Are you looking to maximize the value of your home? Outdoor living spaces have become the latest trend to take home improvement by storm. With more homeowners moving their fun to the backyard, a deck or patio creates the perfect space to blend indoor comfort with the open outdoors.
We hope you enjoyed your summer! The days are definitely growing cooler and winter is right around the corner. Now is the perfect time to start thinking about preparing your outdoor living space for winter months; you’ll want to maintain your wooden deck, outdoor furniture, and paver patio to extend their life. Here are a few tips to get you started.
- Sweep the surface removing all leaves and debris to help prevent mold and mildew forming.
- Wash with mild soap and water. If some dirt remains or if there are signs of mold, you may need to pressure wash the surfaces. It is advisable that you use a professional as pressure washing at too high of a setting may cause damage.
- If you have a deck, inspect the entire deck (slats, handrails, railings, and posts) noting any rotting, loose rails, or warping. If re-hammering the nails or tightening screws causes the nails or screws to sink into soft wood or splits the wood, then the piece should be replaced.
- If you have a patio, add joining sand and sweep evenly into the joints of your patio. Don’t put too much sand on the patio at one time. Most paver patios have tight joints between bricks and won’t need a lot of sand.
Protecting Your Furniture
- Wash and store vinyl furniture indoors.
- Inspect any wood furniture for damage and make the necessary repairs before covering or storing it for winter.
- Cover with a heavy tarp or store inside a shed or garage to protect it from the elements.
- Clean soil from planters. Any pots made of clay or other fragile materials should be brought indoors.
Tips for Snow Removal
- If you are shoveling snow from your deck, run the shovel lengthwise across the boards to minimize scratching or cutting into the wood. Another option is to use a plastic shovel.
- Avoid salt and other ice melting substances as they may damage or discolor your deck finish.
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!
We were delighted when the Hall family, local Palatine homeowners, won second place in the national Dream Backyard Makeover, sponsored by Archadeck and Belgard. Their existing outdoor living space consisted of a cracked concrete patio closely surrounded by large bushes. The young family had recently purchased the home and dreamed of having a beautiful open space to enjoy with their friends and family.
After making the announcement that they had won, we got together to discuss how they envisioned their new outdoor living space. Custom design is our specialty, so together we walked through the tried and true process we use to create the best design for their family. To do this we focused on the four most important aspects of a design: space, function, aesthetics, and budget.
- It was important to know about any spatial issues they might have. Knowing ahead of time where property lines and natural easements are help us to determine how much space is available to use, or to prepare a plan of action in the case a client may want to request a variance from the village for additional space.
- Functional needs tie into the discussion of spatial issues. If we designed too small, the Halls would not be able to use the space as they had envisioned. If we designed to large, they would have more patio than they needed and the space would go unused. Most of us don’t build patios and decks every day, so determining how much space you need can almost feel bewildering. In order to help the Hall family determine how much space they would need, we discussed how they planned to use the space. Did they just want an area to sit and enjoy the sun? A place for a table and grill? Enough room to comfortably host an outdoor party? Each of these require different amounts of space. Knowing what they ultimately want to do with their patio helped us determine the amount of space that would suit their needs.
- Discussing aesthetics is also a key element in helping us design the right outdoor living space for our clients. We showed the Halls several pictures of previous projects we have built, asking them to point out aspects they either liked or those they did not favor. This helped us design specifically to their taste and style.
- At Archadeck, we design to a budget. We don’t want to develop a design that is two or three times what our clients want to invest. Knowing an ideal budget helps us keep a design within the parameters of what they are comfortable investing in their project. This time was no different. The Hall family won the second prize of the Dream Backyard Makeover contest, so we worked with them to design the perfect space while remaining within the designated amount alloted by the contest rules.
Once we had the design in place, we set everything in motion to begin building. Breaking ground was an exciting moment for both the Halls and our Archadeck team! We began by discussing building plans with our crew, making sure every detail was addressed before we began. The crew broke up and removed the old concrete patio and put in new drain tiles.
With the bricks laid, we put down grass seed and green matting to fill in the dirt that is left from building the patio.
The outcome was beautiful. We enjoyed the opportunity to work with them and hope they enjoy their new patio with family and friends for many years.
We are excited to share that we have been named 2013 Best Pick by EBSCO Research for the second year in a row. We are honored to receive this recognition because it is based on testimonials directly from the Chicagoland homeowners we work with day in and day out.
According to the Local Tribune, “Only top-rated companies that qualify in EBSCO Research’s rigorous research process can earn “Best Pick” status. Archadeck of Chicagoland excelled throughout this research process, boasting an overall “A” grade based on more than 100 candid telephone interviews with Chicago-area homeowners.”
Overall, the Best Pick status reinforces our mission, to design outdoor living spaces that blend with our customers’ homes and fit within their lifestyles, while delivering high quality work and service throughout the process.
Read the full article here.
It’s that time of year again. Spring is just around the corner and it’s time to start designing or decorating your outdoor living space. What are the hottest trends for outdoor living spaces? According to ASLA’s recently published survey, homeowners across the country are investing in fire pits and fireplaces, grills, lighting, decks and patios.
“In this uncertain economy, homeowners want to get more enjoyment out of their yards,” said ASLA Executive Vice President and CEO Nancy Somerville, Hon. ASLA. “They want attractive outdoor spaces that are both easy to take care of and sustainable.” Take a look at the complete survey; you just might find a few creative ideas for your own backyard.
See you in the Backyard!
As we move forward in the new year, we can’t help looking back on 2012 with a smile, remembering it as a great year at Archadeck of Chicagoland. We spent the year creating and designing outdoor living spaces that blend with our clients’ homes and fit their lifestyles. We have had the pleasure of meeting and working with some amazing people. Even as our company continues to grow, we are able to enjoy learning each client’s vision so we can help bring it to life. Creating outdoor living spaces to draw families closer together is our great passion. Knowing a family is enjoying their backyard dream puts a smile on our faces.
A couple of weeks ago, my wife Kristen and I attended Archadeck’s Annual Convention in Charleston, South Carolina. We love these conventions because we continually return motivated and full of new ideas for the upcoming season. You’ll read more about these new ideas in the coming weeks as we begin rolling out the new plans. While in Charleston, we attended workshops and seminar, dinners and award ceremonies. Kristen, myself and our Chicagoland Archadeck team earned several awards. It is exciting to receive such recognition for all our hard work!
Kristen earned the 2012 award for Top Rookie Design Consultant. This is quite an achievement for someone who started this position in April last year! I earned recognition for leadership as President of the Midwest Region of franchisees and for leadership as Chairman and President of The National Guarantee Corporation (a third party guarantor that all Archadeck projects will be completed and warrantied for at least two years).
Archadeck of Chicagoland also earned the Customer Satisfaction Award for the fifth year in a row and recognition for sales in excess of $1,000,000 in 2012. Perhaps most exciting, we earned two design awards – one in the patio category and one in the deck category.
The multi-level patio and pergola we designed allowed the homeowners to create different outdoor living spaces while maintaining a beautiful flow from one space to the next. The separate areas featured a living space, a dining area, and a section that incorporated a hot tub and fire pit. We utilized Belgard walls and integrated natural blue stone and flagstone.
The deck was a top of the line combination deck and patio project. Everything was set to impress, from the beautiful stone columns and flagstone patio built with Belgard pavers and walls to the multi-level deck built with TimberTech Evolutions, Radiance rails and Deckorator pickets. A built-in bench, beautiful decking pattern, and stone fire pit added to the beauty, comfort, and functionality of the design.
Last year shaped up nicely and this year is already appearing to be an exemplary one as well. Here’s to 2013, may it be joyous and full of family fun.
See you in the Backyard!
If you had $70,000 dollars to create the backyard retreat of your dreams, how would you design it? Would you build a stylish screen room or gorgeous deck for entertaining? Would you include an elaborate multi-level patio that features a custom fire pit or fireplace? Maybe you’ll take it a step further and add water features. There is nothing better than having a relaxing outdoor retreat right in your own backyard. Relax in the sun on your deck, laugh with your friends around a fire pit, watch your children run and play while you sit on the patio, curl up with your morning coffee in your screen room. Throw the best summer barbecue of the year.
Archadeck is running a Dream Backyard Makeover contest. You could win the backyard of your dreams, valued at $70,000! Come on over to our Facebook page for details on how to enter. While you’re there, be sure to like our page so you can enjoy our conversations, find exciting new recipes, see new design ideas, and learn new tips for keeping your outdoor living space in tip-top shape.
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!
Have you ever considered building an open front porch or patio in the front of your home? Usually, the backyard is the first thing that pops into mind when someone says “outdoor living space.” But let’s not forget the front yard! Your front door is where you welcome friends and family into your home. Why not make it warm and inviting? St. Louis Today wrote and excellent article on the emerging popularity of front yard gardens. Take a look at what they’ve said and what others have done to spruce up their front yards.