Pergola Design Ideas: Create the Shade You Want in Your Backyard

Think beyond the basic four posts with crossing rafters and customize a shade structure that compliments your home and displays your fantastic taste.

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Chicago suburb pergola design ideas by Archadeck of Chicagoland

Love your yard but looking for relief from the hot summer sun?  Pergolas are a great option for creating shade! At Archadeck of Chicagoland, we think beyond the basic four posts with crossing rafters and help you customize a shade structure that compliments your home and displays your fantastic taste.

Continue reading “Pergola Design Ideas: Create the Shade You Want in Your Backyard”

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!

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!

Shade Solutions – Pergolas, Canopies, and Mosquito Curtains

Your backyard is your retreat.  It is your escape. It is where you go to relax, where you enjoy precious moments with the children and entertain your friends and family.  Sometimes though, the summer sun is especially hot and the mosquitos and bees swarm around you.  When this happens, do you find yourself mulling over just what you should do?  Shade and protection are the most logical conclusion, but is a screen porch or sunroom necessary to provide these attributes?  Building a screen room may be the perfect solution for your family.  Perhaps, however,  you prefer the open atmosphere of your deck and patio, or a room isn’t the sort of investment you are looking for at this time.  Fortunately, Archadeck has many options when it comes to shade and bug protection.

Pergola with Mosquito Curtains and Canopy - Designed by Archadeck of Chicagoland

Pergolas can provide a substantial  amount of shade; and for many, this is perfect.  If you’re looking for more coverage, installing a canopy on the pergola is an excellent option.  Canopies allow you the flexibility to let in as much sunshine as you choose or create as much shade as you need at any given time.

Pergolas with Mosquito Curtains - Designed by Archadeck of Chicagoland

Adding mosquito curtains offers protection from pesky little insects.  You are able to pull them closed when the mosquitos and bees are out or open them back up when such protection is not necessary.  Not only are they versatile and functional, but the curtains also add a beautiful and elegant touch to any pergola.

Pergola with Mosquito Curtains - Designed by Archadeck of Chicagoland

Often, adding a pergola with a canopy and curtains is a great lower priced alternative to building a screen room.  Many times they also provide a better fit on a house.  If you’re trying to find the best solution for your home, contact us for a free design consultation .  Our design consultants would love to help guide you through the process of finding that perfect fit.

See you in the Backyard!

Shade FX Canopy on Pergola

LOCAL HOMEOWNER CHOSEN AS FINALIST IN ARCHADECK “DREAM BACKYARD MAKEOVER” NATIONAL CONTEST

PALATINE HOMEOWNER IS SELECTED FOR A CHANCE TO WIN A $70,000 BACKYARD MAKEOVER,  

COURTESY OF  ARCHADECK OUTDOOR LIVING, BELGARD HARDSCAPES & TIMBERTECH 

Finalists for the national Dream Backyard Makeover Contest have been chosen for the month of February and Amanda Hall from Palatine, IL is among them.

As a finalist, Hall will be among the few given a chance to win the grand prize, a $70,000 backyard transformation from Archadeck, Belgard Hardscapes and TimberTech; second prize, the renovation of an existing deck or patio, courtesy of Archadeck; and third prize, installation of an outdoor lighting system provided by Outdoor Lighting Perspectives.

Two finalists are selected each month, through the end of April, and their entries will be posted on Facebook.  On April 23, voting will open for one week so that Archadeck Facebook fans may voice their opinions on the most deserving backyard. Winners will be selected by a panel of judges and Facebook fan votes, and winners will be announced in May 2013.

The Dream Backyard Makeover contest began February 1, 2013, and runs through April 22, 2013 via Facebook.  To enter, homeowners should visit the entry form on our Facebook page and submit a photo along with a 200 word description of why their backyard is the most deserving.

Located in Rolling Meadows,  we at Archadeck of Chicagoland apply our design expertise to create outdoor living rooms, fire features, porches, pergolas, sunrooms and patios — all featuring the latest trends in outdoor leisure enjoyment and functionality.  Archadeck of Chicagoland services the Chicagoland area.  For more information about our company, or a listing of cities we serve, visit: www.chicagoland.archadeck.com

For full Archadeck Dream Backyard Makeover contest rules, visit:  www.dreambackyardmakeover.com.

Create the backyard of your dreams!

About Archadeck Outdoor Living

Established in 1980, Archadeck is recognized as the largest deck and porch builder in North America and has lived up to its motto — Better Building by Design — by completing more than 100,000 projects across the country. A part of Outdoor Living Brands, their mission is “to enhance the lives of our customers by creating unique and innovative outdoor living environments.”  Recognized for overall operational excellence, Archadeck was named a World-Class Franchise® company for 2013 by the National Franchise Research Institute and was ranked 12th on Qualified Remodeler magazine’s 2012 Exterior 200 list of top remodeling companies.  Archadeck projects have graced the covers of Gardens, Decks and Patios and Decks & Backyard Projects.  The company has been featured in This Old House, Smart Money and Gardening & Deck Design, as well as on Home & Garden TV (HGTV). Visit www.archadeck.com for more information and to download a free copy of our “Design Guide” to help make your dream backyard a reality.

 

About Belgard Hardscapes

Belgard® Hardscapes, part of Oldcastle® Architectural, offers a complete collection of paver and wall products for outdoor living spaces, walkways, driveways, parking areas and retaining walls. Available in a range of styles, premium Belgard products have been found in America’s finest homes and award-winning commercial and retail properties since 1995. For more information or a complimentary Idea Book, visit www.Belgard.biz or call 1-877-Belgard (235-4273). Find more inspiring outdoor space ideas at www.Facebook.com/BelgardHardscapes.

 

About TimberTech

TimberTech is one of the world’s top producers of high-performance decking, railing, fencing and lighting solutions. With a passion for outdoor living and a global reputation for quality and innovation, TimberTech delivers a wide range of low-maintenance, wood-alternative products in an unmatched selection of colors and styles – all available through a network of more than 8,500 contractors and dealers worldwide. For more information, visit http://www.TimberTech.com or view product installation videos on the TimberTech YouTube channel. Stay up-to-date on TimberTech by following the company on Twitter (@timbertech_deck) or Facebook at www.Facebook.com/TimberTech

How Many Ways Can You Design A Pergola?

This weather is making our phones ring off the hook and we are thrilled. We have lots of requests for pergolas. Check out this link which contains a bunch of pictures of pergolas to give you ideas on what kind you would like us to build for you!

 

 

How to choose a contractor you can trust, part 3

When you buy something at the store you see the finished product. When you order something online you see a picture of the finished product. When you hire a contractor, you won’t see the finished product until the project is built.

Buying from a contractor means trusting someone. Trusting they will build what you expect. Trusting they understand what you expect . How can a homeowner be comfortable they are choosing the right contractor for their project? How do they know who to trust? This is the third article in a blog series on how to select the right contractor.

In two previous blogs I wrote about evaluating a contractors background and experience and how to insure the contractor builds what you want and expect. In this blog I will share some thoughts on how a contractor can manage your project so it is built well and construction runs smoothly.

Project management is important in most businesses but it is crucial in construction. There are a lot of balls to juggle. Building department requirements, the carpenters, coordinating multiple crews, trash removal, material showing up on time, ensuring timely inspections to avoid delaying job progress, protecting driveways from dumpster damage, ensuring the correct fasteners are being used in the correct locations, and that is just a few examples. The most important detail is clearly communicating the progress of the job in a timely manner to the homeowner. 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.

People and systems can make or break the job. In our organization, we manage each deck, patio, or screen porch project with a system called the Job Progress Methodology. This elaborate checklist (over 200 items currently) and four supporting guides for the field personnel keep us on track to ensure a smooth running project. We use this tool in conjunction with a series of construction standards in our Master File. This is a collection of drawings that clearly reflects how each detail of the project will be built.

Knowing who the crews are and how they are managed are important factors in the end result of the project. Finding tradesmen that are skilled, reliable, and trustworthy can be challenging. Over the years I have been shocked by the lack of skill that some carpenters bring to their work after presenting themselves well in the interview. We issue a written test to weed out many people up front. Asking for their approval to conduct a background check causes even more to drop out. With new crews, our Project Manager is on site daily for the first two to three weeks to insure they are building to our expectations and acting appropriately at our client’s homes. Some trades require proper licensing such as roofers, electricians, and plumbers in Illinois. We check that all insurances are up to date and that all our subs are properly licensed.

If you want full service, the contractor should handle all issues related to securing the permit and the inspections. This includes contacting the utility locater service, JULIE in Illinois, to insure no lines are hit when digging is involved. It should also include providing any drawings and information your Home Owners Association might require. Our company provides all of these services when we build Outdoor Living projects such as decks, screen porches, or pergolas.

How a contractor organizes it’s work, before and during the construction, is critical for success in your project. It is critical if you want comfort your expectations will be met and the job runs as smoothly as possible. If material or crews occur in the wrong order, it becomes difficult to undo the construction, making this organization critical. Of course even a quality company that makes every effort to be organized will still have mistakes, but they need to step up and make them right for you! We will talk more about this in our next blog.

See you in the outdoors.

How to choose a contractor you can trust

When you buy something at the store you see the finished product. When you order something online you see a picture of the finished product. When you hire a contractor, you won’t see the finished product until the project is built.

Buying from a contractor means trusting someone. Trusting they will build what you expect. Trusting they understand what you expect . How can a homeowner be comfortable they are choosing the right contractor for their project? How do they know who to trust? In the next few blogs I am going to share some ideas that may help homeowners know what to look for and how to select the right contractor.

The first area to consider is experience and background. How much experience does the contractor have with your type of project? Some contractors try to do all types of construction but there are subtle differences in materials and design that affect the outcome of each construction project. For example, our company specializes in outdoor living projects; decks, screen porches, sunrooms, patios, and pergolas for shade. we know all the details to make these types of projects fit your home perfectly. However, I know the basics to remodel a kitchen; but if we did one there would be a dozen little issues that just did not look right. If a company has done at least 100 projects in a category they have probably learned the nuances that insure the project will look right.

What is their background & history? The Better Business Bureau or Angies List are great places to learn how the contractor treats other clients. Speaking to references can tell you a great deal, especially if the contractor does not have a list ready and organized. This is a question we are asked all the time. If a contractor is not prepared for it, then how well will they prepare for your project?

How quickly they response as well as the quality of their response are key indicators of how they will perform for your project. Are they on time? Do they ask questions to help you avoid mistakes? Do they listen to you and understand your priorities? Do they commit to follow up and more importantly do they fulfill those commitments? If the contractor falls short before you sign a contract, they will certainly fall short during the project. Everyone is at their best when they are trying to make a good impression and earn your business.

In an upcoming blog I will talk about the design process and how to insure that the details you expect are included in your project.

See you in the outdoors.

How do we begin the design process for our deck or patio?

Outdoor design begins with understanding what you want to do. A great place to start this process is by identifying what furniture groups you plan to use. Form should always follow function!

Creating outdoor living spaces requires outdoor design.  Obviously outdoor furniture will be a central element to enjoy the spaces with your family and friends.  The outdoor furniture you plan to use is a great starting point for planning your outdoor living space(s).   Knowing what type of furniture and activities you plan on using will drive the new spaces design.  Obviously it will affect size but also shapes and transitions. Form should always follow function.

When we begin the design process for a screen room, paver patio, deck or any of our projects we start by asking about use.   I like to understand what rooms they wish to have in the new outdoor spaces.   Most want an area to dine and to cook, some want a family room, many want a space for a fire pit or fireplace, some want spaces for hot tubs, and many have other ideas for outdoor spaces.   Often getting this conversation started is difficult.   Most people have not thought about their backyard in this way.   Asking about the outdoor furniture that they plan to use gets the conversation started.  Most home owners want to include a grill and a table for dinning.  Beyond these two staples each home owner adds those elements that create their unique outdoor space.

The base for creating outdoor design always flows from the functional needs.   Once we know the basic spaces that the homeowner wants to have we begin blocking out the project.   When we apply the aesthetic tastes of the client the design takes a more exact shape and form.

Deck, patio, pergola

Plan your 2010 outdoor project now!

January is the perfect time to design your new outdoor living project.

January is the perfect time to design your new outdoor living project.  Begin the process now by contacting Archadeck to have your new deck or patio for the full 2010 outdoor season.  As the premier outdoor living builder in Chicagoland, Archadeck Is ready to discuss your new backyard space.  For 30 years we have created outdoor living spaces for America’s families.  Now is the prefect time to connect with our professional Design Consultants. Get in front of the spring rush and have your new deck or screen room ready when the weather comes.   View our variety of projects at northern-chicagoland.archadeck.com.

We can complete your design process in one meeting for an hour or multiple meetings with a variety of design options.  Most often, we can create a design with you in two meetings.  Usually, your new deck, gazebo, pergola, or patio will be ready for you, eight weeks from the day we have a design & agreement. Of course, the times can vary based upon the project & village requirements.  As an example screen rooms and sun rooms will usually take an extra four to five weeks to complete.  Call today to get your project started so you will enjoy the outdoors with your family all spring & summer.