Fire Pit Design Ideas

Stunning fire pit design ideas for one of Chicagoland’s hottest outdoor living trends.

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Fire Pit Design Ideas from Archadeck of Chicagoland

At Archadeck of Chicagoland, we have found that fire pits have quickly become one of the hottest trends for patios and outdoor living spaces.  The warmth and glow of a fire is inviting and provides a relaxing atmosphere.  Whether you plan to roast marshmallows and hotdogs with friends, or simply enjoy the warmth on a cool evening with your family, a fire pit is sure to compliment your evening.

One of the greatest aspects of building a fire pit is how truly customizable they are.  From design to heat, to heat source, you can customize every feature of your built-in fire pit.

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How to Determine How Much Space You Need for Your Deck or Patio

Don’t overestimate the amount of space you need for your deck or patio. Use these three factors to help you determine how much space you need.

Planning and designing your deck, patio, or other outdoor living space is an exciting time!  One of the most important key factors in designing your project is knowing how much space you will need. It is very easy to overestimate the size of deck or patio you need.   In order to help our clients determine the amount of space they need, we discuss three important aspects.

Wood Deck with Patio and Outdoor Kitchen by Archadeck of Chicagoland

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When Should I Start Planning My Deck or Patio?

Three determining factors to help you decide when to start planning for your deck or patio project.

One of the most common questions we hear early in the year at Archadeck is “when should I start planning my deck or patio if I want to use it this summer?”   If you want to make sure you’re on the construction schedule and your project is built and ready to use in time to enjoy the warmer weather, then late winter or early spring is usually the best time to start the process.  Here are a three things to consider while determining when you want to start your project.Backyard wood deck by Glen Ellyn deck builder Archadeck of Chicagoland

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Design-Build Companies: Why You Should Hire One For Your Next Project

A design-build company works with you from the first concept through the completed installation, simplifying the process. Here are a few of the best benefits to using a design-build contractor and questions to ask when hiring.

Design-build companies are a great solution for many homeowners preparing to start a new home improvement project.  A design-build firm provides design and installation services for your project.  They work with you from the first concept through the completed installation, significantly simplifying the process.  Here are a few of the benefits to using a design-build contractor and questions to ask when hiring.

Screen Porch and Patio with Fire Pit - Archadeck of Chicagoland

Reduction in Time to Project Completion

When planning to build a new deck, patio, screen porch, or some other sort of addition, the traditional approach has been to meet with a designer, an engineer, and a contractor.   This takes a significant amount of time and leaves more room for error with each company your project passes through.   With a design-build company, you would work with one company from start to finish.  This usually means fewer meetings required and more time saved.  There is also greater efficiency and less room for error when the same company is designing, creating the architectural plans, and building.  Your project will move through the channels more quickly and the carpenters will be at your home in no time.

Screen porch with fireplace - Archadeck of Chicagoland

Elevated Costs Are Prevented

One of the greatest benefits to the design-build process is that your project is designed to your budget.  With your budget discussed early in the process, your entire project is planned to fit within the parameters you create, preventing elevated cost.  No one likes sticker shock, especially after all the time and work put into creating the perfect design.

Simplified Design Process

The design fee is often rolled into the total project cost.  Because the design is created in house, the cost is often much less than if you were to hire a designer separately.  Also, because the firm is creating your project from start to finish, there is no question as to whether or not the design can actually be built.  There is nothing worse than taking your new design to an engineer, only find there is much more to building that new pergola than you fathomed.   A design-build company eliminates these all too frequent time consuming and costly issues.

Patio Crew for Archadeck of Chicagoland

Knowledgeable in Construction Methods

Part of the uniqueness of a design-build company is the amount of knowledge they bring with them.  Because the designers are in-house, they have a greater knowledge of how their company builds.  They know what is and is not acceptable, what village codes they need to adhere to, and more.  A good design-build company will keep up to date with the latest in construction standards and should have procedures in place.  This simplifies the process and ensures your project is built with high quality workmanship and care.

Sunroom custom designed and built by Archadeck of Chicagoland.

Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Design-Build Company

  • How much experience does the company have with your type of project? At Archadeck of Chicagoland, we only design and build outdoor living companies.  Sure, we could renovate a kitchen, but a company who specializes in kitchens will probably build it better.
  • What is their background and history? Look them up on Angie’s List, Yelp, or the Better Business Bureau.  How do their previous clients describe their experience with the company?
  • What is the company’s design and construction process and what systems do they have in place to ensure your project runs smoothly? Knowing what to expect from the beginning is beneficial, and understanding how a contractor manages the multiple issues that can arise during the course of the job should be important in deciding who you want to hire for your project.
  • What safeguards do they have in place? Every design-build company should have Liability and Worker’s Compensation insurance and licensing in place.
  • What kind of warranty do they provide and will they stand behind their work? All too often we hear about contractors or companies that hide behind a clause in their warranty.  A good contractor will stand behind their work and do the right thing, regardless of the warranty terms.

See our article, How to Choose the Right Contractor, for a more detailed list of what to look for while interviewing design-build contractors.

Designing a Pergola: What You Need to Know

Are you considering adding a pergola to your backyard but aren’t quite sure where to start? Here are four key elements to consider as you begin designing the perfect shade structure for your outdoor living space.

Are you considering adding a pergola to your backyard but aren’t quite sure where to start?  At Archadeck, we design outdoor living spaces every day.  Here are four key elements to consider as you begin designing the perfect shade structure for your outdoor living space.

Define Your Space

Pergolas are shade structures, usually comprised of four posts with cross rafters, leaving open spaces above to allow some sun to shine through.  One of the roles of a pergola is to define an outdoor living space, using the architecture and design to compliment your deck, patio, home, and yard.  Because there are no walls or a roof, a pergola creates an inviting, open and airy space for you to relax.  Consider the space you want to define.  Do you plan to dine, grill, or entertain?  The answer to these questions will help you determine the size of the pergola, the amount of shade you need, and other design details.

Custom design low maintenance deck with vinyl pergola - Archadeck of Chicagoland

Shade

One of the great aspects of pergolas is the ability to customize the structure to provide as much or as little shade as you prefer.  If you simply want to break up the intensity of the sun, you can space the rafters further apart, allowing plenty of sun over your deck or patio while diminishing some of that sweltering heat. Alternatively, you can space the rafters closer together and add lathing if you’re looking for significant shade for more protection and a cooler space.  For those who want to maximize the amount of shade, or to control when there is shade over their patio or deck space, retractable canopies and screens are an excellent option.

Custom vinyl pergola with mosquito curtains

Consider Vertical Gardening

Pergolas are great structures for plants and vines that need support.  Ivy,  passion-flower, and honeysuckle are great options that will help provide additional shade while adding color and fragrance to the outdoor space.  Fruit is also an option.  Grapevines are beautiful winding around pergolas.  If your yard is particularly small, vertical gardening is a great way to bring a little green, giving it a lusher look.

Design Considerations

Part of the joy in adding a pergola is designing the structure.  You can customize your pergola to match or contrast the exterior of your home.  Most pergolas are built with square wood posts; however, you can add your own flare to the structure.  Is the classic look more your style?  Consider rounded columns.  Are you more contemporary?  Consider a sleek look for you posts and end pieces for the rafters.  Do you prefer a craftsman look?  Stone bases might have the look you’re going for and are great for integrating a new pergola with an existing patio.

Pergola with Stone Base - Archadeck of Chicagoland

Do you have more design ideas?  We would love to hear them in the comment section below!

If you’re looking for a professional contractor to guide you through the design process and build your project, give us a call at (847) 749-2373 or sign up here for a free Design Consultation.

See you in the backyard!

Planning Your Project: 5 Reasons Fall and Winter is the Best Time of the Year

Fall is here, with its brightly colored leaves, crisp air, and cooler temperatures.  Many are thinking about packing up and preparing their decks and patios for the cold winter months.  At Archadeck, we are not only still building, but we are already planning for next spring.  If you’re thinking it’s time add a new screen porch or patio, or update your weathered deck, now is the time to start planning.

Deck Patio Pergola

  1. Choosing to build during the fall and winter months means you’ll have less of a wait time than during the spring and summer months.
  2. Less imposition on your daily life. Families tend to spend more time indoors during the winter months.  This makes it the perfect time to let the carpenters into the backyard to do their digging and building without being in your way.Screen Porch with Fireplace
  3. Extend the time you can spend outside. Not ready to bundle up inside yet? According to the latest trends, many homeowners agree.  We are seeing an increasing number of requests for outdoor fireplaces and fire pits.  The warmth of a fire allows you to spend more time outside when the weather grows cooler.
  4. A winter build just isn’t for you? That’s ok!  Now is the perfect time to find a contractor and lock in this year’s pricing.  This will help you to avoid the price increases often seen in early spring.
  5. Planning your spring build now ensures your project is at the top of the list. As soon as the ground thaws, you’re project will be ready to go.  Instead of spending your spring and summer vetting contractors and waiting on the completion of your project, your deck or patio will already be in place and ready to use.

Designing a Deck that Fits Your Needs

At Archadeck of Chicagoland, we love helping our clients create the outdoor living space of their dreams.  We worked closely with this client, discussing spatial issues, their functional needs, aesthetic tastes, and their budget.  Having these elements in place helps our Design Consultants develop a design that fits the needs of their clients.   This particular client wanted to replace an existing deck with something larger and with the ability to extend the time that could be spent using it.

Low maintenance material lessens the amount of time and money spent caring for an outdoor deck.

Low maintenance deck, vinyl pergola, and outdoor fireplace - Archadeck of Chicagoland

A pergola for shade and a fireplace for warmth extends the time you can enjoy your outdoor living space.

Low maintenance deck with vinyl pergola and outdoor fireplace - Archadeck of Chicagoland

One of the benefits of custom design is the ability to match new structures to your home.  The vinyl pergola adds a touch of elegance, yet looks as though it were built with the home.

Low maintenance deck with vinyl pergola - Archadeck of Chicagoland

Added shade from the pergola allows you to enjoy your outdoor living space, even when the hot sun is directly facing the space.

Low maintenance deck with vinyl pergola - Archadeck of Chicagoland

Stay warm on the chilly fall nights by curling up in front of the outdoor fireplace. Roasted marshmallows anyone?

Custom designed deck with outdoor fireplace - Archadeck of Chicagoland

The black TimberTech Evolutions rail creates a striking contrast while the baskets on the Deckorator Pickets add an elegant touch.

Custom designed low maintenance rail - Archadeck of Chicagoland

Riser lights add a soft glow, illuminating the stairs at night for safety while creating an ambient space in the yard.

Custom design low maintenance deck with vinyl pergola - Archadeck of Chicagoland

Custom designed to fit the homeowner’s needs, each space blends seamlessly a stunning outdoor living space.

Low maintenance deck, vinyl pergola, and outdoor fireplace - Archadeck of Chicagoland

If you are considering a deck, patio, screen porch or other outdoor living space, please give Archadeck of Chicagoland a call.  Our design consultants would love to speak with you!  You may contact us at (847) 749-2373 or email us at chicagoland@archadeck.net

See you in the Backyard!

The Benefits of Building Outdoor Living Spaces in Fall and Winter Months

Summer days are coming to an end and fall is right around the corner.  This is the perfect time of year to plan a project for fall, winter, or even early spring.  Although the warmer months may soon be behind us, Archadeck will continue to build year round.  Now is the time to lock in this year’s prices and avoid the increases we see in early spring.  Planning your project during the fall and winter seasons also ensures that your project will be ready to use when the weather warms up again.  Instead of spending your warm spring days sifting through busy contractors and waiting for the completion of your project.  You will already be relaxing in the sun on your patio or entertaining on your new deck.  This is the perfect season to start that new project!

Learn more about the advantages of building your outdoor living space in the fall and winter months.

Deck and pergola with mosquito curtains

Sunrooms -Your Very Own Retreat

Have you ever found your home bursting at the seams while entertaining family and friends?  Did you wonder what you could do to provide more space for entertaining?  Perhaps you looking for a way to create a quiet and peaceful retreat from a busy household. Maybe you prefer to take in the beauty of the great outdoors, but find those spring and fall mornings too chilly to sit on your back porch.

Gorgeous screen room and sunroom built in Hawthorn Woods

Over the past few weeks we have been discussing the differences between screen rooms, sunrooms, and new additions.  Often, sunrooms are the best of both worlds. They create a usable living space that shields against the outdoor elements while allowing you to view the splendor of the outdoors.  With the ability to open the many windows, they also allow you to bring the outdoors right into your home.  Sunrooms provide the versatility to use them in many different ways. With Chicagoland’s ever-changing weather, this versatility is valuable and will extend the outdoor season.

Sunroom custom designed and built by Archadeck of Chicagoland.

Unlike the screen rooms we discussed last week, sunrooms provide a more substantial form of protection from the weather, allowing you to decorate with interior furniture.  You can create a dining area or breakfast room, or install  a television and music system. You can design a family room or a quiet and tranquil space for your escape.

Sunroom with cathedral ceilings and skylights.

When choosing a sunroom, you want to consider the best option to meet your needs.  How you plan to use the room should determine your choice of materials and size.  Choose a style that matches the architecture of your home.  If you need help, our Archadeck Design Consultants can guide you every step of the way.  We will work with you to create a beautiful and functional space that meets your needs and fulfills your vision.

See you in the Backyard!

Sunrooms built by Archadeck in your local Chicago Suburbs

 

Thinking of a patio? We can help!

There is so much to consider when designing and decorating your patio.  From flooring material and patio furniture, to landscaping lighting, the options seem endless.  We’ve found a great article that does a nice job of helping you break everything down so you can make the best choices for your backyard patio.  Check it out!