Best Pick Reports Awards Our Company!

Best Pick Reports, a trusted consumer reports guide by EBSCO Research has named our company, Distinctive Deck Designs by Mark Shriner Contracting, a “Best Pick” Honorable Mention in Fairfax County! After years of service to people in the Northern Virginia area, our customers spoke for our high quality of work and excellence in the field of Deck Building and Maintenance.

We are proud to have been included in this years research findings, and are overwhelmed by the support of our customers.

Here are a few reviews from previous customers:

“I thought they were fantastic. Every deck company I had come out wanted to build the deck they wanted to build, and Distinctive offered me any material, basically, that I wanted. They let me design my own concept, came out a couple of times to measure, and the proposal, bidding, and pricing were consistent throughout. I thought they were awesome.”

“The work was really fast. The workers were extremely friendly. They did everything that we asked them to do. We’ll use them again. They deserve an A.”

“We’re very happy with Distinctive Deck Designs. They were very responsive and did what they said they were going to do. They even did a little bit more. They went above and beyond.”

If you would like to read more reviews or see information on our award, please visit the Best Pick Reports website (

Thank you to all of our past customers for your loyal and continued support.

What you need for your Outdoor Kitchen

A growing number of homeowners are dining out, and not at a fancy restaurant — but in the comfort of their own backyards. The trend toward outdoor kitchens and dining spaces enables people to head “out to dinner” any time they want.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to have an estate or a seven-figure salary to be able to construct an outdoor kitchen in the yard. The work area can be designed around how much or how little space there is and be customized to different budgets.

The outdoor entertaining space is growing in popularity every year. In 2009, the Property and Environment Research Center found that 43 percent of homeowners in the Northeast reported having an outdoor room. In the Midwest, West and South, it’s 32 to 34 percent. The concept of an outdoor kitchen is nothing new. The outdoor or “summer” kitchen has become a viable component of Mediterranean living for centuries. The heat of the summer drove many people outdoors to shady spots where they could cook on grills or stoves while enjoying a nice breeze. The outdoor kitchen also marries entertaining with meal preparation for the ultimate social occasion.

The outdoor kitchen of today can be as intricate or as simple as homeowners desire. There are some elements that can set the space apart, which can be customized depending on design style and budget.

* Grill:Instead of a simple grate over some coals, think about investing in a grill that has multipurpose cooking aides. These can include a side burner, a rotisserie turner and various temperature-control features. A grill should boast the conveniences of an indoor range and stove with the added benefit of a grill surface.

* Pergola: The outdoor kitchen should be comfortable, and that means having an area outside of the immediate elements. A pergola or awning can offer a shade source under which cooking is much more agreeable. Plus, you can then install a fan or overhead lighting to the pergola for even more comfort.

* Sink: Washing produce or washing up is much easier if there is a sink nearby. The closer the outdoor kitchen is to the actual house, the easier (and less expensive) it will be to run plumbing.

* Counters: Whether butcher block or an expanse of granite, having a work space available for food prep or as a serving surface can make an outdoor kitchen more convenient.

* Fireplace: When the weather turns chilly, a fireplace will be a focal point and also a source of warmth. If a fireplace is beyond budget, consider a chiminea or fire pit instead. Placing an outdoor sofa or some reclining chairs by the fire creates an intimate, and cozy place to congregate.

* Garden: Herbs and vegetables can grow adjacent to the outdoor kitchen. This enables pick-and-cook possibilities. Also, consider a compost pile or bin in proximity so that scraps can easily be turned into rich fertilizer.

* Refrigerator: Some homeowners choose to install a small refrigerator or wine cooler to keep items chilled for use. This helps promote safe cooking and serving practices.

* Entertainment: When installing electrical components for lights, consider installing surround-sound speakers that connect to a music player or home theater. Those with larger budgets can explore the options in televisions that can resist some outdoor weather and provide a different ambiance for watching movies.

The outdoor kitchen is not a new concept but it’s growing more popular among homeowners.

Come visit us at the Capital Home Show this Fall!

This Fall, from September 23rd to September 25th, you can come visit us at the Capital Home Show! Would you like to see a sample of our work? Would you like to speak with us in person? Well come visit us at the Home, Show Booth 136. You can also visit our Interactive Exhibitor listing at the Home Show website here.

We hope to see your there!

Save a Tree, Build a Deck!

Composite decking is not only easier and cheaper to maintain than traditional decks, it is environmentally friendly because it uses only recycled materials to make the product.  Trex, the leading manufacturer in composite decking, believes in creating a treasure from another man’s trash. During the manufacturing process, ZERO trees are cut down to make Trex products.  Saving trees is not the only way Trex remains a steward to our environment.  Every year Trex uses 1.5 BILLION plastic grocery bags to manufacture its products.

How can you help the environment?

Answer: By using an alternative material for your outdoor living project.  Your deck will need to use wood for the framing of your deck, but using composite decking boards can significantly reduce your footprint.  Not only are you saving trees but your are keeping plastic grocery bags out of landfills, ecosystems, and waterways.

Did you know?

In the average 500-square-foot Trex deck there are 140,000 recycled plastic bags!

Composite decking is a sustainable solution to creating your outdoor living area.  To learn more about composite materials for your deck click here for a free deck consultation!