The One Thing No One Wants To Do

January 21, 2016 Outdoor Safety

So now you have this gorgeous patio, outdoor kitchen and beautiful living space, right?  At the end of the day you go inside and carry on with your life … so who’s cleaning your outdoor living space?  Not you!  We hear that it’s “out of sight, out of mind,” so the cleaning of your patio is put on the back burner of your new grill.  Cleaning and maintaining your patio is important though!

Our friends over at Sweet Tea Patio Co. have a special offer for Texas Custom Patio customers.  Just say you saw this blog and receive 20% off grill cleaning!

Texas Custom Patios Cleaning

Benefits of Keeping Your Grill Clean

Keeping rodents away which are looking for a food source during the winter

Less smoke, less flare ups, more even cooking

Extending the life of your grill and parts

Getting it ready for spring cookouts

Patio Maid Services

Sweet Tea Patio Co. is a full-service outdoor cleaning company.  Just as a maid would detail your home, they offer the same level of detailing for your outdoor living area. Upscale patio cleaning, removing pests and pollen, cleaning your windows, power washing your deck and siding, scrubbing patio furniture, polishing granite and stainless steel appliances, and all the other dirty work. Truly a unique service catering to patio lovers!

Here are some great before/after pictures of their work …

Cleaning your patio cleaning your patio power washing your patio detailing your patio

More About Sweet Tea Patio Co.

This  cleaning company was developed from a need. A need that presented itself from their own love of outdoor living spaces. They took great care in the design and development of their patio and the results were amazing. They found more and more that their family and friends loved it too, everyone wanted to use their outdoor living area for birthdays, holidays, and to watch sporting events.

It never failed every couple of weeks we were dealing with new spider webs, pollen everywhere, leaves and dust, we had it all. Most of the time doing a deep clean it took equipment and time we usually never had. As we searched there was no one company that specialized in or did “top to bottom” patio cleaning or were capable of handling the daunting task of cleaning the outside in a way that held to our standards.  So Sweet Tea Patio Co was created… a service that caters to people just like us — patio people.

Sweet Tea Patio first got their hands dirty in 2015. They are a new business, but are rockin’ & rollin’ (errr … cleanin’ & sweepin’ we shall say). We hope you will give them a shot!

Here are the areas they service:

River Oaks
Richmond
West University
Sugar Land
Katy/ Cinco Ranch
South West Houston

Enjoy your clean patio without all the hassle!

 

 

Before You Roast Those Marshmallows

November 13, 2015 Outdoor Safety
Before you stack the s’mores and fire up that outdoor fire feature of yours … let’s make sure it’s a safe and clean one!  Houzz recently wrote up a great blog about keeping your indoor fireplace tended to in a tidy fashion.  That’s a hot topic as the climate cools in Texas, which got us to thinking … your outdoor fireplace or fire feature is just as important to keep clean and safe!

Cleaning

A clean fireplace is a safe fireplace. Not only does a clean fireplace look best, it also functions best. It’s tempting just to leave ashes and leftover wood in the fireplace between fires but it’s best to remove the chunks and sweep the ashes once the fire is completely extinguished and cooled. Having a set of tools specifically used for fireplaces will speed this process along. Now this may sound crazy, and you would be surprised at just how many people do this, but should NOT!  Never use a vacuum cleaner, even a shop vac, to clean ashes as embers can stay hot for days and can reignite inside your vacuum.

Burn

While most people can start a fire it is essential for the health of your fireplace to build the right kind of fire. Hardwoods are best for burning in your fireplace. They burn hotter, longer and cleaner. Learn to build efficient, clean burning fires. A fire that is inefficient is very smokey and makes the firebox and chimney dirty with flammable materials like soot and creosote.

Monitor

Between professional inspections it is important for you to regularly monitor the condition of your outdoor fireplace. Soot and creosote can build up inside the firebox and chimney and can make the fireplace very unsafe. If you don’t know how to recognize these build ups ask you chimney sweep to show you what to look for. If you notice a build up of soot and creosote in your fireplace have it cleaned before you build a fire in it again.
We love our outdoor fireplaces and we know you do too. Make sure you maintain your fireplace in between uses to ensure a safe, cozy experience!

Texas Custom Patios Hot Chocolate

Enjoy

It’s time to light a fire, pour the hot chocolate and roast those marshmallows!  We put together a fun board for you to peruse, pin and pine over (after all, the nostalgia of hot chocolate is just so sweet)!  Enjoy everything from Roasted Marshmallow Coffee Cocktail Shakes to creative hot chocolate mix-ins!  We created an entire board on Pinterest named Hot Cocoa Bar, s0 cheers and enjoy the view!  

 

 

 

 

Maintaining Your Outdoor Fireplace During Summer Months

February 16, 2015 Outdoor Living, Outdoor Safety
An outdoor fireplace is a great addition to any outdoor living space. It adSONY DSCds warmth, ambiance and can be a great place to hang a TV in your outdoor space. While a fireplace is nice and cozy it does require regular maintenance to function correctly and burn safely during cooler months. Here are some steps you can take to make sure your outdoor fireplace is ready to perform in the cool weather for many years.

Inspection

Your outdoor fireplace should be inspected at least annually by a professional chimney sweep to  ensure it is clean and safe for you and your family. A regular inspection will alert you to potential problems before they become serious. Your chimney sweep will let you know when you are in need of professional cleaning.

IMG_0484Cleaning

A clean fireplace is a safe fireplace. Not only does a clean fireplace look best, it also functions best. It’s tempting just to leave ashes and leftover wood in the fireplace between fires but it’s best to remove the chunks and sweep the ashes once the fire is completely extinguished and cooled. Having a set of tools specifically used for fireplaces will speed this process along. Never use a vacuum cleaner, even a shop vac, to clean ashes as embers can stay hot for days and can reignite inside your vacuum.

Burn

While most people can start a fire it is essential for the health of your fireplace to build the right kind of fire. Hardwoods are best for burning in your fireplace. They burn hotter, longer and cleaner. Learn to build efficient, clean burning fires. A fire that is inefficient is very smokey and makes the firebox and chimney dirty with flammable materials like soot and creosote.

Monitor

Between professional inspections it is important for you to regularly monitor the condition of your outdoor fireplace. Soot and creosote can build up inside the firebox and chimney and can make the fireplace very unsafe. If you don’t know how to recognize these build ups ask you chimney sweep to show you what to look for. If you notice a build up of soot and creosote in your fireplace have it cleaned before you build a fire in it again.
We love our outdoor fireplaces and we know you do too. Make sure you maintain your fireplace during the summer to ensure a safe, cozy experience come fall!

Play it Safe: Keeping Outdoor Spaces Safe for Children

October 12, 2012 Outdoor Safety

For generations, there has been an energy surrounding swing sets, slides, see-saws and merry-go-rounds that attracts both the young and the young-at-heart. These things may not be considered traditional outdoor furniture, but these are the fixtures that your kids will enjoy the most.

So if you are thinking of revamping your outdoor space to install a play area for your children, here are some of the things you should consider:

1. Check the play area – The space where you will install or build your children’s play set will have to be canvassed and scanned thoroughly. This area should be clear of any hazardous items, loose rocks, nails, and other accident-prone debris. It also has to be a spot where you can see them from inside the house so you can keep a watchful eye when they are up and about.

A play area in the grass of this backyard would offer entertainment for the kids while the grown-ups lounge in the outdoor living area.

2. Choose kid-friendly materials – Kids can be very experimental with their surroundings, especially during the toddler stage. They will put anything in their mouths, and this can cause serious health issues. Never use or purchase materials that have lead in it. Check the labels just to be sure.

When purchasing play sets, check for any loose screws or bolts that easily come off. These are potential choking hazard for small children. Worse, kids can get cuts and bruises as a result of poorly-constructed sets.

3.  Double check the quality of the play set – Play sets are constructed with children’s safety in mind. However, being a parent, it is also your responsibility to set your own safety standards.

Check and re-check the whole set to see if there are any sharp edges. If there are, make sure that they can be covered with rubber to make it safer for children to use. Installing a rubber mat at the bottom of the slide will also help your child have a smooth and softer landing spot.

4.  Install safety railings – If the set you are purchasing includes a slide, your children will have to climb up to reach it. This is an accident waiting to happen, especially if you have small children running around and pushing each other to get to the top. Install safety railings to keep them from falling down.

5.  Schedule regular maintenance – Conduct weekly checks if the set needs repairs. Any loose part should be immediately repaired and attached. Dangling ropes should also be carefully attached.

Play areas help keep the kids entertained while you relax on the patio or bbq in your outdoor kitchen.  As long as these play areas are safe, they’ll make the backyard a fun place for the whole family.

Ashleigh Lynn is a writer for Open Brook, an excellent source of information and reviews about patio, garden and outdoor furniture .

Backyard and Patio Security Tips

August 7, 2012 Outdoor Safety

Garden theft is on the rise. It makes perfect sense, too. To scope a house, a thief might believe is empty, he can simply ring the doorbell. If no one answers, the burglar will then enter the backyard and search for open doors and unlocked windows. The goods are right there; ready to be taken without ever having to enter the home.

There’s no reason why you should make a thief’s job easy. Patio furniture, grills, exotic plants, even garden art and lawnmowers get snagged or vandalized.  Here are a few simple tips to help you secure your belongings in the back yard and keep thieves from invading your home through a back door.

  •  Document your inventory. It involves some time and effort, but taking pictures of items or videotaping your property can help you with insurance claims. List your furniture, grills, smokers, gardening tools and anything else you deem important and valuable. Make sure to create an itemized list to go with your visual proof.
  • Make your mark. Place your name, address, zip code or other unique symbol on your belongings. Place them in discrete locations, so they won’t be noticed or removed. This will help you identify and claim them, should they be stolen. It’s wise, especially if you are using a symbol, to record where you place these identifying marks in the inventory descriptions.
  • Nail it down. Everything from patio furniture to BBQ grills, even heavy fixtures, can be bolted down, bound with cables or cemented in place.
  • Make ‘em run. Another option for securing items is installing alarms that create an excessive amount of noise. Cable alarms can be used for most items in your yard, including riding mowers, tables and chairs, even coolers. The costs are low and the effects are impressive.
  • Make friends and get them involved. Neighbors are one of the best deterrents you can have. Sadly, many homeowners don’t get to know one another as they should. Simply by being aware of one another and keeping an eye out for suspicious activities, most thefts can be deterred.
  • Fence it off. A good, strong, six-foot fence will not only keep out most burglars, it can keep animals out of your garden. If you have a fence, check for holes and damage that may need to be repaired or replaced. Do NOT rely on simple lift latches on your gate; these will not deter a thief. Install latches and use padlocks to secure gates.
  • Light it up. If thieves hate to be noticed, one of the best deterrents is to shine a spotlight on them. The best way to do that is installing motion sensors in the backyard. Place them over or near entrances around the house. These devices are cost effective and not only provide safety; they provide extra light on those late nights when you come home.
  • Lock it up. When you leave your home, make sure you lock the windows and doors. It may sound silly, but homeowners often forget or simply don’t mind leaving a backdoor open. Chances are a theft will happen during the day while you’re at work. Thieves, by nature, will simply find the path of least resistance, walk in, take your valuables and leave. Don’t give them that opportunity and check the house before leaving. Make sure your shed is also locked and secured with padlocks.
  • Grow your confidence. Landscaping is a two-edged sword. Trees planted to keep a thief out can also hide him while he takes advantage of your absence. Weigh and consider the pros and cons of using plants as part of your defense. If you do decide to use live barriers, consider beautiful plants that can hinder. Rose bushes, berry bushes, Firethorn and Hawthorne are great examples to use around the windows of your home. Place them under the easiest access areas. A lawn forgotten is also a sure sign that you don’t care about your home and may have left a way in. Mow your lawn and keep your yard clean.
  • A man’s best friend. Don’t forget that a good line of defense can also be a good friend. Dogs are a wonderful addition to the family and an effective deterrent to potential theft. Don’t want an actual dog? Post signs about the invisible beast living in the house.
  • Keep an eye on it all. The last option, albeit it can be an expensive one, is a security camera system. You should know that a truly effective system is both costly to buy and to maintain over time. Another option, combined with the tips mentioned above, is to install fake ones. Give the dirt bags the illusion that you have your house all under control. The simple presence of a camera can encourage a thief to pick an easier target.

There you have it: A list of simple, yet effective ways to deter a thief and secure your backyard and home. If you have any suggestions I may have missed, please leave a comment and share your suggestions.

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