A wise man once asked, When you have a big ol’ back yard, why be satisfied with a teeny-tiny, little patio? We like where he was going with that thought! And we would add, Especially here in Texas!
While it’s not entirely true that EVERYTHING’S bigger in Texas, Archadeck of Austin is doing our part to make it so, one patio at a time. The project we’re featuring today is a perfect example. The homeowners had a small patio at their back door. The door to the patio was also small, just a single door. The homeowners had big dreams of a better lifestyle that included a whole lot more patio enjoyment. To remedy the situation, they called Liberty Hill patio designer Archadeck of Austin.
Take a look before we began the project:
Our mission: increase the patio size, build a total shade pergola over most of the new patio area, add a fire pit, and install larger patio doors. Patio enjoyment would be theirs in no time.
Patio Builder Archadeck of Austin Makes Little Patios Bigger
Our first order of business was to increase the patio size. Hardscapes and patios are some of our specialties! For this project, we built the additional patio areas with concrete, and we added a nice stamped overlay finish. We kept the patio width the same on one side, but on the other side we extended the patio along the length of the house. We extended the middle section of the patio out into the yard, the perfect spot for a fire pit. We ended the middle section with a rounded shape where we nestled the round fire pit. The patio encircles the fire pit beautifully with room for family and guests to pull up chairs all the way around the entire circle.
The homeowners wanted a custom wood-burning fire pit, and for their fire pit materials, they selected white limestone with nicotine. The stone stands out nicely against the new, textured patio surface. It’s clear that we designed the rounded patio section and the fire pit to complement each other perfectly. The homeowners and their guests will spend many relaxing hours under the stars, mesmerized by the fire in their new fire pit.
The tiny, original concrete slab patio was covered by a roof, completely shaded, and that was the one thing about the original patio the homeowners liked. They definitely wanted the extended patio to be shaded, too – except the end that would be reserved for fire-gazing and star-gazing.
For shade, we designed a custom pergola made of cedar that does more than just provide shade. It transforms the concrete patio from “a place in the sun” into “the place to be.” The big, sturdy pergola, with ornamental cuts on the ends of the support beam and the rafters, makes a statement! It is boldly decorative, and it also provides shelter. The homeowners wanted complete shade as well as protection from inclement weather, so we added a polycarbonate sheet on top of the pergola to make the patio weatherproof.
Patio Windows Can Easily Become Patio Door
The homeowners wanted bigger patio doors, and they wanted those doors to offer a view of the back yard. Their original patio door gave them a view of a brick wall. Meanwhile, they had two nice-sized windows overlooking the patio and the back yard. Yes, these windows were occupying the space nature had surely intended for the placement of doors. Big doors that were also windows! The solution: remove the windows and install a pair of sliding glass doors.
Archadeck of Austin was up to this challenge. We removed the brick below the windows, removed the windows, and created a new door opening big enough for a set of sliding glass doors. Once we installed the new doors, we rebricked around them so you can’t even tell work has been done there. On the interior, we put in new drywall and headers above the doors. Our standards are high, and we do very good interior finish work when it’s called for. Inside and outside, the area surrounding the new doors looks impeccable and undisturbed. The homeowners have the bigger doors they wanted and a better view of the amazing new patio and the back yard.
Is There Anything Else We Can Do for You?
Clients are accustomed to seeing the “pretty” side of the work we do, but sometimes there’s another side, too. As part of this project, we also installed a drainage system for the yard. The homeowners had found that water running off of the house wasn’t draining well due to the slope and topography of the lot. We used a catch bucket and basin system to distribute any water from left to right to prevent rainwater from flooding the patio.
Now these Liberty Hill TX homeowners have a much bigger patio with plenty of shade and room for grilling and dining outdoors. After dinner, they’ll enjoy their new fire pit. They couldn’t be happier with their combination patio-pergola-fire pit outdoor living project.
Are you ready to transform your outdoor living area? We can custom design and build a covered patio, fire pit, or whatever it will take to improve your outdoor living space. Call Archadeck of Austin today at 512-259-8282 or email us to schedule your free design consultation.
When this NW Austin homeowner hired Archadeck of Austin to replace her existing wood deck, she didn’t know that her porch cover was in need of shoring up. In the process of removing the old deck, we discovered that the porch cover was no longer structurally sound. The beam that was holding it up was not strong enough to support the roof load it was carrying. See a picture of the deck and porch cover before we began the project below:
Since being advised prior to ordering the materials that she should fix the porch at the same time as the deck we included the materials needed as part of the total work order.
We conferred with the homeowner about this issue because replacing that beam and adding new support posts were tasks not included in the scope of our project. The homeowner agreed that replacing the porch roof’s support structure — while we were already in the same spot building a new deck — was a good idea. This was definitely a safety issue.
Now the homeowner has a sweet new deck with a sturdy and well-supported porch cover. For the new deck construction, she selected low-maintenance AZEK composite decking in Mahogany. Notice the deck board at the end, the way it runs perpendicular to the other boards. This is called picture framing, a method Archadeck of Austin uses now on most of our composite and PVC decks.
Picture framing allows us to provide a nice, clean, finished edge around the deck perimeter. It creates an even edge for the fascia and deck boards so debris and dirt won’t accumulate between those components. That kind of debris accumulation can rot the substructure.
We had room to expand the depth of the deck by about four feet, which may not sound like a lot, but it does make the deck feel much more spacious. While a portion of the deck is covered for protection from sun and rain, a significant portion remains uncovered for those beautiful days when nothing will do but to sit out in the open.
To support the porch cover, we added a new Glulam beam along its front edge. If you’re not familiar with Glulam beams, let’s just say this beam is a workhorse. Technically, Glulam is glued laminated timber. It’s “pound for pound” stronger than steel and much stronger than regular, comparably-sized lumber. And the adhesives used in the lamination process are moisture resistant.
We supported the new overhead beam with pressure-treated wood framing, and we wrapped the new support posts with cedar. Instead of using lattice screen under the deck, we used Hardie skirt board for a cleaner, more streamlined appearance. We shifted the stairs away from the building to improve traffic flow to and from the deck.
The homeowner selected the Fortress rail system in the black sand color with 2″ posts because they allow more of the view of the sloping back yard. She plans to fill the hillside with landscaping, using only plant material native to Austin.
Are you thinking of replacing your aging deck or other outdoor living structures? If you want the job done professionally, contact Archadeck of Austin today at (512) 259-8282 or via email at email@example.com to schedule a free design consultation.
Ah, the sun, glorious sun! When we feel chilly, sunlight warms the skin and thaws the chilly spots. But when we’re already warm … that big Texas sunshine can be downright uncomfortable. Escape is all we can think of. A sun umbrella? Not big enough. A porch roof? Aha! That’s the ticket. A new porch cover built by Archadeck of Austin? The best!
Archadeck of Austin was able to help these North Austin homeowners reclaim their backyard patio. The family enjoyed using their backyard pool, but the adjoining patio, uncovered, seemed to be a magnet for blistering sunshine that made sitting outside unbearable. They wanted to turn their unusable patio into an area where they could relax outdoors without being driven inside by the hot sun. A new porch roof would provide the comfort they craved.
The homeowners first met with Archadeck of Austin a year ago. In terms of ideas, they were ready to proceed with a covered patio/porch project, but their budget was not. They estimated they would be ready in early 2017. Fortunately, they were able to start a little sooner; they called us back in December 2016, ready to roll.
Our first task was to repair a large crack in the existing concrete patio. We cut out that portion of the concrete and filled it back in, and at the same time we added two more feet to the patio’s depth. The patio is now 24′ x 14′ — more space for outdoor living! While we were working with the concrete, we added a conduit so the homeowner could hook up his gas line with a flex line to grill out beyond the patio. That’s a convenience he will appreciate for years to come. Of course, the concrete cut-out/replacement and the additional square footage blend in seamlessly with the original patio surface.
After repairing and enlarging the patio, we were ready to build the all-important porch roof. The addition of a roof is what changes this area from a simple patio into a porch — and into a new-and-improved outdoor living space. We were able to match the style and color of the home’s existing shingles so it all blends nicely.
Under the roof is a vaulted ceiling made of beautiful Synergy Wood, hand-stained and prefinished wood with warm, rich tones. At the back of the porch, a ridge wall and flat ceiling/soffit, also built with Synergy Wood, provide a handsome transition from the painted porch wall to the vaulted wood ceiling. We added a full electrical package with a ceiling fan and built-in recessed lighting, and the homeowner mounted a flat-screen TV along the back wall. In the soffit area, we made sure to place the recessed lighting behind the TV so the images on the screen are not diluted when lights are on and the television is in use.
While the back of the porch roof is tied into the home, the front rests on Hardie-wrapped beams and columns, which we painted to match the home. We added stone coping at the bottom of the columns to match what had been used around the hot tub and pool.
At the very end of the project, Sundek (the company that originally surfaced the home’s concrete pool surround) applied a cool-coat finish to the concrete. This finish provides a comfortable walking surface for bare feet by reducing heat build-up. It’s cooler than regular concrete, brick or tile, and it’s slip resistant, too!
The homeowners added comfy porch furniture and, voila! They have a comfortable, inviting covered porch enhanced by a ceiling fan, lights and TV. Gone is the blistering heat of the uncovered patio, a place no one wanted to be! They love, love, love their new outdoor living space and look forward to spending many relaxing hours there.
If you would like to learn more about turning your patio into a porch fitted out for relaxing and entertaining, or about combining a porch and patio with other outdoor living structures, contact Archadeck of Austin today at (512) 259-8282 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free design consultation.
Replacing a deck at your northwest Austin home can be somewhat like getting a new car. Your old one seemed fine; you have a history together and you’ve overlooked its quirks. However, as soon as you step into the new one – wow! The difference is astonishing, and now you can see what you’ve been missing.
That comparison comes to mind when you see the before and after pictures of this large outdoor living project that Archadeck of Austin recently completed in the Cat Mountain North area. The original deck was split into two levels overlooking the back yard and swimming pool. The homeowners had decorated each level attractively with potted plants, and overall the space had a comfortable appeal. The deck was “fine” over the years, but there were three problems with it that we were able to address when we designed the replacement deck.
First, neither of the two deck levels was quite large enough. The two separate spaces were a little cramped and not conducive to entertaining or sitting and visiting with family. The homeowners weren’t able to move furniture around easily or add more chairs for a larger group.
Second, the wooden railing of the original deck actually obscured the view of anyone seated on the deck — and also obscured the view of those looking out through the house’s many windows. The pickets, or balusters, were thick at 2×2″, and there was a 6″ horizontal board along the top of the railing, just at eye level for a seated person.
Third, the homeowners were ready to switch from natural wood decking boards (theirs were cedar) to a synthetic composite material. After years of performing deck maintenance, they welcomed the idea of a low-maintenance deck. The composite materials on the market today are as attractive as wood but require less upkeep; at the time when the existing deck was built, fewer options were available.
Premier deck builder Archadeck of Austin drafted a large, sweeping deck design that combined the two levels into one to achieve a much larger usable deck space – almost 1,400 sq. feet. The angled shape of one side of the deck was designed to clear the root zone of a nearby live oak to ensure the deck will not impact health of the tree’s root system.
Austin has “Critical Root Zone” mandates in place to protect trees of a certain size, called heritage trees. We were required to measure any trees near the deck construction. A tree with a circumference of 60” or more is considered a heritage tree, and as it turned out, the live oak next to this deck is large enough to be considered a heritage tree.
The tree’s Critical Root Zone (CRZ) is calculated by a formula, and the CRZ is indicated on the engineer’s drawing by three concentric circles around the tree. The innermost circle indicates the first quarter of the CRZ. Within that inner circle, the new deck construction cannot impact the soil in any way. Between the first and second circles, called the second quarter zone, the new deck construction can impact the soil up to 4″ deep, but no deeper. Finally, between the second circle and the outermost circle, another formula determines the depth of soil impact allowed. As you can tell from the drawing, every inch of the Critical Root Zone was mapped out in the design of the new deck.
Because the entire deck structure needed to be replaced, including the footings and support beams, we performed a huge amount of demolition before we could install the new materials.
The homeowners selected AZEK, a cellular PVC decking product, for their new decking material. To complement the Autumn Chestnut color deck boards, they selected a Solutions aluminum railing system in bronze. What a difference! The new railings and pickets are darker and thinner, allowing a clean view from the deck and from within the house. The Solutions aluminum railing is an excellent choice for another reason: it will never rust and has a lifetime warranty (as opposed to a 15-year warranty for steel).
This extensive outdoor living project included these elements as well:
- Retaining wall: We removed the original brick retaining wall and added a new wall in white limestone to match the house stone.
- Under-deck storage: Instead of building a typical wood skirting around the deck, we framed out the deck’s underside, built a solid wall from AZEK and installed a door. Now the homeowners have lots of storage adjacent to the pool, and it’s invisible to onlookers – no clutter!
- Poolside hardscape: A concrete overlay was applied by another company to cover the existing concrete surround in order to create a durable and attractive limestone effect.
- Poolside fencing: We replaced the existing wooden privacy fence with a board-on-board design, in cedar, and added custom gates. The board-on-board design keeps pickets from bowing, creates a sturdier fence in case of wind and is more attractive.
- Deck lighting: Twelve LED lighting fixtures were incorporated into the aluminum railing posts along the deck and beside the stairs for ambiance and safety. Each small, teardrop fixture projects light in two directions – up the post and down onto the deck surface – and each LED uses only 1W of power!
Is it time for a deck replacement at your house? If you are ready to explore ideas for redesigning your outdoor living space, contact Archadeck of Austin today at (512) 259-8282 or via email at email@example.com to schedule a free design consultation.
You want the very best builder for your Austin-area outdoor living project. You also want a builder who will work with you, no matter how long it takes, to design and build the deck, porch or patio that is perfect for your home. Want more? How about a national award-winning deck designer and builder right here in Austin, TX?
Archadeck of Austin answers “Yes!” to all of the above. We are very proud to have received Archadeck Outdoor Living’s national Design Excellence Award in the deck category. We are also very proud of the award-winning project we designed and built – a unique deck, pergola and outdoor kitchen combination in the Forest Creek neighborhood of Round Rock, TX. Take a look at these photos and a 3-D rendering, and let us tell you why we’re so pleased with this special outdoor living space. The homeowners are pleased, too!
The winning project, completed in January, is an exquisite AZEK PVC deck with stone skirting, outdoor kitchen and oversized, freestanding pergola. The 12-foot kitchen counter accommodates a built-in propane grill, Big Green Egg smoker, in-counter cooler and built-in trash container. The deck also features flush-mounted low-voltage lighting.
The clients first contacted us for this project three years ago. They had a well-lived deck, and we agreed it was past time to replace it. Our initial design featured a concrete patio, roof extension and pergola. The homeowners took their time making a decision while they considered several builders and designs. Later we circled back to propose an alternate design, a deck with an outdoor kitchen and a large, non-conventional pergola that covered the entire deck. Bingo! Archadeck of Austin had the right design at the right time.
Despite this being a relatively low-risk deck, we faced several design challenges. First, the pergola took considerable thought because we wanted to use as few posts as possible. Fewer posts in the traffic areas allow maximum usable space for furniture without crowding. Then, cedar spans would not work with conventional dimensions, so we upsized all the structural elements and used a polycarbonate cover over the pergola to get the shade required.
The home had an original concrete patio off the back door for which we ripped framing boards for the structure. There was just enough space to get adequate framing down between the deck board and the patio.
Next, we had to completely close off the under-deck space because the clients had previous issues with animals nesting under the old deck. By surrounding the new deck with a stone skirt over concrete footings – nothing will get under this deck. However, the stone skirt itself presented two complications. The stone had to be ground flat to allow for the deck boards to die seamlessly into the stone and not look jagged. And we had to complete all the electrical wiring before we could install the decking.
Finally, the kitchen and the stone column bases also had to be constructed prior to the decking. All have concrete footings, so staging of construction was interesting.
The results are beautiful. The homeowners chose Azek Harvest cellular PVC decking in the new Autumn Chestnut color, and we laid the boards diagonally with a parting board for visual interest. The stone used for the deck skirting and the pergola’s column bases is white limestone, and the caps on the column bases are brown Lueders limestone. The same brown Lueders stone tops the 12-foot kitchen counters, tying it all together visually as one great outdoor room. Finishing off the space are three Aurora Phoenix flush-mount low-voltage sconce lights, the Pyxis Recessed Louvered Step Light and the Mercer transformer/timer. Archadeck of Austin installed electrical connections for two fans, three lights and six outlets for the homeowners’ convenience.
To be recognized for this project by Archadeck Outdoor Living at the national level as an award-winning deck builder means a great deal to the Archadeck of Austin team. The project was very well thought through, and we had a lot of fun building it. The structure itself was not complicated, but we packed in a lot of design considerations and features to make it a wonderful place for entertaining family and guests. We were able to integrate the new structure seamlessly with the existing home, which is what the homeowners were looking for all along.
If you are looking for a creative design for your new outdoor living space, and a hard-working team to bring it to life, contact Archadeck of Austin today at (512) 259-8282 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free design consultation.
When Archadeck of Austin began work on this project it was a diamond in the rough…
The homeowners had an existing porch that was nearly void of space to extend outdoor living activities. Their goal was to not only extend the existing space to enhance versatility but to also create an area that was more conducive to use alongside their newly installed backyard pool.
The project posed some difficult roofline obstacles due to the pitch of the roof of the existing home. Archadeck of Austin was able to come up with a final design that flows perfectly as if the new porch was original to the home.
The space is finished with HardiePlank siding matching the home on the exterior, along with a seamless gutter system. For aesthetics, the post system utilizes larger than normal posts which we wrapped in Cedar. We also created a wall that features a Touchstone drop down TV lift for easy access. The interior of the covered porch glows with beautiful details such as the Synergywood ceiling in Pine in Auburn. Take a look at the beautiful transformation in our project focus video from our YouTube channel:
These homeowners are beyond satisfied with their final project. Now they can enjoy their new backyard pool along with the covered porch simultaneously. If you are ready to make the most out of the time you spend outdoors, contact Archadeck of Austin today at (512) 259-8282 or via email at email@example.com to schedule a free design consultation.
This Spacious Cedar Park, TX, Patio-Pergola-Fire-Pit Combination Pairs the Natural Beauty of Flagstone and Cedar
What could be better than a big, beautiful flagstone patio just outside your back door? How about a double flagstone patio with a grand cedar pergola for shade at one end and a stone fire pit for warmth and ambiance at the other end? Archadeck of Austin recently completed such a combination outdoor living addition in Cedar Park, Texas, and the homeowner can’t wait to show it off.
The first two things you notice here are the spacious patio, with its unique curvy shape, and the beauty of the multi-blend Oklahoma flagstone. Equally as impressive is the rustic cedar pergola, and this pairing of natural flagstone and cedar is stunning. In character with its Texas setting, this pergola is stronger and “beefier” than some because it features big, 6″ x 6″ posts, exceeding the normal standards for pergola construction. Since shade is so valuable on sunny Texas days, we designed the pergola with 2″ x 2″ slats across the top spaced every 3″ apart to enhance the structure’s shade benefits. Strings of party lights hanging from the pergola’s rafters turn this section of the patio into the ideal spot for outdoor dining any time, day or night.
On cooler evenings, the family will be drawn to the opposite end of the large patio where a matching stone fire pit will provide warmth as well as cozy ambiance. This is a gas-burning fire pit with a 36″ burner that heats rock and blue glass stones. The result is a highly effective and beautiful fire pit with stones that glow with firelight and put off a lot of heat. Don’t you love the custom-designed Texas star pattern of the blue glass stones in the fire pit?
Family and friends will naturally gather around the fire pit to share stories, sing campfire songs or just get lost in the hypnotic glow of the flames. This Texas-size patio is large enough that quite a few people can gather by the fire for warmth and camaraderie. The homeowner chose to add a seating wall on one side of the fire pit while leaving the other side open for patio furniture that can be rearranged depending on the need. The seating wall was built with natural limestone that complements the flagstone patio but doesn’t compete with it for attention.
This patio floor is built to exceed the standards for patio builders in the Austin area. Most builders only use a layer of decomposed granite with grout mixed in as the base for their patios. Archadeck of Austin actually poured a solid, full-scale concrete patio to use as the patio’s base. This is because, over time, this patio will not sink, tile chip or joints crack with this method. This gives the patio a longer life with no chance of incurring structural issues due to weather conditions or time.
Archadeck of Austin started this gorgeous project with a “blank slate” because, before we built this addition, the rear of the house simply opened into the backyard. The finished patio makes great use of an area that was once void, so this project can serve as inspiration for anyone presently lacking an outdoor living space!
If you would like to learn more about creating such an inviting outdoor living space right outside your back door, contact Archadeck of Austin today at (512) 259-8282 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.