Project of the Month: February 2024

February 12, 2024 Inspiration, Outdoor Cooking, Outdoor Living, Patio Design, Project of the Month

Transforming a Small Yard into a Luxurious Outdoor Oasis

A family in Houston had a modest backyard with an existing pool but no shade or designated outdoor living area. They wanted to create a contemporary outdoor oasis that felt like an extension of their home. TCP Outdoor Living took on the challenge of designing a functional and stylish outdoor living space within the constraints of their small urban lot.

Before

Creating an Outdoor Living Room

Before:

  • The clients desired a covered outdoor living room large enough for entertaining and everyday relaxation.
  • TCP built a 450-square-foot outdoor living room with vaulted ceilings that connect the home to the garage.
  • The tongue and groove ceiling is pre-stained Smokey Bourbon by Woodtone, adding warmth and personality.
  • The concrete flooring has a spray deck coating for a clean, contemporary look.

Building the Ultimate Outdoor Kitchen

  • A 20-foot outdoor kitchen provides ample prepping and cooking space.
  • TCP designed and installed a privacy wall with Choctaw Tan stone to replace the fence.
  • The countertops are Tan Brown granite from a local supplier.
  • The kitchen has top-of-the-line appliances like a grill, beverage center, vent hood, doors, and more.

Adding Shade Elements

  • Bromic heaters and ceiling fans keep the space comfortable year-round.
  • A pergola with a privacy wall was built over the hot tub, matching the kitchen wall.
  • TCP added an overhead pergola cover system.
  • Another pergola and cover at the end of the pool create space for a daybed.

The clients now have the outdoor oasis they dreamed of, perfectly customized within their compact backyard.

TCP Outdoor Living’s innovative design transformed this unused yard into a contemporary, highly functional entertainment space.

Get started on your backyard transformation by clicking here to book your free consultation today.

So Fresh and So Clean: Maintaining Your Outdoor Kitchen

December 15, 2023 Outdoor Cooking, Outdoor Living, Outdoor Safety

An outdoor kitchen is one of the most luxurious additions to your outdoor space. But with the food, drinks, and constant exposure to the elements, cleaning and maintaining it in top condition becomes challenging. Let’s explore some tips on how to keep your outdoor kitchen sparkling clean:

Before cleaning, invest in the right tools. A good-quality broom, mop, or scrub brush can make all the difference in removing grime and stains. When cleaning wooden surfaces, opt for eco-friendly cleaning solutions.

Cleaning and maintaining your outdoor kitchen is like cleaning your indoor kitchen. After each use, you should wipe down counters, clean up spills and messes, and empty the grease trap in your grill. A messy outdoor kitchen may attract urban wildlife like possums, raccoons, and rodents.

Stainless steel and cast iron grills require special attention to avoid rusting. Use warm water, mild detergent, and a soft cloth to clean the grates after every use. Apply a light coating of vegetable oil to prevent rust buildup. Use a wire brush, sandpaper, or a commercial rust remover for larger rust spots.

Outdoor kitchen countertops are subject to frequent use, spills, and scratches. Clean them regularly with soap and water and dry them to avoid water spots. Use cutting boards to avoid direct cutting on the countertop, and wipe them down frequently.

Last, protection is key to keeping your outdoor kitchen in excellent condition. Invest in a cover to protect it from rain, snow, and UV rays, and store utensils and equipment in a dry, safe place. Empty and clean the grill after every use, and avoid using abrasive tools that could scratch the surfaces.

A properly cleaned and maintained outdoor kitchen looks great and ensures longevity, safety, and functionality. Following these expert tips, you can keep your outdoor kitchen pristine and ready to impress your guests 

Contact us today to learn more about starting your patio process.

3 Tips for Choosing the Best Patio Dinner and Drinkware

October 10, 2023 Outdoor Cooking, Outdoor Living, Patio Design

Fall is here, and what better way to enjoy the sunshine and warm weather than by hosting a dinner party on your patio? Outdoor dining has become increasingly popular over the years, and for good reason. Nothing beats the fresh air, the beautiful view, and the relaxed atmosphere of eating outside. One way to elevate your outdoor dining experience is by choosing the proper dinner and drinkware for your patio. Let’s discuss the various types of outdoor dinnerware and drinkware available and how to choose the best options for your patio.

Choosing Your Material

When choosing dinnerware for your patio, one of the first things to consider is the material. Porcelain, ceramic, and stoneware are significant options durable enough to withstand outdoor use. Avoid using glassware or delicate dishes that can easily break. Melamine is also suitable for outdoor dinnerware since it’s shatterproof and lightweight, and bamboo plates and utensils are also available if you’re looking for a more eco-friendly option.

Choosing Your Dinnerware

Another consideration is the dinnerware style, pulling inspiration from rustic, modern, coastal, and more. Remember that your choice of dinnerware should match the overall aesthetic of your patio. Pay attention to the colors and patterns to ensure your dinnerware complements the surrounding décor.

Choosing Your Drinkware

Regarding drinkware, plastic cups are a staple for outdoor use, but other options are available. Stainless steel tumblers and wine glasses are sleek, modern, and durable. Acrylic glasses are similar in appearance to glass but are shatterproof and lightweight. For a more classic look, consider using mason jars as drinking glasses. They are versatile and can be used for water, soda, or cocktails.

Don’t forget to consider outdoor-friendly serving trays and utensils as well. Melamine, bamboo, and stainless steel offer fantastic plates, bowls, and utensil options. Outdoor serving trays can be made from metal, bamboo, or even resin and still match the style of your patio dinnerware and drinkware.

Upgrading your outdoor dining experience doesn’t have to be complicated. Choosing the proper dinner and drinkware can elevate your patio’s style without sacrificing functionality. Keep durability, style, and material in mind when selecting your dinnerware and drinkware, and don’t be afraid to have fun with it. With the right items, your patio will be the perfect place to unwind, entertain guests, and enjoy delicious alfresco meals.

Ready to transform your patio? Call or contact us here, and we’ll be ready to help through every step of the way.

Holiday Recap: 20 Years of TCP Custom Outdoor Living Projects

December 11, 2023 Outdoor Cooking, Outdoor Living, Patio Design, Project of the Month

For two decades, TCP Custom Outdoor Living has been providing beautiful and functional outdoor living spaces, and we couldn’t have done it without the support of our fabulous customers. 

From humble beginnings to becoming an award-winning company, we’ve had the pleasure of working on some of the most incredible projects across the state. As we celebrate our 20th anniversary, we’re taking a moment to reflect on some of the highlights and express our sincere gratitude to all who have chosen us for their outdoor living needs.

It’s not just about the patios; it’s about the people. Over the years, we’ve had the pleasure of getting to know our customers so we could work together to bring their outdoor visions to life. We’ve had some of the most rewarding experiences with families who now have a backyard to host family reunions, birthday parties, or a quiet night under the stars. It’s been an honor to help create those moments for our customers.

As we celebrate 20 years of TCP, we want to extend a heartfelt thank you to all of our customers over the years. We are grateful for your trust in us and are always humbled by the positive impact our projects have on your lives. We’re excited to continue building beautiful outdoor living spaces for many years and hope to develop more unforgettable moments for our customers. 

A handful of the nearly 3,000 projects we’ve built since 2004. 

If you’re considering upgrading or building your patio, contact us today to help write the next 20 years of TCP Custom Outdoor Living. Contact us today!

Project of the Month: January 2024

January 16, 2024 Outdoor Cooking, Outdoor Living, Patio Design, Project of the Month

This residence featured a modest covered space at the rear, accompanied by a simple paver patio. Situated adjacent to a branch of the Buffalo Bayou, the homeowners were eager to transform this area into their dream backyard sanctuary.

Before

This home had a large backyard with plenty of space to create their dream outdoor space.

After

The client wanted to have a pool built and add an updated outdoor living space to go with it.

1,400 Sq Ft of new concrete was poured to accommodate the new covered space and the pool decking. For this request, we resized some of the 2nd-floor windows to build the new covered patio.

The new covered space is about 550 sq ft. and includes the larger area off the end and the smaller covered space along the home. This designed space has plenty of room for a sitting area, dining area, and outdoor kitchen.

The Ultimate Outdoor Kitchen and Dining Experience

Coming off the indoor kitchen and breakfast area, this new space is just a few steps out the back door.

The outdoor kitchen has RCS brand appliances – a grill, fridge, and storage. There is plenty of counter space for prep work and for serving up a great meal. The granite is Colonial Gold from Daltile.

It’s now the perfect setting for relaxation! The ceiling is West Coast IPA pre-stained tongue and groove by Woodtone. The flooring is Loire Beige 24X36 porcelain pavers from QDI and the stone used throughout the project is Chopped Blanco with color from Rock Materials.

Reach out for a free consultation, and let’s make it happen. Contact us today!

Project of the Month: November 2023

November 21, 2023 Outdoor Cooking, Outdoor Living, Patio Design, Project of the Month

Check out our latest Outdoor Living Area project, a practical and stylish addition to elevate your outdoor space.

Covering around 300 square feet, the new patio features a pre-stained pine tongue and groove ceiling, metal shingles matching the home, and efficient 6-inch seamless gutters with two downspouts for proper drainage.

Before

Structurally, three steel posts and a matching beam provide support, painted to blend in with the house’s hardi soffit and trim. We’ve added an accent wall with a tongue and groove-style facade and handled the removal of four existing posts, fixing up travertine areas for a smooth finish.

After

The outdoor kitchen is designed for functionality and aesthetics, offering a 16-foot linear kitchen with a stone veneer exterior, galvanized steel frame, hardi backer panel, and level 2 granite countertops spanning approximately 52 square feet.

On the electrical side, we’ve installed six 4-inch recessed cans with bronze trim, a dimmer switch for cans, a fan switch, and a sconce switch. Two outlet receptacles and two 110v dedicated circuits complete the setup.

This project seamlessly combines practicality with a touch of style, turning your outdoor area into a functional and appealing space. Interested in transforming your patio?

Reach out for a free consultation, and let’s make it happen. Contact us today!

Grilling Tips For Mastering Your Outdoor Kitchen

December 7, 2022 Outdoor Cooking

No outdoor appliance has more versatility than the grill. But with so many grills to choose from, you may be experienced in one type but have no experience with another. While we’ve previously covered each grill’s pros and cons, here are some tips and tricks to prepare you to cook in no time.

Charcoal Grills

  1. Avoid Lighter Fluid

While charcoal has great flavor, lighter fluid brings a much less desirable taste. If you’re looking for a different way to light your charcoal grill, electric or chimney starters are great ways to heat your coals before grilling. Or, if you’re in a pinch, traditional firestarters for kindling, like paper and cardboard, work well.

  1. Be Patient

It’s easy to throw food on the grill before the temperature is hot enough, but you’ll have a much easier time cooking when you let your grill surface get hot. Less experienced grillers may also flip their foods too early, preventing their food from cooking all the way through. Patience, patience, patience.

  1. Let Your Meat Rest

Although you’re hungry and ready to go, give your meat a few minutes before slicing. This allows the meat to absorb all the juices possible, giving you the perfect bite of steak paired with the perfect red wine.

Gas Grills

  1. Leave Some Room

Although saving time and throwing everything on the grill makes sense, it might lead to uneven cooking. When you give your meats a chance to breathe, you have a much better chance of evenly grilling your food all the way through.

  1. Here to Sear

For the perfect seared meat, get your grill as hot as possible. Put the meat on the grill, then wait a minute or two. Then flip, repeat, and turn the heat down as you allow the meat to continue cooking. This helps caramelize the outside of the meat for that great seared taste.

  1. Grill Indirectly

If your gas grill has multiple burners, use the heat by grilling smaller items like veggies on the side or allowing your seared meats to continue to roast. This allows you to multitask and finish whole meals in one fell swoop.

Flat-Top Grills

  1. Oil Your Surface

Like a painter with their tools, ensure you’re taking proper care of your grill, and the grill will treat you well in return. Oiling your flat-top grill with canola, avocado, or olive oil gives you a non-stick surface to work your magic.

  1. Add Some Pans

Use the flat surface and throw pots, pans, or skillets on the grill. This keeps you from going back and forth from the indoor stovetop to the outdoor grill.

  1. Trap Your Grease

You’ll start accumulating grease while you’re cooking, which is normal. Just make sure you’re cleaning while cooking, taking time to scrape the grease off the griddle with a scraper into a disposable drip pan. This saves you time and effort when your food’s good to go and you’re ready to eat.

Smokers

  1. Fuel Wisely

Regarding wood smokers, less wood can mean more when cooking. Putting too much wood in your smoker can cause too much smoke, turning your perfect steak into beef jerky. Even though a lot of smoke can make you look like you know what you’re doing, it can turn south quickly.

  1. Keep A Good Airflow

Most smokers have vents at the top for a reason. It’s best to allow your smoker to ventilate the entire time, if possible, for maximum taste and even cooking. 

  1. Low And Slow

This tried-and-true method has been treating grillmasters and hungry families well for decades. Cooking at around 225-250 degrees over a longer period gives the meats a better opportunity to retain and absorb their juices, making for the perfect, tender bite.

No matter which you’re using, you’ll be ready for your next gathering in no time.

Outdoor Kitchens Add More Than Just Value

November 22, 2022 Outdoor Cooking

Building an outdoor kitchen is the perfect option for anyone looking to take their backyard to the next level. Check out the great possibilities that only an outdoor kitchen can bring.

Home Value

An outdoor kitchen is a great way to increase your home’s overall value. With outdoor living spaces in high demand and great patio weather year-round, adding a kitchen can help your home drive a higher price in the future.

Great for Convenience and Entertaining

Nothing brings people together like good food. Having an outdoor kitchen gives you the perfect destination for parties and get-togethers, especially if you have your grill of choice by your side to feed everyone. A new favorite grill for many has been the flat-top, providing great options for large gatherings with their easy-to-clean surface.

If you’re already spending time on the patio, an outdoor kitchen can also help you save the time you’d spend going in and out of the house. Instead of going back inside to grab a drink, a backyard refrigerator lets you keep the essentials at arms reach. Not to mention, no more lugging pots and pans around because everything you need is already outside. Having an outdoor kitchen can also help keep your houses stay cool in the summer because you won’t heat up your indoor kitchen with the oven on.

Open Space

In situations where you’re cooking for a large number of people, a cramped indoor kitchen can make things even more difficult. With an open backyard, everyone has space to mingle while you have space to cook. Added appliances like an outdoor dishwasher can also reduce the clutter that would normally fill your indoor kitchen, and icemakers help cut down on time spent going to a store for ice to fill your outdoor cooler.

Healthy Options

Not only are you getting the mental and physical health benefits of being in the great outdoors, but grilling outside can also help your waistline. Fat dripping off meats allows for leaner, healthier meals with fresh ingredients and even lower calorie options than something you’d find at an outdoor restaurant.

If you’re looking for a new way to upgrade your outdoor living space, a kitchen is a perfect addition. Of the hundreds of outdoor kitchens TCP has installed, we’ve yet to hear anyone regret it, and we don’t think you will either.

Choosing the Best Grill for Your Patio

October 4, 2022 Outdoor Cooking

No matter what time of year, grilling season is always in full swing. There are plenty of grills that fit your outdoor style as well as fuel preferences.

Traditional Propane

The trusty gas grill has taken many forms over the years, but today’s propane-powered grill is more high-tech than ever. For example, many gas grills now use infrared heat to grill food more precisely, retain more juices, and save energy.

Plenty of food can be cooked on a propane grill, including meats, fruits, and vegetables. Another advantage of the gas grill is the ability to cook using direct or indirect heat, which allows even more control over what you’re grilling. 

Where these grills fall short (in the eyes of some) is the lack of a smoky taste that some expect when grilling. However, this could also be viewed as a pro because it lets the food retain its natural flavor. 

We recommend RCS or Fire Magic brand gas grills 

Charcoal Grill

Nothing says backyard barbecue like the tried and true charcoal grill. When many think of grilling or throwing barbecues, this is what first comes to mind. Charcoal grill designs vary dramatically, but this says more about the grill’s versatility than its quality.

The biggest advantage (or disadvantage, depending on your palette) is the smoky taste that comes from the charcoal. For anyone who enjoys the taste, it’s almost impossible to replicate it on any other type of grill. Charcoal grills can also be very portable in size, especially when you don’t have to carry around a propane tank.

Because of the easy, low-tech setup (charcoal, fire, food), charcoal grills can be found at a low price, sometimes going as low as $20. So if you’ve been out of the grilling game for a while and want to brush up your skills before going all-in, or you’ve never grilled before, a charcoal grill can be the perfect start.

Smoker

For an adventurous griller, the smoker might be the way to go. The smoky taste is similar to the charcoal grill, but because it’s cooked in indirect heat, it’s able to retain most of the meat’s juices. The fuel source varies depending on the user, but many use wood pellets or logs to maximize flavor. Some popular types of wood to use when smoking meat are oak, pecan or mesquite.

For the meat to keep its juices, it usually has to be cooked at a lower heat than standard grills, which unfortunately means it’ll be a longer wait. This just means you won’t be able to start smoking a chicken for your patio guests on a whim. But good things come to those who wait, and the taste can’t be found anywhere else.

Smokers vary in size and price, meaning you’re almost guaranteed to find one that fits your dream patio.

Griddle (Flat Top Grill)

If breakfast is truly the most important meal of the day, then the griddle might be the most important part of your patio. The large surface area allows plenty of foods to be evenly cooked at once, which can be great for large families or outdoor events. 

While most people immediately think of breakfast foods like pancakes, eggs, or hashbrowns, griddles are also great for meats and vegetables. Higher-end griddles sold by Blackstone are usually more expensive than the average propane or charcoal grill. Still, the convenience and easy-to-clean surface will pay for itself over time.

Whether it’s gas, charcoal, a smoker, or a griddle, there’s truly a grill for everyone. So when celebrating your first gathering on your new patio, make sure you’re ready to grill.

How to Make Your Outdoor Space Ready for Entertaining

August 17, 2022 Outdoor Cooking

So you like having people over but your backyard isn’t quite ready for outdoor entertaining. Not to worry, there are many ways you can make your outdoor space perfect for company.

Start with simple changes. Then, over time, bigger improvements can give you the entertaining space of your dreams.

A simple setup for outdoor entertaining

The first easy change you can make is to add patio furniture and decor to make your guests feel welcome. This could be as basic as a few chairs so everyone is comfortable or adding an outdoor dining set. Even loungers give family and friends a place to relax with a beverage and some good conversation. Add some potted plants for a bit of nature, and sprinkle in some pillows and throws to make the space more inviting.

Add some shade

Now that your guests have places to sit, it’s time to make them even more comfortable by adding shade. This way your outdoor space is usable all year and you don’t have to fear the summer heat. Retractable screens do a great job of blocking east and west light at different times of the day. (Note: we can only add retractable screens to patios we have custom-built).

For full shade, go with a patio cover to make sure everyone is cool and covered at all times. You could even add outdoor fans for extra comfort.

Lighten up the place

A little lighting can go a long way. It doesn’t just help your guests see at night, it can also set a relaxing mood. There are different kinds of lighting that can step up the look and usability of your patio.
Decorative lights– string lights, candles, torches, lanterns, and table lights are a quick, DIY way to bring in some brightness
Landscape lighting– sconces, well lights, solar lights, and permanent lighting around your yard, house, and fence make sure your outdoor space is always ready for company
Security lighting– make sure your guests are safe when they walk around with path and step lighting so they don’t trip on anything

Fire pit with Adirondack chairs around it

Gather around the fire for outdoor entertaining

Fireplaces and firepits are both fun for people to sit around and warm up on a chilly night.

Fire pits can become the epicenter of your outdoor gathering space and be used to make smores in the summer. They can be built in a specific spot or there are portable pits that you can move around the yard.

Another option is to build a permanent outdoor fireplace. This can be a traditional wood-burning fireplace or a gas powered option that turns on with a remote. Both will help make the patio usable year round and they are great focal points to ground your outdoor space.

Outdoor kitchen with grill and stainless steel mini-fridge

Bring the kitchen outside

Dinner parties are the cornerstone of great entertaining. Every get-together needs good food and drinks and there’s no better way to serve your guests than to prepare the meal right outside. Building an outdoor kitchen makes it even easier. You can serve the meal hot and fresh from a built-in gas or charcoal grill or even a pizza oven. Plus, everyone can help themselves to a cold drink or a glass of wine right from the fridge. No going in and out of the house and missing all the fun.

Make a big splash with a pool

The ultimate in outdoor entertaining is a swimming pool. It makes your house the number one destination in the summer, keeping guests cool and kids entertained.

If you don’t currently have a pool, we can discuss options for a water feature to your outdoor space. And if you already have one, we can build you a cabana or even a pool house to take your space to the next level.

When you’re ready for outdoor entertaining, give one of our outdoor living specialists a call at 281-265-1994 in Houston or 972-915-2727 in Dallas/Fort Worth.

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

Our Customers Love Us

We are absolutely in love with the patio Texas Custom Patios built. Everyone was very professional and we have a beautiful place to enjoy the outdoors. Thanks!

© 2024 TCP Custom Outdoor Living

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