How should I design my deck steps?

Stairways leading from decks to grade can be viewed 2 different ways. One is simply to get from Point A to Point B with comfortable accessibility. The other is to design the stairway to offer architectural flair or make them welcoming and grand!

At Archadeck of Charlotte, we have been designing and building decks for nearly 30 years in the Carolina’s. When your deck is low to the ground, you can do more interesting designs like the ones above as they do not take up a tremendous amount of space since there few steps needed.


Casuwel Outdoor Furiture is the most comfortable and complete line of all weather furnishings available through Archadeck of Charlotte

Casuwel Outdoor Furniture is the most comfortable and complete line of all-weather furnishings available through Archadeck of Charlotte

By trying to make several steps more dramatic, you can see from the photo above how much space the steps can chew up on your patio or ground! To see a wide array of deck design ideas, visit


What are my shade options for my Charlotte patio?

In Charlotte, our backyards are consistently under siege by the constant heat and bright shine from the sun.

What are the options for shade? This time we are going to discuss ideas ranging from the least expensive to most expensive.

There are options of umbrellas like above that range from hundreds of dollars to a couple of thousand dollars. The upside is the low cost and they can be attractive. The negatives are they are not permanent, require movement, and maintenance.

Awnings can be attached to the back of the house and depending on the quality and size, can range from $1,000 up to $6,000. They are relatively effective at blocking the sun. They are not the most attractive option and do not hold up in wind and need to be maintained.

Pergolas or arbors as they are sometimes called are another option for shade. They can range from $2,000 – $8,000 depending on materials and size. They are quite attractive and a cost effective way to shade your deck or patio. The negative is they do not block out rain and the shade is only partial.

Finally, a solid roof structure like the one constructed in the photo above by the pool. These can run from $10,000 and up depending on size and materials. The positives are the total block from sun and rain, they are beautiful when designed properly, and increase property value. The only negatives are the higher cost and potentially blocking light from coming into your home.

To see a complete photo gallery of shade structures, go to


Water Features integrated into patios in Charlotte

wood deck with hot tub and low voltage deck lights

outdoor living room with custom deck and hot tub


Water features are becoming an increasingly requested component of an outdoor living space. The word captures the category. The inclusions in this are waterfalls, ponds, spas, and structure that contains water!

We believe the demand stems from the soothing sound the water makes and the added beautification to any project! We have a unique photo gallery on our website at and if you look in either “patios” or “decks” in the gallery, you will find various water features that compliment and enhance the backyard!

Patios on Lake Norman with fire pits


There are so many outdoor living opportunities on Lake Norman. We find patios to be the largest growing segment of areas to add to the backyard along the lake. With the patio people want the ambiance and warmth of a fire pit.

Archadeck of Charlotte has been designing and building fire features and patios around town for almost 30 years now! The patios range from the popular and affordable pavers to stamped concrete and flagstone. We are seeing a rising demand for Travertine patios as they resemble tiles.

The fire pits come in all shapes and sizes. We also design and build outdoor fireplaces along the lake but keeping the view of the lake pure is critical in the design phase! To see a whole photo gallery on Lake Norman decks and patios, go to


Rustic covered patio with exposed rafters and an outdoor fireplace with stone on columns by Archadeck of Charlotte

Rustic covered patio with exposed rafters and an outdoor fireplace with stone on columns by Archadeck of Charlotte

What are the hottest color trends with Trex Transcends composite deck and rail?

The latest and hottest colors for Trex Transcends decking are Island Mist ( a beautiful gray with a black streaker/ variegated) and continues to be Spiced Rum (featured above with the fire pit on it).

Trex continues to be the market leader in both share and innovation. When Trex launched their Transcends and Tropics line over 7 years ago, it changed the industry once again. The cap stock they added to their product allowed them to put a no fade and no stain warranty on their product and simultaneously improved the aesthetics with a more realistic wood grain and vibrant relevant color selections.

A trend we are seeing really heat up is mixing colors on the deck with borders, intricate in-lays, fascia boards, stair risers, and of course the various rail options.

Archadeck of Charlotte is a Trex Pro Platinum installer (the only one in Charlotte, NC) and we install hundreds of decks annually. We have worked closely with Trex and have a seat on their Advisory Board. The rail choices range from the matching Trex Transcends rail, to adding powder-coated aluminum pickets, to glass rail inserts, to an all aluminum rail, or going to a contrasting rail color like an all white or all black rail. To see a complete photo gallery of Trex products, go to


Patio Enclosures in Charlotte, NC

Patio Enclosures in a long time manufacturer of sun rooms (both 3 – season and 4 – season) and for years had a retail presence in Charlotte, NC.

As of 2016, Archadeck of Charlotte has been awarded the license to install their products for customers that want energy-efficient rooms of the highest quality.

screen porch, sun room, deck, patio enclosure,

Beautiful Custom Screen Porch in Charlotte by Archadeck

Archadeck of Charlotte was established in 1988 and has designed and built over 22,000 projects and is one of the best know licensed general contractors for home remodeling with a national reputation for excellence.

For those customers interested in low-maintenance sunrooms and porches, call Archadeck at 704-944-1350 or go to


Why does the smoke not go up through my outdoor fireplace?


Why is the smoke not drawing out the chimney of my outdoor fireplace?

There are a couple of likely culprits. Number one is the flu architecture. There is an art to designing the flu that will draw the smoke up rather than back out at your guests! Secondly, try starting with a small amount of kindling and allow the flu to heat up first before making a large fire. This will help draw the smoke as well. Finally, once in a great while, there are just some conditions based on the structures around the fireplace and the wind that will make it more difficult to draw the smoke.

All of the above is accurate. For the most part, if your fireplace is designed properly and you follow the above guidance, you should successfully ventilate your outdoor fireplace. In the example above to the right, we integrated a pizza oven above the firebox. While you cannot see it from the photo, there is a 2nd flu for the pizza oven to ventilate out from. To see a wonderful photo gallery, go to