Those who tackled landscape projects during the pandemic often had to be patient on delays of materials.
Story by Carol McGarvey
Photography by Tim Abramowitz
Featured in September/October 2022
When Kathy and Craig Good moved back to the Des Moines area in 2010, they purchased a home in Clive. The couple had lived for nearly 20 years in St. Louis, where Craig worked for the Federal Deposit Insurance Company (FDIC). Kathy grew up in Altoona and Craig on the east side of Des Moines.
“The home had a worn-out deck and needed an overall profile change to the back of the house,” Craig explains. “We had seen Archadeck’s work at a home show and on the website. We liked the attention and the eye to detail that owner Harold Cross exhibited.” The couple knew they wanted a maintenance-free deck across much of the backside of their home. The project would require jutting out the great room roofline to create a covered porch over part of the deck and an open deck on the other part.
Cross pulled out the roofline to create an interesting topper for the aesthetically-pleasing roof for the covered deck. Open beams and tongue-and-groove cedar planks on the ceiling add a warm feeling to the area.
And then the effects of the pandemic hit. The slowdown in materials and labor started a whiplash of slowdowns in many areas of landscaping, deck building, and home remodeling.
Plus, for the Goods, a winter derecho took part of their siding and roofing materials on the backside of the home, and water damage meant replacement and repair for their floor-to-ceiling fireplace. The derecho repairs had to be done simultaneously and in the appropriate order with the deck and landscape project stages to ensure the project’s completion. This caused added frustration and a need for organization. “At one time I had 10 different contracts out, from siding and windows to roof and stonework,” says Craig, yes, with a smile.
“Needless to say, we had to roll with the punches,” he points out. “In the end, much of the slowdown helped us make better decisions along the way.”
Cross agrees. “Craig and Kathy had great ideas. We collaborated on the project throughout. And to Craig’s point, the project demonstrates how a home’s outdoor areas are integral to the overall value and personality of a home—a neighborhood even—and the homeowners’ lives there.”
Cross says this about the materials supply chain. “Many manufacturing sources cut back or shuttered some product lines. Backlogged orders often took three to four months for some items.” With many items, he says, you can’t install or do that part of the project until you do this part. It was frustrating for the homeowners as well as for the designers and installers.
With Archadeck handling the deck, porch, firepit, and patio work, Ryan Brioch, cofounder and designer of Outdoor Design Solutions and a neighbor of the Goods, handled the landscaping. The result is a beautiful and visual gift to the neighborhood.
Archadeck used stamped concrete with the look of flagstone on the walk-out patio under the deck. Stone-covered pillars add the look of stability to the scene. A spiral staircase leads from the upper deck to the lower patio. To add a touch of whimsy, to the side is a metal palm tree, which the couple bought shortly after returning from St. Louis.
HILL OF STEPS
The slope on the side of the home is addressed by wide limestone steps. “With bad knees, the steps are easier than coming down a steep grassy hillside,” Craig says. Burning bushes, magnolia bushes, and perennials decorate the hillside next to the steps.
A black iron fence encircles the entire backyard. A winding flagstone walkway leads down the yard to a beautiful grove of stunning blue spruce trees. It’s a peaceful place for walkers to stop and rest or sit a bit on rock wall stone slabs. The trees block a busy street and muffle traffic noise and also provide a shady spot. Arborvitae and serviceberry trees are spaced on the outer side of the fence near the firepit. Tall, compact, and columnar spruce trees are also among the plants in the back.
“Doing the deck and landscaping during the pandemic was risky,” Craig admits, “but we made it work.”
His keys to success: patience, patience, patience.
“It all turned out to be a great project and a lovely addition to this neighborhood,” Cross says. •
- Landscaping Archadeck of Central Iowa