Virtually the Best Central Iowa Decks, Porches, Patios and Outdoor Living Amenities...including our web site, old and new!

It is with great excitement and (nervous?) anticipation that I am excited to announce that we will be launching a new web site for Archadeck of Central Iowa in early December, 2020. Our franchise team has partnered with an extraordinary firm for this endeavor, to both develop and host our new site. We will be working closely with our new provider on the transition over the coming weeks but everything we’ve seen so far gives us the utmost confidence (but still nervous…because I used to work in IT…) of a smooth transition and a fantastic result.

Beginning September 1st and thru the transition in early December, this site is ”frozen,” meaning no new content is being added; existing content also remains unchanged. Nevertheless, you’ll still find plenty of great and relevant content here regarding what we do – have been doing (for 17 years), how we do it and how you can get started on that process with us.

You just won’t find pictures of your Central Iowa neighbors’ new decks, porches and patios that we’ll complete in the remainder of 2020.

However, our other media sites – Google, Instagram, Facebook, Houzz and more – are not impacted by this change. So we will publish current and notable events and news on those platforms during this transition. Maybe even your neighbor’s new Archadeck deck, porch or patio. So, please follow us on any/all of those sites for the latest on Archadeck of Central Iowa.

Ultimately, there will be a better web-based experience for you (and for us) here with Archadeck of Central Iowa’s new web site. Not that our current one is “bad;” we’ve won awards for it, we get lots of compliments on it and it has supported our business well. So don’t let this transition stop you – this experience is pretty good, too. But…technology changes…fast. As does the world. We need to keep up and we look forward to keeping up…getting ahead, even. We are excited to take these steps and to bring an even better online experience to you.

See you on the other side! And on Instagram, etc…and outside!

Five Easy Steps to 5-Star Outdoor Living Spaces in Central Iowa...despite COVID-19

Published May 17th, 2020.
Updated June 7th, 2020.
Updated August 29th, 2020.

As our lifestyles are evolving with the coronavirus pandemic, our priorities are becoming more home- and family-based. Nothing wrong with that. Except…maybe…some aspects of your home may not be up for that. Like, maybe your outdoor living spaces. You may need fresh space…more space…and where better to get that than outdoors? I’m not telling you this to “sell” you this. You are telling me this.

Over the past few months , we’ve seen and heard from our Des Moines-area clients using their new (-ish) Archadeck decks, porches and patios for anything from office space to family theatre space to classroom space to stress-relief space. Not to mention, the outdoor kitchen for all the extra cooking thats happening with everyone home. One past client even reported they were using their Archadeck deck and porch space as the wedding venue for their son’s wedding. All in the safety and comfort of their homes.

And we’ve been hearing from a lot (a record level of “lot”) of you who now – because you are becoming more “home-focused” in your professional, educational and social lives – see these same needs and desires for your outdoor living spaces (and we hear, other home improvement projects). At the outset, the pandemic greatly diminished demand and threatened the very survival of many businesses, including ours. But as society settled in with life with the coronavirus, the rush of demand – that still continues at significantly higher levels than typical – challenges us in these unpredictable times to manage interest demand and production timelines. So we continue to adjust and ramp-up to pre-vaccine life with the coronavirus and the longer-term impact on society, culture and our business. So, while the 5 easy steps noted here are easy, we ask for your understanding, patience and support as we step thru them. I previously suggested a “get ahead of it” approach, and that is still encouraged..with patience.

I’m fully aware of – and empathetic with – the dichotomy of this situation given the loss of lives, jobs and economic security that (too) many of us have endured and will continue to endure, hopefully at lower-levels with continued safe-distancing, masking and cleanliness practices, until the virus is overcome. Our role has always been to be the most-trusted advisor and provider of outdoor living spaces that accommodate the lifestyle you want at home. In the era of the coronavirus pandemic, we are refocusing our efforts in fulfilling our role, to be responsive as possible to the quickly-evolving demands of our society and culture. And with that, to make it as easy as possible to take you from phone call to 5-star backyard makeover…in these 5 easy steps:

  • Contact Archadeck of Central Iowa (the first step is so important to getting on the right path)
  • Complimentary Design Consultation (made even easier today with virtual consultations)
  • Collaboratively Develop Design and Specifications, Sign-off and Contract (much of which can also be done virtually)
    • Archadeck specializes in the design and building of custom outdoor living spaces; as much as we would like to serve every need, its not practical for us to be everything to everybody. Don’t hesitate to contact us; we dont know if we don’t talk, right? But, please respect that we need to be more focused on mutual priorities and projects that align with our time-proven, successful business model. And at the same time, being more focused on aligning your goals with ours. Again, we can’t do that if we don’t talk, so…see the first two bullets, above.
  • Demo, Construction and Clean-up (easy for you, not as much for us…but we’re not complaining)
  • Final Inspection and Review (with a future of healthy and stress-free outdoor enjoyment – at home – for years to come)

We’ve nearly set the standard for outdoor living space development over Archadeck’s 40-year national tenure, 22 years here in the Des Moines area – 17 as Archadeck of Central Iowa. Our warranties and guarantees are the strongest in the industry as are our relationships with vendors and suppliers, both locally and nationally. Our portfolio is full of 5-star deck, porch and patio projects (since before there were 5 stars); national design excellence awards and, most importantly, customer satisfaction achievement awards. All that…to make those 5 easy steps even easier…for you, and us, actually. And all while keeping it safe by continuing to follow guidelines on the mitigation of the spread of the coronavirus as noted in our previous statements. Safety and security in a world that doesn’t feel as safe and secure as it did just a few months ago. Together, we’ll make it safe and secure again. Together, we’ll go outside and play. Safely.

Contact us today to learn more and schedule your complimentary design consultation. We look forward to working with you. Stay healthy!

Archadeck of Central Iowa - Coronavirus Statement

Published March 18th, 2020.
Updated April 13th, 2020.
The following is still applicable, but click here for our June, 2020 perspective on the coronavirus situation.

The coronavirus and COVID-19 have truly put us all in unchartered times. But, we’re an adaptable society and we’re adapting right alongside you as we navigate social distancing, sheltering in place, washing hands, face masks, distance learning. curbside food (and cocktails!) pickup and a myriad of other new situations we find ourselves in due to coronavirus. Keep up the good work – the health and well-being of our communities is dependent on the sacrifices we are all making for the long-term good.

We are continuing to stay in tune with the directives of federal and state authorities and we also continue to get guidance from our franchisor, Outdoor Living Brands, in Richmond, VA.; their support and encouragement are but one of the many factors that make our franchise system a success. We will adapt as conditions and directives change, but our current state and approach to our business is as follows:

  • We remain open for business…at a distance, socially and medically.
    • We are a small business; no worries with the 10 person limit – either in our Urbandale office or with our crews in your backyard.
    • We’re emphasizing virtual consultations, preceded by “drive-by” site assessments; in-person consultations as appropriate.
    • Once it makes sense to proceed to design, those reviews and proposals can also be done virtually; in-person as appropriate.
    • Zoom has become our friend as much as yours!
    • Contact us to learn more about our current service offerings via phone at 515-266-8844, e-mail at [email protected] or via the “how can we help”box at right.
    • Stay tuned here for updated information.

  • We are an outdoor living business…outside.
    • Outside has not been cancelled.
    • The health benefits of being outside …outdoors…are immense, at all times.
    • Archadeck of Central Iowa exists to have nice places to be outside when you’re home. Decks, porches, patios and all the amenities that make it home, outside. Maybe now, those spaces are more important than ever. The perfect place to socially distance and stay home – outdoors. Even (working) at home you can still get away. Let us show you how!
    • Team Archadeck exists to promote active and healthy outdoor living…at home, on the trails, in the parks, wherever the sun and stars shine. Maybe now, going outside and playing is more important than ever. Just keep keeping your distance for awhile…longer.

Together, we will get through this. Stay healthy! If there is anything we can do to assist in that endeavor now – even beyond typical Archadeck services – feel free to reach out.

Thank you for your continued loyalty and support.

Go Outside and Celebrate the Holidays!

Published December 22nd, 2019.

In the middle of a patio, in the middle of a tavern, in the middle of a famous park, in the middle of the greatest city in the world…sits a Christmas tree as beautiful as any you’ll find anywhere. Though I have had beautiful Christmas trees on my deck on my home in Des Moines, Iowa (Raygun’s greatest city in the universe), thats not what I’m referring to, nor what that picture is above.

My wife and I had the pleasure of enjoying desert and an after-dinner drink on the patio at the Tavern On The Green in New York City on Thanksgiving Eve, 2019. That picture was our view and a memory of a wonderful evening on a wonderful patio setting as we kicked-off our holiday season in a new and invigorating way. Most of us don’t have anything of this scale in our backyards, but personalized patio (or deck or porch) spaces – right here in Central Iowa – can generate those same types of memories of wonderful times outdoors with special people in our lives. Archadeck can play Santa in that regard – if you’ve been good. Just leave us a cookie.

We wish you a joy-filled Christmas Season and Best Wishes for 2020. Go outside and celebrate! Year round!

Archadeck 2020 - Outdoor Living for All

Originally published November 12th, 2019.
Updated, February 11th, 2020.
Updated, February 29th, 2020.

Happy Leap Day! One extra day to enjoy savings! Check our Offers page for the latest – and final – details on this updated offer and/or contact us to learn more.

Like it or not, politics and winter weather have dominated our lives here in Iowa the past few months. Some (me for one) might say we’ve had enough of both. As a result, thoughts of outdoor living…grilling on your deck, reading in your porch, sunning and relaxing on your patio, enjoying a warm fire under a cool, starry sky…have been squeezed out of our minds. Well…for many of you, anyway. But not us! Outdoor Living is a year-round business for Archadeck of Central Iowa and its our job to keep your outdoor dreams alive – year round, every year. But since this is an election year and in a year that has a nice syncopation to it – twenty-twenty – we thought we’d play off all that and spin our own unique brand of fun on the upcoming year. Little did we know when we announced this back in November, how much fun this would be.

The video above provides a quick overview of our Archadeck 2020 promotional campaign that offers up to $2,020 discounts on qualifying projects thru the end of February 2020. The video says February 3rd, but…ignore that…you know, because the caucus results are dealyed. Check our Offers page for additional details on this updated offer and/or contact us to learn more.

The Archadeck $2,020 offer is a perfect offer, perfectly timed. Winter is an excellent time to organize, plan and design your dream deck, porch and/or patio space. We can design and plan in the warmth and comfort of our Urbandale design center or your home, get you at the top of our building queues and inaugurate your project “outdoor living-ready” while the rest of the country is still counting their votes throughout the year. Or…while Iowa still counts its votes.

Please vote for Archadeck to represent your backyard. We approve – and stand behind – this message and look forward to hearing back from you.

Outdoor Living for All!

In 2019, is Freddy Krueger Still a Deck Builder in Des Moines? Yes!

Published Halloween, 2019
(but copied/updated from the original writing on our WordPress blog site at Halloween 2010; unfortunately, 9 years later its still applicable)

Is there a deck Nightmare On Your Street? Elm Street or otherwise. Is there a Blair Deck Project in your Des Moines area neighborhood? (My wife says some of the deck, porch and patio videos I’ve posted have a “Blair Witch” feel to them; OK, so I’m not Steven Speilberg…or even Stephen King) Do your children come in from playing outside, eerily whispering “I see dead decks?”

Homeowner Advisory: What you are reading/viewing here is not meant to scare you. Its all in fun, right? In the spirit of Halloween…and in the spirit of generating some business…shameless self-promotion (as Mike Wedeking at the Flying Mango is fond of saying during his radio shows on KFMG 98.9 FM). But, its also more real than most horror movies. I’ve been doing this for 16 years now. I think I’m pretty safe in saying I see and walk on more decks, porches and outdoor living structures around the Des Moines and Central Iowa area than nearly anyone else. I’ve even fallen thru a deck. So, it comes with some basis to it. I do see things most other people don’t.

I’ve seen some frightening deck experiences across the backyards of Des Moines, West Des Moines, Altoona, Urbandale, Ames, Ankeny, Johnson and other locales around Central Iowa. And most of that occurs during the daylight hours. Think what its like at nighttime! While visiting / assessing potential projects during our complimentary, on-site design consultations, I’ve walked on a fair number of decks where I’ve literally feared for my (and my potential client’s) life – got that sinking feeling much like you get when you think Michael Myers may be lurking nearby. The most common, scary things I see include (in no particular order):

  • House bands not attached properly; an installation issue
  • No footings…or footings that aren’t sized properly and/or aren’t below frost line (42” here); an installation issue
  • Support posts that are spanned excessively for the load of the deck and/or the size of the post-beam structure; an installation issue
  • Nails used where screws or lags should be used to fasten structural components together; an installation issue
  • Any number of issues with staircases…long runs, instability, high or variable riser heights, etc.; all installation issues
  • Any number of issues with railing…insecure/instability, excessive gaps between balusters, etc.; all installation issues
  • Rot…surface deck boards, railing components and, occasionally (and worse) posts because they’re in the ground; the latter is a questionable installation practice (we generally avoid that); the former are aging issues for the most part
  • Improper gapping of deck boards (often seen with composite installations…therefore unfairly giving composites a “bad” reputation when, in reality, its an installation issue, not a composite issue)
  • Dead and maimed bodies lying on staircases, in the areas along/under the deck (just kidding)

The list could go on. And on. So, you may be asking…whats the scariest thing I’ve seen? In worst-case scenarios, any of those nightmares noted above could ultimately cause bodily harm…or even death. But, I think really the scariest thing I see is the fact that too many people either a) ignore these issues and/or b) choose to go with the cheapest “fix” to these issues. What most people don’t realize is that it was likely the cheapest provider – experienced at taking shortcuts or inexperienced and just not knowing better – that caused most of these non-aging-related issues to begin with. Talk about a sequel waiting to happen. Halloween II, III and IV.

The pictures and video throughout this posting are some “real-world,” scary issues I’ve seen. Real pictures and video, from real backyards around Des Moines and Central Iowa. Not from a Hollywood movie set. Unfortunately, though, in many cases with potential Hollywood horror movie endings. We were not actually engaged to “fix” most of these. I fear that Freddy Krueger may have been, instead.

NADRA designates May as Deck Safety Month and Halloween seems a hauntingly good time to remind folks as well (therefore the re-cycling and updating of this now 9-year-old post). But, deck safety is a year-round issue…and an on-gong one at that. If you have concerns about your deck’s stability or safety, the “off-season” is a great time to make those assessments and appropriate plans going forward…to be safe and worry-free on your deck or porch next spring. Contact us for your complimentary design consultation.

Des Moines has a tradition of trick-or-treating on Beggars Night, the eve preceding Halloween itself. And with that, a tradition of kids telling jokes as their “trick.” We got lots of interesting ones last night (another story for another day). But here’s mine: Why did the man put his deck in the oven? Because he didn’t know he needed to call Archadeck, Central Iowa’s deck and porch builder, to get a hot deck. “Hot” being defined as the best-looking, safest, most structurally sound, warranted and guaranteed for 5 years, most popular space in your neighborhood.

Trick or Treat! Happy Halloween!

To Screen or Not to Screen – That is the Question for your Des Moines-area Porch

Published on July 6th, 2019.

Open Porches – or Covered Decks and Patios – have been our most popular and in-demand project over the past several years in Central Iowa. Our clients desire more functionality and features in these spaces, often featuring low-maintenance, wood-alternative decking, railing and trim products, fireplaces, lighting, outdoor kitchens and outdoor TV’s / audio systems, both inside and outside of the porch. I’d like to think Archadeck – as a national leader in the development of outdoor living spaces – has had some influence on this growing trend. Even many home builders are integrating these types of spaces into their floor plans of new construction homes. Copy cats.

Lately, though, we’re seeing increasing interest in Screen Porches. Open Porches are still the most popular but the addition of a screen system is appealing to more and more of our Des Moines area clients. Nearly all the functions and features noted above for open porches can be incorporated into a screened porch, with added benefits of fewer insects, more protection from the elements of nature and the increased coziness and privacy that screen systems provide.

Which leads me to the question: Why the increasing interest in Screen Porches? Here’s what I see and hear in the backyards of Central Iowa:

  • Mosquitos and other Pesky Insects. Lets face it…its raining more. The last 12 months were the wettest 12 months on record in Iowa. And when it rains, it rains harder…water is left standing in pools longer, humidity is higher and more breeding grounds for mosquitos and other insects are created.
  • People. Lets face it…people are unique. Some people are more sensitive to mosquitos and insects than others. Some people are more sensitive to privacy and sun, rain, and wind protection than others. Some people prefer open space, others prefer screening, others completely enclosed.
  • Builders and New Construction. Lets face it…(most*) builders don’t get “outdoor living.” For one, most new home outdoor spaces are (still) too small and don’t accommodate the functionality and features folks want in their outdoor living spaces. For two, not many of these spaces (even the “good” ones) are getting screened in when the home is being built.
  • Cool Cats. Lets face it…there is no happier cat than a cat that has a screen porch. Our clients are cool cats.

Screen Porches can be trimmed and finished in a varying array of styles – from a rustic cabin look and feel to a room finished to the styling of the exterior and/or interior of the home. Our Des Moines area screen porches have been done at both extremes and nearly every level in between. Our screen porch photo gallery provides some inspiration in regards to what you might like for your home; check it out.

The addition of a heat source into a porch – either open or screened, can extend usage both earlier and later into Central Iowa’s seasons (whatever they are now) and start to blur the lines between screen porches and 3-season rooms. Fireplaces have become popular features as a result and we’ve also done a few porches with fixed Infrared Heating systems; Infratech, for example. Stand-alone Fire Pit Tables and Heaters can also serve to heat a porch.

As open porches started being integrated into new construction homes over the years, we find that many of those homeowners ultimately wish their porches were screened in. So much of the increased interest in screen porches we are seeing is from folks who have an open porch and would like to convert it into a screened-in porch. Here are some before-and-after views of such a tailor-made (note: not all are so tailor-made) conversion project we recently completed southeast of Des Moines near Yellow Banks Park outside of Pleasant Hill.

While we get many of these screen porch conversion requests of late, to-date, none of them have come from our own clients for whom we’ve previously designed and built an open porch. I think this speaks to the collaborative, custom design approach we take with our clients. We work to understand our clients’ uniqueness, their sensitivities and their functional and aesthetic desires and needs relative to their outdoor living spaces. And, of course, we know our clients are cool cats…whether they have a screen porch or not.

Starting with our complimentary design consultation, and thru the remainder of our design process, we’ll answer the question “To Screen or Not to Screen?” (and many more questions). If a porch isn’t what (or the only thing) you want for your Central Iowa home – maybe an open deck or patio, maybe with a pergola or a fire pit, then many other questions and answers will come into play. As we design it. Before we build it.

In other words…Better Building by Design.

Go Outside and Play! Like a cool cat!

  • - Don’t get me wrong builders, I have respect and empathy. I know the challenges you face and I know our focuses are necessarily (?) different, particularly those of you who build on “speculation” and/or are otherwise only guessing at what a buyer wants in/from their outdoor spaces. I also understand budget and practicality perspectives, the “bones” and indoor spaces of a new home are typically going to take precedence over the outdoor spaces. Archadeck is here to fill that void as it makes sense for the homeowner.

Archadeck - Des Moines-area Decks, Porches and Patios – More Than a Trend

Published on April 14th, 2019.

Houzz recently published a piece on home exterior trends on the rise in 2019 (click link to view). Certainly, Archadeck outdoor living spaces – specifically, our Central Iowa deck, porch and patio spaces – play in the “home exterior” arena. While glass garage doors and modern farmhouse styles don’t typically fit into our realm (though we’re doing more and more rural-setting projects) it was interesting to see many of the styles and features we are doing in our outdoor spaces mentioned by Houzz:

  • We’ve done a number of front porches over the years in various styles and settings.
  • A seamless flow between indoors and outdoors is always our goal. Spaces that accommodate an outdoor living room or family room feel are some of our most in-demand and popular projects over the past several years. We take care to design the spaces to seamlessly flow with the home and its backyard and landscape features…or possibilities. There are a number of ways to achieve this, some more practical than others given Iowa’s 4 seasons. Covered porches – both over deck and patios spaces, outdoor kitchens, outdoor fireplaces and other heat-providing components (infrared heaters, for instance) and outdoor lighting are some of the most common ways we invite the outdoors inside. Or is it the other way around?
  • Mixed materials are also common in many of our Des Moines-area outdoor living projects. Wood – or “fake” wood (wood-alternative, lower-maintenance products), stone and metal are nearly always incorporated into our spaces in some form. Mixing colors is another aspect of this. Multi-hued decking and patio paver products can be used to border and trim spaces to offer various accenting features. As the Houzz piece notes, stone (relative to our use in the walls, columns, kitchens and fireplaces we incorporate into our spaces) is very popular; veneer stone has also been one of the highest-valued cost/return ratios within any home improvement project.

Speaking of cost-return values…trends are one thing, but value (and practicality) can be another. The good news for us and for those of you considering the outdoor living aspects of your Central Iowa home exteriors is that updates/additions to outdoor living spaces are some of the most valuable (from a cost/return ratio perspective) home improvement projects a homeowner can undertake. Remodeling Magazine performs annual studies of cost versus return values of various home remodeling projects. The Remodeling 2019 Cost vs. Value Report lists the following projects relative to the outdoor living world we play in (regional values relative to our Des Moines and Central Iowa (north west central) market:

  • Backyard Patio – 58%
  • Deck Addition (composite-wood) – 64% – 69%
  • Veneer Stone – 94% (#1, four years in a row)

Compare those to some of the more “traditional” remodeling projects homeowners undertake…and, typically, ones that are often perceived to be high value and ones that are often undertaken before outdoor living projects:

  • Bathroom Additions/Remodels – 61% – 65%
  • Kitchen Remodels – 60% – 65%
  • Basement Remodel – 70% (2017 value, not tracked since)
  • Family Room Addition – 69% (2017 value, not tracked since)

Lastly, in case you are wondering, besides veneer stone already referenced as #1, two other high-value projects are siding replacement (#2) and entry and garage door replacements (nearly equal #3).

I was a show presenter at the 2017 Home + Outdoor Living Show here in Des Moines and the topic of my presentation was “Outdoor Living Trends & Values.” I discussed many of these same issues in my 30+minute presentation. This presentation has been broken into two video segments, one focusing on the trends of, the other focusing on the value of, outdoor living. See these on our video gallery page and/or via the links below:

As the recent Houzz piece and this year’s Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report confirm, this presentation from 2 years ago is still very relevant and I suspect it will be for some time. If anything has changed, its that we’re just doing more of all of this. Our 16-year local and 35-year national history of developing trend-setting value and reliability in our outdoor living spaces confirms our ongoing leadership in this industry. As I said at the close of my presentation, there is value to outdoor living and these trends are trends for a reason – the value that a functional, attractive, easy-to-enjoy outdoor space adds to your home and to your lifestyle at home. Better Value by Design. Better Building by Design. Archadeck principles (not trends) since 1984.

Go Outside and Play!

TimberTech Deck and Porch For Sale - along with its Des Moines House - Archadeck of Central Iowa Realty

Published on November 28th, 2018.

When we learn that a client has decided to put their home (and their Archadeck | Outdoor Living space) up for sale, we put on our “Archadeck Realty” hat…commission free! In the past few years we’ve had a couple of those scenarios arise – a deck, porch and patio space in Waukee and a deck and porch space in Clive (nearly Urbandale). Our efforts in promoting our clients’ home sales across our various media channels haven’t yet directly led to the sale. But, sometime it will because we find that the projects we designed and built for their backyard spaces have had definite, corroborated, positive influence on the sales. Plus, this also gives us the opportunity to feature one of our projects and to promote the value of our Central Iowa outdoor living spaces.

We currently have another opportunity to play “Archadeck Realty” and you (or someone you know) have another opportunity to own an “award-winning…low-maintenance covered deck…with picturesque views” (Pennie Carroll & Associates words, not mine…though we did win an Archadeck design excellence award for porches with this project). Like the other prior situations mentioned above, this opportunity also comes hassle-free and without the delays and mess of construction.

This opportunity is also unique in that these clients are also my neighbors (four doors north of me). In fact, I learned of their house sale when I (surprisingly) saw the “for sale sign” in their yard. So, not only do I get to attest to the quality and features of their home and its Archadeck | Outdoor Living space, I am also in a position to say this opportunity also comes in a great neighborhood. Tucked into a somewhat secluded – and picturesque – enclave of Des Moines, between Pleasant Hill and Altoona, it’s a family-friendly, quiet and caring neighborhood, away from much of the hustle-and-bustle north and west of us (secret’s out…but don’t tell…the east side of Polk County is waaay underrated). Our clients are planning ahead to their retirement years and are taking steps to transition their lifestyle to a warmer climate; the sale of their well-cared-for and beautiful home is the first step in that process. Karol is an interior designer and Kent did much of the landscaping around our project himself so its clear they both have a great sense of style and attention to detail.

Our client’s home is listed thru Pennie Carroll & Associates (links to the listing throughout this post) and you can find more information about the home thru the listing. Our 2013-14 project involved the addition of a cedar-trimmed open porch over a new, wood-alternative, low-maintenance TimberTech Earthwood Evolutions capped-composite deck. Westbury aluminum railing, with cedar-trimmed rail posts, balances the low-maintenance benefits of the space with its natural cedar and stone features. The boulder-styled veneer stone on the porch columns also provides a strong aesthetic balance to the space.

I’ve written and talked extensively over the years of the value that functional and stylistically-pleasing outdoor living spaces born from Archadeck’s proven design/build service offering can add to a home’s value and to the homeowner’s lifestyle at home ….whether for 5 years or 25 years. I think the Pennie Carroll & Associates listing speaks for itself in this regard: The main cover photo for this listing is of the deck and porch and the first sentence in the description of the property speaks directly to the space and the views it provides. Not much more I can add to that from a value perspective.

If you – or someone you know – are in the market for a nice hone in the Des Moines area (in one of the best-kept-secrets in the market, even) check out the information here and in the Pennie Carroll & Associates listing for our client’s home on the Des Moines side of Altoona and Pleasant Hill.

If you love your Central Iowa home and don’t want to move, but your deck, porch and/or patio – or lack thereof – keep you from maximizing your enjoyment and value of your home, check out our web site at to learn more about how our design/build services can enhance your outdoor living spaces. As it makes sense for you, contact us to schedule your complimentary design consultation. Yes, we are heading into winter but we’ve got hot savings to offer and we do build year-round (weather permitting). Certainly the planning and design processes can happen over winter as well…in the comfort of your home and/or in the comfort of our office and design center in Urbandale. Its never too early, regardless of the temperature and conditions outside.

Go Outside and Play!

Thankful for 15 Years of Archadeck Outdoor Living in Central Iowa

(This blog post, published November 21st, 2018, is a reflectively-edited version of a limited-edition “fifteen” page we had up on our web site during 2018, the year we began our 15th year in operation.)

As a kid, one of my sports idols wore the number Fifteen: Bart Starr of the Green Bay Packers was a champion, on the field and off. Fifteen was a special and influential number to me in my formative years and it became my favorite number. It reminds me of champions, character and the joy I felt when Starr and the Packers did well, as they often did. I’ve always liked the feel of Fifteen and I’ve always strived to be a Fifteen.

Archadeck of Central Iowa began its fifteenth year of operation in March of 2018. Fifteen is not an insignificant number when it comes to this (or any) business. Because behind that “15” are even more significant numbers…hundreds of client relationships, hundreds of deck, porch and patio projects; millions of dollars of projects and thousands of tons of decking boards, concrete, patio pavers, porch shingles (and metal) and other materials and hardware. Not to mention the weight of the responsibility to deliver our projects successfully, every time, every year. Fifteen years is certainly worthy of reflection, celebration and thanksgiving.

Some of that reflection came as a special Fifteen photo gallery (thumbnails below) that featured one project from each of our 15 years as Archadeck of Central Iowa and, for good luck, one project from our predecessor (of 6 years), Archadeck of Des Moines. Take a trip down memory lane with us…see if styles have changed…or not. To some extent, I hope it’s the latter because there is something to be said for consistency…quality never going out of style. On the other hand, we wouldn’t be here fifteen years if we didn’t adapt – and there has been plenty to adapt to. So we continue to to build better…by design.

As for the celebration part, we shared some promotional discounts and events throughout 2018. In fact, we’re continuing our $1,500 discount promotion thru the winter on the things that keep you warm on your deck, porch or patio: heat features (fire pits, fireplaces, infared heat systems, etc.) and food (outdoor kitchens); check our Offers page for details. Besides our usual home show events in 2018 (look for us in 209, too!), our newest event was our launch of Team Archadeck. In short, Team Archadeck is a promotional and fun initiative to encourage active and healthy outdoor living beyond the outdoor spaces, rooms and accessories we develop for our clients and we launched it during RAGBRAI 2018.

Team Archadeck will get more airplay as we move into 2019, so stay tuned. We’ll post Team Archadeck updates, promotions and words of encouragement on our newly established Team Archadeck (@GoOutsidePlayArchadeck) Facebook page so follow or like us there to stay in touch. And remember…we said it would be fun!

Which brings us to the thanksgiving part. At Thanksgiving, even! Like Bart Starr, none of this is possible without the support of the “team” behind us and we are very thankful for that support. Our team includes (but not limited to): our families; our Outdoor Living Brands franchise support group in Richmond, VA; our network of like-minded and supportive Archadeck | Outdoor Living offices across the country (and Canada!); our local suppliers, vendors and business service providers; our employees and crews; and, most importantly, our clients for the great projects and opportunities you’ve brought to us over our Fifteen years. “Thank You” all for your support – past and future.

Happy Thanksgiving! Go Outside and…Be Thankful!

Reaching New Heights in Central Iowa Outdoor Living

The franchise group that Archadeck | Outdoor Living is a cornerstone of recently held our annual convention in Scottsdale, AZ. Along with Archadeck, other Outdoor Living Brands entities include:

The theme of this year’s convention was “Reach New Heights” and it was one of the more appropriately-themed events, not only because of the success of our franchise family over the past year, but also because of the backdrop of mountains in the Scottsdale and Phoenix areas. Specific to Archadeck of Central Iowa, a summary of the new 2017 heights we celebrated at the convention include:

  • Achieving our highest levels of sales in our 14-year tenure of designing decks, porches and patios for our Des Moines-area clients. In fact, in 2017 I was the second-highest selling franchisee/owner across the national Archadeck system…also a first. Thanks to all of you who bring such great projects to our door.
  • Surpassing – once again – our franchise’s stringent standards for annual Customer Satisfaction levels, based on the standard metrics of the Net Promoter Score system.
  • Being awarded, very early in the year, the National Grand Prize Winner for Design Excellence for 2016; this deck and pergola project is also featured in the current edition of the local Welcome Home Des Moines magazine.
  • Being a stage presenter at the Des Moines Home + Outdoor Living Show – and being asked back again for the upcoming 2018 show.
  • While we were in Scottsdale, my wife and I hiked and made the symbolic journeys to scale the two highest mountains in the Phoenix Mountains Preserve – Piestewa Peak and Camelback Mountain. While not the longest hikes (hey, we had meetings to attend, too!) compared to some of our Colorado adventures, they were some of the most strenuous and the scenery was beautiful. Go Cactus! And, 80-degrees in January!

“Reach new heights” implies an ongoing and active effort. We are continually and actively reaching for new heights in the business of outdoor living. There are more mountains to climb…more decks, porches and patios to build; more Iowa sun to shade; more fireplaces and fire pits to light and warm a cool Iowa evening; more food to grill, serve and eat around that outdoor kitchen; more Central Iowa homeowners to satisfy. We learned a lot about the changing and increasing demand for outdoor living spaces and their functionalities in the past year. But its not only our spaces; its your overall home as well and we think its important to stay in tune there, too. Build Des Moines magazine published an article recently that nicely covered the “tone” of all this over the past year here in the Des Moines and Central Iowa market; check it out. Along with our recently-completed annual franchise convention, our past year’s experiences have us fired up for another great year and for reaching yet new heights in 2018. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Go outside and…reach new heights.

Deck The Halls Times the Size of an Iowa Town Square

Published on December 22nd, 2017.

During the Holiday Season, I typically find pictures of some of our Central Iowa deck or porch projects decorated for Christmas and use them as cover pictures or headers for our various online holiday greetings. But, this year, I’m taking a different approach…and you have my grandchildren to thank for this.

Over the course of the past 3 years, my wife and I have become grandparents 4 times over. The most recent one occurred just yesterday…on the Winter Solstice. How perfect is that for celebrating the Season of Lights? As this has happened, I frequently find myself thinking of my grandparents more. And in particular of late, Christmastime with my grandparents.

A week ago, my wife and I took our two oldest grandchildren to the travelling production of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” here at the Des Moines Civic Center. The same day of the show, the Des Moines Register published a story about how the original, Charles Schultz, TV production of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” was responsible for the demise of the aluminum Christmas tree industry. I instantly reflect back to the aluminum Christmas tree I remember my maternal grandparents having for several years. I still have a picture of me – about 5 years old, cica 1962, in front of that tree. A few years later, my grandparents “upgraded” to a green artificial tree. I never made the connection to Charlie Brown until I read that article…at 60. On the other side of town, my paternal grandparents had a real Christmas tree as far back as I remember. A real tree with big lights on it. I guess they were a bit ahead of the time…and Charlie Brown was right.

Both of my parents and their parents grew up in Fairfield, Iowa. While Fairfield was not my hometown, Fairfield holds many special memories…not the least of which was its town square and especially the Christmas festivities held there. Think Santa’s workshop at the North Pole. Think “Deck the Halls” times the size of a town square. Decorations and lights galore and a little “Kandy Kane House” where Santa awaited an ever-present line of kids with their Santa lists. At the center of it all was the most gloriously decorated bandstand one could imagine, complete with Santa, his sleigh and reindeers twirling around its center. Hands down, the greatest town square Christmas scene a kid (or an adult – I’ve gone back a few times) could ever want. Could ever get. Anywhere. Ever. 1962 or 2017.

So now that I am the grandparent my grandparents were when I was my grandchildren’s age, I’m taking us all back to the Fairfield town square at Christmas for our cover picture for our various online holiday greetings. It’s a picture the Fairfield Central Park Association published a couple of years ago. It just doesn’t get any better than this.

I think I got some of my entrepreneurial spirit from my maternal grandfather, who ran a full-service DX gas station just around the corner from Fairfield’s town square. So as a kid I had a front-row seat to the greatest town square ever. A big gazebo or porch, in the middle of a town square becomes a bandstand. As I look back on it, Fairfield’s town square may have been the genesis for the Archadeck era of my life. And this Christmas, it seems even more so.

Archadeck. Making spirits bright, year-round. Merry Christmas!

Archadeck of Central Iowa Realty - Trex Deck and Porch For Sale…and its Clive House

Published on November 12th, 2017.

I’m putting on my “Archadeck Realty” hat again!

A couple of years ago, a client of ours had a “can’t say no” career opportunity arise that necessitated the sale of their home upon which we were building (yes, still building) an Archadeck | Outdoor Living space. The outdoor space we designed and built for them for their Waukee home included a TimberTech wood-alternative, low-maintenance deck with an open porch and a stamped concrete patio with a seat wall and wood-burning fire pit. I helped promote their listing on our various online sites. Whether that helped or not, not sure…though I am sure I didn’t receive a commission! But, when the house did sell quickly, the new homeowners soon called us about an operational question they had regarding the deck lighting system we included in our deck, porch and patio project. After answering their question about the lighting system, I asked them what role, if any, the outdoor spaces played in their purchasing decision. Their answer was adamant: “Oh, wow! It was one of the main reasons we purchased the home.”

Starting with the “Outdoor Living Trends and Values” presentation I did at the Home+Outdoor Living Show back in March, this “value” question has inadvertently become a running theme here this year. Inadvertently, yes, but this “value” question naturally comes up in many clients’ decision-making process when they are assessing our design/build services relative to their outdoor living project directions. Dollar values can be a bit subjective. But, the answer the new owner of an Archadeck designed/built outdoor living space gave above is as “real” as it gets. We frequently hear this anecdotally, too, and demand for and interest in our designs and our spaces support that as well. But that was one specific, real-world, Archadeck perspective on the value of Archadeck | Outdoor Living spaces.

Now we’ve got another opportunity for that real-world perspective. And I’ve got another opportunity for a commission (just kidding…sorta). And lastly, you – or someone you might know who is looking to move to Des Moines’ western suburbs – have an opportunity to own an “absolutely gorgeous new covered deck by Archadeck” (per Iowa Realty’s description of the property). Like the prior situation, this current opportunity also comes hassle-free and without the delays and mess of construction!

Our client’s home is listed thru Iowa Realty and you can find more information about the home thru the listing. The home is in Clive, a western suburb of Des Moines. Our 2015 project involved the addition of a cedar-trimmed open porch over a new, wood-alternative, low-maintenance, Trex Transcend deck. Westbury aluminum railing fulfills the low-maintenance approach to the space and veneer stone on the upper porch columns provides a strong aesthetic balance to the space. As the listing says, it’s a gorgeous space in a park-like backyard setting. Our clients maintained and styled their home – and the back porch – beautifully and I know they enjoyed their outdoor space immensely.

But in this client’s case, its retirement that’s luring them away from their Des Moines area home and onto a new phase of their life…in a different Iowa city…closer to “home”…and their beloved Iowa Hawkeyes. Yes, you guessed it…Iowa City. They’ve already asked me to help them with their outdoor spaces on their new Iowa City home. We’ll see if we can make those logistics work as they have been very supportive clients and we’ve enjoyed working – and staying in touch – with them over the past few years.

If you’re in the market for a hone in the Des Moines area, check out the Iowa Realty listing for our client’s home in Clive.

If you love your Central Iowa home and don’t want to move, but your deck, porch and/or patio – or lack there of – keep you from maximizing your enjoyment and value of your home, check out our web site to learn more about our design/build services and how they can be applied to your outdoor living spaces. As it makes sense for you, contact us to schedule your complimentary design consultation.

Yes, we are heading into winter. But, we do build year-round (weather permitting) and certainly the planning and design processes can happen over winter…in the comfort of your home and/or in the comfort of our office and design center in Urbandale. 2017 was a big year for us and we anticipate the demand for our outdoor living design and build services continuing to grow thru 2018. We have a few projects we’ll try to get completed thru the winter and we already have a few projects lined up – but held – for spring builds. So its never too early, regardless of the temperature and conditions outside.

Go Outside and Play!

Labor Day Perspective on Moving It Outside with Decks, Porches & Patios by Archadeck of Central Iowa

Published on September, 4th, 2017 (Labor Day).

Where has the summer gone? Labor Day…already. Seems like just yesterday we were tearing down from the Des Moines Home + Outdoor Living Show and looking forward to all the new deck, porch and patio projects that would come our way in 2017. Now here we are, two-thirds through the year, and Des Moines and Central Iowa…you did not disappoint!

The “Outdoor Living Trends and Values” presentation I did back at that Outdoor Living Show has certainly played out. A summary of that presentation highlighted the following as the top trends:

  • Multi-Functional / Combination Spaces
    • Decks with Patios
    • Decks with Porches
    • Patios with Porches
  • Low-Maintenance Materials
  • Outdoor Lighting
  • Outdoor Kitchens
  • Fire Pits and Fireplaces
  • Veneer Stone

Our Des Moines-area clients who have engaged our design-build services towards their outdoor living spaces have incorporated many of those features into their projects. They’ve definitely moved it outside, in stunning style, as we like to say.

Covered spaces continue to be the most popular feature of many of our projects. Driving that is the desire to extend the usage and enjoyment of outdoor living spaces. Archadeck designed-and-built open porches and screen porches are the perfect option for those seeking relief from the hot Iowa sun, the occasional drenching rain and/or a myriad of insects or those just seeking the coziness that a covered outdoor space provides.

To clarify, some of our clients have moved it outside already (projects completed…enjoying their deck, porch or patio for their Labor Day activities); others are being moved (currently under construction), waiting to be moved (in our construction queue) or contemplating that move. Its been a big (record) year so far for Archadeck of Central Iowa. Big enough to take us a bit by surprise. Given the labor market and the demand for skilled trades in the booming Des Moines area, that resulted in a larger backlog than any of us preferred earlier in the year. But with a combination of a dry summer (with all due respect to the flooded areas of the Houston and SE Texas areas and Iowa farmers who would gladly have taken more rain) and loyal, trusted relationships with our portfolio of construction crews, we’ve made great progress in reducing that backlog to more reasonable levels over the past couple of months. There are plenty of good building opportunities ahead of us yet this fall…and hopefully into winter. We do build year round, as Mother Nature allows. Certainly, we design and plan year-round as well, regardless of Mother Nature. We have two projects already committed for spring 2018 builds. The 2018 Home Show cycle will be upon us before we know it. So, those of you in that last (contemplating) stage of moving it outdoors…don’t hesitate! With the energy and excitement associated with all the good things happening in and around the Des Moines market, we’re expecting another big outdoor living year in 2018.

Happy Labor Day! And remember, fall is a great time to Go Outside and Play!

A Whirlwind of Central Iowa Outdoor Living News

Published on April 8th, 2017.

Demand for Archadeck custom designed and built decks, porches and patios has never been higher here in the Des Moines area. And of late, we’ve had various opportunities to showcase and promote our passion for outdoor living beyond the backyards of the Des Moines area. So, all the good intention I had last November to keep my blogging momentum after relocating our blog here…by the wayside, but for many good reasons. Here’s a recap of our whirlwind first quarter…and my attempt to restart the momentum…

We participated in two home shows before Spring officially arrived. In February, we participated in our 14th consecutive Home+Garden Show (and 6 years prior as Archadeck of Des Moines). We followed that up in March with our second appearance at the 2nd annual Home+Outdoor Living Show. For the Outdoor Living Show, I was given the opportunity to talk about “Outdoor Living Trends and Values” on the Imagination Stage on each of the three days of the show. I didn’t draw the same crowds as the Property Brothers did at last year’s show, but…after word gets around, I’m sure I will next year! Seriously, I enjoyed the opportunity to share insight on whats driving the excitement over outdoor living spaces with folks who attended the show…both on stage and at our booth. Thank you to the Marketplace Events team for inviting me to do that; until you get Paul Lafrance there, I’m always available! For those of you who missed these presentations (OK…all of you), I did coerce my wife to record the Saturday night presentation and I’ll have that up on our YouTube video channel soon; stay tuned for the link to this.

The day before the Home+Outdoor Living Show, I joined Ryan Smith of the Better Business Bureau serving Greater Iowa, Quad Cities, and Siouxland Region on KCWI’s CW Iowa Live morning TV show. Always fun to talk about the better business aspects of decks, patios and porches…and Cadillacs…with Lou and Jackie at 7:30 in the morning! Better building by design, by Archadeck, on live TV. The fastest 7 minutes I’ve ever experienced.

Before all those appearances, though, our biggest news of the quarter came at our national, annual franchise meeting back in late January. There, an Archadeck of Central Iowa deck project we did for a client east of Des Moines last summer was awarded the Grand Prize in our annual Design Excellence competition for 2016. We are humbly honored to receive this award because it comes from our peers in the Archadeck system…a system that designed and built over 2000 of the best outdoor living spaces and rooms across North America last year. And they voted ours the best of the best. Wow. Of course, none of that is possible without clients like Marlis and Jim. Marlis had great ideas for the deck space – using Trex decking and railing products – and Jim had already created the pond, island and beach that serves as the backdrop for this sprawling, curved, multi-level, outdoor living space. Learn more about our award and the low-maintenance Trex deck project at the links here. And if you watch the KCWI CW Live video, you’ll note this project caught Lou’s eye during our segment, too.

With that Design Excellence Award has come some other publicity for us…along with the work and time it takes to be so “public.” But, we’ll take our 15 minutes of Andy Warhol fame anytime its good! Our award-winning project is now featured in our annual Design Guide for 2017; available as a complimentary download at this link (check us out on the cover and inside on pages 12 and 13). Photos of our project will also be in good company on our national web site’s Award Winning Designs gallery of photos. We’ve also put up a gallery on our local, Central Iowa web site featuring information and photos of our Design Excellence – 2016 – Grand Prize Winning project. Look for galleries featuring this project on our Houzz and Facebook sites as well.

Lastly, Sherry Failor’s local Home Productions, LLC company publishes two local magazines and she has been kind enough to feature us in both magazines recently. Her Build Des Moines magazine is a digital-only publication targeted to the building and remodeling industry in the Des Moines area. Archadeck of Central Iowa and our Design Excellence Award were featured in the April 2017 issue – just out this past week. Welcome Home Des Moines is Sherry’s other magazine (hardcopy and digital) and is more homeowner-focused. We’ve had various deck, porch and patio project features in Welcome Home Des Moines over the years and we were honored once again to be featured in the February/March 2017 edition for a (perfect) porch project we did for Ken and Mary Jo in late 2015.

From our peers, our clients, our various business relationships…it truly does take a village to support Archadeck of Central Iowa (any business, for that matter) and the support is greatly appreciated. Its what drives us in the midst of the whirlwhind.

Go Outside and Play!

An Outdoor Living Space - A Blog by Archadeck of Central Iowa - Intro

Published on November 28th, 2016.

Yes, we have a blog, too!

In fact, we’ve had a blog since 2009. Our An Outdoor Living Space blog has lived on WordPress since my first post there in the fall of 2009 (wow, what a trip down memory lane). We’re keeping that historical content there but beginning now we are transitioning to new blog posts being done here…right on our web site. For nostalgia purposes, we’re keeping An Outdoor Living Space on WordPress and we’ll occasionally post there, too.

So, what have you missed? The first posting here is an index to the 90 blog posts we’ve written to date on “An Outdoor Living Space” at WordPress. Check that out to see what might catch your interest. You’ll notice that we talk about green beer frequently. Annually, it’s one of our most popular reads. Why? Go see for yourself…and have a beer (green, red, Amber or pale ale…your choice) with us.

What will we do here?

The short answer is that we’ll continue to write about decks, porches, patios, pergolas, fire pits, fireplaces, outdoor kitchens and more. We’ll do that from both from industry-wide and national Archadeck perspectives and we’ll also relate it to the Des Moines area outdoor living projects we, as Archadeck of Central Iowa, develop.

More? Green beer, for one. Beyond that, we’ll continue to write about specific outdoor living space projects we’ve done around the Des Moines and Central Iowa area. We’ll write about outdoor living and outdoor events in Central Iowa. We’ll continue to write about why we – and our clients – do what we do. After all, it’s more than the sticks and stones and the tools and processes to put them together in your backyard (or front). There are very human and emotional aspects to what we do and we try to capture that, too.

Life. Outdoors.

In two words, that’s what we focus on here. But, don’t be surprised by some tangents. One such tangent – the convergence of two passions of mine, outdoor living and music, has resulted in a side blog project called Outdoor Living Notes, which will still be maintained on WordPress. Give that a read…listen, too, if you’d like.

One last note of introductory clarification. I used the words “I” and “we” a bit loosely above. In whole, I’m referring to the Archadeck of Central Iowa team, which consists of our building crews; Nolan Benge, design consultant; and my brother, David Cross, a partner with me in the business and our construction manager. As for me, I’m Harold Cross; owner…and wearer of many hats, including design, sales and business management and…blog writer. The storyline content comes from the from the deck, porch and patio projects our team develops for our Des Moines area clients. I try to keep the stories informative and entertaining and I try to keep them “real.”

I hope you enjoy the content here and find it useful in your journey towards finding your dream outdoor living space. And…if you can dream it, we can build it.

Go Outside and Play!

An Outdoor Living Space - WordPress X-Ref

As noted in the Introductory post here, we have had An Outdoor Living Space blog on WordPress since November of 2009. While we’ll occasionally still post there about Des Moines area deck, porch and patio projects, in November of 2016 we transitioned to hosting that blog right here on our web site. Following is a chronological cross-reference list to all 87 of the blog posts written on our WordPress version of our blog. Additional, general information posts about Archadeck and our blog follows this list. Clicking on the links will take you directly to the blog post on WordPress.

Three additional pages of general information about Archadeck and our blog on the WordPress version of An Outdoor Living Space are listed below:

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