Top 5 reasons to build your screen porch this fall

Archadeck of Maryland outdoor space with gazebo, firepit, grill area, privacy fence and much more

This outdoor space has it all, a screened gazebo, fire pit and grill area all of which can add the utmost enjoyment during the fall months.

Fall comes into our lives each year like a daydream with visions of crimson and amber leaves set adrift on a fall wind, and the pleasant feeling of acorns falling from majestic oaks that play party to scampering chipmunks and squirrels. As one of the most dramatic seasons, autumn is best enjoyed as a front row spectator. The aromas, the mild temperatures and above all the flurry of colors can serve as an inspiration to your daily life from your very own outdoor structure. Imagine curling up on your chaise lounge with your favorite throw while enjoying a  cup of chai tea and witnessing the magic of the season up close and personal from your new screened porch. This scene is delicious, especially when you are flipping through a current issue of your favorite home and garden magazine and realizing the images within the pages don’t hold a candle to the beauty that is present in your very own backyard from your stunning custom outdoor structure with mother nature’s imagery as your backdrop.

Archadeck of Maryland screened porch

This screened porch by Archadeck of Maryland offers a vantage point to watch the leaves change.

Imagine the amount of fun and family memories that can be made in the fall while making smore’s on your very own outdoor fireplace or fire pit. The cool breezes, the warm enticing glow of the fire and the warmth of your loved ones around you. Fall is the perfect season to build your outdoor structure for many reasons, we have broken these reasons into a list of the top 5 to serve as much for inspiration as for guidance.

Top 5 reasons to build your outdoor structure this fall

#1) There is still time to enjoy– There is still plenty of time to enjoy your new structure this season. The upcoming weeks still hold the promise of nice enough weather to be able to enjoy your new structure.

#2) A front row seat to fall– The leaves in some areas are just now getting their tinges of fall color, with many weeks of beauty that lie ahead. Wouldn’t you rather see the season unfold from the comfort of your outdoor structure as opposed to looking at it from a window in your home. Fall is the definitely the prettiest time of the year to build.

#3) Get in on the savings– Undoubtedly, prices on low maintenance building materials are destined to go up again in 2012. Indeed they go up at the beginning of each year. If you start your construction in the fall, you will have the edge on saving money because you will have begun before prices rise again in the upcoming new year.

#4) Avoid the rush– You can avoid the rush on building during the spring when everyone else decides to get things started. In the fall there is not a long waiting period to begin your project, and come spring you will be “sitting  pretty” in your completed structure, while everyone else is still waiting to begin construction on theirs.

#5) Stop and smell the flowers– Many seasonal perennials can be damaged when the soil around them is disturbed during the extreme cold of winter or the excessive heat and humidity of summer. Uprooting or disturbing the soil and roots of plants like Rhododendrons and Azaleas which are commonly used as foundation plantings can damage the plant and leave the plant susceptible to disease, fungus and insects.

Outdoor fireplace on screened porch

An outdoor fireplace used within a screened porch can add warmth as well as offer an intimate setting for chilly autumn nights.

Another great benefit of building your outdoor structure in the fall is being able to take advantage of all those end of-season discounts on accoutrements  and accessories for your outdoor space such as outdoor furniture, grills and decorative items. Autumn is the time for deep discounts on these items and can give you the ability to stretch your dollar further than if you were purchasing these items in peak season.

John Barrett Archadeck of MarylandIf you are ready to jump into fall, and get a head start on enjoying the benefits of an outdoor structure such as a screened porch, covered porch, covered patio, deck or outdoor fireplace, contact Archadeck of  Central Maryland  and Archadeck of Montgomery County to learn more. (301) 926 – 3001
montgomeryco@archadeck.net
centralmaryland@archadeck.net

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Top 10 considerations when building a porch.

Interior of two story screened porch by Archadeck of Maryland

This screened porch by Archadeck of Central Maryland and Montgomery County boasts two levels of beauty and quality.

When making the decision to build an outdoor structure, or outdoor room there are many things to take into considerations. Making the right decisions early on in the process cannot only ensure your outdoor structure compliments your home and landscape, but it can also improve your lifestyle and add value to your property. And above all, it can impact your state of mind.

Archadeck of Central Maryland and Archadeck of Montgomery County pride ourselves in planning, designing and building outdoor structures that really make a difference in how you live. One such structure that is sure to add beauty and enjoyment to your life is a porch. Porches can be covered or uncovered; attached to your home, patio or deck; or even detached in a prime location within your landscape. We have compiled a list of the top ten considerations to think of in the planning stage when building the porch of your dreams.

Archadeck of Maryland Screened porch

This screened porch by Archadeck of Central Maryland and Montgomery County utilizes a fireplace for function and aesthetic appeal.

Top 10 considerations to consider when building a porch:

1) What function would you be performing in your porch? This by far is the first and foremost question to take into consideration as it dictates where the porch itself should be located, whether it will be detached or attached and what amenities it will need to include. Usually porches serve as either an extended outdoor family room, or an outdoor dining area, or a combination of both. If it will serve as an outdoor dining space, the porch’s proximity to your home’s kitchen is very important. If you are going to use the porch to function as an outdoor family room, then the proximity to the kitchen is not a big issue. You also need to consider how you want to utilize your space once the seasons change. If you want to make use of your space within the cooler months of the year you may consider building a convertible Artistic Enclosures porch, which uses wall systems to enhance your space from season to season, or Eze breeze by PGT , which uses a screen plus a sliding 4-track convertible system. If you want your porch to serve as an extension of the home because of a lack of indoor living space, you can make the porch a convertible space with windows that can be removed during the warm months, but serve your needs for an enclosed, heated space during the winter months as well.

Archadeck of Maryland covered porch.

This Maryland covered porch offers easy access to and from the kitchen.

2) How high off the ground should your porch be?  This is something most homeowners don’t consider but is a crucial element when thinking of building your porch. If the space between your porch and the area it is intended to work with are too far away or create an inconvenience to move between areas, then chances are that you will not only regret your configuration but may stop using the room altogether for the purpose which it was initially intended.

Archadeck of Maryland screened porch

This two-story screened porch by Archadeck of Central Maryland and Montgomery County utilizes a large area for dining and a large area for entertaining.

3) How large should your porch be? Deciding what size porch you really need will impact how you use your porch throughout it’s lifetime. You need to figure out how many people are going to be using it and what function they will be using it for. I actually often recommend that my customers build a smaller porch than they were originally intending. Here’s the reason. If you envision having a porch span the entire width of the back of your home, that may be much more space than you need and can even cause the room to lose its cozy appeal.

Think of a home that has a very large room that goes from the front to the back of the home or from one side of the home clear to the other side. Often times these large rectangular rooms are hard to decorate and cause the room to be much less cozy. Now if your intention is for your porch to really serve the purpose of being two distinct rooms, then it might make sense. Let’s say that you want to use one side of your porch as an outdoor dining area and that part of the porch opens up into or very close to the kitchen. Then you may want to use the other side as a living room sort of area and that side opens up into your living area in the home. Then, that’s a really good use of a long rectangular space.

A good all around size for a porch that is designed for one living space is generally a 16×16 or 16×18. If you are still unsure, then measure your home’s living or family room. Do make sure to take into consideration the space needed when the items are pulled out. For example, consider how much space is needed around your table when everyone is sitting back after a large meal. People generally pull their chairs out from the table. Will there still be room and foot room within the structure with the planned furnishings? When making your final decision build for the 90%, not the 10%. Even though you don’t want to build more space than you have, not having enough room is a greater dilemma than having a little too much as you can’t just add a few feet to a porch the way you might be able to do with a deck or patio.

4) Screen anyone? If you are choosing a screened porch, then your screening system and type of screen you choose is very important. If your goal is to really enjoy the view of your back yard, try using a screen system that is as invisible as possible. Here are some situations that may require a stronger screen system. Might your screen come in contact with falling tree branches or limbs, birds, cats, or even hockey sticks? Screen comes in many different types to accommodate your individual needs. Durable screens, such as Super Screen which offers a 10 year warranty is recommended for people with dogs and cats. Privacy screens are also available which are a more opaque screening material and appear almost invisible. You can even use exterior grade shades, like roman shades for example.

Mahogany_screened_porch_Bethesda_MD

This porch in Bethseda, MD shows how beautiful a mahogany floor can be when used on a porch.

5) Flooring options. Your porch’s flooring is front and center so choosing a flooring material that appeals to your eye is important. In most cases, your porch will offer some protection from the elements so you have more flexibility when it comes to your flooring than you would on other outdoor structures, such as your deck. If a natural look of wood is your style, woods such a mahogany and tigerwood are popular to use on porches. Some people use stone and tile, which can be pretty but can also be very problematic. The grouting used in stone and tile will eventually crack with the cold and freezing weather conditions we have here in MD. These materials also are cold to the touch, and that also means to the feet. Another choice is a tongue and groove composite. They are long-lasting, and offer beauty and little maintenance.

Archadeck of Maryland screened porch

This screened porch ceiling was finished with beautiful cedar.

6) Coming out on top? This would be your ceiling material choice. In most scenarios your ceiling material will not become a maintenance issue. Ceiling materials that are popular right  now amongst porches are beadboard, and tongue-and-groove pine or cedar. These all offer a touch of rustic elegance to your structure. Skylights are a viable option in darker landscapes that need additional light in the structure or the home. Skylights can be used on any porch which is well lit, or otherwise. But most homeowners with ample light often don’t choose them because of the additional cost. Velux makes a wonderful Low-E skylight. Skylights can also come with a range of features including rain sensors which will close the skylight, remote controls and even blinds built right into the skylight.

MD_screened_porch_with_outdoor_fireplace

Plenty of lighting and ceiling fans can enhance the enjoyment on your porch.

7) Really think about your lighting and electrical needs. It is important to think about this up front. Most people who build a porch consider it their favorite room and are filled with regret that they didn’t build it years before they did. Remember, it is always better to put in too may electrical outlets, than too little. The cost to add outlets in the building process is minimal. The cost to add outlets after building is complete can be very substantial. Think about having outlets to plug in both floor lamps and table lamps. You will likely want an outlet to charge your phone and other to charge your laptop. You will use other electronics such as your television. Depending on the use of the room, you may even want to plug in a blender for margaritas or other kitchen apparatus as well.

Lighting comes in three different formats- table and floor, fan package, and ceiling fixtures. If you desire lighting in the ceiling, you should go with covering the rafters as opposed to leaving them exposed. With recessed lighting you can hide the wire more easily. You can also easily add insulation if you have a covered rafter.

Open_porch_builder_Maryland_MD

Archadeck of Maryland captures the charm and beauty of a by-gone era in covered porch design

8) Exterior materials. Maintenance free, formal and finished, or rustic and natural? There are lots of exterior material choices available for porches. Many times we trim the exterior using vinyl because aside from minimal cleaning, it is virtually maintenance free. Based on the elevation of your structure you may or may not need railing or a kneewall. Not having a lot of additional areas to cover will cut down on costs and will give you more light and airflow.

9) Welcome! The style of door you choose is extremely important within your structure. We have customers that stick to wood, but they are few. Most of our homeowners use storm doors. Storm doors are light when they have screen in them. Choosing a good quality storm door may or may not be that much more costly than using a wood door. It will give you more protection from the elements and can also be safer from a security perspective because of its strength.

Open_porch_with_gable_roof_Maryland_MD

This gabled roof lends clean design lines in this covered porch by Archadeck of Maryland

10) Style of roof. Gabled roofs are quite popular amongst our porch customers. However if you are building gables, you will need to make sure it works with the windows above. There are other roof styles available that may harmonize better with your residence. If building a detached porch, you may or may not choose to match the structures roof to your home’s roof, many times a different style roof on a detached porch compliments the property better than a matching roof.

John Barrett Archadeck of MarylandArchadeck of Central Maryland and Archadeck of Montgomery County can help you when deciding all the basics of building your porch. We can meet with you and discuss all the options and what will work best for your particular circumstances. This is the fun stuff for us.

Contact us today to help you get started on a structure that will give you and your family much enjoyment for years to come. (301) 926 – 3001 centralmaryland@archadeck.net or montgomeryco@archadeck.net

Silver Spring MD Cabana-style Gazebo, patio, deck and hot tub deck

View from inside the detached cabana style gazebo by Archadeck of Maryland

View from inside the detached cabana style gazebo by Archadeck of Maryland, truly the heart of this versatile outdoor space.

We recently completed a project in Silver Spring which encompasses everything you could ever ask for in an outdoor oasis. The homeowner works for a company that takes care of high-end hotel renovations, so he already had an eye for design. Archadeck of Maryland was able to create the outdoor oasis within this Maryland homeowners imagination into a reality, and now these homeowners have a place to relax and soak in the feeling of “no place like home” upon return of a long business trip.

Archadeck of Maryland outdoor space with gazebo, firepit, grill area, privacy fence and much more

This outdoor space has it all, these homeowners don't have far to go for relaxation and entertaining.

These homeowners really wanted a space the whole family could enjoy but also, with two teenage boys, they also wanted the capability to have privacy and separation within the design. The homeowners said the main uses they wanted to utilize were socializing, grilling, eating and reading. We were able to create a place for each activity and also create a space that could please a crowd or serve as a place of solitude and quiet built for two. This space is versatile in its layout and design. This outdoor space brings new meaning to the phrase ” a place for everything and everything in its place”.

Another view of this stunning outdoor space by Archadeck of Maryland

Another view of this stunning outdoor space by Archadeck of Maryland.

The space has a detached cabana style gazebo, a gorgeous paver patio, a grilling area, a deck that is large enough to accommodate two separate areas for dining as well as seating, a fire pit, a hot tub with deck surround and a privacy fence with a pergola-style decorative feature which adds character and uniqueness.

The detached cabana style gazebo is truly the heart of this versatile outdoor living space. The gazebo boasts a spacious 12×12 area that can be used for seating, reading and also has protection from bothersome insects and the harsh rays of the sun with the addition of having the area screened in. The detached gazebo is perfectly placed within the space for a bird’s eye view of everything going on around the outdoor space as well.

The privacy fence serves as much for visual appeal as it does for safety and seclusion.

The privacy fence serves as much for visual appeal as it does for safety and seclusion.

The hot tub’s deck surround creates a safe haven to enter and exit the hot tub, and the privacy fence with pergola style decorative features will add style and pizazz to an area that serves as a necessity to keep prying eyes away, and gives these homeowners peace of mind.

The Deck is 20″ above grade and is large enough to serve as two living areas, there is ample room for seating as well as dining. The deck steps down to a beautiful curved paver patio. The curvilinear shape is really popular for patios right now, and the homeowners wanted an overall shape to the structure that offered more visual interest and aesthetic appeal than a rectilinear shaped structure. The addition of the custom fire pit within the patio creates perfect design harmony within a space that creates a perfect spot to gather to take the chill off and maybe enjoy some roasted marshmallows or s’mores  by the glow of the fire.

An outdoor oasis by Archadeck of Maryland

Notice how beautifully each area and structure flows into one another.

These homeowners are excited to make use of their new “outdoor oasis” with the cold evenings of September right around the corner. This outdoor space in its entirety is everything they could have hoped for and much more.

John Barrett Archadeck of MarylandArchadeck of Maryland can create an unforgettable space for you right in your own backyard, we can customize your outdoor oasis to suit your individual style and purpose. Contact Archadeck of Maryland to learn more (301) 926 – 3001
centralmaryland@archadeck.net

Sneak preview of this in progress transformation in Silver Spring, MD

canyon_blend_pavers(1) by Fendt

Canyon blend pavers by Fendt, add a rustic touch to this transformation

Red is one of the most powerful of all the warm colors used in design and these homeowners in Silver Spring MD are in the midst of a wonderful transformation within their backyard by transforming their less than functional  and unattractive hardscape into one that whispers  relaxation along with the rustic hues of red they chose for this endeavor.

These homeowners are busy professionals and have two teen-aged sons, so they wanted the backyard to promote relaxation and fun so their family could make the most out of the time they spend together. They decided upon a screened stand-alone gazebo, a patio with a seating area which encompasses a fire pit, a deck,  a hot tub with loads privacy, and an outdoor grill/kitchen area. This construction is “in progress”, but once completed will be the perfect family hot spot or a great place to spend a “stay-cation”.

Silver Spring patio deck gazebo and pergola design rendering plan

Each Archadeck of Maryland client gets a design rendering showing exactly what their project will look like. This is the plan for this Silver Spring backyard.

Archadeck of Maryland had a difficult challenge to overcome because the yard slopes as it descends into the back, and the deck inside corner portrays close proximity to the family room and kitchen, the family room is actually two steps down to the kitchen. It was tough to incorporate the deck and it’s traffic flow with these close quarters. The homeowners did not want to drop the deck down to the latter level because that would entail having three steps down. We were able to make it all fit together as you will see in the design rendering submitted for this structure.

Silver Spring deck patio gazebo in progress

Still in progress... We are finishing up the gazebo, deck and patio.

The screened, stand alone gazebo is going to be placed at a 45 degree angle with arches in between the screened panel opening for a stunning effect. The color palette chosen by these homeowners is stunning as well, with hues of brick-red, and red tones used alongside grays for a beautiful rustic feel.

These Silver Spring, MD homeowners chose a Guardian Guardeck in a brick, red-toned color. The paver color they chose is called, Canyon Blend, and it will blend in the red tones with the gray stone. The paver in made by Fendt, and is part of their Spectrum Collection. The fire pit is going to be finished with Onyx red, and the grill will be finished in Onyx natural. The fire pit is gas so we will be running a gas line to it. The homeowners had to get the meter updated to accommodate the fire pit running off the gas line from the house.

We are really excited to see the finished product for these Silver Spring, MD homeowners. Stay tuned for more pictures to come on this glorious project.

John Barrett Archadeck of MarylandIf you are thinking of a transformation in your own backyard, contact Archadeck of Maryland to find out more  at (301) 926 – 3001 or email us at centralmaryland@archadeck.net  and don’t forget to visit our photo galleries to see design ideas and pictures from other stunning outdoor structures.

Take a look at our Archadeck of Central Maryland website.