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Deck builder wins ‘Wood, Naturally’ contest

Joel Harper, owner of Leisure Time Decks in Lilburn, Ga., won a nationwide contest for his company’s use of softwood lumber in March. The contest, “Wood, Naturally Build and Design Sweepstakes,” is funded by the Softwood Lumber Board and invites contractors from across the U.S. to submit their outdoor living and interior design projects using materials categorized as softwood lumber. This year’s prize was a 2015 Ford F150 pickup truck.

Atlanta-based contractor Joel Harper won a new truck in this year’s “Wood, Naturally Build and Design Sweepstakes.”

Will Telligman, of the Southern Pine Council, which represents members from both the Southeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association and the Southern Forest Products Association — both partner associations of the Softwood Lumber Board — says one of the reasons Harper’s work was selected was because he uses a high concentration of Southern yellow pine, a product that is really pushed by the associations with which he is affiliated.

“Joel’s a deck builder around Atlanta and he creates some really beautiful work which is mostly done with wood products and in particular he uses a lot of pressure-treated Southern yellow pine,” says Telligman, who presented Harper with the keys to his new ride.

“In the competition, many people submitted different creative ideas on how to work with wood and make beautiful decks and/or indoor applications, but basically he came out on top.”

The contest was created in 2013 to educate and inspire homeowners and contractors to design and build with wood. The campaign showcases wood’s outdoor living applications, such as decks, siding and fences, along with interior applications like walls and ceilings.

The Softwood Lumber Board, which is in charge of selecting the winner, highlights the environmental, societal and economic benefits of using wood products for indoor and outdoor design and building projects of all types and sizes. It works to increase demand and consumption for softwood lumber by promoting its versatility, reliability and sustainability as a building material.

Harper’s website at shows examples of his company’s completed work on its galleries page.

“I am thrilled to have won the Build and Design Sweepstakes. My passion is to create projects for homeowners using the natural beauty of softwood lumber and Wood, Naturally has provided a great platform to share my work,” Harper said in a statement.

For contest information, visit

This article originally appeared in the April 2015 issue.

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