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 (515) 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