Replacing a deck at your northwest Austin home can be somewhat like getting a new car. Your old one seemed fine; you have a history together and you’ve overlooked its quirks. However, as soon as you step into the new one – wow! The difference is astonishing, and now you can see what you’ve been missing.
That comparison comes to mind when you see the before and after pictures of this large outdoor living project that Archadeck of Austin recently completed in the Cat Mountain North area. The original deck was split into two levels overlooking the back yard and swimming pool. The homeowners had decorated each level attractively with potted plants, and overall the space had a comfortable appeal. The deck was “fine” over the years, but there were three problems with it that we were able to address when we designed the replacement deck.
First, neither of the two deck levels was quite large enough. The two separate spaces were a little cramped and not conducive to entertaining or sitting and visiting with family. The homeowners weren’t able to move furniture around easily or add more chairs for a larger group.
Second, the wooden railing of the original deck actually obscured the view of anyone seated on the deck — and also obscured the view of those looking out through the house’s many windows. The pickets, or balusters, were thick at 2×2″, and there was a 6″ horizontal board along the top of the railing, just at eye level for a seated person.
Third, the homeowners were ready to switch from natural wood decking boards (theirs were cedar) to a synthetic composite material. After years of performing deck maintenance, they welcomed the idea of a low-maintenance deck. The composite materials on the market today are as attractive as wood but require less upkeep; at the time when the existing deck was built, fewer options were available.
Premier deck builder Archadeck of Austin drafted a large, sweeping deck design that combined the two levels into one to achieve a much larger usable deck space – almost 1,400 sq. feet. The angled shape of one side of the deck was designed to clear the root zone of a nearby live oak to ensure the deck will not impact health of the tree’s root system.
Austin has “Critical Root Zone” mandates in place to protect trees of a certain size, called heritage trees. We were required to measure any trees near the deck construction. A tree with a circumference of 60” or more is considered a heritage tree, and as it turned out, the live oak next to this deck is large enough to be considered a heritage tree.
The tree’s Critical Root Zone (CRZ) is calculated by a formula, and the CRZ is indicated on the engineer’s drawing by three concentric circles around the tree. The innermost circle indicates the first quarter of the CRZ. Within that inner circle, the new deck construction cannot impact the soil in any way. Between the first and second circles, called the second quarter zone, the new deck construction can impact the soil up to 4″ deep, but no deeper. Finally, between the second circle and the outermost circle, another formula determines the depth of soil impact allowed. As you can tell from the drawing, every inch of the Critical Root Zone was mapped out in the design of the new deck.
Because the entire deck structure needed to be replaced, including the footings and support beams, we performed a huge amount of demolition before we could install the new materials.
The homeowners selected AZEK, a cellular PVC decking product, for their new decking material. To complement the Autumn Chestnut color deck boards, they selected a Solutions aluminum railing system in bronze. What a difference! The new railings and pickets are darker and thinner, allowing a clean view from the deck and from within the house. The Solutions aluminum railing is an excellent choice for another reason: it will never rust and has a lifetime warranty (as opposed to a 15-year warranty for steel).
This extensive outdoor living project included these elements as well:
- Retaining wall: We removed the original brick retaining wall and added a new wall in white limestone to match the house stone.
- Under-deck storage: Instead of building a typical wood skirting around the deck, we framed out the deck’s underside, built a solid wall from AZEK and installed a door. Now the homeowners have lots of storage adjacent to the pool, and it’s invisible to onlookers – no clutter!
- Poolside hardscape: A concrete overlay was applied by another company to cover the existing concrete surround in order to create a durable and attractive limestone effect.
- Poolside fencing: We replaced the existing wooden privacy fence with a board-on-board design, in cedar, and added custom gates. The board-on-board design keeps pickets from bowing, creates a sturdier fence in case of wind and is more attractive.
- Deck lighting: Twelve LED lighting fixtures were incorporated into the aluminum railing posts along the deck and beside the stairs for ambiance and safety. Each small, teardrop fixture projects light in two directions – up the post and down onto the deck surface – and each LED uses only 1W of power!
Is it time for a deck replacement at your house? If you are ready to explore ideas for redesigning your outdoor living space, contact Archadeck of Austin today at (515) 259-8282 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free design consultation.
When is the last time you were told “satisfaction is not guaranteed“? Probably never! However, if you are looking at Austin patio ideas and are thinking about getting your existing patio stained, we ask you to give some more thought to that before you proceed. Archadeck of Austin can offer a better solution.
Perhaps you have wanted to give your old patio new life and considered staining to be like a face lift for concrete. You may have seen a neighbor’s patio that was stained, and maybe they were thrilled with it. We want to caution you about expecting the same results at your home. There is just no way of knowing how staining will turn out. Here is the truth: Staining concrete is so unpredictable that we ask our clients to sign a disclaimer before we will stain their concrete surfaces.
The best thing about staining is the price. It is the most affordable option if you simply want a new look for your patio. But is it worth the risk? We have stained patios with mixed results — and it’s not just us. We don’t want to get too technical here, but the most important factor is the condition of the concrete. How porous is the surface? And is that porosity uniform across the entire surface? Does the patio show any (unintentional) stains, maybe from fruit punch spilled during a long-ago birthday party?
Keep in mind that while stain adds color to concrete, it does not cover up markings already there. Stain does not cover a surface the way paint does; it permeates the concrete. If a concrete sealer was applied to your patio in years past, that sealer will affect the results of staining today. How well was the concrete cured, originally, and was it cured uniformly? Was a curing membrane applied to the concrete? There may be a lot you don’t know about that patio you see every day. Inconsistent sealing or curing, no matter how long ago, will lead to inconsistent results when the patio is stained.
Archadeck of Austin recommends resurfacing, also called concrete overlay, instead of staining a patio to give it new life. We can show you exactly how it will turn out. If its surface is even and has no large cracks, your patio is a good candidate for resurfacing. We will apply a concrete overlay, a cement-like material that we spray or spread over your patio to give it a new surface.
Even better, you can select a decorative finish for your patio such as the look and texture of stone. We can achieve the look of stone by stenciling or stamping the overlay after it’s applied. We can show you a wide range of textures and colors for your “new” patio. You can even request a slip-resistant surface if that feature is important to you! What’s more, we recommend installing the concrete overlay near a pool, if you have one, because the new surface is less likely to be damaged by pool chemicals or exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
In a hurry? Many concrete overlay products dry quickly. Don’t wait to call us! If you would like to learn more about updating your patio without having to remove it and start over, contact Archadeck of Austin today at (515) 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 (515) 259-8282 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This patio cover in Austin, TX, by Archadeck of Austin is a true masterpiece of design. As you can clearly see from the images, the space appears as if it has stepped off the pages and into reality from one of those glossy home & garden magazines. Jim Schallon, our lead designer, came up with the concept on this structure.
Even though some would say this patio cover serves as the ultimate outdoor man cave area, the benefits of the space exceed just enjoying the big game outdoors. This space serves a multitude of uses, it can evolve as your needs evolve. From outdoor entertaining to relaxing by the fire. The presence of the TV provides a space for family movie night, watching home videos and much more! The possibilities are as endless as the imagination.
The floor of the patio features a textured overlay finish, this was present on both the existing (older) patio and the new concrete patio and featured a custom designed Texas Star in the center. Having the advantage of a textural finish for the patio not only increases the aesthetic appeal of the space adding to the rustic nuances present in the natural stone used throughout the project, it also increases traction within the space. This makes the area easy to navigate even when outside weather conditions may be damp.
The focal point of the space is surely the large outdoor fireplace. Archadeck of Austin designed and built this fire feature and custom fire boxes attached using the same all natural stone used on the facade of the existing home. Since the homeowner’s wanted to attached a TV over the mantel of the fireplace, we ingeniously created a built-in space under the hearth that holds the electronic equipment for the TV. By working with the homeowner’s audio-visual professional, conduit was ran to perfect this feature and in addition a speaker system was installed within the ceiling of the space. Not only is the addition of these elements innovative, it also ensures the wiring and cords stay out of view promoting a clean, wireless atmosphere.
The exterior sunshades directly behind the outdoor fireplace were installed by a local company here in Austin. Austintatious Blinds that specializes in a diverse array of blind and shutter solutions. From custom wood shutters to polyscreens and other shade materials for exterior and interior residential and commercial use. These retractable shades allow the homeowners to block out the late afternoon sun.
The ceiling of the patio cover is simply stunning! We used Synergy Cypress E-Peck tongue and groove to get this amazing rustic look. Synergy products require no staining or sanding and come with an exterior grade protective polyurethane finish. You can also see a continuation of the rustic nuances evident in the ceiling are carried through the entire design including the cedar-wrapped posts. The railing we used is also cedar with aluminum balusters.
Take a look at this amazing project through the video we created for our Archadeck of Austin YouTube channel:
The homeowners are elated with the design, the process and of course, the finished patio cover!
If you would like to learn more about creating the ultimate outdoor room for your home, contact Archadeck of Austin today at (515) 259-8282 or via email at email@example.com.
Our recent covered patio and pergola addition in Leander, TX, proves that a space doesn’t have to be large to have a BIG impact
I think, often times, when a client looks to us to improve their outdoor living space or establish a new one, the assumption is the project has to be large in order to be effective. This is certainly not the case. A good outdoor living space design should not only speak to the scale of your existing home and landscape, it should also speak to the function you wish to carry out within the space as well as your budget.
Here at Archadeck of Austin our goal is to provide you with the most value through an outdoor living space that is customized to fit your specific needs. Not a cookie-cutter duplication or design. One of our most recent projects in Leander, TX, serves as the perfect example of an outdoor space that delivers based on functionality and keeping in scale with the architecture of the existing home rather than sheer size.
When we first met with the homeowners to discuss their anticipated design, their only outdoor living space consisted of a small concrete builder-grade concrete patio. The homeowners wanted a space that was more conducive to the way they wanted to live outdoors. The patio has also been plumbed for the addition of a sink which influenced their desire to make sure their new space would include an outdoor sink.
Our completed design enhances the entire aesthetic and function of the backyard of this home. The new outdoor living space includes a gable roofed patio cover and freestanding pergola. To accommodate the needs of the client, Archadeck of Austin extended the existing patio with a curved orientation and added brick columns to match the masonry of the existing home. Cedar posts were used to support the roofed structures in unison with the brick columns. The pergola is supported by the roof extension of the covered patio portion of the design.
The interior ceiling of the patio cover features beautiful T1-11 with exposed rafters stained to add rustic flair to the area. An outdoor sink was installed, much to the owners pleasure, and this area includes a serving island and counterspace. Take a look at the before and after images of the transformation of this backyard beyond builder grade:
If you are ready to learn more about transforming your outdoor living space into the perfect backyard destination for you and your family, contact Archadeck of Austin to learn more at (515) 259-8282 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Spending time outdoors is something we all wish we could do more of. With such a unique layout to this Westlake Hills outdoor living space, these homeowners can live the outdoor lifestyle to its fullest potential. Combining a backyard kitchen next to a cozy outdoor living space opens up a plethora of options on how to use their outdoor oasis every night.
From hosting a girl’s night dinner party to spending a relaxing evening in the hot tub watching the game, this multiple outdoor living space becomes the main hub of the home. Nestled at the bottom of Texas’ hill country in Westlake Hills, this covered porch/patio was designed around an existing fireplace giving the impression that you are far from the city. When in retrospect it’s only a quick fifteen-minute drive to the downtown Austin area, giving the best of both worlds.
When designing this Westlake Hills covered porch the outdoor living lifestyle of the client was incorporated for easy access from the pool to the 10-person dining area. Whether planning to have a large pool party or dinner poolside with the kids, easy access ensures that having a spot to dry off and wind down after a swim is never an issue.
This spacious covered patio integrates multiple living spaces allowing the homeowners to enjoy the outdoors to its fullest potential. The fully equipped outdoor kitchen ensures no one misses out on the fun. The cupboards provide storage space for outdoor kitchen ware while the sink and refrigerator complete the kitchen’s purpose for never having to step foot back inside.
Posing as a second living room, the outdoor furniture was perfectly placed by the homeowners between the pool and fire helping them escape to their happy place. The space harmonizes to ensure that enjoying a glass of wine with your feet up next to the warm fire while also being able to keep an eye on the kids in the pool provides the perfect setting for a relaxing Friday night.
No matter the day of the week this outdoor oasis in the hills will help you escape after a long day. Contact Archadeck of Austin at (515) 259-8282 or via email at email@example.com to schedule a free design consultation for your outdoor hideaway.
This project takes us to Lost Creek, directly beside Barton Creek in Southwest Austin. These homeowner’s hold a special place in our hearts here at Archadeck of Austin as we have worked with much of their family on previous projects and as always, they are a joy to design and build for.
The design of this porch cover began to take shape after the homeowners requested a remodel to their existing elevated, back deck. They wanted a larger space that would accommodate family and friends and also a measure of shade. As part of their goal to revamp the entire home, they started with the area that they planned to utilize the most frequent — the rear deck.
Upon inspection, we determined that the existing decking or the original space was in poor condition. Archadeck of Austin then removed the old deck and extended the footprint to better take in the scenic hilltop views. We used Fiberon Horizon low-maintenance decking in Tudor Brown. Horizon decking boards are capped (or covered) on all four sides with a patent-pending PermaTech® surface material. Four-side capping increases durability, enhances stain and fade resistance, and ensures a more polished appearance all around. Plus, Horizon boards feature two different wood grain patterns on the top and bottom for more design options and less on-the-job material waste. Horizon Decking also never needs sanding, staining or sealing which will allow these homeowners less worry of maintenance and more time for enjoyment in the new space!
In addition to upgrading the deck, we also installed an aluminum Structall patio cover with a stucco embossed finish to add shade and protection from the weather. Traditional wood frame covers require more maintenance and their construction can be costly, drawn-out and inconvenient. Structural aluminum covers install quickly, are more durable, require less maintenance, and can be easily converted to a room enclosure later. Structall covers are attractive. Their continuous textured surface is available in stucco or cedar embossed finishes, These enamel finishes are baked onto the metal surface, making them virtually maintenance-free. Structall covers are also durable and engineered to last.
To gain the desired height of the patio cover, Archadeck of Austin redesigned the placement of the addition by raising the beam 1.5′ enabling it to sit higher on the home’s roof. The original placement meant the structure would come off the home’s soffits, however through ingenious design we were able to provide the height the clients preferred.
The finished project is everything, and more, these Lost Creek homeowners had imagined. Now they can spend limitless weekends and afternoons with their close-knit family, grilling outdoors with a stunning view of the world around them —life is Good.
If you are interested in making the most out of your outdoors with a new or improved outdoor living space, contact us today to discover how our custom, one-of-a-kind outdoor living designs can make it happen! You can reach us at ( 512) 259 – 8282 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.