Let’s start with the hard question. Do you feel like your budget might stand in the way of you having a new and/or improved outdoor living space? Almost everyone is budget-conscious these days, and we understand that may mean different things to different people. But if you feel your budget is keeping you from having the outdoor living project you really want, Archadeck of Austin will work with you “every which way” to try to make it a reality.
Before we look at today’s combination-outdoor-living-project-on-a-budget, let’s talk about the process we go through to arrive at a quote for a job. First, after we listen to what elements a client wants included in their project, and we offer our suggestions, we have to be able to tell them how much it will cost. If the number is too high, we’ll look at choices the client can make — maybe different materials, maybe scaling it back a little bit — to bring the price down. We don’t expect the client to sign a contract until we quote them a price they are comfortable with.
The price we quote is the actual price the client will pay. Does that surprise you? It should not. But we’ve heard about other contractors (not Archadeck) who quickly low-ball a quote just to get the contract signed. They may not take the time to do the necessary research about materials costs, etc., to give a semi-accurate quote. The client doesn’t realize some costs have been left out of the conversation. Oh, yes, they find out eventually, when the job is half-completed. What choice do they have at that point? They approve the additional costs and end up paying more than they would have if they’d gone with a higher (accurate) quote from a professional builder like Archadeck of Austin.
Today’s featured project is in Austin, TX, and it’s a sweet combination outdoor living project that includes a patio, pergola, outdoor fireplace and privacy screen. The homeowners were upfront about their budget. Their Archadeck of Austin designer sat down with them to go over all of the specs, materials and costs for the project. Together, they worked out a cost-effective plan that addressed the homeowners’ needs and wants — within budget.
The clients were looking to add a shade structure to the back of the home and wanted to include an outdoor fireplace. Their home had an existing covered porch at the back door. The property was not right for a deck because there’s no change in elevation behind the house. Decking “at grade” is not a good idea. So they wanted a patio to extend outward from the existing porch and serve as the base for their new shade structure (pergola) and outdoor fireplace.
Starting with the custom patio, we always dig trenches about 12″ deep and lay a beam system within the perimeter of the patio before we pour concrete. These steel beams reinforce and stabilize the patio to prevent the concrete from settling over time (or in response to ground movement). This way we know we’re providing a strong and stable pad for the concrete patio. Keep in mind, concrete will always crack, no matter what. The added perimeter and internal beams provide more stability to help reduce the eventual outcome of any concrete deck or patio.
For this patio, we added a textured and stained concrete overlay to the surface for visual appeal.
For utilities, we ran conduit and a gas line from the main meter to the rear of fireplace for service, and we ran wiring for electrical access at the fireplace and at several other points around the patio as well.
We built the gas-burning custom outdoor fireplace with a combination of Nicotine and white flagstone. The Nicotine color is white with deposits of yellow and gold running through it, and the interplay of these colors mimics the variations in the patio’s textured-concrete surface in an interesting way.
Extending from the fireplace, on both sides, is a low stone wall that is extremely practical in two ways. First, it creates a visual boundary for the patio, and second, it provides seating. The bench surface on the wall is made of smooth Lueders stone, one of our favorites.
The freestanding pergola is stained cedar, and over the top of the pergola we added a Polygal cover to deliver maximum shade benefits. This durable covering is an affordable way to add protection from rain as well as from the sun’s rays. It’s waterproof and it blocks UV rays, making the patio enjoyable regardless of the weather.
Beside the pergola, we installed a privacy screen, also made of stained cedar, because the homeowners plan to add a hot tub to their outdoor living space in the future.
Finally, we installed a flat-screen TV above the mantel for the homeowners. Their outdoor living space comes complete with a remote control for the ceiling fan and to dim/control the lights: the comforts of the indoors brought outdoors.
If you would like to learn more about how we can help you create an outdoor living project on a budget, contact Archadeck of Austin today at (512) 259-8282 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free design consultation.
Our outdoor living space addition in South Austin is a good example of the way Archadeck of Austin is changing the way homeowners are able to utilize, and enjoy their backyards. We are able to deliver these kind of results in two ways; #1 we can transform the vision of your ideal backyard and bring it to life from the ground up, an #2 we can convert an existing outdoor living structure into the backyard of your dreams. The possibilities are truly endless!
In the case of these South Austin homeowners, they had an existing outdoor space consisting of an aging backyard pond and an exposed aggregate concrete patio. The pond had become a chore to maintain as it had become a nursery for mosquitoes making spending time in the backyard a challenge to avoid being bitten, especially after dusk.
Archadeck of Austin consulted with the homeowners and listened to their vision of what they wanted their backyard to be. They wanted a spot that was versatile in that they could find a respite from the hot Texas afternoons and relax in mosquito-free comfort. They still wanted to be able to take in the ambiance an open fire provided too, so the new design had to incorporate a fire pit. With these ideas in mind, we set out to bring their anticipated outdoor space to life.
There were some obstacles to overcome in order to give these South Austin homeowners the environment they wanted. One of which was having to finalize a design that would pass the impervious cover requirements needed for their localities. Once this was confirmed it was smooth sailing! The project also needed to be mindful of some drainage issues and maintain some space outside the covered porch to accommodate their outdoor grill.
The completed project is multi-faceted and included transforming the concrete patio by way of installing flagstone atop the existing patio and covering a portion to give the homeowners the needed shade they desired. In addition to the extensive upgrades just off the rear of their ranch style home, we also created a detached space that includes a custom stone fire pit encircled with a hardscape retaining wall, which can also double as seating. The fire pit is just a stone’s throw away (no pun intended) from the covered patio which allows the spaces to be enjoyed simultaneously. To the side of the porch and connecting all the way to the driveway we constructed a patio/walkway using an Oklahoma variety flagstone on a bed of decomposed granite and pea gravel. This allowed for a good solid surface but allowed any water to absorb into the soil.
The covered patio is finished a rustic ceiling, with exposed cedar rafters and T1-11 ceiling, which was stained to make it pop against the painted hardi wrapped posts/beams atop stone pillars. The covered patio also includes a ceiling fan to circulate the air on hot summer days and deters any insects from invading the space, plus some post sconces to light up the evening
The clients are elated with their new backyard — which is far more than just an outdoor living space, it is a completely new outdoor living environment! If you are ready to change the way you and your family live outdoors, contact Archadeck of Austin today to begin the process today — you can reach us by phone at at ( 512) 259 – 8282 or email us at email@example.com.
This week’s featured project story takes us back to Circle C Ranch in South Austin, TX, where we totally transformed an existing backyard poolside patio and increased the aesthetics of the existing pool surround.
When our talented lead outdoor living space designer, Jim Schallon, initially met with these Circle C Ranch residents they expressed their dilemma of not having enough room, or shade, to fully enjoy their existing backyard space. The space consisted of a pergola that was built atop their backyard patio that lacked space or harmony, and offered very little shade value. With these considerations in mind, Archadeck of Austin came up with a new design that transforms the look, feel and function of this South Austin backyard!
- This image shows the existing pergola, which was cramped and hot, prior to breaking ground on the new design:
- This images shows the completed covered porch addition. Notice how the new design expands the functional area out and beyond that of the homeowner’s original outdoor living space:
The entire project included removal of the existing pergola, including the original support columns, and building a new patio cover which extends further and wider than the previous outdoor space. The new space adds more outdoor living area, plenty of shade and is easily accessible from three entrances into the home. The original space only provided covered accessibility to two of three interior doors that provide entry onto the patio. In order to build the design according to plan, removal of the entire rear brick facade of the home was necessary. We carefully rebuilt the entire back brick facade paying special attention to match the exterior to the original, we also constructed the new brick support columns using the same masonry color and style. These columns were then topped off with Western red cedar posts to blend with the beautiful cedar tongue & groove ceiling on the inside of the patio cover.
Along with the rustic beauty of the cedar details, the interior of the new transformed space includes an “eat in” style bar area that serves a myriad of uses; from outdoor dining to entertaining guests poolside. The new addition allows plenty of natural sunlight to reduce the chances of light being lost on the areas inside the home with Velux skylights installed into the ceiling of the new space. We also included plenty of recessed lighting and three ceiling fans to help air circulate on those balmy South Austin afternoons.
The improvements to this backyard did not end with the patio cover. Archadeck of Austin took this project a step further by improving the flow and tranquility of the homeowner’s backyard pool by unifying the addition from the top of the stairs behind the pool. We made sure to match the flagstone we used for this integration to the existing flagstone original to the area. The whole area now flows together as one, fun and relaxing outdoor room!
The completed project has totally changed the way the homeowner’s use and enjoy their backyard. This transformation was certainly a change for the better.
If you have an existing outdoor space that is no longer functional for your current needs, or if you are ready to build the outdoor living space you have always dreamed of, contact Archadeck of Austin to get started on your outdoor living space project today. You can reach us by phone at (512) 259 – 8282 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When you are looking for ways to create the perfect backyard often times we let our dreams of our ideal space be fall to the wayside. Homeowners need to realize that what makes their version of the perfect outdoor living space right for them comes from within. No two people view the idea of outdoor living the same way, that being said we specialize in customizing your dreams to suit your desired function within that space, the area you have available to create your space and your budget.
We have compiled a list of the top 10 ways to create that outdoor oasis you have been dreaming of. This list will help provide ideas and insight into how you can make your outdoor oasis a reality.
Top 10 ways to create an outdoor oasis
1) Pick you own personal style – create a backyard that flows with style. Create everything from formal by using columns and classic lines, to more modern by using curvilinear edges on your patio or deck edge, sticking to monochromatic color palettes and even introducing metal into the mix. If you can’t decide on just one style, then you can use a combination of well-chosen elements for an eclectic unique look.
2) Embrace textures – this maybe the most crucial design element that is often overlooked when building an outdoor living structure. By mixing wood, composite, stone and other hardscape materials together within your design, you create a feast for the senses. Combining a hardwood deck in combination with a flagstone patio will leave you with a space that begs to be lingered in. On a simpler note, even adding a pergola of rough-hewn cedar in conjunction with a hardscape feature will provide the same stunning contrast.
3) Be creative – outdoor living design is not black and white. There are no set rules, so go ahead and think outside the box. Employ the use of unexpected design opportunities to add visual interest. From adding a seating wall around your fire pit to placing deck lighting in an unusual spot to create ambiance, these details make the difference. A little creativity goes a long way.
4) Work with what you have – take a good look at your backyard and cultivate your outdoor living space with ingenuity. Mature trees, a spectacular view, or the slope of your yard can all be used to your advantage to get the most function and enjoyment out of your outdoor structure design.
5) Live outdoors and still have privacy– by designing your backyard with intimacy in mind; you can still have a highly functional outdoor space that offers privacy. Retaining walls and privacy walls are a great asset to your space and add a way to keep prying eyes away. This can also be achieved through landscaping methods, such as borders that can add color and lush foliage to your space too.
6) Choose your function – in order to get the most from your space, it is important to decide what you want the primary use of your space to be. Entertaining, cooking and dining, relaxing and even a need for a shaded area are viable reasons to choose one structure over another. If you intend to use your space for multiple functions then a design that includes multiple outdoor areas that offers separate designated functions may be your best choice.
7) Borrow upon the elements of nature – the 5 elements of nature are water, metal, earth, wood and fire. By using one or more of these elements in your outdoor space you will create an atmosphere that blends with your backyard. An outdoor fireplace or fire pit adds an intoxicating feel to any outdoor design. The flame, the sound and the warmth bring out some primitive instinct that makes us want to be near it. Water plays on our senses in much the same manner. By adding a water feature such as a rock waterfall into your outdoor space, you will hear the soothing sounds of moving water on a regular basis which relax and renew.
8) Decide the amount of maintenance your material choices will require– many times homeowners convey their wishes to use certain materials without realizing the amount of maintenance their structure will require. For example an Ipe or Tigerwood deck requires annual maintenance, and sometimes more frequent in certain climates, to keep the wood looking new. In order to maintain your structure to get optimum results, it is important to decide the amount of time you are willing to put forth to maintain your investment. Many of the materials we have available require little or no maintenance and will remain looking new for many years to come.
9) Create an outdoor room – screen porches, covered patios and 3 season rooms can now be treated as an outdoor room with all the functionality and creature comforts that an interior living room can provide. Outdoor kitchens, fireplaces, ceiling fans, outdoor televisions, recessed lighting and plenty of electrical outlets are some of the many options available in outdoor structure design. The hardest part is deciding what you want to include in your space.
10) The details make the difference– an outdoor structure without decorative accents or outdoor furnishings that individualize it is just an empty shell without character or personalization. By choosing furnishings that offer comfort and style to your space you will want to use it more often, and so will others. A comfy outdoor sofa with overstuffed cushions will create a place that you will never want to leave. The small touches that put the icing on the cake are the decorative touches like planters placed on your new deck stuffed with beautiful foliage and blooms, or maybe a reclaimed architectural piece placed as a focal point; these things are the glue that binds the perfect outdoor oasis together.
Whether you are ready for a new deck, yearning for a quiet spot to keep the sun off of you so you can read in the garden, or are ready to transform your entire backyard with an outdoor living combination structure, we can make it happen. Outdoor living is all about fun, friends and family; to us outdoor living is personal. Contact Archadeck of Austin to learn what the stuff of dreams are made of.
Call for a free consultation: (512) 259 – 8282
See more inspiring images of other outdoor living areas by visiting our shade gallery, outdoor living gallery and patio and hardscapes gallery located on our website.
Patios are very popular here in the Austin area and flagstone patios in particular are one of the most requested type of patios among our customers. The rustic elegance they provide compliments our Texas landscape and unique home designs. Installing a flagstone patio requires a lot more steps than it may seem.
The first steps begin once the dimensions are determined during our pre-construction meeting with the homeowners. Following this important meeting we then have the concrete poured to form up the shape of the patio. Sometimes the homeowner first needs to contact their sprinkler system company and have them re-locate any sprinkler heads that are in the area of the intended patio, if not Archadeck of Austin will cap off the heads. If we are building a “full-on” patio next to a house that is built on a slab our professional concrete contractor will also install rebar every two feet to connect the foundation of the patio to the foundation of the house. This extra step ensures a stable patio foundation. Once this step is completed we then pour the perimeter of the patio. We pour this 1ft. by 1ft. around what will become the perimeter footing, we also add rebar to this area as well for an added measure of strength. Most other companies just don’t take this step; we however feel it very important for the strength and life of your patio.
Depending on the slope of your yard, we may install a fascia. A fascia involves the underpinning which is concrete paint that is trimmed so it doesn’t convey a rough vertical surface. We will then use vertical stones around your step areas. Typically this is not done around the entire perimeter because over time it can flake and break off so we do something that will last over a long period of time.
On the top of the poured patio base we add a 4″ deep cap and pour an additional 4″ of concrete strengthened with wire mesh. Depending on the size of your patio, we may also install man-made, control and expansion joints every 10-12′ depending on the width. Once those layers of concrete properly cure, the flagstone will then be delivered by the stone company so our expert masons can lay out the flagstone in a mosaic pattern. Once they are laid out and everything is concise, we then put in the mortar that was chosen by the homeowner. One thing we are proud of is the tight mortar joints we do so well, this gives you a flagstone patio that looks like stone when you look at and not all mortar. After all, our customers are paying for stone, not mortar. After the mortar is done, the next step is to apply a sealer. The sealer is undetectable to the appearance of the patio, but it keeps moisture from penetrating the stone and also keeps mold and mildew out. The sealer also gives the finished patio a cleaner look. After applying the sealer you shouldn’t have to do any further maintenance for 5-10 years.
When the stone selections are made we generally meet our customer at the stone shop to help them with their selection and any questions or concerns they may have about a particular stone. There are actually 10-14 various types of flagstone to choose from. The most popular flagstone choices are Oklahoma, Arizona and Mexico. All the most widely used flagstones come from Oklahoma. Sometimes when we use flagstone we will incorporate beautiful and useful features such as stone benches or even a stone kitchen island if your patio incorporates an outdoor kitchen.
Flagstone patios are not only gorgeous, they are a solid material choice for your patio because with a stained concrete or concrete patio when it cracks, and it is not a question of if it cracks, but a question of when, you will have to live with it. When you use flagstone and the concrete underneath cracks you may get a little separation of mortar joints over time but you won’t see a line in the stone. Making sure your flagstone is installed by a licensed professional ensures the beauty and enjoyment of your patio is treasured for many years to come.
If you are ready to add a flagstone patio or other outdoor structure to your life this season, contact Archadeck of Austin to make it happen. Our talented design staff can come up with the perfect outdoor oasis to fill your needs. Call for a free consultation ( 512) 259 – 8282 email:Austin@archadeck.net
To see more beautiful flagstone patio creations visit our flagstone patio gallery located on our website.
Among the preference of materials used to construct our Austin area homeowners hardscape endeavors, the top choice is undoubtedly natural stone. Natural stone comes in a myriad of colors, textures and variances in undulation, or waves and bends present in natural stone. Natural stone is derived from a multitude of locations within our earth, and with any material that is derived from nature and the earth, no two pieces of stone are exactly alike. The differences and variations present in natural stone only add to its charm and part of what makes it so popular among the many materials available to create a truly unique hardscape outdoor structure.
Our signature item is the flagstone patio. Whether they are built-in unison with a decks, pergolas or one of the other stunning outdoor structures we build for homeowners here in the Austin area, the added essence of flagstone makes the entire project breathtaking. Austin is hill country which not only yields varying grades and steep drop offs which often includes natural stone, but natural stone used as a building material is common because of its natural beauty and the way it complements the natural surroundings and backdrops of Austin’s hill country. Flagstone is quarried from the ground and therefore will not yield a completely even surface. Flagstone patios are set on either concrete or mortar beds. The concrete base is referred to as a 1″ stone, and the mortar base is a 2″ stone. These terms are commonly used but the thickness of the stone itself can vary from 3/4″ to 3″. There can and will be movement on flagstone which is set on a base which is not concrete. Maintaining your flagstone patio, or other outdoor structure involves cleaning, sweeping or pressure washing on a low PSI and a fan tip is also recommended. Our flagstone patios our sealed with a “matte” finish penetrating sealer and are not visible to the naked eye that they are being absorbed. The seal will last from 6-12 months. After the initial sealing, the patio may be resealed again at your discretion. If you are placing a BBQ pit or grill atop your flagstone patio be careful not to let grease or drippings on the surface of the flagstone for they can stain the stone and become permanent.
Flagstone is not the only natural stone that is coveted among Austin homeowners for its beauty and unique characteristics. We also use sandstone in many of our projects. Sandstone is created when sand and an alkaline settling is formed under pressure and joined at the uppermost surface of the earth. Slate as well is a rich, deeply undulated natural stone that is popular in building outdoor hardscape structures. Slate and sandstone are very similar in the manner formation of the stone itself occurs. Slate is formed when wide ranges of minerals are compressed in layers near the earths’ surface over time. Slate is however prone to what is called “cleft plane spalling” which is a process where layers separate from the main stone body. Combined with the soft character of slate, these layers can be separated by walking on the surface, dropping or moving items over the surface or an excessive presence of moisture. Due to its’ soft nature, slate is also prone to scratching.
Running only second to flagstones popularity here in the Austin area is Leuders stone, also known as limestone. Limestone is formed when sea beds dry up in layers over time which results in the decay of aquatic organisms. This sedimentation process over time and intense pressure yields limestone. Limestone is basically calcium carbonate which is a pure form of a very soft alkali. Not unlike the other natural stones we have listed, limestone also can be stained or damaged by outside forces. When exposed to acidic properties which are present in wines, sodas, coffees and other beverages it can result in a condition referred to as an “etch mark” which needs to be polished to be removed. Repeated acid or high moisture attack can result in permanent and irreversible stone damage and color change. This stone class can scratch easily under normal wear. Despite the fragile nature limestone has under certain circumstances, it is one of the most beautiful stones we use and as long as it is properly sealed and taken care of can prove to provide years of outdoor enjoyment.
All of these types of stone are excellent choices for masonry projects. They can all be sealed to help prevent staining. These stone make ups are available in a chopped block, patio stone or cap stone. Combining various styles can add more texture and depth to a project. All are extremely durable and will outlast us all as we know since it has already existed for thousands of years. Within these stone types there are an extremely large number of colors and hues. So when choosing your hardscape material for your patio or other outdoor structure, natural stone is a natural indeed.
Contact Archadeck of Austin to learn more about creating a breathtaking hardscape outdoor masterpiece for yourself. (512) 259 – 8282
See more photos of our natural stone patios and hardscapes by visiting our patio and hardscape photo gallery located on our website.
We don’t just build structures to fit the way you want to live, we build structures that support the big moments in your life.
When you think about what motivates homeowners to make the decision to add an outdoor living area to their home and backyard, in many cases the motivating factor that drives them to act upon their decision is a holiday, party or event they have planned for the near future. Let’s say for instance with the holiday season just around the corner, a homeowner may decide to go ahead and add on that new deck, covered porch, or outdoor fireplace with a custom stone patio surround in anticipation of family and friends that are planning to visit and having the structure up and running will create a great place to relax and spend time with family and friends within a unique outdoor setting to make new memories together. It’s almost as though you have the indulgence of an extra “family room” with a unique outdoor setting. Could you imagine having an outdoor kitchen incorporated into your deck or patio that could serve as a secondary food preparation area on Thanksgiving? The hubby can fry the turkey in the outdoor kitchen, and be out of the way, while the lady of the house prepares all the sumptuous side dishes in the house. Having the function of an outdoor kitchen to take some of the stress out of the kitchen, especially if you prepare Thanksgiving dinner for a large crowd, can make “Turkey day” run as smooth as a french silk pie.
The beauty of our business is when a homeowner approaches us and needs their outdoor endeavor completed within a specific time frame most of the time we are able to accommodate their request. We do absolutely everything we can to accommodate it. We always quote a lead time to begin and give an expected completion date and 90% of the time we meet it with 2 or 3 days. Just this month we had a deck that was needed for a wedding, a restaurant deck for an opening last week, and a cabana finished for a party. This week we engaged on a job for a Christmas party mid December. In most cases, if you need it, Archadeck of Austin can have it ready for you within the time frame you need it.
Many outdoor structure builders hesitate to make these kind of promises to homeowners because they lack the project management that is necessary to make sure every aspect of your outdoor structure is run in a professional, timely manner. We make certain on all of our jobs that each specific layer of the building process is set up in the order it needs to be accomplished to avoid delays, and have wiggle room if a problem arises. The keys to being able to deliver what we promise are superior project management, frequent and effective communication with the homeowner, a solid design, and good weather.
Wouldn’t the thought of having your New Year’s Eve bash under the cover of the warm Texas evening on your new deck sound enticing this year? If you dream it, we can build it. The bottom line is that if you need to get a job done to fit your individual schedule we can do it. Contact Archadeck of Austin to learn more and remember, we take care of everything but the weather. (512) 259 – 8282
These Round Rock, TX homeowners have one of the most beautifully lush backyards. Being able to incorporate an outdoor living structures within this backyard could seem like a challenge to some, but not to us. The mingling of the wood and flagstone we used to create this outdoor retreat is mesmerizing set against the beauty of the rush of green in this residence.
These homeowners had an existing concrete patio that was not serving their needs. Our goal was to extend the patio and pour a whole new facet of enjoyment into their backyard. Our design included a covered patio extension complete with an outdoor kitchen and pergola-style roof and another patio that descends from the covered patio to the new outdoor fireplace.
In designing the master plan to transform this Round Rock, TX backyard into a paradise for the senses we first had to overcome some obstacles. The first challenge was to incorporate all the desired structures into the homeowners minimal backyard and also deal with the small elevated back porch. The design we decided upon that would work best was to actually create two structures out of one area by extending the small space to make it larger and adding another space to serve as the focal point for the outdoor fireplace.
We designed an extension of the existing concrete patio and added stone over the top of the concrete for seamless design. We then added the pergola with an extension as well over the patio and added a little slope to compensate for the existing patio being so high. The small round patio located in the design accents the large outdoor fireplace located at the corner. We used a round design for the patio and continued the curved design feature into the fireplace’s eyebrow and hearth.
The medium we chose to cover the patios with is gorgeous Oklahoma flagstone in buff peach. We also used block stone in the design using Autumn blend block stone. The element of the two separate stones working together along with the cedar pergola and the trees on the property is truly breathtaking.
The outdoor kitchen is located inside the patio cover and includes a grill, refrigerator and plenty of electrical outlets. The countertops are finished out with a very nice tile that compliments the homes brick colors. The rustic outdoor fireplace is graciously equipped with custom cedar cabinets above the firebox made especially for housing a television and keeping it safe and dry from the elements.
These Round Rock, TX homeowners couldn’t be more thrilled with the transformation, they say it feels as though they have a whole new backyard. We can create a stunning transformation of your back yard as well, contact Archadeck of Austin to learn more (512) 259 – 8282
Here is a slideshow of this Round Rock, TX backyard oasis that is a feast for the senses….
To see more stunning inspiration of outdoor structure designs visit our photo galleries
For more design inspiration visit our Patio photo gallery
Visit our Outdoor kitchens photo gallery for yummy designs in outdoor kitchens
When you close your eyes at night to dream does your mind take you to a place where you can hear the crackle and feel the warmth of the fire amid comforting images of roasting marshmallows and relaxing with family and friends? Then chances are you are dreaming of your own outdoor fireplace or fire pit. Homeowners are taking their backyards to a new level by adding an outdoor fireplace or fire pit. Owning one of these glorious feast for the eyes and the senses has become the crown jewel of outdoor structures. Being able to entertain, or just “hang out” with the element of fire close at hand takes being outdoors to a place where all your senses come into play, and the result is as unforgettable as some of the outdoor fireplace and fire pit designs that come to us in our dreams.
Deciding to add an outdoor fireplace or fire pit to your backyard, or in addition to your existing outdoor structure can be a big step for many homeowners. Archadeck of Austin has been in the business of creating award-winning outdoor fireplaces and fire pits for our customers here in Austin, TX for many years now, and we know a thing or two about the correct way to ignite quality and style into the construction of your outdoor fireplace or fire pit. Here are some of the important considerations to think about when deciding to add one of these stunning structures to your life.
Light my Fire?
There is more than one method to obtaining fire in your outdoor fireplace or fire pit. There is of course, the traditional wood-burning structure that we are all familiar with. When considering a wood burning structure the dimensions of the fireplace itself are important. The smallest capable wood burning fireplace can be built no smaller than 5×8 and has to be at least 2-3 feet deep in order to function properly.
Outdoor fire structures can also be lit by gas through a gas started system or full burning gas log kits. In either case the “draw” needs to be correct on a fireplace or fire pit, and this can only be achieved by having a professional outdoor fireplace contractor build the structure for you. Improper drawing on a structure such as this can be dangerous and cause a safety hazard, so the chimney itself has to be designed and constructed properly to achieve an appropriate draw.
When considering the design mediums that outdoor fireplaces and fire pits can be built with, typically the wood burning structures are either masonry or stone. Archadeck of Austin uses a great deal of flagstone for our outdoor fireplace and fire pit designs, it looks the part and is a high quality stone that functions well with the fireplace itself. The main aspect when looking at material choices is that they are acceptable for use on a fire structure and that they hold up well under the conditions. Flagstone is strong, beautiful, and can take the heat well and will look gorgeous for many years to come.
Another design consideration is whether to embellish or add anything to the structure. Some homeowners add mantles which can serve as a focal point for your structure. We place the mantle 12″-18″ above so it is not flush with the grade therefore the heat can radiate at a similar level. Mantles provide more aesthetic appeal in form than in function and aren’t really used much. However, fireboxes are a useful addition to your structure. You don’t want the firebox area to be too large, but large enough to hold wood or other essentials. If you are thinking of integrating the firebox into the structure itself, it will have to comply to building codes and be built within certain dimensions.
Fireplaces and fire pits match to a T
As any seasoned outdoor fireplace designer can tell you, outdoor fireplaces and fire pits are the perfect companion to other outdoor structures. They look great built with and alongside covered or uncovered patios, covered porches, pergolas, and even screened porches. It is not just about beauty though, functionality plays a key role in the attraction. Being able to enjoy an outdoor fireplace or fire pit in conjunction with your outdoor structure adds ambiance and fun beyond comparison. There are certain codes and rules associated with building a fireplace in and around another structure that require the chimney and flue stack be a certain elevation higher and a certain distance from surrounding walls, especially where a wood structure is concerned for the risk of heat build-up. In these cases wood will have to be a certain distance away from the structures internal flue. Each state and county has certain criteria to follow for safety reasons and your outdoor fireplace contractor will see that these guideline are met accordingly.
Archadeck of Austin can make your dreams of fireplaces and fire pits come true. We construct dozens of these structures a year. They are not only stunning, but they are a structure the whole family can enjoy. Outdoor fireplaces and fire pits can add value to your home and your life. Here is a video that showcases some of our fireplace and fire pit creations…
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This outdoor living space packs in as much of the “living” part of outdoor living as you can get. Once this structure is completed the homeowners will have plenty of room to entertain in their new outdoor living room, as well as provide a special place for an evening at home. This structure will have it all. It is being built with an outdoor fireplace, and an outdoor kitchen which will be equipped with a Big Green Egg smoker, the patio will also have an area above the fireplace that awaits the installation of the homeowners big HDTV over the fireplace. It doesn’t get any better than this.
Since the detached patio sits in close proximity to the homeowners pool, we are using a CoolDeck concrete floor in the detached patio that matches the surround of the pool itself. The large beams that support the detached patio are housed in beautiful columns that encompass a continuation of the stone with a knee-wall height ledge/border that runs the entire perimeter of the structure. The outdoor fireplace is also finished in stone as well. The combination of the wood and the stone is going to make a stunning ,unique and rustic looking retreat once completed. This structure will be a great place to get away from the stresses and worries of work and obligations, a place to just relax in beauty and relaxation.
The outdoor kitchen is being equipped with all the accoutrements to make the kitchen fully functional on it’s own. The kitchen will have a Big Green Egg smoker, a grill, a side burner, ice maker, refrigerator and a kegerator. Imagine watching the big game on Sunday with the guys in all this convenience and luxury, i can see this outdoor room quickly becoming the “place to be” each weekend.
Did i mention the Big Green Egg? Even though the name makes you imagine the famous children’s author, Dr, Seuss, there are no “green eggs and ham” cooking up in this wonderful smoker. Big Green Egg smokers have become all the rage in outdoor structures and among those that like to grill out in style. These smokers and grills are considered to be one of the worlds best. These smokers are being used by many who cook at the competitive level. Their smokers use smoldering wood and low temperatures to help you create mouthwatering meats that are so tender you won’t need a knife.
Detached patios that are close to pools and other water features, and even lakes, are sometimes referred to as detached cabanas. The two structures are really no different except when you hear the word cabana you imagine the capabilities to be reminiscent of a luxury resort where the water is only a few feet away. Once completed, this structure will have the capabilities that would rival any 5-star resort.
Of course the structure will also have an area for the homeowners big screen HDTV right above the lovely stone fireplace as well and plenty of ceiling fans to stay cool on those warm Texas days. Since this structure is still in progress, we look forward to sharing the photos of the completed structure with you very soon. Until then imagine the things you could do with your very own detached patio, outdoor kitchen and outdoor fireplace and contact Archadeck of Austin to make it happen. (512) 259-8282
Here in the Austin area flagstone is quite popular. We have been using it in a variance of structures, from patios to pathways, flagstone has a rustic elegance about it that can’t be found in any other medium. Here at Archadeck of Austin each of our clients get their own design rendering. These design renderings are never used again, so the structure you get from us, is yours and yours alone. Since flagstone is 100% natural since it is cut from the earth, every piece of flagstone is different as well. No two flagstone projects will be the alike because no two pieces of flagstone are identical.
Deciding which flagstone to use can be a difficult decision because of all the different types, colors and patterns of flagstone there are to choose from. We want this daunting task of selecting the type and color to be a little easier for you and hopefully after you have reviewed this blog, you will have a little better idea of the basics of flagstone selections. When talking about natural stone such as flagstone there are words that are used to describe certain attributes of the stone itself such as undulation which are natural wavelike bends, curves and elevation differences you can see and feel throughout the stone. Veining refers to a pattern or natural markings that are visible in the stone. Swirling means any curving, twisting line or shape visible naturally within the stone.
The Oklahoma family of Flagstone
Oklahoma buff peach is a very popular color. Customers choose this color frequently with its subtle pleasing tones. The variation in the tones of Oklahoma buff peach can vary from peach tones, taupe tones and even gray tones.The surface tends to be smoother and not have as much undulation as some of the other Oklahoma’s.
Other Oklahoma flagstones include the dazzling Chocolate gold, which has quite a bit of undulation and veining. The veining of this flagstone gives it a rich, robust feel. Variances in Oklahoma Chocolate gold can be deep browns, to gray and of course the gold hues as well.
Oklahoma taupe is another favorite of ours. It has a fair amount of undulation but a more neutral feel. It conveys variation of taupe, light gray and earthy browns. This color works well with a lot of different mediums.
Then you have Oklahoma Silver mist. The name itself gives it away. It has a silvery-misty sort of look to it. Color varies from darker grays to light silver, and slight blue undertones.
The Arizona family of flagstone
The Arizona flagstones tend to be more of a sandstone type of stone. They have a Smoother surfacing with less undulation. Not as bumpy as your Oklahoma’s. They have a sandier , flatter look to them.
Arizona buckskin is a good neutral flagstone. Neutral does not mean boring in the case of this flagstone though. When I look at this color I am reminded of a buckskin horse. This color can only be achieved through mother nature. It is rustic, yet elegant, tough yet soft. The natural pigment of the earth is apparent in the hue. It works well with many mediums.
Then there is the beautiful Arizona Rose flagstone. Here in Texas and beyond this is a much coveted color. Arizona Rose is best described as a light brick-red, with natural pink variations and gray undertones. It reminds me of ethnic pottery or the color of the sky right before it disappears into the horizon on a hot Texas night. Even with the entwining of rose and pink variations, this is a great neutral color that will work well with gray all the way to dark brown. Any color where you have gray or brown undertones will only enhance the beauty of Arizona Rose flagstone.
The Mexican family of flagstone
Last but certainly not least we have the Mexican flagstones. This flagstone has a lot of variation in color and movement throughout the stone such as veining and swirling. It is a work of art in itself. As with any flagstone each piece is different, but the beautiful degree of variation in Mexican flagstone makes it a joy to look at.
Mexican Rosewood is probably the finest example of the Mexican flagstones. This color has the hints of terra-cotta you would expect from Mexican pottery, but with variations and swirls of peaches, reds and pinks. Truly original and truly lovely.
Whether you are ready to build your flagstone patio or are just in the decision stages, Archadeck of Austin can help plan, design and build the flagstone structure you’ve been yearning for. We have years of experience building with flagstone and our design staff can help you decide on the flagstone that is right for you. Contact us today to find out more. Call (512) 259-8282 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Outdoor Kitchen Additon by Archadeck of Austin Takes a Pergola to the Flip-Side, With Stunning Results
As you may already know the Texas state motto is “friendship”. Archadeck of Austin has created an outdoor living area that is all about friendship and entertaining. This unique structure boasts an outdoor kitchen and covered porch that is sure to draw this homeowner’s friends and family to their home like a magnet.
These detailings were added to an old home that had an existing patio that was very long and had very high ceilings, about 16’ to the ceiling. We decided to enclose two ends of the patio because of the high winds that are common in this area. We then built an outdoor kitchen at one end and elevated the rear bar section of the outdoor kitchen.
The outdoor kitchen has a full-size refrigerator, a built-in sink, gas grill, side burner, storage and pull-out drawers. We used standard exterior porcelain tile with a bullnose edge and added a unique backsplash to the kitchen area. We used a combination of stone and stucco in the structure to break up the amount of stonework on the house itself.
The most unique feature of this structure is the innovative use of the pergola which you see hanging from the ceiling. We used the pergola in a hanging manner to help lower the ceiling in this massively high structure to “cozy” it up and make it more conducive to feeling like a gathering spot and to also use it to hang lighting features from and add light to the space. We had to install the pergola so it would not swing in the wind. We attached it using large iron chains secured from the pergola to the ceiling joists, we also added cross members between the chains to solidify the structure to ensure no swinging. The chains not only do the tough job of expertly securing the pergola, they also add a rustic charm to the feature.
We then hung the pergola directly over the outdoor kitchen area. All the decorative elements were added to the pergola before we elevated it. The detailed light fixtures are actually made from the antlers of white-tailed deer, adding additional character to this already unique space, and a great element to use as a conversation piece!
This structure is big on Texas style. The homeowner’s selection of wood, and stone add nature inspired beauty to this structure , as well as all the detailing that adds rustic charm. This space will be truly memorable to all who have the opportunity to enjoy it. If you are considering the addition of a “uniquely you” outdoor living space , give Archadeck of Austin a call, we can plan and construct a structure for you that will be memorable for years to come.Call (512) 259-8282
Chilly nights are perfect for gathering around the fire with the ones you love. Whether entertaining friends or just having a family night around the fire making s’mores and memories, a fire pit is the perfect place to gather.
Fire pits add warmth and ambiance to any setting. They radiate a great deal more heat than an outdoor fireplace because the heat can radiate out in multiple directions. October through April in the Texas area, is the time frame you want to add a heated spot to your outdoor get together. The ambiance factor can be used year round by using a low fire in the fire pit for ambiance and it is perfect for roasting those marshmallows. A fire pit is also considerably cheaper to build than a fireplace. In most cases the cost can be up to 75% less than a fireplace. There are numerous design options and materials to choose from when considering the addition of a fire pit. Fire pits can even be equipped with gas and use beautiful glowing glass fire rocks which come in different colors. You can even install a gas star in your fire pit, you guessed it, the flame comes out in a star pattern. With all the versatility and choices of fire pits you can capture the effect and glow of the outdoor fire without sacrificing your budget.
This fire pit built by Archadeck of Austin is a great example of all the beauty and versatility available when planning your fire pit. This fire pit is unique in it’s shape and function. Not only can this fire pit be used for fire, it also has the capability of doubling in the off-season months as a water feature or planter. Incredible versatility was integrated in the design by choosing a corner location for additional seating. This fire pit is also outfitted with a sconce light. If you don’t want to turn up the heat you can always turn up the mood with this gorgeous fire pit.
The fire pit was built atop a stained and scored concrete patio which is all the rage right now. We recommend a broom finish, to avoid slippage and it also allows the stain to appear bolder, resembling a matte finish instead of a shiny finish. The stain color was created to complement the color of the stone used in this project. The cap was done in sandstone, which has lots of veining. On the base and walls we used two different types of flagstone. We used 25% Oklahoma taupe and 75% autumn blend. Autumn blend looks great with sandstone. We tied it all together with a scored ribbon of one color that goes all the way around, we always use a scored ribbon in this manner.
This particular job also entailed an outside bar with a granite cap. On the other end we built a beautiful 12’ bench with an arch and built-in planter. This job came together like beautiful pieces of a puzzle. One feature flowed effortlessly into another to create ease of enjoyment and ambiance. Give Archadeck of Austin a call to plan and build your next outdoor structure. We can create an outdoor oasis in your backyard too.
If you live in the Austin area, you’ll see flagstone patios everywhere. They’re tremendously popular in this area for several reasons. First, they’re very attractive and have a very natural look which compliments that Austin landscape. The stone has a nice rustic feel and also adds subtle depth and texture to your patio.
Cement patios are also very popular right now with stain & stamp and stain & score. All of these concrete styles are very nice but just have a different feel. The feel of the stained concrete will depend largely on the stain color. Darker colors may often look more formal. There are hundreds of patterns and textures you can achieve with stain and stamp. In this scenario, the concrete is stamped to add a pattern that’s either just attractive to look at or a pattern designed to mimic a more natural look – perhaps the look of natural stone.
When looking at flagstone, it’s a great way to finish an existing cement patio or a great finish for a new patio you’re building. With our Archadeck customers, it’s always a popular request. We mainly work with flagstone from Oklahoma, Arizona and Mexico. The Oklahoma Buff Peach is one of our favorite flagstones to work with. The flagstone surface tends to be a smoother and flatter finish than some of the other Oklahomas – not as much undulation. The colors tend to blend with pretty much anything. The top surface tends to also be more consistent. This is important when looking at flagstone. Some of the other colors or varieties can have a more undulating surface which looks beautiful and natural but can be tougher to put your furniture on. Of, if you use it for the top of your bar, it may be tougher to place table settings on.
Some of the other Oklahoma flagstone colors we work with are Arizona Taupe which is similar to Oklahoma Buff Peach but is a little more subtle with all the shades leaning more toward the taupe hues. We also work with Oklahoma Silver Mist flagstone. It also is more subtle because the hues of the various stones all lean more toward gray. But in both the Oklahoma Silver Mist and Oklahoma taupe, you still have that nice unique variety of colors that complement each other and make your patio interesting and one-of-a-kind.
Your one-of-a-kind patio
We like to think that all of our project are one-of-a-kind from a design perspective. And, in reality they are. We never use the same project design twice. Every single customer gets their own rendering, their own architectural plans, and more. Every back yard is different and every family is different in terms of how they want to live in their back yard. What’s nice about flagstone is that every patio is one-of-a-kind. Flagstone is 100% natural and cut from the earth. It is not manufactured so no two stones are completely alike. So not only will the design of your project be one-of-a-kind, but your patio colors and stones are also.
The many colors of Oklahoma Buff Peach
Oklahoma Buff Peach is tremendously popular as I said above. We probably use this more than the other colors. The colors in this group are very subtle and pleasing but they also have enough variety to be interesting and unique. The hues include subtle peach tones, subtle taupe tones and even some subtle gray tones. Here are some pictures from our actual patios to show you the interesting color variations of the natural stone.
Perhaps it’s because this patio above adjoins a richly colored Tigerwood deck, the variation from this stone lot looks more subtle than the next two pictures.
This patio above uses the same flagstone color and you can see a more chocolate shade and darker taupes in addition to a lighter, whiter shade.
In this picture above, there are a bunch of more shades toward the taupe end of the spectrum as well as some darker peach hues.
Here’s another Oklahoma Chocolate Gold patio that’s screened in with some detail about flagstone finishes.
You can tell I am passionate about building with flagstone. Let me know if you have any questions about flagstone. Either use the comments section here, give me a call (512) 259 – 8282 or drop me an email email@example.com.
It seems a bit intuitive that a flagstone patio might not be that difficult to build provided that you have the platform to build the flagstone patio on. Granted the patio you see in the photo directly below is one that is professionally built but let’s look at the basics of building a flagstone patio. Some aspects of building the patio are a little more involved and might surprise you.
What I’d like to do is provide a checklist for you of the questions to ask and things to look for when evaluating builders or masons to build your flagstone patio and also some of the design questions to think about when deciding exactly what you want.
- What shape patio do you want?
- Do you want a decorative or plain facade?
- Do you need any lighting or electrical installed or run through the patio?
Before you have your builder or contractor come out, you will want to think about the shape of patio you would like. Do you want square or rectangular or curvilinear? Curves are hot right now and as you can see above they take your patio design to a completely new level.
Also consider if you want a plain or decorative facade or side of the foundation that supports your patio. A lot of your decision will depend on the height of the patio foundation but also on the final aesthetics you desire. This small detail adds to the cost but ask your builder about options on creating a decorative facade to finish off your patio.
Also consider whether you want electrical installed or run through your patio. If your patio is the only thing that separates your house or deck from your pool, you may need electrical run under or through. Again, ask your builder to help you with these considerations in the building process.
Construction and builder evaluation checklist
- What foundation or patio platform do you have or should you build for your new flagstone patio?
- Will you need your irrigation company to come out prior to building?
- Will the builder attach the patio foundation to your house foundation?
- What material will be used under the mortar and flagstones?
- Is the builder planning on using expansion joints?
- How wide will the mortar joints be?
- How will your flagstone patio be sealed?
- How long should your patio last?
Let’s look at some of these questions so you have a checklist of what to look for when choosing a company to build your patio.
1. Patio platform
Your flagstone patio will need a strong, sturdy, solid and level base for the flagstones. Do you have an existing concrete structure to build the patio on? If so, is it level? If not, make sure the patio builder will be building a concrete foundation that’s suitable for your patio.
Will you need your irrigation company to come out prior to building? If you have have sprinkler heads in the area where your new patio will go, you have two options. You can have your irrigation company come out to move or remove the heads. Alternately, your patio builder should be able to cap the sprinkler heads for you.
3. Will the builder attach the patio foundation to your house foundation?
With most patios, the patio will be abut to your house. When building a foundation for your patio, the builder has 2 choices. They can build the patio foundation to but up against your home’s foundation. Or, the better builders will actually attach the patio foundation to the home’s foundation. At Archadeck, we connect to house foundation slab using rebar every 2 feet. Then we create a 1 ft by 1 ft perimeter footing also strengthened with rebar. It’s really a critical step to ensuring the strength and longevity of your patios. A lot of other companies just simply don’t do any reinforcement to the patio foundation.
4. What material will be used under the mortar and flagstones?
You want to make sure there is some sort of strengthening material across the top of the concrete base where your flagstone will be laid. We use wire mesh to ensure the surface is prepped and ready for the flagstone and mortar.
5. Is the builder planning on using expansion joints?
This is a really important one depending on the size of your patio. Regardless of what we do, over time, many concrete structures will crack due to the movement of the earth below the concrete. So, a good builder will plan for this and “build in” a system to keep the flagstone in tact. We use something called expansion joints. Every 10-12 feet, depending on width of the patio we create control joints which are man-made joints. These joints are essentially man-made cracks in the foundation that are not visible on the top of the patio and here’s why. As I said above, we use a wire mesh to support the flagstone top patio layer that sits above the concrete patio foundation. These very small man-made joints give the concrete foundation room to expand and contract.
6. How wide will the mortar joints be?
One thing that’s very important is to find out how tight the mortar joints will be. You’ve probably seen patios that have a little bit of flagstone and a lot of mortar. That design makes the patio significantly less expensive for the mason but significantly lower quality and aesthetics for you. You want to make sure the builder will use a very tight mosaic pattern so you see mostly flagstone on the top of the patio because your are paying for stone, not mortar.
7. How will your flagstone patio be sealed?
You want to make sure to use a sealer on the top of your flagstone patio after all the mortar has cured. It’s a small but important step. The sealer will be undetectable but keeps moisture from penetrating the stone and keeps mold and mildew out. It also gives your patio a cleaner look. These days, builders and contractors are reluctant to want to come back out for a small step that doesn’t take much time. But that hour or two that they spend sealing your deck could add years to your deck.
8. How long should your patio last?
If done right, you should expect your patio to be maintenance free for about 5-10 years.
Guest post by Wes Vann
We build a lot of flagstone patios. I think they’re popular because they have such a nice, natural rustic look, but they’re a hearty stone and stand the test of time. We work with a lot of colors but recently one of the colors that a lot of customers seem to gravitate to is Oklahoma Buff Peach. Flagstone is a naturally occurring stone so that adds to the natural feel. The naming of the colors represents two things. First, you will note that state name in the color. That really does indicate where it is sourced from. The rest of the color name represents the overall color impression and the variety. For example, Oklahoma buff peach is subtle with a lot of buff and taupe tones. On the other side of the range is a mild peach tone. You can imagine that the shades in between make for a very subtle combination.
Another really hot one right now is Oklahoma Chocolate Gold. This brings to mind very rich variations of stone color from a deep brown to the golden warm colors. The shade shown on the right above is the chocolate gold. You’re seeing a close-up there so here is a look from a little bit farther away so you can see how the color combination blends from chocolate to gold.
Here are some other popular colors right now:
- Oklahoma Taupe flagstone
- Arizona Buckskin Beige
- Arizona Classic Oak
- Arizona Rosa
- Mexican Rosewood
- Mexican Cafe
- Mexican Midnight Iris
Please send along questions or comments or thoughts. I love working with flagstone and love talking about ideas for building using flagstone.