The Secret To Success

May 26, 2017 Outdoor Living

We would like to thank VoyageHouston for taking the time to get to know Texas Custom Patios!  Below is a fantastic article getting to know the people that are making outdoor oasis dreams come true all over Texas.  And to think it all started with a simple deck …

 

 

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rob and Katherine Douglass.

Thirteen years ago, Rob Douglass had a vision to open a company that would create outdoor living spaces that would be as functional and as attractive as the inside of the home. Something that looked original to the home and not an add on. Initially, Texas Custom Patios built simple decks and pergolas, but the market was changing and the timing was perfect. Along with his wife, Katherine Douglass, and business partner, Steven Schell, Texas Custom Patios began building luxury outdoor living spaces complete with fully equipped kitchens, outdoor living rooms, outdoor fire features, entertainment centers, and specialized dining areas. The first full year in business, 2005, there were 44 projects completed … now, an average of 200 projects are completed each year. This includes the newly opened branch in the Dallas Fort Worth area. In order to grow to this level, Texas Custom Patios needed to develop crews from all the trades that are required to build the projects. They have sub-contractors that have worked with them for many years – framers, electricians, painters, masons, plumbers and more. Texas Custom Patios has 7 project developers in the Houston area and 4 in the Dallas Fort Worth area that work closely with each homeowner throughout the process of designing and building the dream outdoor living space.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The road has been relatively smooth, although with any business there are always some struggles. When Hurricane Ike hit the area, there was a definite slump in business. Everyone was focused on repairing damaged homes – not just theirs but others that were less fortunate.

Homeowners took the time to help out in the community and put their own backyard dreams to the side for a while. The recent oil slump has had an effect as well – homeowners have taken precautions with their spending. We have noticed an increase in sales since the beginning of 2017, which falls in line with the economy getting stronger again.

Texas Custom Patios – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Texas Custom Patios has several unique assets that stand out from all the other patio competitors. Their key to success is designing and building a structure that does not look like an add-on, it looks original to the home’s design. No matter how old the house is, roofing, bricking, siding is all selected to blend with the structure of the home. It can be a challenge sometimes to figure out how to tie in substantial additions while maintaining the style of the original home, but we achieve success time after time. We focus only on outdoor living – we are not interior remodelers. There are many types of projects we build – patio covers, pergolas, screened porches, pool houses, room additions, outdoor kitchens, outdoor fire features, decorative patios, and more. When we work with a customer on their backyard design, we gather information and create a project within their budget. We offer suggestions on design and finishes to make the project a custom space for the homeowner to enjoy. The project developer works with the homeowner from start of design to completion of the project… the project is not handed off to anyone else. Texas Custom Patios also has a strong written warranty.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Success is defined when we have happy homeowners. Knowing we are building and creating their dream outdoor space is something we take seriously. When at the end of the project, we are told it was exactly what they imagined or it turned out better than what they thought, that is success. We are always looking to have satisfied homeowners – ones that will and do refer us to their friends and neighbors.

For more from VoyageHouston, click here!

Recipe of the Month: Grilled Mahi-Mahi Tacos with Mandarin Habanero Salsa

May 25, 2017 Outdoor Cooking

Now that’s a mouthful … but a delicious mouthful.  For this month’s recipe star we got a taste of inspiration from Hearth & Home.  The great thing about this recipe is if you’re fishy about fish, you can substitute the protein for grilled chicken or even steak.

Ingredients

Mahi­-Mahi Tacos 4 (5­6 oz.) Mahi­Mahi fillets

2 tbsp. olive oil 2 tbsp.

Pit Boss Mandarin Habanero spice

2 cups shredded red cabbage

1 cup sour cream

12 small corn tortillas

Mandarin Habanero Mango Salsa

2 mangos, peeled and diced

1/3 cup red onion, diced

2 tbsp. lime juice

1 tsp. Pit Boss Mandarin Habanero seasoning

¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

 

Directions

Rinse the Mahi­-Mahi fillets under cold water and blot dry with paper towel. Rub fillets with olive oil, then sprinkle Pit Boss Mandarin Habanero seasoning over both sides of the fillets, rubbing the seasoning in. Set aside.

Prepare the Mandarin Habanero Mango Salsa by combining all ingredients in a medium­-sized bowl, tossing lightly to mix. Set aside.

Light the ceramic charcoal barbecue to 400°F. Place Mahi­-Mahi fillets directly on the grill and cook 5–7 minutes on each side. Remove the Mahi­Mahi from grill and let rest 5 minutes before pulling apart into small pieces. Carefully remove cooking grate from barbecue using oven mitts or grill grippers. Replace grill grate with heat deflector and place tortillas on heat deflector, heating for 30 seconds to 1 minute or until warm, but not hot.

Stack the tortillas in twos. Distribute the fish evenly between each set of tortillas.

Top with red cabbage, sour cream, and mango salsa. Serve immediately!

Sit back and listen to the “mmmms!”

 

 

A Memorable Memorial Day

May 25, 2017 Outdoor Celebrations

 

 

In between the sales and backyard bbqs, we don’t want you to forget what Memorial Day is truly about.  What was once declared Decoration Day where veterans took time to decorate the graves of the fallen with flowers, is now a day for family and friends to come together.  Whether that be to visit tombstones or just be with loved ones to enjoy their company.

We hope it is spent in your backyard, enjoying the day and remembering that the freedom we have is spent in the memory of someone else’s brave fight.

Our tips below will give your get-together a patriotic push and a day to remember!

  1.  Use foods that are statesmanlike in color … strawberries, blueberries, marshmallows, watermelon … it will make for a patriotic pow WOW!
  2.  Decorate with red, white and blue bandanas
  3.  Paint mason jars for a quick centerpiece (“pin”spiration here)
  4.  Roses are red, violets are blue … pick some fresh flowers on a table for two
  5.  Pick up some sparklers to enjoy at dusk
  6.  Cheers with some red, white and blue sangria (recipe here)
  7.  Light the night with candles
  8.  Play a friendly game of American history trivia
  9.   Enjoy our recipe of the month and top it off with some red velvet cupcakes (recipe here)
  10.   And last but not least … wave your flags

Customized Outdoor Living by Texas Builder Magazine

April 28, 2017 Outdoor Living

We are thrilled to announce that we made the cover of  May’s issue of Texas Builder Magazine and also highlighted in the featured project section!  Check out this article for great ideas that fit your outdoor lifestyle, plus grab a behind-the-scenes look at how Texas Custom Patios got its start.  To download the magazine in its entirety, visit here.

 

It’s a Breeze …

April 28, 2017 Patio Design

On many occasions, some home owners see their breezeway as something that complicates a potential project.  Others just may not understand what can be done with a breezeway at all.  Some even decide to not pursue a potential patio addition because of this confusion, which is a big mistake!

To start, let’s describe what a breezeway is …

Typically the breezeway connects the house to the garage to protect you from the elements while walking between the two.  Sometimes the breezeway will have your electrical wires running through it, as the breaker box is in the garage.  This is very common and not anything to be concerned about.  The breezeway is typically built to hold only the weight of the breezeway with absolutely zero additional weight.

When Texas Custom Patios comes out for a site visit, we will look at your breezeway and discuss the options available to you.  On average, it’s best to remove the breezeway and run the electrical in the attic space of the new patio cover.

Sometimes we will cut off the existing breezeway and re-attach the remaining breezeway to the new porch, or we build a totally new breezeway if that makes most sense.  Many times homeowners convince themselves this cannot be done, but it’s really not a big deal.  On rare occasions the electrical wires can create a challenge, but your project developer will discuss options to work around this. Our expertise allows us to create a clean, well-thought-out look that even the builder of your home would have done had they built the cover themselves. We have found removing the breezeway, when possible, is a best practice in our industry.

Don’t let your breezeway keep you from exploring a project … trust us, it’s a breeze!  To explore a variety of options to consider when building your patio, click here!

 

Recipe of the Month: Skinny Salty, Sweet and Spirits

April 26, 2017 Outdoor Cooking, Uncategorized

Patio and pool season are about to make a big splash, but have you been on your best bathing suit behavior?  We thought we would keep things light this month in honor of those goals you’re trying to reach.

So let’s kabob and give kudos to cocktails with fewer calories for this month’s recipes!

Recipes of the Month_APRIL-2

Grilled Brussels Sprouts with Sweet Balsamic Glaze

Ingredients

1 lb brussels sprouts, stems trimmed and cut in half

2 tbsp olive oil

4 long wooden skewers

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1 tbsp balsamic glaze

Directions

Place the brussels on skewers, and place skewers on a large enough piece of sturdy foil to cover the top.  Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper

Heat the grill, when hot lower the heat to low and put foil with skewers on the grill, tenting the veggies with the foil.  Cook about 30 minutes, turning every 5 minutes to keep them from burning.  When done, drizzle with balsamic glaze and eat right away!

Italian Chicken Kabobs

Ingredients

1 1/2lb chicken breast

8-inch skewers

Marinade:

1/4C olive oil

3Tb white wine vinegar

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp dried basil

3/4 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp dried onion flakes

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

1 clove garlic, minced

Directions

In a mason jar or salad shaker combine marinade ingredients. Shake to combine well. Set aside.

Trim chicken of any fat. Cut into 1-2 inch cubes. Transfer to a large bag or storage container. Pour marinade over chicken. Seel container and chill for at least 1-2 hours, or overnight.

Soak wood skewers in water for at least 30 minutes.

Divide chicken between 8-10 skewers. Discard remaining marinade.

Grill over low heat for 15 minutes, turning skewers after 3-5 minutes. Cook until no longer pink and showing some external color or grill lines.

Serve immediately.

 

Skinny Mint Mojito

Ingredients

Simple Syrup

4-6 packets stevia, depending on how sweet you want it

1 cup water

5-8 fresh mint leaves

Mojito

2 oz simple syrup with stevia

Juice of ½ a lime

1 oz rum

5 fresh mint leaves

Chilled soda water

Ice

Mint and lime slice for garnish (optional)

Instructions

Simple Syrup (serves 4)
  1. In a small pot, bring 1 cup of water to a boil and add 6 individual packets (about 3 grams) of stevia (I used Sweet Leaf)
  2. Stir in stevia to dissolve and remove from heat
  3. Add the mint leaves. Cover and let steep* about 30 minutes (*To steep just means to let the leaves hang-out in the warm water so it soaks up all the flavor of the mint)
  4. Remove mint leaves from liquid and store simple syrup in fridge until ready to use (will be tinted green from mint leaves)
Mint Mojito (Serves 1)
  1. In a 12oz glass, pour in 2oz of the simple syrup, 1 oz rum, a few fresh mint leaves, and juice of half a lime. Muddle the contents using a pestle. You could also use a spoon to simply crush and grind the fresh mint into the liquid.
  2. Top the glass with ice and fill to the top with soda water. Stir.
  3. Garnish with fresh mint and a lime wedge

Tablescaping for Your Patio Table

April 13, 2017 Outdoor Celebrations

It may be April, but at Texas Custom Patios we’re gearing up for summertime and all the festivities that brings!  Pool parties, graduation get togethers, Memorial Day grill outs are all on the calendar, but first … let’s talk about our Easter celebration. It could be a huge family affair or maybe just you, your spouse and the crazy kids, either way, let’s make it memorable.

Plan Ahead

Host a beautiful brunch without all of the hassle.

  • Bake the tart shells for your chicken salad the day before; store in an airtight container. Warm them in the oven about 3 minutes.
  • Blanch your veggies and make your dips (store in refrigerator)
  • Make carrot soup the day before. Reheat, adding extra broth, if needed.

Decorate

We found so many incredible ideas, some DIY and some easily bought!  Sweet little ideas like tying tulips with a simple pastel bow to your cloth napkins.

Simple Easter Table IdeaWe also discovered other adorable centerpiece ideas using carrots, dipped eggs and more!  Check out our Pinterest page for hundreds of inspirational ideas that you can actually do!  Southern Living has some fantastic videos with a step-by-step guide to creating a gorgeous centerpiece.  Think outside the table and decorate the entire patio with potted beauties … click here for 108 creative container gardening ideas.

 

More Inspiration

If you don’t have a Texas Custom Patio just yet to enjoy on Easter, but are thinking about it … check here to be inspired by different projects of many styles!

Texas Custom Patios

Lastly … Enjoy!

Just try to remember the day of any celebration that you have done all that you can do, so sit back and enjoy!

April Showers Bring …

March 30, 2017 Outdoor Living
flower planting

April showers bring … a laundry list of things to do!  Before you can have those May flowers, let’s get down to business … cleaning, pruning and planting!  Once you’re done, you’ll be in full bloom and ready for the season.

Firstly, survey your yard.  Make note of all the elements that need attention.  Remove tree limbs, especially those that may be brushing your home.  Cut down any of last year’s perennial foliage, and place into a compost pile.  Rake your beds and fluff your mulch.  Check fences, steps and other areas for damage.  Make a list of things that need a fixin’ … service lawn equipment and get ready to mow … prune and plant!

What will blossom beautifully in spring? Here are our top ten choices for our Texas climate.

Pink Discovery Azalea

Hellebore

Bloodroot

Snowdrop Anemone

Lilac

Iris

Grand Maitre Crocus

Daffodil

Oakleaf Hydrangea

Tulip

Once you have decided what you would like for your yard, follow these no-fail perfectly planted flower steps:

  1.  Set plants atop the ground before you plant so you can space them evenly.
  2.  Soak the plants while they’re still in their pots.
  3.  Use your fingers or a pencil to gently pry apart matted roots so they’ll spread into the soil, not remain in a ball.
  4. Add a couple of tablespoons of slow-release flower food to the bottom of each hole, and then stir with your trowel to mix it evenly into the soil before inserting plants.

Happy Spring!

 

Have a project in mind? We work throughout the Houston and Dallas - Fort Worth areas.

Our Customers Love Us

We are really impressed with Texas Custom Patios. Everyone involved with our patio project did excellent work. Not only was all the work done properly, and efficiently, the people were all great. Marty did a superb job of keeping us informed, and everything on track. We would highly recommend this company to anyone.

© 2017 Texas Custom Patios