The best seat on the links

There are roughly 25 million golfers in the United States, according to recent figures, and even more people who enjoy watching talented golfers at their game. Therefore, it’s no surprise that fairway lots are a coveted part of many residential developments. In addition to having front row seats any time you want, you are guaranteed some lovely open green space right behind your home. Once you’ve secured such a property, how do you make the most of it?

Blacklick OH Columbus TimberTech deck builder

One idea is a custom Columbus deck or porch like the one we resurfaced at a home located on the Jefferson Country Club and golf course in Blacklick, OH. This lovely home had an existing builder grade pressure-treated pine deck, but the harsh sunlight was taking its toll on the boards. Fairway lots rarely, if ever, have shade and pine isn’t well suited to those conditions over the long term. We were able to keep the existing substructure and replace the pieces that are exposed to the sun: the railings and floorboards.

We resurfaced and expanded the deck with TimberTech Pecan. The deck spans most of the rear of the home to provide plenty of space for dining, entertaining and relaxation. The builder spliced the boards to get the length needed for the original deck. We opted for a more attractive picture frame design with a parting board in TimberTech Mocha. Take a look at the before and after pictures and you’ll see what a difference it makes to have the long, clean expanses of board, free of all those nails. It’s also wonderful not to have to worry about splinters!

Columbus OH TimberTech redeck by Archadeck

The new railings are thinner and darker. It makes them much easier to see through. They are black aluminum powder coated rails with a matte finish. They are very durable and easy to maintain. The color also picks up the darker tones from the Pecan flooring. The owners wanted a little more depth on the new deck and to move the stairs to a different location. Both fixes were very easy to make as part of the overall redecking project. And they make all the difference in this family’s ability to make the most of their country club home.

Michael Reeder, Archadeck of Columbus
Michael Reeder, Archadeck of Columbus

If you’re thinking about adding an outdoor living space to your Columbus backyard, give us a call to see how we can make creating your dream backyard an enjoyable experience, start to finish. The consultation is completely free. Call (740) 879 – 3730, email us at or visit our website at We look forward to connecting with you.


Tips and Tricks for getting the best from synthetic decking

Granville OH TimberTech decks
Notice the parting board that connects the TimberTech decking on this large Granville OH deck

Most homeowners, even the really handy ones, have little or no experience in working with synthetic or PVC decking materials. That’s the chief reason why they usually turn to an expert when they want to build a Columbus deck, porch or other outdoor living space with a product from TimberTech or AZEK. For those who are considering taking the plunge into a DIY project or for those who just are more curious to learn the “inside scoop” on working with composites, I offer a few industry insider insights.

For decks over 20’ in width, we use parting boards as an integral part of our designs. Parting boards improve the aesthetics, safety, and often the longevity of decks by decreasing or eliminating the need for splicing boards that come in 12’, 16’, and 20’ lengths. Splices are where toes get stubbed and where rotting frequently occurs. Parting boards look terrific and can save you from the splice.

Consider using contrasting or complementary colors for parting boards, picture frame borders, stairs, risers, trim, and rail caps. It’s a fabulous way to pick up colors from the rest of the exterior of your home or other elements of your yard. Back when you would have to seal and stain to maintain two different colors, people rarely took this design opportunity, but now it is easy as pie to customize your project in this way. If you stay within the same product series, ordering multiple colors usually doesn’t cost you any more.

This TimberTech deck utilizes an alternate color for the border, steps, and the rail cap. Make your custom deck look truly custom!Take advantage of the color variations within the boards to coordinate with other architectural elements within your yard. When synthetics first came on the market, there was little color variation. With each passing year, however, it becomes more and more difficult to tell them from “real” wood because of variations in color and grain pattern from board to board. Try pairing decking that has black streaking with narrow black rail spindles. It is one of my favorite combinations.

Some other special considerations when building with PVC decking include: pre-drilling for screws in key areas, learning how to use hidden fasteners (there is a special tool), and painting exposed board ends with a paint made for that purpose. Special railings are also required when working with synthetics. None of these techniques is beyond the abilities of a talented carpenter who is willing to invest the time in learning some new skills.

A few final words for the eager DIYer: Make sure that you follow the requirements and installation practices supplied by the TimberTech (or whatever company you use). If you don’t, it can void your warranty. For instance, stairs need to be 12” on center. TimberTech has a great installation video series on YouTube. I’d suggest giving that a look before you get deep into your project. Good luck!

Michael Reeder, Archadeck of Columbus
Michael Reeder, Archadeck of Columbus

If you’re thinking about adding an outdoor living space to your Columbus backyard, give us a call to see how we can make creating your dream backyard an enjoyable experience, start to finish. The consultation is completely free. Call (740) 879 – 3730 or email us at We look forward to your call.

2014 in review. Wow! I am just so humbled that so many people all over the “world” learn from our articles. Thank you, thank you!

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

Madison Square Garden can seat 20,000 people for a concert. This blog was viewed about 65,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Madison Square Garden, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Archadeck of Columbus reflections on 2014 and looking forward to 2015 – a few thank you’s and a big “I can’t wait”

When you work in the construction and home design industry, December is an especially good time to pause and take stock of the previous 12 months and to make plans for the coming year. Our building and client meeting schedules are less hectic so we have more time for reflection. In some ways the construction year is like my grandfather’s farmer’s year: winter is when you have the opportunity fix the fence posts and plan for spring.

Archadeck Columbus team 2014 lr

Since my wife Carol and I started this business, we have seen lots of change in our lives, our community, and our industry. We welcomed two wonderful sons who love riding around with me in my truck and helping with our YouTube videos. We’ve said goodbye to my parents who were tireless cheerleaders for both our Archadeck business and Ohio State. I never lose sight of the fact that my family is the heart of my business. My parents taught me to work hard and honestly and Jake and Kyle are teaching me that kids are really expensive (just joking!). I’m so grateful to have a business that meets my family’s financial needs and gives me the flexibility to go to soccer games and parent-teacher conferences.

In 2014, we were very excited to be named as part of the Cougar 100. It’s such a thrill to be recognized as a success by your school. I owe this award, as well as the many others we have earned, to my wife and the rest of our team. If you built a screened porch with Archadeck of Columbus, you have probably met Seth, our skilled carpenter who has been with us for 12 years. Or maybe Josh, he’s been building with us for 9. Thanks also go to our other valuable team members: Rob (4 years) and Phil (2 years). This kind of longevity is rare; these numbers are very impressive for the construction industry and it shows in our work.

I’m also grateful for all the wonderful customers who we have worked with this year. We understand what a leap of faith it is to sign a contract with a builder and to make them part of your daily life during construction. We do everything we can to minimize cost and disruption and to create an amazing new living space for each and every one. You can’t imagine the thrill I get when I read the positive feedback we get from our clients. I offer all of you my thanks for your faith and your business.

Michael Reeder, Archadeck of Columbus
Michael Reeder, Archadeck of Columbus

If you have a Columbus outdoor living space you are considering for 2015, we’d love to hear from you: (740) 879 – 3730 or email us at  The consultation is completely free.

What flooring option should you use for your Columbus screened porch?

Screened porch divider rail with floor of diagonal decking boards

One of the most important decisions associated with designing and building a porch is picking the best flooring material for your project.  That decision will determine many of the deck’s fundamental qualities including how much it will cost, how long it will last, how it will look and how much maintenance it will require.  That many how, how, hows can make the choice a little intimidating, but we’ve put together a quick primer on the most common porch flooring options in Central Ohio.

The first option, of course, wood.  It’s been used as a building staple for hundreds of years.  It’s relatively inexpensive, depending on the type of wood you use, and very easy and quick to build with.  We primarily recommend using pressure-treated pine flooring.  Sun is wood’s worst enemy and the porch roof removes that problem from the equation.  Any wood may be sealed or stained to increase its durability and longevity.  If you don’t care for the look of pine, you can easily upgrade to another type of wood like ipe or cedar that may better complement the style or color of your home.  The area immediately under the floor will be lined with screening to impede bugs from becoming the unwanted visitors on your porch.

Upper Arlington Columbus OH screen porch TimberTech
Synthetics are for more than just decks. This screened porch in Upper Arlington was built using a gorgeous TimberTech floor.

Synthetic deck planks are often chosen for projects where the porch adjoins to an attached deck so that the material is consistent all the way across.  This isn’t necessary, as we can easily create attractive transitions, but some clients prefer a homogeneous, pulled-together look.  These low-maintenance floors are extremely durable, much more hardy than the sealed pine, so they are especially resistant to scratches from pets or moving furniture.  You may hear synthetics referred to as PVC or composite flooring or by a trademarked name like TimberTech.

Tile is a material we don’t suggest because of the weather in the Columbus area.  If you’ve lived here for more than a couple years, you understand the freeze/thaw cycle that we experience each winter.  The only way we could lay tile would be over a full concrete foundation, similar to one used for the main house.  Even then, the open air of the porch leaves both the tiles and the grout subject to significant stresses.  Tile has been used locally, but I wouldn’t choose it for my home.  Concrete or stained concrete would offer similar challenges to tile and we don’t recommend their use for the floor of a screened porch.

Pavers are an option for porches that are low to the ground or nearly flat to grade.  They are hardy enough to endure through very harsh weather and are available in a variety of shapes, design layouts and colors; so they are very flexible in terms of style.

Large screen porch with outdoor fireplace and tongue and groove ceiling Columbus OH
Pressure-treated pine is a great flooring option for your screened porch

Regardless of the flooring you choose for the base layer, you can always dress your floor up with carpets or throw rugs.  If you have an especially large porch, you can use rugs to visually define distinct living areas.  Rugs are incredibly versatile in terms of size, shape and color and can be easily swapped out for a new look seasonally or annually if you want to freshen up the style of your porch.  Rugs can be made of a wide variety of natural or synthetic materials, many of which are weather resistant.

One parting thought: flooring doesn’t need to match the ceiling, walls, screens or other wood treatments.  It’s a stand-alone design element.  Think about how you will use your new space and let that drive your choice.  If you have any questions about flooring options or other outdoor living project topics, please give us a call.  We are happy to share our knowledge and experience.

Michael Reeder, Archadeck of Columbus
Michael Reeder, Archadeck of Columbus

Contact Archadeck of Columbus today to see how we can make creating your dream backyard an enjoyable experience, start to finish. The consultation is completely free. (740) 879 – 3730 or email us at We look forward to your call.

Keep the best, get rid of the rest

Ipe deck pergola patio Upper Arlington ColumbusThese clients in Columbus’ Upper Arlington area have a distinctive Frank Lloyd Wright style home where they have lived for more than 30 years.  They’ve been wanting to upgrade the backyard for a while now, but had concerns about disrupting the Japanese maple trees and other established landscaping.  The existing deck and railroad tie landscaping walls needed to go, but the living garden was to be kept and protected.

Our solution was a three-fold plan.  First, keep large construction equipment to a minimum in order to protect the trees and plants.  Archadeck works regularly with the same crews of carpenters and patio installers so we were able to easily and effectively communicate with them the parameters of the job.  Secondly, we extended the clean, simple lines of the home into the design of the deck and landscaping so it is an extension of the main house.  Frank Lloyd Wright did the same thing in his famous home designs.  Ipe deck with bluestone patio Columbus OHFinally, we worked with materials that kept the yard looking very natural, also in keeping with the style of the home.

There were lots of moving parts to this project.  To begin, we removed everything from the deck to irrigation and drainage lines.  Then we installed an ipe wood deck with an angular, geometric design bounded by landscaping walls made of Oakfield cut drywall stone.  The total length of the deck perimeter and planting wall is about 127 linear feet.  Since the stones are cut and mortared, they also have clean visual lines.  Between the deck and house and around the planting bed we installed patio areas constructed of Pennsylvania thermal bluestone which nicely complements the cut stone of the wall.

Columbus Ipe deck and pergola Upper ArlingtonThe renewal of the backyard was a long time in coming so the family had to replace some of the systems that had to be removed in the demolition process.  We started with drainage, went on to irrigation and finished with landscape lighting to make the yard inviting at any time of day or night.  We topped the whole project with a cedar pergola that adds an extra dimension to the area and is also in keeping with the architectural cues from the house.

When all was over and done, nothing remained from the old yard but the trees.  Everything “works” in this yard.  From the design perspective, we integrated the style of the home into the style of the yard.  From a mechanical perspective, all of the systems have been modernized and replaced.  Most importantly, no trees were harmed in the making of this outdoor living space.

Michael Reeder, Archadeck of Columbus
Michael Reeder, Archadeck of Columbus

Contact Archadeck of Columbus today to see how we can make creating your dream backyard an enjoyable experience, start to finish. The consultation is completely free. (740) 879 – 3730 or email us at We look forward to your call.

It’s not an empty backyard, it’s a world of possibilities

Columbus multi level patio design with pergolasAn empty backyard is a little like a blank sheet of paper.  There is so much possibility, but it can be a little intimidating as well.  That’s why our hardscape design consultation appointments are so important.  We listen closely to the client.  We want to hear their ideas and plans, but we also want to learn how they envision using the space.  We then use our patio design experience to create 3-D renderings of project ideas that meet the needs and desires expressed by the client.  In addition to design options, we offer suggestions about materials that would be well-suited to the project.

Take a look at this Columbus patio design.  The existing home had a small covered porch with plenty of room to expand.  Originally the owners thought they might want a deck, but it was going to be so low to the ground, we agreed a paver patio would be a better option.  The owners selected locally-sourced pavers from Hessit Works, an Indiana company.  The patio will extend from the existing porch along the full length of the home, along a curved, fluid line known as curvilinear.  The far end of the patio will be the Multi level paver patio Columbus OHsite of a new circular fire pit with a low retaining wall that gives definition to the space and affords additional seating.  We are using Unilock Brussels for the wall.  Both the wall and the fire pit will be capped with Belgard bullnose pavers.

A soak in a hot tub is a great way to end any day, whether you worked hard or not.  We designed a raised area with a low fence around two sides, tucked off the corner of the house so our customers can enjoy their spa with a great deal of privacy.  It will be covered by one of two pergolas that will run the length of most of the patio.  Another neat design trick: the pergolas will be covered with clear polycarbonate cover, offering a substantial protection from with weather without giving up the open-air feel and view to the stars.  They can even sit outside and listen to the summer rain without getting wet depending on the wind.

The total size of this multi-level project is about 1,400 square feet, so there is plenty of additional space that has been designated for a grill, dining furniture and outdoor conversational clusters.  The simplicity of this design meets the clients goals, solves their problems with their old yard design and offers tremendous flexibility for the purchase and placement of furniture and the eventual landscaping of the area.  The customers were so happy with our design solutions that they are already talking about how we can help them in the front of the house next year!

Michael Reeder, Archadeck of Columbus
Michael Reeder, Archadeck of Columbus

Contact Archadeck of Columbus today to see how we can make creating your dream backyard an enjoyable experience, start to finish. The consultation is completely free. (740) 879–3730 or email us at We look forward to your call.

Gather around the fire – the Columbus fire pit that is

Columbus square fire pit paver patioThere are very few daily activities that we share with early humans.  The impulse to gather around a stone-ringed pit with a fire in the middle is one of them.  Fire pits and fireplaces bring a sense of community to a group, as well as a place to keep warm and cook food.

Today’s masonry fire pits are more stable and permanent than the ones that graced the cave vestibules of the past, but they maintain some key features.  They are typically circular or square and are usually built at ground level for safety.  We also have the option to plumb them to burn natural gas, although wood-burning pits remain very popular.  Gas fire pits are cheap, clean and easy to use, but cost more up front because a professional plumber will install the gas line, valves and igniters.

We field many calls inquiring about outdoor fireplaces as well.  They are significantly more expensive to install because they include a fire box, fireplace, hearth, mantle and veneer.  Columbus custom fire pit and retaining wallOutdoor fireplace prices can vary widely depending on features like size and shape.  Archadeck has completed outdoor fireplace projects starting in the $10,000 range, but larger projects cost more than  $20,000.  If you call for a free consultation, we can find out exactly what kind of finished outdoor living area you’ve been considering and give you a price for that project.

All of the permanent fire features that we build are installed by a professional mason.  They look great and comply with building codes to ensure safety.  The mason can also build permanent seating around the pit or fireplace.  Seat walls are a popular choice because they offer lots of flexibility for guests and help to visually define the space.  Portable wood or propane fire pits are also available on the market if you want something you can move, but be careful to always position them a safe distance from your home or other buildings.

Whether you fancy cooking rustic pizzas for your friends in wood-fired oven or see yourself roasting hotdogs and marshmallows with the kids on the patio around the fire pit, Archadeck of Columbus can help you extend your outdoor living season with the custom fire pit of your choice.  You’ll enjoy the same benefits as the cavemen, but won’t have to lug those heavy rocks.

Michael Reeder, Archadeck of Columbus
Michael Reeder, Archadeck of Columbus

Contact us for a free consultation to discuss your dreams for your outdoor space.

(740) 879 – 3730


Design your new porch around time with friends and family?

backyard-partyYou need to start with a daydream.  Dreams aren’t built with lumber and rails and stones.  They are visions of what you will do in a place and the people who will be there with you.  Will it be friends?  Family? Pets? Neighbors?  Will you be kicking back around a firepit?  Sharing a grilled dinner on an open porch?  Would you prefer to curl up with a good book inside a screened porch with an overhead fan?  It’s the people and the activities that are central to creating the perfect outdoor living space.  They drive what kind of setting will help you fulfill that dream. So you don’t design your new space for them. But you design your new space thinking about all the fun and enjoyable activities you want to do with friends, family, and pets in your new space.

We at Archadeck of Columbus believe that an outdoor space should be a realization of the homeowners’ dreams about how they want to live outside.  We recently completed a gorgeous TimberTech deck and cedar open porch in Powell, Ohio.  We designed and accepted deposit on the project late last year and built it over the winter.  The family entertains quite a bit and was looking for a large deck with multiple living areas broken up into sections that occupied different levels.  We helped them imagine and build a low-maintenance outdoor living area that is both efficient in its use of space and beautiful to look at.

Stunning stone skirting on Powell Columbus deckThe entire deck measures over 1,400 sq. ft.  There are multiple seating areas– great for accommodating both large and small groups.  The owners chose TimberTech Evolutions Terrain brown oak color for their flooring material.  This capped composite decking is very easy to clean and is naturally scratch, stain and fade resistant, while maintaining the look and grain of real wood.  They went with a white vinyl railing and black aluminum pickets.  The darker pickets really draw the eye into the yard and the aluminum has great strength.  The rail was completed with TimberTech decking board for the rail cap.  TimberTech also has an color-match screws and hidden fasteners available, depending on the look desired.

We went with diagonally oriented decking for this project.  Diagonally oriented decking gives us three advantages.  First, it provides the deck superior architectural strength.  Boards that are run at a 45 degree angle to the structure are stronger than those set at 90 degrees.  Second, it’s very functional.  We alternated the direction of the boards on the various levels to give people a visual cue about the change in elevation.  Third, it’s a very attractive look that our customers love.  We used parting boards to eliminate splicing.

Powell Columbus OH large custom deckThere is a generously proportioned open porch over the top of one section–16’x20’.  We took an existing gable roof bump out and continued it so that it looks seamless– like it was always part of the home.   It was done in cedar with interesting trim work on the supporting columns.  The porch has enclosed rafters with bead board and is fully wired for low voltage lighting, ceiling fans and other amenities.  The customer selected a cultured stone skirt that is a visually stunning finishing touch.  It unifies the living areas with the rest of the yard and is vented for circulation.  The whole thing is as lovely from the ground level as it is from above.

While this is the architectural plan, the real plan begins with how you want to live in your new space.

Columbus deck and porch design plan

Michael Reeder, Archadeck of Columbus
Michael Reeder, Archadeck of Columbus

We are so thrilled that we were able to design and build an outdoor living area that will provide this family so much fun and flexibility for enjoying their home in the years to come.  Contact us for a free consultation to discuss your dreams for your outdoor space.

(740) 879 – 3730


What’s not to love?

Loving Outdoor Living Magazine by Outdoor Living Brands
Archadeck of Columbus is part of the Outdoor Living Brands family of outdoor companies.

Nothing invigorates the mind and body like spending time in a beautiful outdoor setting.  Visit any travel site or flip through a vacation magazine and you will see photo after photo of scenic vistas, bright colors and friendly people.  What we sometimes forget is that we can give ourselves the gift of relaxation and inspiration by looking just outside our own back doors. It’s also a great idea to have a few well worn magazines and websites for regular tidbits of fresh advice and fun commentary. To this end, you will love this new online magazine published by our parent company – Outdoor Living Brands.

Outdoor Living Brands has launched a new outdoor living online magazine to inspire you with new ideas, educate you about new products and trends and give you a road map to help realize your dreams right in your own backyard.  The name of the magazine really says it all: Loving Outdoor Living.  The magazine is available to view for free online or to download as a full-color PDF file.  Once you’ve provided a couple quick tidbits of information, enjoy reading engaging articles on all aspects of outdoor living and entertaining, including features such as new methods for keeping bugs at bay or how to shop for a local contractor.  Gorgeous photos, tasty recipes and handy resource guides supplement the core content and enliven each issue.

If the magazine delights you, but leaves you wanting more, you can visit the Loving Outdoor Living blog.  Check in often to see new posts highlighting products, services, vendors or events that will provide even more exciting inspirations for your personal oasis.  Editor Larry Spada includes links to order items from featured vendors online and sometimes helps readers to score a discount coupon.  See the newest releases from familiar companies like Crate & Barrel and less well-known retailers like Fab or TUUCI ®.  You never know what you will find when you stop by the blog.  You can also follow Larry on Google+.  Larry has a gift for for keeping his posts brief, even while entertaining and engaging his audience.

Michael Reeder, Archadeck of Columbus
Michael Reeder, Archadeck of Columbus

You never know where and when inspiration will strike, but if you check out  Loving Outdoor Living, the odds are great that you will find it there. If you’re ready to turn your own Columbus-area backyard into your own personal outdoor living paradise, then look no further than Archadeck of Columbus. For more than a dozen years we’ve built outdoor spaces for homeowners throughout the entire Columbus area. On trend here in Columbus are combination spaces. Many of our clients are choosing to pair a porch with a patio or a patio with a deck. This allows you to have two unique spaces to enjoy your backyard. Often one space is for dining and another is for seating. Perhaps one offers shade and the other allows you to soak in the sun. Many of our customers ask us to build these spaces at different levels such as a step down patio. This gives even more dimension to your already custom space designed and built for the way you want to live.

Contact Archadeck of Columbus today to see how we can make creating your dream backyard an enjoyable experience, start to finish. The consultation is completely free. Call (740) 879 -3730 or email us at We look forward to your call.