade. If you want to plant in a container, you can plant each herb separately or put them all together in one big bowl. You can also plant them in pots according to the recipes you like to use them for, a Tai pot, an Italian pot, a chicken dinner pot. Use a soil-less potting mix that will drain well.

3.  Speaking of mint… Mint will take over all the other herbs and take over your whole yard if you let it.  Plant it alone in its own pot.

Planting herb gardens in the chicago suburbs

4.  Start with a few plants for instant gratification. Plants such as rosemary, thyme, and oregano are especially good to buy as starters. Be sure to water them before you transplant. Grassy herbs (like chives and parsley)  grow quickly from seeds.   Start these and other seedlings right in the pot or the outside spot where they’ll be living permanently

5.  Pick a spot near the kitchen.  This allows you to step right outside and snip off a sprig without having to trek through your yard.

6.  Plant some perennials.  Try sage, thyme, lemon thyme, chives, oregano, fennel, marjoram, and mint.

7.  Try a few annuals.  Big-leafed sweet basil or Genovese basil are great all-purpose basils that make for easy growing. Plant them when it’s hot outside when you plant your tomatoes.  Dill or lemon balm are some other good annuals to try.

Decorate your patio with your herb garden

8.  Don’t over water or over fertilize.   Water every few days when the top few centimeters of soil is dry.  Over fertilizing will cause the plants to produce too much foliage and they won’t have the intense flavor that a good herb should have.  Once a month is usually enough.

9.  Harvest often. Harvesting promotes growth and keeps plants in their growing.  Stop by your garden before dinner each night and snip away. You can harvest up to a third of the foliage. If you see a flower, clip or pinch it off. Once a herb flowers it is trying to finish its life cycle.

10.  Eat and enjoy! If your recipe calls for dried herbs, double or triple the amount instructed with fresh herbs.  They are not as concentrated as dried herbs.  Freeze any that you can’t use right away.  They’ll make delicious soups when the weather turns chilly again.

Herb garden container ideas for your deck or patio

 

 

 

Tips for Preparing Your Outdoor Furniture for Spring

Spring is here and it’s time to break out your patio furniture.  Here are a few tips on how to prepare your outdoor furniture for spring.

Tips to prepare your outdoor furniture for spring

Think Spring!

Spring is just around the corner.   Soon the weather will turn warm, flowers will push up out of the ground, the grass will be green again, and the invigorating fresh scent of the outdoors coming alive will drift through your windows.  Are you ready?

Now is the time to begin planning your outdoor living space.  What plants and flowers are you filling your flowerbeds with?  Maybe a vegetable garden or planters full of herbs will make their way into your plans. Have you been considering adding a deck, patio,  pergola, or screen porch?  Imagine stepping right out of your home and onto your deck to fire up the grill and pick fresh herbs from your built-in planters. Get ahead of the game and start designing now so your outdoor living space is ready before summer hits.  Do you have a vision already, or are you looking for a little inspiration? Let your imagination run wild and create the backyard

of your dreams.

See you in the Backyard!

Gorgeous pressure treated pine desk and paver patio

 

 

Winter Grilling 101

It’s February, and Spring is just around the corner. Your grill, sitting unused on your deck or patio, is calling to you.  The smell of grilled savory meat and vegetables seems a distant memory.  You want a barbecue – real barbecue.   What’s stopping you?  Summer may be the traditional season for grilling, but there is no reason you can’t continue to make use of your grill and outdoor living space during the winter.  With just a few tips, your winter grilling can be a success.  Check out this article, it gives great suggestions on how to keep you safe and your food delicious.