Welcome to Austin Outdoor Living Group

Who we are:

Austin Outdoor Living Group is a locally owned and operated design and build company specializing in backyard hardscapes including Decks, Arbors, Pergolas, Stone Patios, Walkways, Privacy Walls, Hot Tub Surrounds, Pool Decks, Flagstone, Stained or Stamped Concrete, Cool Deck Concrete Coatings, Outdoor Fireplaces, Outdoor Kitchens and Built in Barbeques, as well as complete Roofed Patio covers, Roof tie-ins, Screened Porches, and the list goes on.

We service not only Austin but also the surrounding areas from Round Rock, Georgetown, and Pflugerville, all the way to LakeTravis, Lakeway, BeeCaves and Spicewood and south to Kyle, San Marcos, and Buda.

 

For more than 20 years Ralph and Noelalee have been working in the industry in the Austin area, and during this time have built an expansive network of trades and craftsmen that have proven themselves in their respective fields to be Quality, Trustworthy, and Knowledgeable.

 

Nothing is more daunting than taking on a project yourself and having to wade through bid after bid (everyone of them claiming to be the best or most trustworthy) only to find that you need to go through the same process now to find electricians, masons, plumbers, painters, landscapers and so on just to finish your project.

 

At Austin Outdoor Living Group we take the work out of it for you and bring you quality that absolutely no one else can touch.

 

You don’t even need an idea, our online galleries are only a partial sample of the thousands of projects that we have designed and completed in the Austin and Hill Country area.

 

Noelalee will come to your home, listen to your wants and needs, and design a project beyond your dreams. From there we will gather the professionals required to complete the project and all you do is sit back as it all takes shape. No one in the industry has proven themselves more in the design field than her; even our competitors will admit that her designs and ideas are unsurpassed by anyone in the industry. Noelalee’s projects have been featured in national publications as well as National advertising campaigns.

 

Our goal is your complete and total trust and confidence that your project will exceed all expectations.

 

Contact us today and bring your Backyard dreams to Reality.

Build a stone Patio in Austin Texas!

Here is  one of our latest projects from start to finish.  Typically from the day we meet, our crews can be working within 2 weeks.  The biggest hold up is always your HOA (Home owners Association) .  The project below took about 5 days with our crew working from 8am to 5pm each day.  Call us today for your free consultation!  I look forward to meeting you!

Deck vs. Stone Patio

There are many great deck ideas and just as many wonderful possible patio designs. However, there are few things to consider when deciding which one to include in your yard. Hopefully you will enjoy your Deck or Patio structure for many years to come. Here are some things to think about.

The first consideration is how high off the ground your structure will be. It may be at or just above ground level where no steps are needed. It may require just a few steps. However, the structure may have to be located off a second story and thus be at a very high elevation.

For those situations where the structure can be designed pretty much at ground level, a deck or patio can both be used. The deck, however, must be constructed in such a way that it is not resting directly on the ground and if you are considering composite decking some warranties are void if they do not have enough air flow for ventilation. Typically, patios are chosen.

What if your structure needs a few steps? For situations where anywhere from two to about seven steps would be required to get to the lower level, either patios or decks may be selected. The main thing to remember is that whatever you choose will be off the ground. In the case of a deck, that space beneath the deck floor can be left open or covered with skirting. However, with patios, side walls must be built. This will add on to the cost. In addition, with higher decks or patios, protection against falling off the patio must be considered. This can be achieved by either the installation of railings or having deep planters built in the patio.

If the structure is to be built very high off the ground, as would be the case where the exit door is from an upper level, decks make much more sense. Decks at this level can also be made water tight to serve as a patio cover for the below area. Choosing to have a patio at that level would necessitate extremely high walls. Creating multilevel patios is possible and walls can be designed to be reasonable heights. This would increase the cost tremendously. And I mean by huge amounts of money.

Decks which are very far off the ground can be creative ones. They can have interesting with creatively designing a multi-level deck. One area might be your main living area, while another might be a smaller area for relaxing, closer to ground level.

Advantages of Patios

  • Patios are less expensive than decks if average cost materials are used and in the case where it is lower to the ground.
  • Patios can be created with materials that require little or no maintenance.
  • Designs of patios can take on many shapes.
  • Curved designs are easier with patios than decks.
  • Patios can be designed in such a way so that they look very traditional or contemporary.

Advantages of Decks

  • Decks do not need side walls.
  • If the deck is at higher elevations, it will be less expensive due the ability to just have an open lower area or a skirting.
  • Most decking material does not get hot.
  • Seat walls and planters can be easily added at a reasonable cost.

The elevation of the door you are exiting out of, the style you are looking for and your budget will help determine whether a deck or patio is right for your project.

Fill out our contact page to receive a call from our design team.  We can help you visualize what your project can become!

 

 

How the Architecture of your Landscape can Increase Your Home’s Value

Contact us for Landscape Design

As an investment, landscaping can increase the value of your property by as much as 20 percent–if it is done well.

This Old House magazine
April 2003

Spending 5 percent of the total value of your home on landscaping, and doing it wisely, you can add 15 percent or more to the value of your home. 

Smart Money magazine
March 2003

According to a joint study by Clemson University and the University of Maryland, potential home buyers will pay up to 11.3 percent above the asking price for homes with thoughtfully-designed landscaping.

Mid-Valley Sunday (Corvallis, OR)
April 13, 2003

Homes with nice landscaping are likely to see sale prices that are 4 percent to 5 percent higher compared to similar properties in the neighborhood, according to the Guide for Plant Appraisal, published by the International Society of Arboriculture. And homes with landscapes that are not as nice as others in the neighborhood could see sales prices that are 8 percent to 10 percent lower.

Eighty-four percent of the real estate agents interviewed for the study said a house with trees would be as much as 20 percent more salable than a house without trees.

Baltimore Sun
April 20, 2003

According to Money magazine (May 2003), spending on landscape design and installation has more than tripled in the past five years, hitting $14.3 billion in 2002. And no wonder—it offers the best return on investment of any home improvement you can make. Many savvy homeowners are hiring landscape architects to help them realize their dreams. Here are some tips to help you make an educated choice:
Think about what you want and how you will use your landscape. Formal entertaining, herb gardens, and children’s playgrounds are all possibilities. Don’t limit yourself to plants and trees; maybe you would like a fence, a fountain, a deck, a patio, or other outdoor element.
Make a realistic budget. One rule of thumb is to invest 5 to 10 percent of your house’s worth. If this seems steep, consider that appropriate landscape improvements are estimated to return 100 to 200 percent of their cost when a house is sold.

Look at books and magazines for ideas and start a file of plants, trees, gardens, yards, pools, patios, decks, fences, etc., that you like–or dislike–to show your landscape architect. This will help you communicate what you want to achieve – or avoid.

Credentials are important. Landscape architects are licensed to practice in 47 states and must pass a rigorous exam. Members of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) have met their membership requirements and keep up with the latest technology and trends through ASLA publications and continuing education programs.

Interview a few landscape architects and ask for references. A good designer will walk around the home and ask a lot of questions about your lifestyle, what you want to accomplish, and your budget. They will not hesitate to provide references for you to call or to answer questions you may have about their services and fees.

Ask about maintenance. Some homeowners enjoy working in their yards and gardens, some hire a service to do it, and others don’t want to bother with it at all. Be sure to let your landscape architect know how you feel about the upkeep of your investment.

Dry In Your Deck

Water drainage systems allow you to comfortably use the space under a high deck. These systems divert water away to create a dry space below. You can essentially double the outdoor living area for an affordable price. These areas can be easily converted into screen porches by adding screen walls.Water drainage systems installation varies by manufacturer. Some systems are composed of waterproof membrane installed over the deck on a subfloor. Some may be a decking product that sheds away water. Other systems are attached to the bottom of the deck frame. Always consider the method of installation when researching water drainage systems.Below are prodcuts that shed away water to create a dry space below your deck.

UnderDeck

UnderDeck is a unique deck drainage system that will easily turn that unused, wasted area under your deck into a pleasant and usable space. Easy means easy…UnderDeck is designed for you, the homeowner to install! Going hand in hand with its easy installation, UnderDeck will install to virtually any new and existing deck.

LockDry Decking

Lockdry aluminum decking uses a continuous locking seal to create a watertight maintenance free seamless floor surface. Lockdry is made from 6005-T5 Powder Coated Aluminum and comes in 6” wide 1” thick interlocking profiles that is engineered to support 240 PSF live load. Lockdry is available in 4 standard colors with matching railings. The powder coated surface is slip resistant and stays cooler to the touch than wood or concrete. Lockdry is easy to install and comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
Click here to visit the LockDry web site.

DrySnap

DrySnap is made of vinyl ceiling panels that collect and drain water away from your new dry space. It provides a maintenance free flat ceiling that covers the unsightly underside of your deck, turning it into a clean, bright, dry outdoor space.
 Contact AOLG for more information!

How often do I need to Restain my Deck?

How often do I need to Refinish/Stain my wood deck?

Your wood deck will need to be refinished about every 1 1/2 to 2 years..  This will depend on many factors such as exposure to sun and the product that you choose for treatment.  AOLG uses TWP and Cabot products. . 

Here is an article from decks.com

All wood decks should be stained to protect the wood from ultraviolet sun damage and moisture damage. This will prevent your deck from weather damage including checking and cracking. Decks.com recommends that you use a high quality oil based stain such as WoodDefender . The oil in the stain will help preserve the wood and keep it from drying out. Don’t confuse a topical sealer for stain. Sealers only protect the wood from moisture. They don’t protect the wood from checking and cracking when the wood dries out.Many Decks.com readers ask us, when should I stain my deck? For the best results you should stain cedar, redwood, exotic hardwoods, and clear pressure treated decks soon as possible after the deck is built and every Spring afterwards. However green treated pressure treated wood should be allowed to dry out for 30-90 days before applying the first stain.Always make sure the deck is clean and dry before you begin staining. Wait at least 24 hours after washing your deck to apply stain. Also try to avoid staining your deck right before it rains. Most stains require at least 2-3 hours for drying.Always follow the instructions on the container for application. Do your best to apply the stain evenly. Rails will always require the most time and attention to detail. Decks.com advises to stain the railings before the floor This allows you to clean up any drips on the floor surface afterwards.

Build a Safe, Stong Deck

Deck collapseJust like your home, it’s important to make sure your deck is built right. Most experts agree that the average life expectancy of a wood deck is 10 to 15 years. It is estimated that there are millions of decks in the U.S. that are beyond their useful life and may be unsafe. In fact, the number of deck collapses has increased in recent years. Since 1999, there have been more than 850 reported injuries and 20 deaths as a result of deck failures.

If you’re building a deck or have an existing deck, you should know how to evaluate its construction to make sure it’s structurally sound and safe. Using the proper structural connectors and fasteners (like nails and screws) as well as regular maintenance are the keys to a safe, strong deck. We invite you to learn more about how to make your deck safe.

Ask us more about our deck inspection program. 

Outdoor Kitchens

We can also design the ideal Outdoor Kitchen for your needs.  There are many options in Outdoor Kitchens and we can help you figure out the layout for your Outdoor Living Space.  Call us or fill out our contact page and find out the many ways that AOLG can help you if you are in the market for an Outdoor Kitchen or Outdoor Fireplace.

Aluminum vs. Cedar or Redwood for Shade

Over the last 15 years I have designed and built hundreds of Cedar Pergolas and Shade Arbors. For starters let me inform you of the education that I recieved from an 81 yo client.  She said, “Sonny.. you are very sweet and you built me a beautiful project but I gotta tell you.. This structure that you built me is a PERGOLA not a SHADE ARBOR!”  I was astonished!  She said, “An ARBOR is something that you build over a gate or a swing.. A PERGOLA is what you built me.”

See if you can Pick out the “Shade Arbor”. 

Back to the topic.. Cedar Shade Arbors and Pergolas have made quite an impact on Austin Outdoor Living.  To build a Cedar structure you are typically looking at spending anywhere from $13-$25 per square foot depending on the specifics of the work.  Does it have large beams or small beams?  is it free standing or attached to the house?  To name a few.  Now with a Cedar Arbor or Pergola you do need to consider the maintenance that will be involved.  A typical shade structure like the ones pictured above will usually cost you about $3-$5 per square foot to have a proffessional company stain it for you.  A professional Pergola/Arbor treatment should last about 1 1/2 to 2 years.  As you can see.. The cost could continue to grow as long as you want to keep it looking nice.  I am not saying that this a bad thing.  I am just stating the facts of the cost of a Cedar or Redwood Shade Structure.  There is always the option of SOLID STAIN which will cost more but will last longer (I will be writing on the difference between Solid Stain and transparent stain at another time).   Using Cedar or Redwood for you Shade Arbor or Pergola is a great option but not the only one. 

TO BE CONTINUED>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  Here is a video I found on Aluminum structures.

Outdoor Living Resource Site

Austin, Georgetown and surrounding areas are among the highest rank for places to retire and live.  This is an exciting thing!  Though there are times of trial now, many people are moving here from out of state and planting themselves in our Cetral Texas area.  I have found that as I meet with clients there is a rising trend…. I am the minority around here.  I was born at St. Davids Hospital in Austin and I have’nt left the area.  I love it!  People are finally seeing what I have known my entire life.  Austin and our central Texas Oasis is Awesome! 

So what does this have to do with Outdoor Living?  ALOT!  With new people coming from all over the country we are seeing new ideas and changes to the landscape that is sculpted around us.  I met with a very nice Lady in Forest Creek (Round Rock neighborhood) just last week.  She was one of the sweetest people I have ever met.  She began to explain to me that her HOA was giving her a hard time about colors that she chose for the exterior of her home.   She is from out of town and this was blowing her mind.  I tell you this to let you know that we will be thinking outside of the box more than ever in the days to come.  At Austin Outdoor Living Group our goal is to stay up with the latest trends in Outdoor living in Austin area and around the world.  I absolutely love HGTV’s website and all that it has to offer.  It is a must to stay with the times for Deck products, Landscaping ideas, Outdoor Fireplaces, Deck Rail designs, pool designs and just about anything outdoors that you can dream up.  We will be posting videos and pictures from around the world using HGTV.com.  It is a great resource.  We can bring these ideas to your home too.  Please fill out our CONTACT PAGE  and we will call you to discuss your project and help you with your outdoor living spaces.

http://www.hgtv.com/designers-portfolio/outdoors/index.html   (HGTV.COM)