Monthly Archives: September 2014

Prepare for Fall with an Outdoor Fire Place or Fire Pit!

Changes in weather are near, and it will soon be time to stir the embers of your fireplaces and fire pits. Oh – you don’t have one? Well, many do not realize that Mark Shriner Contracting, familiarly known as Distinctive Deck Designs, provides complete outdoor landscape design, including custom fireplaces and fire pits for Northern Virginia homes.

photo 19bWe absolutely love fall because of the beauty in the changing colors that our natural vegetation brings to our neighborhoods. As fall settles into your area, you may wonder how you can comfortably enjoy the cooler evenings with your friends and family. Ask us to build you an exclusive outdoor space while incorporating fire elements! You have the choice of having fire through the natural elements of wood and flame, or you can opt for the ease of using automatic gas or electric switches. Our contractors are very experienced in ensuring the new space complements your current home’s design to create a seamless look. This is important because it will appear to new visitors that it was original to home rather than new construction!

Here are some ideas for what you can do to improve your outdoor space for entertaining events!

  1. Love bonfires? Investing in a fire pit will provide you the comfort of having friends over for evening conversations with hot beverages and the occasional roasted marshmallow. Consider asking for built-in seating surrounding the fire pit area, which you can update for each season with new cushions for comfort!
  2. Create an instant conversation piece by using reclaimed wood or a metal sculpture for your fireplace mantle. By highlighting a designer piece, you will further impress your guests and will have a unique feature your neighbors will not.
  3. Add to your outdoor fireplace design with a deluxe outdoor kitchen. Add a luxury grill for the ultimate entertaining experience!
  4. Consider incorporating solar or electric lighting into this space for those darker evenings. This will eliminate the hassle of trying to start a fire in the dark. Stylish sconces can also incorporate interior design to the stone.

We hope this list served as inspiration for you in redesigning your front or back yard. Did you find a great design on Houzz or Pinterest? We would love to hear from you, and we will discuss how we can implement these ideas for you!

Distinctive Deck Designs services three Northern Virginia counties: Fairfax County, Loudoun County and Prince William County. Our landscaping work transforms drab backyards into Houzz-worthy photos! In our 20 years of providing the Fairfax county community, our composite decking projects, as well as those of brick and mortar, have won multiple awards. Get your free consultation with us by calling 1.703.263.9634 today!

Decked Out for Fall

Fall is the perfect time of year to enjoy the outdoors. The weather is cooler, the air is crisper, and your deck can be a beautiful outdoor living space to be enjoyed well into the autumn months. With our suggestions, you can turn your deck into the ideal space to entertain, relax with friends, or just enjoy a cup of coffee and watch the leaves change.


Nothing adds color quite like well-placed flower arrangements. A fall favorite like mums come in a variety of colors such as, gold, yellow, orange, burgundy, white, pink, and         purple. Pick two or three complimentary colors and watch your deck come to life!


As everyone knows, fall is harvest time. You can celebrate this season of bounty with an easy-to-make harvest-themed decoration. Your local garden center can supply you with shocks of corn, pumpkins, brightly colored gourds, and bales of hay. Simply prop the    shock of corn in the corner of your deck and place the bale of hay in front of it with the pumpkins and gourds casually placed on or around it. The total cost is under thirty dollars and the arrangement will hold up nicely in the unpredictable fall weather.


Autumn is the time of year to bring out the oversized and cozy outdoor seating. You can tie everything together by simply adding colorful cushions to your deck furniture. New cushions in Fall colors will look fabulous when matched with a coordinating outdoor rug. While simple and inexpensive, a stylish floor covering breaks up your deck’s large expanses of wood and adds an elegant touch.


ambient lighting

Unlike the warmer months of the year, less lighting is needed to illuminate your outdoor activities, whether it’s star-gazing or cuddling with a loved one. It’s easy to set the fall     mood using strings of lights or by replacing your outdoor bulbs with a lower wattage. Tiki torches and candles placed in mason jars also add a cozy touch to your outdoor living space.

There’s nothing better than a fall evening cookout or sitting around a fire pit sipping hot chocolate with friends, and using these easy and inexpensive decorating ideas can help you create the perfect surrounding for the season’s activities.

What Good is a Covered Deck?

No matter where you are across the U.S., covered decks, porches and patios are becoming ever more popular. Many people question why this is, considering that the whole point of an outdoor area is to enjoy the sunshine. However, some individuals also like having the choice to control the amount of shade they receive. After all, incessant sunshine can cause you and your guests to feel hot, sticky and uncomfortable over time. As your local deck contractor, we are here to explain how creating a shaded structure provides several options and benefits.

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