No matter which part of the country you live in there is no denying the allure of autumn. It is true that here in Austin our close proximity to the gulf makes us a spot filled with year round warmth, with spring and fall being hard to even tell apart. Our mild autumn temperatures however, still provide evenings filled with a “nip” in the air perfect for enjoying hot apple cider and telling ghost stories by the fire. To some residents fall is all about pumpkins and pine cones, Archadeck of Austin is changing those notions by creating a new tradition for many homeowners with the addition of an outdoor fireplace or fire pit to add sizzle to the season.
Outdoor fire features can enhance your outdoor enjoyment year round. The season of fall in itself exudes a sense of warmth and coziness that makes the perfect backdrop for outdoor living by the crackle of a fire. Can you imagine being able to roast marshmallows or melt s’mores in your own backyard on Halloween night? The entertaining opportunities and added function these features can add to your backyard are endless.
Outdoor fireplaces and fire pits not only increase the function of your outdoor space they can also anchor the look of your entire outdoor living space. By using dramatic mediums such as stone and various hardscape materials they are destined to make a bold statement in any outdoor setting. Whether you are planning to weave your fireplace or fire pit into an existing outdoor space, or start from scratch and use it as the glue that holds your new design together, adding a fire element is a solid choice.
A continued trend in fireplaces and fire pits is inclusion within a myriad of outdoor living combinations. Adding an outdoor fireplace to your covered patio, or covered porch can enhance your outdoor living experience and create a perfect gathering spot for friends and family. With that same comforting ambiance in mind, a fire pit integrated into your patio can also help set the mood while your patio is in use.
Archadeck of Austin can also ensure your new “hot” spot is packed with convenience as well. We can custom design your outdoor fireplace to include mantels, raised hearths, fire boxes for storing wood and even a recessed niche’ above the mantel perfect for hanging a TV. Our custom fire pit design options include built- in seating walls that make a great spot to sit and enjoy the firelight. Some of our fire pits can even double as a fountain or planter when not being used as a fire pit delivering diverse elements and options from one season to the next.
No matter which of these choices lights your fire, we can help make an outdoor fire element a reality in your backyard. We have many styles, shapes, and material options to choose from. Contact Archadeck of Austin to learn more about adding a little a little spark to your outdoor living season to beautiful season. Call us for a free consultation (512) 259 – 8282
See more outdoor fireplace and fire pit designs by visiting our outdoor fireplace and fire pits gallery located on our website.
Each year a nationwide group of Archadeck offices come together to share their best practices, ideas, new products and to review outstanding leadership in design. This year, like others, the locally owned and operated Austin location performed very well. We are very proud to have scooped up on four of twelve design awards, plus a distinguished Customer Satisfaction Award which reconfirmed Austin’s place as the 2nd best producing Archadeck location in North America.
Archadeck of Austin prides itself in being “all about design and customer experience”. Here are some of the ‘Best of Show’.
Austin won second place for this project outside the Craig O’s restaurant in Lakeway, TX. This deck uses TimberTech Earthwoods Evolutions composite decking in walnut designed in quadrants of diagonal board placement converging to the center. The deck is designed for 100 lb/sf commercial loads and has a massive concrete footing hidden behind an attractive cedar skirt. A powder coated Fortress railing system surrounds the deck and is capped in the same composite. Stairs descend down to the parking lot and play area. Patrons will enjoy many meals overlooking the serene hills East of Lakeway atop this deck.
If you are curious, the following deck from outside Boston won 1st place…
First place went to our friends at Archadeck of Ft. Worth for a fabulous pool-side cabana. The Austin entry took third place, under some tight competition, with our pool-side cabana constructed in Round Rock, TX. Both of these projects are indicative of a growing trend to move the living room outside complete with integrated kitchens, outdoor fireplaces, television; everything you need to entertain outdoors.
Demonstrating the diversity of Archadeck’s designs, the Austin hardscape project took the 3rd place award vs. a really unique and innovative project outside Denver that took home 1st place. The Austin hardscape project is located in the Steiner Ranch community of Austin and includes a covered tile patio up top for visiting, lunch or even coffee. The project includes stone steps that lead down to a stained concrete lower patio perfect for every facet of entertaining. The project also includes integrated lighting so it looks spectacular day and night.
This new award category reflects the fact that great projects are rarely one-dimensional. Every year the very best projects combine multiple elements into a cohesive design that may include a shade structure, decking. masonry, and other elements to provide the homeowners with a complete backyard with multiple uses and gain the maximum added value to their home. We are excited that our project constructed in Riverplace took the spotlight for #1. The project was designed by our own Mark Mommsen, whom was also the winner of #1 design representative. The project brings together a very unique stand-alone roof structure with Permacast columns which are mounted on an elevated Tigerwood deck beside the pool and outdoor fireplace with stone benches on the opposite side of the pool. All this is designed to face the canyon/green belt and golf course located behind the residence.
If the customer isn’t happy, nobody’s happy!
As the owner of Archadeck of Austin, I’m very pleased to say we won the coveted Customer Satisfaction Award. To win this award there can be no, and I mean ‘zero’ negative responses in post-construction surveys. Last year we built 133 residential projects. We are not perfect and are always improving, but to have absolutely no negative responses is a testament to our desire for excellence in customer service. We were also recently added to the Angie’s List Honor Roll and we strongly encourage people to submit reviews to Angie’s list.
We are looking forward to a great 2012 season, with more great work in Austin,TX. If you’re on the fence, the time is really good to remodel your outdoor space the way you’ve always wanted. It is a great investment.
(512) 259 – 8282
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.
This Austin patio cover features a custom stone outdoor fireplace and much more to soothe your senses, and your soul
Having an outdoor structure that functions as an outdoor living and gathering area opens up a whole new world of lifestyle possibilities. Being able to extend entertaining space from the interior of your home outdoors not only makes things run a little bit smoother when entertaining family and friends. It can also become a place that offers intimacy and refuge from a hard day. That is exactly the type of structure Archadeck of Austin built for these Austin, TX homeowners. This design incorporates a stunning covered patio which also contain an outdoor fireplace, a custom stone outdoor kitchen, stone benches and a stone surround that runs the entire perimeter of the structure that also serves as a hardscaped flower bed.
The covered patio was designed in the spot where we removed an old sunroom. After removing the sunroom we extended the roof to accommodate the new covered patio. The patio floor is finished with stain and seal concrete to compliment the gorgeous custom stonework that was used throughout the entire structure. Some of the key areas where we used Leuders stone include the outdoor kitchen, the flower bed surround, the stone benches as well as the bench toppers and of course the mesmerizing multi-tiered outdoor fireplace. Within the interior of the patio cover we used a tongue and groove cedar ceiling to add some rustic flair to compliment the natural characteristics that are evident in the usage of the stone and concrete. We also stripped and stained the homeowners existing deck in order to match the hues found within the covered patio. The use of colors, textures and design lines throughout the patio make it truly breathtaking. The talented homeowners also finished the interior of the patio in expert style, with well-appointed patio furnishings and well blended accessories that tie the whole project together perfectly.
The focal point within the porch cover is undoubtedly the elegant multi tiered custom stone fireplace. The homeowners took a unique approach to the popular practice of utilizing a TV above an outdoor fireplace. Many homeowners opt to construct a recessed perimeter to house their TV, such as a flat screen, for permanent placement. These Austin, TX homeowners did not wish to keep their TV above the outdoor fireplace permanently, so we designed the fireplace using multi-tiered custom stone ledges with a customized pull out shelf on the fireplace’s mantle that is outfitted with a cable and electrical outlets. This shelf makes it easy to place the TV on the outdoor fireplace whenever they wish, and when the TV is not in use, the shelf can be pushed in and hidden and no one is none the wiser. This feature is an example of this structural convenience that is built into every inch of this outdoor structure. Archadeck of Austin also made certain to add plenty of outlets into the columns used on the patio cover, to add more convenience as well.
The expert stone work on this structure was achieved using select Antique Leuder’s stone, which is an upgrade from limestone. The use of this stone can be seen in the bench toppers, the outdoor kitchen, the stone benches under the roof cover and many other areas throughout this outdoor oasis. To create an essence of ambiance, Archadeck of Austin made sure to include outdoor lighting throughout the patio cover. The creative placement of a large amount of low voltage lighting around the entire perimeter adds to the “feel” of relaxation and refuge. Low voltage lighting was placed strategically within the stone benches, surrounding the open area we built to showcase a water feature, and we added recessed LED lights in the existing decks as well.
These Austin, TX homeowners are now sittin’ pretty in this breathtaking covered patio, that is full of amenities to refresh their senses and their soul. A multi-functional outdoor structure design such as this could not be accomplished without having a project manager to contact at any time which always plays a positive role in seeing a structure to fruition. Our expert project managers are a big bonus for going with us. To learn more about our stunning outdoor living designs, contact Archadeck of Austin today.
(512) 259 – 8282
We don’t just build structures to fit the way you want to live, we build structures that support the big moments in your life.
When you think about what motivates homeowners to make the decision to add an outdoor living area to their home and backyard, in many cases the motivating factor that drives them to act upon their decision is a holiday, party or event they have planned for the near future. Let’s say for instance with the holiday season just around the corner, a homeowner may decide to go ahead and add on that new deck, covered porch, or outdoor fireplace with a custom stone patio surround in anticipation of family and friends that are planning to visit and having the structure up and running will create a great place to relax and spend time with family and friends within a unique outdoor setting to make new memories together. It’s almost as though you have the indulgence of an extra “family room” with a unique outdoor setting. Could you imagine having an outdoor kitchen incorporated into your deck or patio that could serve as a secondary food preparation area on Thanksgiving? The hubby can fry the turkey in the outdoor kitchen, and be out of the way, while the lady of the house prepares all the sumptuous side dishes in the house. Having the function of an outdoor kitchen to take some of the stress out of the kitchen, especially if you prepare Thanksgiving dinner for a large crowd, can make “Turkey day” run as smooth as a french silk pie.
The beauty of our business is when a homeowner approaches us and needs their outdoor endeavor completed within a specific time frame most of the time we are able to accommodate their request. We do absolutely everything we can to accommodate it. We always quote a lead time to begin and give an expected completion date and 90% of the time we meet it with 2 or 3 days. Just this month we had a deck that was needed for a wedding, a restaurant deck for an opening last week, and a cabana finished for a party. This week we engaged on a job for a Christmas party mid December. In most cases, if you need it, Archadeck of Austin can have it ready for you within the time frame you need it.
Many outdoor structure builders hesitate to make these kind of promises to homeowners because they lack the project management that is necessary to make sure every aspect of your outdoor structure is run in a professional, timely manner. We make certain on all of our jobs that each specific layer of the building process is set up in the order it needs to be accomplished to avoid delays, and have wiggle room if a problem arises. The keys to being able to deliver what we promise are superior project management, frequent and effective communication with the homeowner, a solid design, and good weather.
Wouldn’t the thought of having your New Year’s Eve bash under the cover of the warm Texas evening on your new deck sound enticing this year? If you dream it, we can build it. The bottom line is that if you need to get a job done to fit your individual schedule we can do it. Contact Archadeck of Austin to learn more and remember, we take care of everything but the weather. (512) 259 – 8282
These Round Rock, TX homeowners have one of the most beautifully lush backyards. Being able to incorporate an outdoor living structures within this backyard could seem like a challenge to some, but not to us. The mingling of the wood and flagstone we used to create this outdoor retreat is mesmerizing set against the beauty of the rush of green in this residence.
These homeowners had an existing concrete patio that was not serving their needs. Our goal was to extend the patio and pour a whole new facet of enjoyment into their backyard. Our design included a covered patio extension complete with an outdoor kitchen and pergola-style roof and another patio that descends from the covered patio to the new outdoor fireplace.
In designing the master plan to transform this Round Rock, TX backyard into a paradise for the senses we first had to overcome some obstacles. The first challenge was to incorporate all the desired structures into the homeowners minimal backyard and also deal with the small elevated back porch. The design we decided upon that would work best was to actually create two structures out of one area by extending the small space to make it larger and adding another space to serve as the focal point for the outdoor fireplace.
We designed an extension of the existing concrete patio and added stone over the top of the concrete for seamless design. We then added the pergola with an extension as well over the patio and added a little slope to compensate for the existing patio being so high. The small round patio located in the design accents the large outdoor fireplace located at the corner. We used a round design for the patio and continued the curved design feature into the fireplace’s eyebrow and hearth.
The medium we chose to cover the patios with is gorgeous Oklahoma flagstone in buff peach. We also used block stone in the design using Autumn blend block stone. The element of the two separate stones working together along with the cedar pergola and the trees on the property is truly breathtaking.
The outdoor kitchen is located inside the patio cover and includes a grill, refrigerator and plenty of electrical outlets. The countertops are finished out with a very nice tile that compliments the homes brick colors. The rustic outdoor fireplace is graciously equipped with custom cedar cabinets above the firebox made especially for housing a television and keeping it safe and dry from the elements.
These Round Rock, TX homeowners couldn’t be more thrilled with the transformation, they say it feels as though they have a whole new backyard. We can create a stunning transformation of your back yard as well, contact Archadeck of Austin to learn more (512) 259 – 8282
Here is a slideshow of this Round Rock, TX backyard oasis that is a feast for the senses….
To see more stunning inspiration of outdoor structure designs visit our photo galleries
For more design inspiration visit our Patio photo gallery
Visit our Outdoor kitchens photo gallery for yummy designs in outdoor kitchens
When you close your eyes at night to dream does your mind take you to a place where you can hear the crackle and feel the warmth of the fire amid comforting images of roasting marshmallows and relaxing with family and friends? Then chances are you are dreaming of your own outdoor fireplace or fire pit. Homeowners are taking their backyards to a new level by adding an outdoor fireplace or fire pit. Owning one of these glorious feast for the eyes and the senses has become the crown jewel of outdoor structures. Being able to entertain, or just “hang out” with the element of fire close at hand takes being outdoors to a place where all your senses come into play, and the result is as unforgettable as some of the outdoor fireplace and fire pit designs that come to us in our dreams.
Deciding to add an outdoor fireplace or fire pit to your backyard, or in addition to your existing outdoor structure can be a big step for many homeowners. Archadeck of Austin has been in the business of creating award-winning outdoor fireplaces and fire pits for our customers here in Austin, TX for many years now, and we know a thing or two about the correct way to ignite quality and style into the construction of your outdoor fireplace or fire pit. Here are some of the important considerations to think about when deciding to add one of these stunning structures to your life.
Light my Fire?
There is more than one method to obtaining fire in your outdoor fireplace or fire pit. There is of course, the traditional wood-burning structure that we are all familiar with. When considering a wood burning structure the dimensions of the fireplace itself are important. The smallest capable wood burning fireplace can be built no smaller than 5×8 and has to be at least 2-3 feet deep in order to function properly.
Outdoor fire structures can also be lit by gas through a gas started system or full burning gas log kits. In either case the “draw” needs to be correct on a fireplace or fire pit, and this can only be achieved by having a professional outdoor fireplace contractor build the structure for you. Improper drawing on a structure such as this can be dangerous and cause a safety hazard, so the chimney itself has to be designed and constructed properly to achieve an appropriate draw.
When considering the design mediums that outdoor fireplaces and fire pits can be built with, typically the wood burning structures are either masonry or stone. Archadeck of Austin uses a great deal of flagstone for our outdoor fireplace and fire pit designs, it looks the part and is a high quality stone that functions well with the fireplace itself. The main aspect when looking at material choices is that they are acceptable for use on a fire structure and that they hold up well under the conditions. Flagstone is strong, beautiful, and can take the heat well and will look gorgeous for many years to come.
Another design consideration is whether to embellish or add anything to the structure. Some homeowners add mantles which can serve as a focal point for your structure. We place the mantle 12″-18″ above so it is not flush with the grade therefore the heat can radiate at a similar level. Mantles provide more aesthetic appeal in form than in function and aren’t really used much. However, fireboxes are a useful addition to your structure. You don’t want the firebox area to be too large, but large enough to hold wood or other essentials. If you are thinking of integrating the firebox into the structure itself, it will have to comply to building codes and be built within certain dimensions.
Fireplaces and fire pits match to a T
As any seasoned outdoor fireplace designer can tell you, outdoor fireplaces and fire pits are the perfect companion to other outdoor structures. They look great built with and alongside covered or uncovered patios, covered porches, pergolas, and even screened porches. It is not just about beauty though, functionality plays a key role in the attraction. Being able to enjoy an outdoor fireplace or fire pit in conjunction with your outdoor structure adds ambiance and fun beyond comparison. There are certain codes and rules associated with building a fireplace in and around another structure that require the chimney and flue stack be a certain elevation higher and a certain distance from surrounding walls, especially where a wood structure is concerned for the risk of heat build-up. In these cases wood will have to be a certain distance away from the structures internal flue. Each state and county has certain criteria to follow for safety reasons and your outdoor fireplace contractor will see that these guideline are met accordingly.
Archadeck of Austin can make your dreams of fireplaces and fire pits come true. We construct dozens of these structures a year. They are not only stunning, but they are a structure the whole family can enjoy. Outdoor fireplaces and fire pits can add value to your home and your life. Here is a video that showcases some of our fireplace and fire pit creations…
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This outdoor living space packs in as much of the “living” part of outdoor living as you can get. Once this structure is completed the homeowners will have plenty of room to entertain in their new outdoor living room, as well as provide a special place for an evening at home. This structure will have it all. It is being built with an outdoor fireplace, and an outdoor kitchen which will be equipped with a Big Green Egg smoker, the patio will also have an area above the fireplace that awaits the installation of the homeowners big HDTV over the fireplace. It doesn’t get any better than this.
Since the detached patio sits in close proximity to the homeowners pool, we are using a CoolDeck concrete floor in the detached patio that matches the surround of the pool itself. The large beams that support the detached patio are housed in beautiful columns that encompass a continuation of the stone with a knee-wall height ledge/border that runs the entire perimeter of the structure. The outdoor fireplace is also finished in stone as well. The combination of the wood and the stone is going to make a stunning ,unique and rustic looking retreat once completed. This structure will be a great place to get away from the stresses and worries of work and obligations, a place to just relax in beauty and relaxation.
The outdoor kitchen is being equipped with all the accoutrements to make the kitchen fully functional on it’s own. The kitchen will have a Big Green Egg smoker, a grill, a side burner, ice maker, refrigerator and a kegerator. Imagine watching the big game on Sunday with the guys in all this convenience and luxury, i can see this outdoor room quickly becoming the “place to be” each weekend.
Did i mention the Big Green Egg? Even though the name makes you imagine the famous children’s author, Dr, Seuss, there are no “green eggs and ham” cooking up in this wonderful smoker. Big Green Egg smokers have become all the rage in outdoor structures and among those that like to grill out in style. These smokers and grills are considered to be one of the worlds best. These smokers are being used by many who cook at the competitive level. Their smokers use smoldering wood and low temperatures to help you create mouthwatering meats that are so tender you won’t need a knife.
Detached patios that are close to pools and other water features, and even lakes, are sometimes referred to as detached cabanas. The two structures are really no different except when you hear the word cabana you imagine the capabilities to be reminiscent of a luxury resort where the water is only a few feet away. Once completed, this structure will have the capabilities that would rival any 5-star resort.
Of course the structure will also have an area for the homeowners big screen HDTV right above the lovely stone fireplace as well and plenty of ceiling fans to stay cool on those warm Texas days. Since this structure is still in progress, we look forward to sharing the photos of the completed structure with you very soon. Until then imagine the things you could do with your very own detached patio, outdoor kitchen and outdoor fireplace and contact Archadeck of Austin to make it happen. (512) 259-8282
In Austin, outdoor fireplaces are hot. Whether you’re looking for an outdoor fireplace, a fire pit, or adding these to your covered patio or deck, Archadeck of Austin can design the most beautiful and custom design to fit your needs and your lifestyle.
Give us a call or send us an email to get a free quote for your next project. (512) 259 – 8282 Austin@archadeck.net
What’s the difference between a cabana and a covered patio?
A cabana is a stand-alone structure that generally exists to support a pool or water area. It’s made to create an area for changing, an area for shelter, and an area for sun protection. Unlike a covered patio that is physically connected to the home, a cabana stands alone. But more so than this literal description, because the cabana sits apart from the home, it becomes its own physical space — like a tree house. Why do kids love tree houses? It’s certainly not because of their comfort or because of their ease of access. But, it’s because of their seclusion. A structure that stands away from your home is an oasis. It’s a place to have a break from your home – a place for a private romantic dinner or to slip off to in order to read a book in peace. This particular cabana we built is probably like no other.
When the homeowners and I first walked out back to start designing what the finished project would look like, they had this magical custom pool in their backyard complete with fountains and custom tile work. To the side of the pool area, they had poured concrete for the cabana structure that was going to be the next step in their dream back yard building.
The homeowners had a picture of what they were thinking of. But the first thing that was apparent to me was that the structure they were envisioning was just going to be too large for the size of the concrete they poured originally. This is something that’s so important. So many times owners will make their patios too small. At first blush, a 10×15 patio or 15×15 patio sounds plenty big enough. After all, many bedrooms or other rooms in our houses are that size. But, in those rooms, the furniture can sit against the wall and they are not designed to have traffic around the perimeter of the furniture. In an outdoor structure, the furniture is often in the middle of the patio. This is especially the case when the structure includes a table. Tables require a lot of room for walking around. We were able to add 2 feet on the outside length and width. This additional area was covered by the enclosed areas including the grill, bar, storage areas and fireplace.
The first thing I always do when I go on an initial design consultation is ask the homeowner what sort of structure they are envisioning and how they want to live outside. Sometimes I’m able to add insight from my experience such as the additional size recommendation I mentioned above. After doing this for 18 years, I’ve seen a lot of projects. I have a lot of dialogue with my owners after their project is completed and I use all of that information to help my new clients.
When I start designing the structure after hearing all their needs and wants, I always look to see what they already have. What is the architectural style of the home? What are the materials that are used on the house and in any other existing outdoor structures? Do they currently use stone, siding, brick? I try to incorporate those materials into the new structure. My goal is to make it look like the structure was either original to the home or the perfect complement to the home.
These homeowners had a brick home with an existing wood deck. Their pool had a stone decorative back and Cantera columns. So I pulled the Cantera columns into the new cabana and used cedar to tie the materials together.
We designed the outdoor fireplace into the corner for a couple of reasons. First, it would be the focal point of the room. But even more importantly we wanted some weather protection because the large flat-screen TV was to be built in above the fireplace. We had a cabinet builder build cypress cabinets immediately adjoining the fireplace as a place to house electronics equipment, the DVD player, the cable box, etc. As you can see, we stair-stepped the cabinets going with deeper cabinets closer to the fireplace and shallower cabinets as you got further away. The deeper cabinets were built to fit the electronics equipment. The stair stepping helped give depth and visual appeal.
Another thing we built into the design was a bar that was fully accessible from both sides.
For the roof, the owners wanted an especially decorative and especially heavy-duty roof. They were in a high hail zone so they wanted to make sure it was strong. They used a steel shingle that looked exactly like a clay shingle. it had a crushed stone application and was beautiful.
Another thing that’s very important when building any outdoor structure is to make sure it’s completely wired for electrical. A fan makes perfect sense in any outdoor structure here in Texas. You will also want lighting and likely outlets to plug in peripherals, appliances, etc.
I went back to visit the homeowners recently. I asked them how they liked their cabana. They said they like it so much that they often sleep out there. Their young girls will have their slumber parties outside and they will all go out to the cabana for family movie night. It truly is an oasis for their family.
If you’re thinking about building a cabana, covered patio, pergola or really any outdoor structure, give us a ring here at Archadeck of Austin. (512) 259 – 8282
Guest post from Mark Mommsen
Here is a quick video. Read more below.
When these homeowners in Lost Creek got ready for a renovation, they already had a deck on their home. But they wanted more of an outdoor living space in their back yard. They wanted a covered patio with an outdoor fireplace although they didn’t know how their old deck, an outdoor fireplace and a covered patio would come together. This is one of my favorite parts of what I do. I love doing the design.
They weren’t in love with their existing deck but there was no reason to scrap the old deck. We were able to build the covered patio on the portion of the old deck closest to the house. We integrated the outdoor fireplace into the custom covered patio. In order to do this, we had to reinforce the deck and build a significant amount of sub-structure under where the fireplace would be.
The outdoor fireplace
An outdoor fireplace is something that should not be done by an inexperienced builder and is not one of those do-it-yourself type projects. There are a lot of building code restriction and measures that must be met. You certainly want to work with a contractor that does all the permitting for you and also a contractor that is experienced working with the building code in your area. Building “to code” requires that the code requirements are built that into the both design literally as well as figuratively.
The weight of the concrete and stone on this outdoor fireplace with adjacent bench was easily over 5,000 pounds. That requires a tremendous amount of sub-structure. Our structural engineers have the tools and know-how to accommodate for structurally. When commissioning an outdoor fireplace, you also want to make sure the builder has experience building outdoor fireplaces and they can show you pictures of their work.
Working with the old deck
We kept parts of the old deck that surrounded the new patio area. In order to make an architectural break and also to provide more seating area, we built two large benches – one on either side of the fireplace. The fireplace chimney was in very close proximity to the top of the covered patio roof so there were extra code requirements to ensure that this design was safe and met all the fire codes.
The other thing that was nice about keeping a portion of the old deck was that deck was at a lower physical level than the patio. It’s a great idea to build multiple levels into your decks or outdoor structure. In essence, it sort of gives you different rooms or different living areas by the break in elevation. These elevation breaks don’t even need to be of considerable height to give a nice sense of multiple living or sitting spaces.
One thing that is really popular with my customers right now is working with some very contrasting patterns and materials. This adds dramatically to the aesthetic appeal of the outdoor living area. Generally my customers have particular materials they really like and we show them how those materials can combine and work together to really have a great overall look.
These homeowners were looking for a rustic feel and they loved the use of cedar. So, we made the fireplace out of Texas limestone and used cedar for the tongue-and-groove ceiling, the trim and the steps down to the lower deck.
To complete the rustic-themed look, we found old recycled timbers to create an open airy look for the patio cover. The mantle uses a slab of Texas mesquite hardwood. The materials worked so nicely together to create a feeling and an atmosphere of a real living space.
The finishing touches
The homeowners wanted an outdoor tile for the base of the covered patio. The coloring was in the same family as the stone so they mixed together beautifully. I personally love the metalwork they’ve used to adorn the fireplace. You can see the patio also included electrical with lighting and a ceiling fan.
Give me a call to talk about design ideas for your next project. (512) 259 – 8282.
Guest post by Marc Mommsen
Outdoor fireplaces are becoming more and more popular. You might think they are the fad of the moment but the homeowners who we’ve built outdoor fireplaces for tell me it’s the best investment they ever made. Sure there is some novelty. Your friends will be very interested, or even anxious, to share a meal, glass of wine, or a board game on the patio where your outdoor fireplace stands.
They’ll want to see if it throws heat or if the heat gets lost in the cooler air that spans the distance. They’ll want to see how clearly they can hear the crackle of the flames while socializing. Like an indoor fireplace, the amount of heat felt is easily adjusted by moving closer or farther away from the fireplace. And, like an indoor fireplace, the sound of the crackle of the fire can be heard more easily when other noises are reduced.
But the feature of the outdoor fireplace that needs to be experienced for full appreciation is the sense of “romance” that a crackling outdoor fireplace creates. Think about your first camping trip and the feeling of sitting around a fire and smelling the sweet aroma of burning firewood through the cool night breeze. Think about the first time you sat in front of a fireplace with a date. The magic is magnified with the romance of a burning fire in a fireplace.
The design decisions you will want to consider are the material, size, and adjacent area. Your outdoor fireplace needs to be built with a fire safe material – concrete, stone or brick. We can build using a combination of these materials to attain the design sense you are seeking. As you can see, this particular fireplace is a substantial size. That’s because this family wanted the fireplace to double as a privacy wall. You also want to consider the adjacent area. Do you want built-in seating? Do you want a built-in area for keeping logs? Do you want to build in room for cabinets to keep other fireplace items such as matches?
The great thing is you only need to have some ideas when we have our design consultation. We have a great deal of experience in designing and building and you have many ideas about what you want. Put together, this amounts to a great design and build that’s just the way you like it.