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Creating Memories
By Carol McGarvey | Photography by Tim Abramowitz
GARDEN FEATURE February/March 2019
home :: home & garden :: featured gardens

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A new deck and patio create space for a busy family to relax and to celebrate together. The project also acts as a magnet for the teenagers to entertain their friends more.

A newly expanded outdoor living space has given a family in Dallas County a new reason to celebrate life, school, and friendships. When they built their home on 10 acres more than 15 years ago, it had a two-level deck, which was fine for a time.

But as their children grew into teenagers and the deck began to deteriorate, it was time to take a good, hard look at how they wanted to mark the children’s high school years.

“We knew we wanted more space to hold larger crowds,” says the busy mother. Plus, there was an ice buildup problem on the roofline, and it was time to deal with that. “We found Archadeck of Central Iowa and liked what we saw of their work.” They worked with Harold Cross, the company’s president, and the team at Archadeck to design and build their new outdoor living space.

“In discussing what the homeowners desired, the husband wanted a covered deck for an outdoor living space, an outdoor kitchen, and an area for a fire pit,” Cross says. “Dealing with the family’s wishes for large-space design resulted in a plan that altered the roofline. Doing that also offered the ability to cover the outdoor kitchen area as well.”

The before look

Before the remodel, there were three tiers of landscaping. The wife wanted to simplify that aspect of the backyard as well. In addition, there was a concrete “bunker” storage facility, built by the husband on the lower level of ground to store lawn equipment. That structure had to be incorporated into the overall plan.

Because the concrete roof surface is adjacent to the deck and porch areas, Cross made the top of the storage unit be the base of the patio above it. Pavers on top of the unit give a finished look and turned it into a pleasing patio area.

He designed a stairway and railings to work around the curved outer wall of the bunker. “The curved staircase was the perfect option, from aesthetical and functional perspectives, to travel from the lower backyard and the upper patio, deck, porch, and driveway level. Veneer stone finished off the bunker walls and was a nice aesthetic tie-in to the deck/porch columns.”

He used Trex’s Elevation steel framing system for creating the deck and porch space and TimberTech’s Tropical line of capped-composite decking. And for the patio surface on the bunker, he used Belgard’s Mega Arbel pavers and Belgard’s Granika steps for the staircase.

A magnet for friends

The wife loves how the new construction has acted as a magnet for her kids to entertain. “We have had softball, baseball, and football team meals and parties. And I’m particularly proud that 26 friends and their families came here to take photos before Homecoming last fall. It was wonderful,” she says.

And while it’s great to welcome all those students and guests, she finds that it’s also a pretty peaceful place for one. “I love to come out here early in the morning with coffee and a good book on a day off or a weekend and relax. With ceiling fans, it’s pleasant in warm weather. And with portable heaters and heat from the vented fireplace indoors, it’s comfortable in cooler weather.”

The outdoor area has a table for eight, a relaxing seating area with an outdoor television, and bar stools for seating along the perimeter of the area around the outdoor kitchen. “My husband likes to grill a lot, such as steaks and burgers, and also enjoys smoking meats, so we often eat dinner on the deck. Other times, the kids enjoy making s’mores at the fire pit,” she says.

The veneer stone on the deck and porch columns, the bunker walls, and the outdoor kitchen was supplied by Centurion Stone. Marble on the outdoor kitchen came from Granite, Marble & Tile Solutions (GMT). The kitchen components are FireMagic products.

Functional, luxurious

“The overall footprint and the need to reconfigure a large portion of the roofline made this project extra-large in scale.” Cross says. “It’s functional and it’s luxurious. It’s one of the most spacious outdoor living projects we have ever developed.” It includes a deck, a patio, a porch, a kitchen, heat features, open spaces, shaded spaces, and night lighting.

“What I like best is that now all the kids gather here, and that’s important,” says the wife. “They are creating memories and friendships that will last a lifetime. Without a doubt, we will live in this house much longer because of this outdoor living space.”

One component of the project couldn’t be designed on a computer or delivered on a truck. The whole deck/porch/patio is on the home’s east side, which faces a spectacular view of a valley of trees that is beautiful all four seasons.


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