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Spring in Iowa: Fresh Feel, Fresh Look
By Carol McGarvey
home :: home & garden :: featured gardens

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We just seem to glide into the other seasons. But spring is somehow different, don’t you think? There’s a more dramatic change in the air. We want a transition to a new feel—in our clothing, in our homes, and in our yards.

We need to shake off the gray and dark of winter skies and look to the sunshine. That may mean small changes, or it may signal big ones. How about pushing back the walls and creating outdoor “rooms” for entertaining, gardening, and enjoying the outdoors?

In the central Iowa area, myriad designers, landscapers, and craftsmen are ready to transform our surroundings and make them feel fresh. Check out the professionals we’ve showcased here.

archadeck of central iowa

Contact Archadeck:

2925 99th Street, Urbandale

(515) 266-8844

Archadeck of Central Iowa

Don’t be fooled by the “deck” in the name of Archadeck of Central Iowa. The company is known for so much more
versatility, says Harold Cross. “The sky is the limit when it comes to enhancing the outdoor space of Iowans,” he points out.

For brothers Harold and David Cross, the satisfaction of developing a property to create more outdoor living space is usually a combination of projects. Beyond decks, there are porches, patios, pergolas, sunrooms, outdoor kitchens, fire pits, outdoor fireplaces, three- and four-season rooms, and even outdoor lighting.

“We can bring to life those items that homeowners have on their wish lists,” Harold says. “Not only do these additions give value to their property, but they enhance the whole living experience for the families who enjoy them.”

Plus, he points out, so many of these enhancements are done to reduce maintenance, a major goal for homeowners.

“Over the past few years, we have seen low-maintenance wood-alternative decking and railing products continue to evolve. There seems to be a bit of a plateau in that now, but I think that’s a sign the products have reached a high standard of both performance and aesthetics, and homeowners can feel comfortable with them.” Hardscaping, spaces with stone, paver, or concrete surfaces and features, also comes into play more for homeowners wanting multi-functional outdoor living areas.


case handyman & remodeling

Contact CASE Handyman & Remodeling:

5904 Ashworth Road, West Des Moines

(515) 222-2273; (515) 710-7692

CASE Handyman & Remodeling

As a residential remodeler, CASE Handyman & Remodeling focuses on kitchens, baths, and basements — the most popular spaces for interior remodeling. But each spring, the team at CASE sees homeowners’ thoughts turn to the outside of the home.

“People care about their homes, both inside and out. There are lots of ways, big and small, that you can remodel the exterior of your house that increases its curb appeal and functionality,” says CASE owner Ben Trannel. “Decks and porches are transitional spaces that should complement the interior and exterior of the home. It’s important that you invest in not only good materials for your outdoor spaces, but in good design, too, so that the space looks right for your home and functions well for your family.”

CASE employs a project designer who helps homeowners take their initial ideas and convert them into a project that fully meets their wants, needs, and budget. “A ‘good’ project is more than a beautiful after picture. It involves careful planning and a well-managed process that respects you and your home,” says Trannel.

In addition to decks and porches, CASE does three- and four-season rooms, additions, windows, and doors, and is the only company in the Des Moines metro area certified by Pella as a Pella Select Contractor.


construction professionals of iowa

Contact Construction Professionals:

9239 Diamondhead Drive, Dexter


Construction Professionals

Construction Professionals runs the gamut from whole-house construction to remodeling and from interiors to landscaping. The Dexter-based company has been in business since 1998 and is a family affair, including Oran and Marilyn Struecker and their son Derek.

“People are really trying to make the most of their outdoor space and to dress up their yards. Smaller items such as fire pits and larger ones such as outdoor kitchens often work into their plans,” Marilyn says. “Also, more homeowners want covered patios and decks. It’s just another way to make the most of their space.” She says four-season porches also are a popular way to expand a home’s space.

Low-maintenance decking also is a goal for many homeowners, and Oran and Derek now often use a PVC product for decks and also aluminum rails instead of wood. Besides cutting the upkeep, this product also gives a sleek, more contemporary look.

Construction Professionals covers the whole metro area, working from Norwalk to Ankeny and Altoona to Lake Panorama. The firm provides full-service construction, and Oran and Derek work hands-on and on-site to manage their projects.

fireplace and stone center

Contact Fireplace & Stone Center:

4671 121st Street in Urbandale


Fireplace & Stone Center

The big news for the Fireplace & Stone Center is that it has moved to a new and larger location, 850 Alice’s Road in Waukee, to give homeowners even more ideas to enhance their properties.

“Our showroom is bigger, and our outdoor patio area will showcase what we do, such as fire pits and outdoor kitchens,” says Jason Cox manager. “Homeowners won’t just have to
visualize, because they can see actual examples, such as in the case of outdoor fireplaces. They can see just how these features can change their surroundings and their lifestyle.”

Fireplace & Stone Center offers full design services, which can help turn “wish lists” into reality. Jason cites outdoor kitchens as a trend that continues to grow and catch on in Iowa. “Yes, they used to show up only on the West Coast and in the South, where homeowners can live outdoors all year.
But as Iowans traveled and saw them, they brought the idea north. And while some only use their outdoor kitchens three seasons a year, still others enjoy grilling all year.”

The store specializes in manufactured and natural stone veneer products. Jason says the veneer products are, of course, more cost-effective, because of less labor and materials costs. Homeowners can achieve any look they love—classic to contemporary. Numerous styles and colors are available to help homeowners achieve the look they want.


iowa outdoor products

Contact Iowa Outdoor Products:

3200 86th Street in Urbandale


Iowa Outdoor Products

Shane Miller and his crew at Iowa Outdoor Products love to help Iowans maximize their outdoor living space and make it beautiful. Through big touches—waterfalls, outdoor kitchens, and outdoor fireplaces—and smaller ones—ambient lighting, fire pits, and decorative fountains—they make exciting things happen for homeowners.

Nursery manager Dustin Deeny says smaller is bigger this year when it comes to trends in plantings. “People really are looking to smaller plants and trees to enhance their properties. Whether they have balconies or small patios, they want smaller varieties to make a large impact.”

He cites dwarf conifers and Japanese maples as being popular in terms of container gardening, which continues in popularity. “Amazingly, bonsai is having a resurgence of interest, as is the whole Japanese concept of making the most of smaller yard spaces,” Dustin says. Also, he says three types of butterfly bush are expected to create lots of interest—‘Blue Chip’, ’Miss Ruby’, and ‘Purple Haze’.

A new shade-loving perennial for spring is ‘Sun King’, an aralia with yellow blooms, a hardy foliage plant. Also, lots of coralbells in many colors will be likely hits, in colors from deep black to yellow, peach, and red. For a sun-loving perennial, Dustin touts the ‘Banana Cream’ daisy, with light yellow petals.

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K&V Contruction Services

Contact K&V Construction Services:

2105 S.E. 37th Street, Suite D, Grimes

(515) 252-9989

K & V Construction Services

K&V Construction Services, a division of K&V Homes, takes pride in the details it helps homeowners add to their
properties to enhance the possibilities for outdoor living. “We might add a covered porch or an outdoor kitchen for entertaining,” says Colin King, who partners with Dean Vogel in the two home-related businesses.

“We aim to be an all-inclusive resource for full outdoor living services,” King explains. “Plus, we understand fully that not everyone can do everything on their wish list all at the same time. We are more than willing to work with people on progressive plans. We might add an outdoor fireplace this year and an in-ground swimming pool next year. We certainly understand the needs of central Iowa families, along with their budgets. That’s not a problem.”

K&V Construction Services encourages homeowners to think of their current and future outdoor living ideas and how they impact their families now, not just as an asset to help with resale purposes.

“We want to help people realize their property’s potential by offering ideas and solutions to maximize their outdoor living possibilities,” King says.


Kaufman Construction and KC Handyman

Contact Kaufman Construction and
KC Handyman:

4328 N. Dawson Avenue in Cumming

515-981-9352 and 515-981-9708

Kaufman Construction
and KC Handyman Service

No matter what kind of a project you are planning—large or small—Kaufman Construction and its sister company, KC Handyman Service, cover all the bases. Owner Devan Kaufman offers the services of his two divisions to enhance the outdoor living areas of central Iowa homeowners.

Kaufman Construction is a full-service new construction and remodeling company, offering beginning-to-end design possibilities, material suggestions, and selections for outdoor projects. If an outdoor fireplace, an interesting stone patio, or even an outdoor kitchen is on your wish list, Kaufman Construction is the choice for those types of larger projects. Other outdoor projects to enhance your property include elaborate lighting, stone columns, and covered patios for more versatile use.

If, however, your projects are a little smaller, then KC Handyman Service is available for your needs. The
handyman division plans and builds decks and other smaller items to make your outdoor area more attractive. Trellises, pergolas, and arbors can add dimension, texture, and visual interest to your landscaping.

Both Kaufman companies take pride in working with homeowners to turn their dreams into reality and enhance their homes and yards.


Landscape solutions of iowa

Contact Landscape Solutions of Iowa:

P.O. Box 578, Grimes

(515) 778-4882

Landscape Solutions
of Iowa, Inc.

To celebrate their new co-owner status, Nathan Tackett and Rob Owen hope to take Landscape Solutions of Iowa “up a notch,” with a variety of new services and products. With photos, videos, and other visuals, they will introduce their new look at a wine and cheese open house from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 18, at West End Architectural Salvage, 22 S.W. Ninth Street in Des Moines. “It will be a fun way for prospective clients to ask questions about our landscape and design services, including stone work, plantings, rain gardens, outdoor rooms, paver design, and installation,” Owen says.

Among the new products is Kichler Lighting, a new generation LED design line that works well for new outdoor projects or for retrofitting existing ones. Another new item is customized concrete for bar tops, countertops, and tables.

Landscape Solutions also now offers financing to homeowners, a new service. And, for central Iowans who remember the high-end Seasonal Concepts store, Tackett and Owen now are working with that line’s Kansas City stores to offer outdoor furniture and accessories into this market.

Also available is Finishing Touches, a design service by Sue Amosson of West Des Moines, known for her creative style. “Sue has incredible taste and can offer fun and interesting pieces to help homeowners showcase their personal style,” Owen points out.

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rowat cut stone and marble co

Contact Rowat Cut Stone & Marble Co:

110 SE 7th Street in Des Moines


Rowat Cut Stone &
Marble Co.

Rowat’s quality granite, marble, and natural cut stone provide the perfect backdrop for your life, whether it’s your kitchen, bathroom, or backyard. For 130 years Rowat has served Des Moines and its surrounding area, offering unparalleled service and expertise to residential and commercial customers looking to enhance their home or office.

From the initial design and selection of just-right materials to the fabrication and installation of your stone, the Rowat team delivers a full-service treatment in a timely manner. You’ll find a wide variety of products from around the world at the Rowat showroom, including granite, marble, limestone, travertine,
slate, and flagstone. Select the perfect color, texture, shape, and size of the stone you want. Then watch as your countertop, bathtub, fireplace, walkway, or patio comes alive.

As one of the oldest businesses in Des Moines, Rowat has a history of providing unmatched personalized service, superior materials for the job, and the expertise to get it done right the first time. Whether you are considering an enhancement or are ready to tackle a project, Rowat’s granite, marble, and natural stone will inspire the perfect outcome and bring style and elegance to your home.


speck usa

Contact Speck USA:

Haymarket Mall, 4100 Merle Hay Road, Suite D (behind Aspen Athletic Club)

(515) 285-4649

Speck USA

Jeremy Speck says his company, Speck USA, specializes in all kinds of decorative concrete, which has come into its own in the past few years. “As more and more homeowners see the
possibilities, they know there is no reason to settle for plain concrete. We can add texture, color, and design.”

The application works in all situations around a home, inside and out. Speck says it’s easy to put your mark on floors, countertops, walls, sinks, aths/showers, fireplaces, bars, and islands. And that’s just inside the home.

Outside, of course, stamped concrete is adding depth and dimension to patios, pool decks, entry areas, walkways, and stairways.

“Concrete has always been a low-maintenance surface, of course, but now it can be beautiful, too, and show off your home’s personality,” he says.

And don’t worry if you have existing concrete that you’re not ready to tear out yet. Speck explains that his company can resurface existing concrete. “If you don’t want the mess of tearing up perfectly good concrete and risk ruining expensive landscaping in the process, there’s not a problem. We can work right over it.”

From classic to contemporary, it’s easy to get the look you want.


ted lare design build

Contact Ted Lare Design Build:

2701 Cumming Avenue near Cumming


Ted Lare Design Build

Ted Lare Design Build, known for its natural hardscaping designs, is adding lots of new plants and products to its Garden Center to help the home gardener. “For the first time, we are growing 4,000 perennials on-site, which is very exciting,” says landscape designer Jean Lare. “Some of them include ‘South Seas’ daylilies; ‘Summer Breeze’ spectacular orange poppies, and ‘Gold Heart’ bleeding heart.”

In addition, she says the company, which is marking its 30th anniversary, has the exclusive rights to carry tomatoes and other plants grown from the heirloom seeds of the Seed Savers Exchange of Decorah, Iowa. Another new line, Chef Jeff’s Garden®, has a large selection of vegetables and herbs.

Jean Lare also is excited about the all-organic Dr. Earth coordinated system of soil, fertilizer, and insecticide. “These potting soils are so easy for gardeners to use. They offer a
no-nonsense approach, and the packaging has easy-to-read labels for vegetables and roses, for example. There should be no confusion.”

From the designing with trees perspective, she also is pleased with a product called MYKE®, a symbiotic organism that can be rubbed into the root ball to help establish a stronger, healthier root system five times more quickly. “This is great from a design perspective, and we, therefore, can offer a five-year guarantee, which we haven’t been able to do before.”


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