Archadeck of Austin

Posts tagged “Water features

A list of the top ten ways to create an outdoor oasis

Tigerwood deck at tree canopy

Tigerwood deck at tree canopy

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.

Austin covered patio, deck and pergola

A covered patio, deck and pergola may fit the bill for your backyard.

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

Circular spa with natural privacy barrier

This Circular spa with natural privacy barrier has clean lines and delivers a contemporary feel to the space.

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.

Flagstone patio with fire pit, bench retaining wall and adjoining deck

This Flagstone patio with fire pit, bench retaining wall and adjoining deck shows how mixing textures can produce a lovely outcome.

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.

Reading nook on Tigerwood multi-level deck at canopy level

This Reading nook on Tigerwood multi-level deck at canopy level provides a place for intimacy and to spend quiet moments.

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.

Covered patio with custom outdoor limestone fireplace in Austin

Covered patio with custom outdoor limestone fireplace in Austin

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.

Jim Odom Archadeck of Austin

Jim Odom Archadeck of Austin

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.

A fire pit can be used for a lot more than just fires.

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.

Austin fire pit

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.

Fire pit seating area

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.

Thinking about adding a spa and a covered patio for the holiday season? Nine critical considerations.

The best gift to give yourselves this holiday season could be an outdoor spa under a covered patio or pergola or on a deck or patio.

Austin outdoor spa with Tigerwood deck and pergola privacy feature

Austin outdoor spa with Tigerwood deck and pergola privacy feature

A lot of my customers think about adding a spa to their outdoor project and I’d like to walk you through some of the things to consider the same way as I do with my customers.

Circular spa with natural privacy barrier

Circular spa with natural privacy barrier

Consideration 1: spa size

The first thing to do with a spa is to consider the size of the spa that you want. Are you getting a spa for you or you and your spouse to relax and unwind or are you getting the spa to use while entertaining? The most common spa sizes we put in are either 8×8 or 9×9.

Consideration 2: location, location, location

The next thing you want to think about is location. In real estate, the house location is most important. When building a spa deck or adding a spa or hot tub to your outdoor area, the same motto applies – location, location, location.

Consideration 3: privacy

Whether when entertaining or when enjoying your hot tub in the privacy of your own yard, you will likely still want to build in some additional privacy. Think of an area where privacy can be attained naturally through trees and hedges or through building some minimal privacy walls

Wreath on privacy cattle wall

Wreath on privacy cattle wall

I want to add just a couple more ideas about privacy walls. There are so many ways we can build creative privacy walls. You don’t need your privacy wall to be completely apparent. If you notice with the round hot tub above, the privacy wall is actually the natural trees behind the tub location. We built this into the deck design. In the featured picture at the very top, this family wanted the opportunity to decorate a wall based on the various seasons. In the summer they would hang greenery. In the winter, they would decorate according to the holidays. So using the cattle panel, they had this flexibility.

Consideration 4: sun relief

Spas and hot tubs are not only for the colder months. You will enjoy your spa in the warmer months as well. Therefore, you want to think about sun relief. A pergola is often a nice option because you can enjoy the light of the sun but have a small amount of sun relief depending on whether you add a shield on top of the pergola.

Consideration 5: height of spa

Based on my experience, an 18″ recess above the deck or patio level is a great height of the spa. What this allows is a place for you and guests to sit on the side of the spa, remove shoes, and swing your legs around to enter the spa. Another nice thing about keeping the height of the spa low is this generally keeps the protruding height of the spa below window sill level so the spa is not an eyesore from inside the home.

Hot tub spa with deck and covered patio

Hot tub spa with deck and covered patio

Consideration 6: walkaround

You want to make sure to have at least a 4′ walkaround or possibly 6′ if you have a bench. You want to give you and your guests plenty of room to get into the spa and also to disrobe without having any safety or tripping hazards.

Consideration 7: cool-down bench

One thing that I find is very popular is a cool-down bench. This is a bench that sits directly adjacent to and above the spa where people can sit and cool off while still dangling their feet in the spa. They can rest and enjoy a nice cold water or cocktail or just cool down before returning to the spa.

When my customers are doing their research on which spa/hot tub to buy and where to buy it, I always tell them to do their research and I also share my research and experience. Each of the design consultants at Archadeck are free to recommend whichever stores they feel are best. After all, our reputation rests on our word, our designs, our build outs, our service, our TLC before during and after the build, our follow-up, and our recommendations. I take each of these tremendously seriously.

Consideration 8: spa/hot to brand research and selection

As far as which spa/hot tub brand I recommend, I recommend Dimension 1 spas and hot tubs exclusively. I’ve worked with them exclusively for 8 years and I’ve never had one complaint, callback or service call. For a spa store in Austin, I’ve had the same luck with A-Tex spas here in Austin. Since I installed the first A-Tex spa for one of my customers 8 years ago, their delivery and service have been impeccable. I always do recommend though that you do your own research. Once you select the spa you like, we take care of coordinating delivery and installation with your deck or other structure we’re building for you.

Consideration 9: Non hot-tubbers

Likely you plan on using your spa or hot tub for entertaining as well as for personal use. There will be some guests who can’t wait to jump right in. But you will have other guests who want to socialize with the hot-tubbers but want to socialize out of the hot tub. Create an easy place for your other guests to congregate and socialize with the folks in the hot tub. One great way is to build in a bar on one side of the hot tub.

Austin hot tub with bar

hot tubs with bar on one side for guests

When doing your research and considering which contractor/builder for your job, I think the design phase will make it really clear to you who you want to go with. Is the contractor willing to come out to your home and review your vision with you to come up with creative ideas like using one of your prized trees as a natural or green privacy wall? Will they do a CAD design drawing of what your project will look like? At Archadeck, we do these drawings ourselves. They can easily take upwards of 6-8-10 or even 12 hours but we just can’t help ourselves but being excited when we hear your vision and come up with a way to translate that into design. Will your builder give you references to call of other customers? Does your builder offer a standard warranty? These are all questions and considerations as well.