Can an outdoor living space be small in scale and still be GRAND? You’d better believe it! Today’s project, located in the Steiner Ranch community of Austin, TX, drives that point home with certainty. This may not be the largest outdoor living space we have designed, but it’s unique — and one of our favorites.
This Steiner Ranch homeowner was referred to Archadeck of Austin by a previous client of ours who was thrilled with the project we designed and built at their home. And you know we love it when new clients find us through word of mouth. (If we have completed a project for you, don’t forget to tell your friends about it!)
To start, a basic concrete patio was the only outdoor living space existing at the home. Standing in the back yard, facing the patio and the back of the house, the homeowner looked up … and knew she wanted to add a pergola over the patio and a deck off of the second-floor bedroom. She also knew she didn’t want a typical deck staircase extending from the deck out into the yard. Whether a straight staircase or one that turned at a landing, either kind would be too prominent, visually, and would take up way too much space. It would stick out.
A spiral staircase was what she wanted. OK! Archadeck of Austin is all in favor of spiral staircases, but they can be expensive. We did some research online and finally located an affordable spiral staircase by Salter Spiral Stairs. We were hesitant to order it, though, because it comes as a kit. First you go through Salter’s design consultation process, giving them the measurements of your space. Then Salter creates your staircase and ships it to you in pieces — along with installation instructions. If you have any trouble with it, they provide customer service reps who can answer your questions by phone.
Based on our experience in the world of DIY, some kits are good and some are not. We decided to take a gamble that this spiral stair kit would be satisfactory. It was GREAT! The staircase installation was seamless, and we are all pleased with the staircase quality. We even got an upgrade to include welded stair treads, which add a great deal of character to the stairs.
We built the second-story deck with AZEK low-maintenance composite decking in a dark hickory color. The deck railing is a black metal railing from Fortress, and it goes perfectly with the black metal spiral staircase. Finally, we custom-made a bench using AZEK dark hickory composite decking to provide additional seating along one end of the patio.
Altogether, this combination outdoor living space now includes the original patio plus a new cedar pergola and composite deck — topped off with a spiral staircase, which is like eye candy! To support the pergola and deck, we built sturdy cedar posts matching the cedar pergola. We also added a Polygal cover on top of the pergola to protect patio sitters from sun and rain. The scene is complete with ceiling fans over the patio and light fixtures for nighttime use.
Taking it all in at once, you can see we packed a lot of outdoor living design into a relatively small space! It all works together well without crowding or giving you that penned-in feeling. This Steiner Ranch combination deck and pergola project, with patio, demonstrates that an outdoor living project doesn’t have to be massive in scale to be effective.
Let us show you how to make the most of the outdoor space you have. And if you want a spiral staircase for your deck, we know just the one! Contact Archadeck of Austin today at (515) 259-8282 or via email at email@example.com to schedule a free design consultation.
Sometimes, fixing one thing gives you the opportunity to fix a few others as well, taking you from good to GREAT! For example, take this deck in the Hudson Bend area on Lake Travis. The aging cedar deck was worn, weathered and due for replacement. Meanwhile … hmmm … how about eliminating those troublesome steps down from the breezeway to the deck. And … hmmm … what if the new deck could hold a hot tub … and what about those old railings …?
Archadeck of Austin addressed several issues by designing a new-and-improved outdoor living space for these Hudson Bend homeowners:
- Because we replaced the wood deck with AZEK composite decking, the new deck won’t fade and weather like the old one did.
- The deck is on the same level with the breezeway now, as well as the doors to the house and garage, so several inconvenient steps have been eliminated.
- The deck was extended to include an alcove for — yes! — a hot tub.
- The updated railings are sleek and allow a better view.
In the new deck design, we were able to match the deck’s elevation with that of the breezeway, not only eliminating the awkward “step down” but also making the space more open and functional. To bring the two surfaces to the same level, we raised the new deck up to the level of the breezeway. This adjustment makes the whole deck area look bigger because the breezeway and deck blend together now, creating one larger space. Also, the new deck design, level with the doors on the back of the house and level with the garage door, works much better for the homeowners.
Ready for the low-maintenance lifestyle, the homeowners chose AZEK composite decking in the mahogany color. We installed a triple parting board in the deck pattern, which is fairly unusual, because the client didn’t want any deck boards visibly meeting end-to-end. We engineered the design to use as many full pieces of the decking boards as possible. That’s the kind of challenge we enjoy tackling.
To make the deck sturdy enough to support a spa, we installed additional cross bracing and substructure underneath to accommodate the weight of it. No one will need to worry about the support there!
Finally, the sleek, new railing runs horizontally, giving the deck an urban edge. The homeowners wanted a low-profile railing in order to have full access to the spectacular view.
The new deck is beautiful and much more functional now that the breezeway and deck are on one level. The homeowners are quite pleased with the results and are asking, “Why did we wait so long to do this?”
If you would like to learn more about updating your deck and gaining an outdoor living space that’s functionally better in the process, contact Archadeck of Austin today at (515) 259-8282 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free design consultation.
These Steiner Ranch homeowners hired Archadeck of Austin to convert a covered patio into a screened porch with a patio extension. We extended the original patio outward from the home’s back door and also extended it across the back of the house, creating an “L” shape.
The new patio is made of poured concrete with a textured concrete overlay, and the textured surface is absolutely beautiful. To enhance it even more, we added a score pattern so that the surface actually looks like tile. Really! Then we added a flagstone patio two steps down for additional seating.
The lower patio is noteworthy because of the way we designed and built it for durability and longevity. Many contractors would simply build a wall around the defined patio area and fill it with decomposed granite for the patio base. Archadeck of Austin has seen too many of these patios gone bad. Using decomposed granite this way can cause cracking and sinking of the patio due to natural settling over time. Instead, we poured a solid concrete patio base and then installed the flagstone over it. This reduces the chances of the flagstone patio dropping, cracking, settling, etc.
Now, on to the screened porch. We built a 12×14-foot screened enclosure over the shorter part of the “L” shape on the upper patio extension. Remember, this is the part of the patio extension that looks like a tile floor. The porch has a stick-built gabled roof with a 2-inch screen system in clay to match the home’s existing windows. The ceiling of the porch is our favorite — the Synergy tongue-and-groove wood ceiling with rich, warm tones. We recommend this pre-finished wood ceiling for its beauty, and we use it whenever we can.
The new screened porch also included the installation of a full electrical package with ceiling fans and outlets for lighting or electronics. To make the space cozy when needed, we installed two heating units, one on either side of the porch.
For the grill-master/chef we installed an outdoor kitchen on the longer “L”-portion of the upper deck that was not screened in. The kitchen includes a good-size counter space complete with electrical outlets, barbeque grill, cooktop, and storage areas. While these stainless steel components seem very practical, the presentation is also quite attractive.
The base of the kitchen area (also called the kitchen surround) is built with 4-, 6- and 8-inch chopblock stone in the Santa Fe color. The countertop is made from smooth slabs of brown Lueders stone, a beautiful and durable stone. You can already picture the bartender standing here slicing limes while the family grill-master preps steaks and veggies for the grill.
We have this Steiner Ranch family ready to enjoy their cookouts, just in time for Labor Day! There’s a large dining table next to the kitchen area and room for additional diners to sit on the screened porch and out on the lower flagstone patio. Dining al fresco will become this family’s new favorite pastime.
Where will you cook out? If you would like to learn more about creating a porch, patio and/or outdoor kitchen combination project of your dreams, contact Archadeck of Austin today at (515) 259-8282 or via email at email@example.com to schedule a free design consultation.
Ah, the sun, glorious sun! When we feel chilly, sunlight warms the skin and thaws the chilly spots. But when we’re already warm … that big Texas sunshine can be downright uncomfortable. Escape is all we can think of. A sun umbrella? Not big enough. A porch roof? Aha! That’s the ticket. A new porch cover built by Archadeck of Austin? The best!
Archadeck of Austin was able to help these North Austin homeowners reclaim their backyard patio. The family enjoyed using their backyard pool, but the adjoining patio, uncovered, seemed to be a magnet for blistering sunshine that made sitting outside unbearable. They wanted to turn their unusable patio into an area where they could relax outdoors without being driven inside by the hot sun. A new porch roof would provide the comfort they craved.
The homeowners first met with Archadeck of Austin a year ago. In terms of ideas, they were ready to proceed with a covered patio/porch project, but their budget was not. They estimated they would be ready in early 2017. Fortunately, they were able to start a little sooner; they called us back in December 2016, ready to roll.
Our first task was to repair a large crack in the existing concrete patio. We cut out that portion of the concrete and filled it back in, and at the same time we added two more feet to the patio’s depth. The patio is now 24′ x 14′ — more space for outdoor living! While we were working with the concrete, we added a conduit so the homeowner could hook up his gas line with a flex line to grill out beyond the patio. That’s a convenience he will appreciate for years to come. Of course, the concrete cut-out/replacement and the additional square footage blend in seamlessly with the original patio surface.
After repairing and enlarging the patio, we were ready to build the all-important porch roof. The addition of a roof is what changes this area from a simple patio into a porch — and into a new-and-improved outdoor living space. We were able to match the style and color of the home’s existing shingles so it all blends nicely.
Under the roof is a vaulted ceiling made of beautiful Synergy Wood, hand-stained and prefinished wood with warm, rich tones. At the back of the porch, a ridge wall and flat ceiling/soffit, also built with Synergy Wood, provide a handsome transition from the painted porch wall to the vaulted wood ceiling. We added a full electrical package with a ceiling fan and built-in recessed lighting, and the homeowner mounted a flat-screen TV along the back wall. In the soffit area, we made sure to place the recessed lighting behind the TV so the images on the screen are not diluted when lights are on and the television is in use.
While the back of the porch roof is tied into the home, the front rests on Hardie-wrapped beams and columns, which we painted to match the home. We added stone coping at the bottom of the columns to match what had been used around the hot tub and pool.
At the very end of the project, Sundek (the company that originally surfaced the home’s concrete pool surround) applied a cool-coat finish to the concrete. This finish provides a comfortable walking surface for bare feet by reducing heat build-up. It’s cooler than regular concrete, brick or tile, and it’s slip resistant, too!
The homeowners added comfy porch furniture and, voila! They have a comfortable, inviting covered porch enhanced by a ceiling fan, lights and TV. Gone is the blistering heat of the uncovered patio, a place no one wanted to be! They love, love, love their new outdoor living space and look forward to spending many relaxing hours there.
If you would like to learn more about turning your patio into a porch fitted out for relaxing and entertaining, or about combining a porch and patio with other outdoor living structures, contact Archadeck of Austin today at (515) 259-8282 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free design consultation.
Replacing a deck at your northwest Austin home can be somewhat like getting a new car. Your old one seemed fine; you have a history together and you’ve overlooked its quirks. However, as soon as you step into the new one – wow! The difference is astonishing, and now you can see what you’ve been missing.
That comparison comes to mind when you see the before and after pictures of this large outdoor living project that Archadeck of Austin recently completed in the Cat Mountain North area. The original deck was split into two levels overlooking the back yard and swimming pool. The homeowners had decorated each level attractively with potted plants, and overall the space had a comfortable appeal. The deck was “fine” over the years, but there were three problems with it that we were able to address when we designed the replacement deck.
First, neither of the two deck levels was quite large enough. The two separate spaces were a little cramped and not conducive to entertaining or sitting and visiting with family. The homeowners weren’t able to move furniture around easily or add more chairs for a larger group.
Second, the wooden railing of the original deck actually obscured the view of anyone seated on the deck — and also obscured the view of those looking out through the house’s many windows. The pickets, or balusters, were thick at 2×2″, and there was a 6″ horizontal board along the top of the railing, just at eye level for a seated person.
Third, the homeowners were ready to switch from natural wood decking boards (theirs were cedar) to a synthetic composite material. After years of performing deck maintenance, they welcomed the idea of a low-maintenance deck. The composite materials on the market today are as attractive as wood but require less upkeep; at the time when the existing deck was built, fewer options were available.
Premier deck builder Archadeck of Austin drafted a large, sweeping deck design that combined the two levels into one to achieve a much larger usable deck space – almost 1,400 sq. feet. The angled shape of one side of the deck was designed to clear the root zone of a nearby live oak to ensure the deck will not impact health of the tree’s root system.
Austin has “Critical Root Zone” mandates in place to protect trees of a certain size, called heritage trees. We were required to measure any trees near the deck construction. A tree with a circumference of 60” or more is considered a heritage tree, and as it turned out, the live oak next to this deck is large enough to be considered a heritage tree.
The tree’s Critical Root Zone (CRZ) is calculated by a formula, and the CRZ is indicated on the engineer’s drawing by three concentric circles around the tree. The innermost circle indicates the first quarter of the CRZ. Within that inner circle, the new deck construction cannot impact the soil in any way. Between the first and second circles, called the second quarter zone, the new deck construction can impact the soil up to 4″ deep, but no deeper. Finally, between the second circle and the outermost circle, another formula determines the depth of soil impact allowed. As you can tell from the drawing, every inch of the Critical Root Zone was mapped out in the design of the new deck.
Because the entire deck structure needed to be replaced, including the footings and support beams, we performed a huge amount of demolition before we could install the new materials.
The homeowners selected AZEK, a cellular PVC decking product, for their new decking material. To complement the Autumn Chestnut color deck boards, they selected a Solutions aluminum railing system in bronze. What a difference! The new railings and pickets are darker and thinner, allowing a clean view from the deck and from within the house. The Solutions aluminum railing is an excellent choice for another reason: it will never rust and has a lifetime warranty (as opposed to a 15-year warranty for steel).
This extensive outdoor living project included these elements as well:
- Retaining wall: We removed the original brick retaining wall and added a new wall in white limestone to match the house stone.
- Under-deck storage: Instead of building a typical wood skirting around the deck, we framed out the deck’s underside, built a solid wall from AZEK and installed a door. Now the homeowners have lots of storage adjacent to the pool, and it’s invisible to onlookers – no clutter!
- Poolside hardscape: A concrete overlay was applied by another company to cover the existing concrete surround in order to create a durable and attractive limestone effect.
- Poolside fencing: We replaced the existing wooden privacy fence with a board-on-board design, in cedar, and added custom gates. The board-on-board design keeps pickets from bowing, creates a sturdier fence in case of wind and is more attractive.
- Deck lighting: Twelve LED lighting fixtures were incorporated into the aluminum railing posts along the deck and beside the stairs for ambiance and safety. Each small, teardrop fixture projects light in two directions – up the post and down onto the deck surface – and each LED uses only 1W of power!
Is it time for a deck replacement at your house? If you are ready to explore ideas for redesigning your outdoor living space, contact Archadeck of Austin today at (515) 259-8282 or via email at email@example.com to schedule a free design consultation.
Challenge us! Archadeck of Austin designs a permeable patio to complete the perfect combination outdoor space
Present us with a design challenge, and we will show you a big ol’ knock-your-socks-off solution. Archadeck of Austin was thrilled to work with this Northwest Austin homeowner to design and build a spectacular outdoor living space, a combination screened room, patio and deck with an outdoor kitchen. One of the things that is so special about this project is its unique patio with a hot tub and a dramatic fire wall.
What could be so unique about a patio? Well, that brings us to the challenge presented by this homeowner. We were asked to design a patio that incorporates the proper drainage for water runoff so moisture will be retained and released properly into the natural aquifers in and around the Austin area. A permeable patio, that is. Jim Schallon, Archadeck’s lead designer on this project, managed to meet the technical requirements while creating a beautiful and relaxing oasis for the homeowner, family and friends.
The home had an existing wood deck in good shape and just the right size for an outdoor kitchen. By power-washing the deck and restaining it, we were able to restore the wood’s beauty and establish this area as the centerpiece of the project. On one side of the deck, we added a spacious screened room with a new roof cover that we tied into the existing slope system of the house. On the other side of the deck, we added the patio with hot tub and fire wall.
We placed the outdoor kitchen on the deck by building a wall, counter height, with Concrete Masonry Units (CMU, also called concrete blocks) and finishing it with a facing of beautiful ledgestone. All of the outdoor kitchens designed and built by Archadeck of Austin are built with masonry-cinder block construction. Other builders may use wood for the kitchen structure, since it will be covered with a stone facing and no one will see it. However, our sturdy outdoor kitchen construction won’t deteriorate or degrade over time; it’s permanent.
The 1” hand-installed ledgestone facing helps provide a solid support structure for the kitchen counter and appliances. The homeowner chose brown Lueders stone for the countertops, and we used matching brown Lueders cap to top off all of the walls. A dense limestone known for its durability and low maintenance requirements, Lueders stone is perfect for kitchen countertops.
This kitchen’s built-in grill alone will command your attention! It’s a Memphis wood-pellet BBQ system with Wi-Fi capabilities. The homeowner can monitor and adjust the temperature of the grill from anywhere; the grill can even send an alert to his smartphone if needed. In addition to the Memphis Wood Fire Grill, the new outdoor kitchen includes a refrigerator, drawers, storage and trash receptacle.
With plenty of space on the deck for a dining table and chairs, meals will go from grill to table in an instant. If (or when) insects are a problem, the new adjacent screened room offers a pest-free dining area as well.
This screened room boasts a rich Synergy Wood ceiling with ceiling fansto keep the air moving. A large flat-screen TV is mounted on a stacked stone wall built just for that purpose; we used the same ledgestone here that we used for walls in the kitchen and patio areas. Of course, we built in electricity to power the TV, fans, lamps and the homeowner’s outdoor heater to take the chill off in winter. The floor of the screened room is a textured stamped concrete that will stand up to many years of constant use.
And now for the patio, which had to be permeable. For the base of the patio, we layered gravel and soil. The patio surface is a repeating pattern of large pavers and smooth stones. Together these components allow water to flow naturally through the patio surface while providing a smooth texture on which to walk. Specifically, the patio pavers are 2×2 sawn cream Lueders stone, beautiful and durable.
The spaces between the pavers are filled with smooth Mexican Beach pebbles. Not only is the smoothness easy on bare feet but also the river rock feels cool to the touch as it retains the natural temperature of the ground at all times.
Prominent on the patio is the hot tub, and next to that we built a gas-burning fire wall, which might just be the fire feature of your outdoor living dreams. It is a ledgestone wall lined with fire brick and filled with lava rock. Hidden there are 60 and 72-inch stainless steel linear T-burners.
When lit, flames seem to dance along the top of the wall. The height of the fire wall is about even with the surface of the hot tub, so, as you can imagine, occupants of the hot tub will become a captive audience for this magical feature at night.
If you would like to challenge us to create the patio, porch and outdoor kitchen combination project of your dreams, contact Archadeck of Austin today at (515) 259-8282 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free design consultation.
You love your eclectic, urban-chic neighborhood, and you love your charming, vintage home, but maybe your home’s vintage deck has seen better days. Is it time for an upgrade to a better deck? Archadeck of Austin, premier deck builder across many Austin neighborhoods, has the design sensitivity to create a custom deck that will not look out of place for your area.
Take a look at this unique home in the city of Austin near Mopac Expressway and 38th Street. Homes here have character, and the area is undergoing extensive revitalization. The homeowner engaged Archadeck of Austin to replace an existing deck that was aging, nondescript and lacked any shade cover.
This job was actually a redecking and expansion project rather than an entirely new deck. Once we determined that the existing deck’s foundation was strong and had not been compromised over time, we were able to use it again, with reinforcement. We needed to replace the decking boards as well as the wooden skirting that surrounds the deck and shields the underdeck area from view. Oddly, there was a gap between edge of the existing deck and the front porch stoop, so we were able to expand the deck by about two feet. Finally, the client wanted to add a pergola over the deck for much-needed shade.
Since natural wood was the client’s choice for decking material, Archadeck of Austin recommended clear cedar for the deck surface and the skirting. Clear cedar is a select grade of cedar lumber milled from the heart of the tree, and it is higher quality than the wood many other deck builders work with. For even greater quality, we used 5-and-a-quarter-inch boards as opposed to the competition’s nominal 2×6″ knotty pine. The clear cedar boards display a light wood grain with minimal (if any) imperfections such as knot holes.
Archadeck of Austin offers a choice of standard or premium pergolas, and this client selected the premium pergola, our most popular option. For our premium pergolas, we use 4×12″ beams, 6×6″ posts and 2×10″ boards for the rafters with 16” on center spacing. In contrast, our competition uses 2×8″ beams and posts and 2×8″ rafters that are 24” on center, resulting in a pergola that is less sturdy and provides less shade. The Archadeck of Austin premium pergola looks beefier, is stronger and will last longer than those built by our competition. Plus, our 16” on center spacing provides the optimum amount of shade on a hot Texas day.
For the finishing touch on this combination redecking and pergola project, we installed a metal screen on one side of the pergola to establish a privacy barrier. Vines and flowers will climb the screen to naturally obscure the view of the deck from the nearby downtown traffic. This innovative privacy screen was built using Cattle Guard panels.
If you are looking for a creative way to upgrade your existing deck while keeping it in character with the neighborhood, contact Archadeck of Austin today at (515) 259-8282 or via email at email@example.com to schedule a free design consultation.