The Different Types of Patio Doors

July 22, 2022 Patio Design

A great way to connect your indoor and outdoor spaces is to install patio doors. They give you instant access and can let in much needed light to make your home feel bigger. Here’s a look into different types and some tips on installation and timeline.

Patio with traditional door

French Doors

These are a set of two hinged doors that close into each other. They can both be opened to widen access to the outside or one can be locked to give you flexibility of airflow. They typically consist of many small window panels that can be designed in simple patterns or more ornate depending on the style you’re looking for.

Tip: French doors can be combined with windows on either side to let in more light.

Pool and patio with french doors

Sliding Doors

These minimalist doors are great for a more contemporary look. They help save space by reducing the room needed for doors to swing out, and they let it more light since they are not obstructed by panels.

Pool and room addition with folding doors

Folding Doors

Also known as accordion doors, these are the ultimate way to create a seamless transition from indoors to outdoors. They feature a sliding track that lets the door completely fold out of the way. While they are typically used in more modern or contemporary homes, they come in a variety of styles that can fit into any decor. 


  • Currently, 16-foot folding doors that collapse and open from the middle are a very popular option that many homeowners are installing
  • It can cost up to $30,000 for folding doors due to the price of the doors themselves and the complexity of installation.

Door Materials

Once you decide the style of door you want, you can then determine the materials used. 

  • Wood: typically used on french doors, they are the least expensive and most customizable option
  • Vinyl: they are energy efficient and have a low upkeep
  • Fiberglass: similar to vinyl, they are inexpensive yet solid and lightweight
  • Aluminum: they are durable against the elements and resist mold and mildew
  • Steel: the strongest option, they resist rotting, warping, and shrinking and offer great security 


  • You can combine materials by using decorative wood on the inside and a sturdier material on the outside
  • If your outdoor area is covered, you may not need more expensive doors since they are already protected from the elements
Outdoor eating area with big patio french doors

Door Installation

Once you’ve decided on your style and material, it’s time to install. Custom doors can take 5 months or more for delivery. Due to the complexity of installation, you should only use professional door installers to ensure proper structural support, energy efficiency, and protection from the elements. 

If you’re looking to give your outdoor space a new life, give one of our outdoor specialists a call at 281-265-1994 in Houston or 972-915-2727 in Dallas/Fort Worth. We can do it all, including custom patios and outdoor living spaces with premium patio doors installed by experienced experts.

Environmentally Friendly Outdoor Furniture

July 7, 2022 Outdoor Living

A big step in planning your outdoor patio is picking out furniture pieces to fill the space once it’s complete. It’s always great to consider sustainability, and there are more and more options that will look good, last, and have less impact on the environment. Here’s what to look for when picking environmentally friendly outdoor furniture.

Start with the manufacturing process

Look for companies that use sustainable materials and low-impact processes when constructing their furniture. Many eco-friendly brand websites will give you an inside look into their production process to give you as much information as possible so you can make an informed decision. 

For wood furniture, make sure they are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). For plastic furniture, check what percentage is actually made from recycled plastics. And check their factory’s carbon footprint to make sure they are offsetting their usage with adequate recycling and reduced waste.

Patio with wood outdoor furniture around fireplace

Go with timeless, versatile outdoor furniture

The longer you use your furniture, the better. If you choose trendy pieces that go out of style in 10 years, you may have to replace them. Instead, go with timeless pieces that will last. And think about smaller, more versatile tables and chairs that can be reconfigured over time to switch up the layout without having to buy new pieces.

Spend a little more on environmentally friendly outdoor furniture

Another way to make sure your furniture is around for a long time is to buy pieces that are made to last. High quality products carry a higher price tag, but it’s better to spend the money upfront than to have the furniture fall to pieces in a few years. You’ll end up replacing them and sending the old pieces to a landfill. Check the company’s warranties. If they guarantee their products will last 20 years, that’s a good indicator. 

Patio with wicker outdoor furniture

Take good care of them

Proper maintenance will make sure your furniture lasts a long time. Follow the care instructions including covering furniture in the winter, putting pillows away, properly washing cushions, re-sealing wood, and anything else the manufacturer suggests.

When you’re ready for your new patio to put your environmentally friendly outdoor furniture, give one of our outdoor specialists a call at 281-265-1994 in Houston or 972-915-2727 in Dallas/Fort Worth.

Outdoor Water Features: The Different Types

July 1, 2022 Patio Design

Whether you want to add a touch of elegance, a bit of nature, or if you just love the soothing sounds of water, outdoor water features can be a perfect touch for your space. Here’s a look at the different types and what it takes to install them.

Natural Pond

For an organic look, these features can be built to flow with your existing landscape and can be a home for plants and wildlife. They are normally excavated from the ground and given a liner and a pump to keep the water clean.


  • The shape and look is completely customizable
  • They can appear as if they were naturally occurring


  • They require some level of excavation, which may need specialty equipment
  • Liners can rip or get punctured
  • Pumps can sometimes fail, requiring maintenance


These elegant features provide the sound of trickling water and can become a focal point for your outdoor space. They are normally built where the water slowly flows down and is pumped back up from the reservoir.


  • They are very customizable as they can be made from a variety of materials to match your space
  • They can be built on an existing wall or as a new freestanding feature
  • Lighting can be added to create whatever mood you wish


  • They require a filter that needs to be changed
  • They periodically break down and maintenance can be costly

Scuppers and Sconces

If you’re installing a pool, these features add visual interest and are a great way to cool off. 

A sconce is a small decorative piece that provides a small trickle of water. Multiples are often used together to create a bigger effect.

A scupper is a feature that brings water from one section of a pool to another. For example, it can bring water from the spa into the main pool area.


  • They add an elegant look and sound
  • There are many design options, including lighting to accentuate the feature


  • Scuppers can be expensive
  • They make pool construction a little more complicated and add time


Whether you want big and bold or a slow, soothing trickle, a fountain delivers the sights and sounds of flowing water. These features can be a part of pools or ponds, or can be added as their own freestanding element. Similar to waterfalls, they use a pump that feeds water from a reservoir back to the top of the feature. How high they spray or flow over is up to you.


  • They can fit any design style from natural to more high end
  • There are many pump sizes to fit whatever scale you need
  • They can accompany other water features such as bubblers and sconces


  • Filter changing and cleaning makes them difficult to maintain
  • Maintenance can become expensive

Give one of our outdoor-living specialists a call at 281-265-1994 in Houston or 972-915-2727 in Dallas/Fort Worth and we can help help you plan your perfect backyard space.

Retractable Porch Screens: The Pros and Cons

June 24, 2022 Patio Design

Retractable porch screens have long been considered a functional addition to any patio design. However, many people don’t like the idea of a permanent enclosure that blocks their view. After all, part of the enjoyment of an outdoor living space is the natural ambiance.

Retractable screens offer a more flexible and cost-effective alternative to permanent screens or walls. They allow you to appreciate the outdoor elements you enjoy and block out the ones that aren’t as pleasant.

You should be aware of a few things when deciding whether to install retractable screens. They offer several benefits, but there are a couple of drawbacks. 

Let’s start with the beneficial aspects.

Patio with retractable screens and fireplace

Pro: Year-round Indoor Outdoor Living

One of the most attractive reasons for installing a retractable porch screen is to be able to enjoy your patio year-round. If you live in an extremely hot climate, you can block the sun and keep the cooler air circulating. In cold temperatures, you can keep warm air circulating—whether it’s from a fireplace or from inside.

Patio with retractable screens down around dining area

Pro: Protection from Bugs

Keep your invited guests safe from uninvited guests such as mosquitoes or other flying insects. Imagine dining outdoors without any surprises landing in your wine glass! 

Pro and Con: Cost

Retractable porch screens can be pricey for some budgets. But they are still less expensive than most permanent screens and walls. 

In addition, retractable screens add value to your home, so they can be worth the investment.

Overall, retractable porch screens are extremely convenient, however there are some cons. 

Con: Maintenance

Retractable screens have moving parts that require maintenance. If any of these components are damaged, several adjustments might need to be made during a repair.  

Other climate factors may also play a role in how well screen parts hold up. For example, humid conditions may cause the moving parts to rust more quickly.

Con: Pet Damage

Screens may take some getting used to for your furry friends. Pets can cause damage by trying to squeeze underneath or clawing at the screen.

Final Thoughts

Retractable porch screens can be a wise investment with proper planning and maintenance. They provide protection from less than favorable outdoor conditions with the convenience of being hidden when not in use.

If you need help creating a design that incorporates a retractable screen into your outdoor living space, give one of our outdoor-living specialists a call at 281-265-1994 in Houston or 972-915-2727 in Dallas/Fort Worth. 

Check out our STAR Award-nominated spaces!

Our 2022 Star Award-Nominated Properties

June 8, 2022 Awards

Introducing our 2022 Star Award-Nominated Properties

Since 1992, the Texas Association of Builders has recognized the talented builders, remodelers, architects, and designers within the Lonestar State. In 2022, the association received an astounding 600 entries. We were pleased to have 3 of our projects are Star Award-Nominated in the room addition and outdoor living room categories!

Award-Nominated: A Modern Room Addition With a Poolside View

Built to match the style of a classic mid-century modern home in the Houston area, this outdoor oasis of a pool house included space for working, entertaining, and, of course, relaxing by the fire.

Star Award-Nominated: Outdoor Living Done French-Country Style

The cascading steps, elegant arches, vaulted ceilings, and cream limestone walls are distinctly European yet somehow fit perfectly with the rustic Texas home.

Award-Nominated: An L-Shaped Dream Within a Backyard

We added over 550SF of covered space surrounding the pool area to create a contemporary outdoor retreat with privacy from neighbors and custom finishes reminiscent of a boutique hotel.

About TCP Custom Outdoor Living

TCP Custom Outdoor Living is a family-owned and operated business located in Houston, Texas and Irving, Texas, but our service area covers most of the greater Houston area and parts of the Dallas – Fort Worth area. We have completed more than 2,000 outdoor living projects since we opened our doors in 2004. Find out more about us the TCP Difference.

What Type of Furniture is Best for Your Patio?

June 3, 2022 Outdoor Living, Outdoor Style Show

The right patio furniture adds to the overall design of your patio and invites you and your guests to live in the space.

With so many options available, it can be challenging to find pieces that work best for your lifestyle and design.

Here’s a quick guide to some of the most popular patio furniture options.

Patio with fire pit and wicker chairs

Wicker Patio Furniture

Outdoor wicker furniture is typically made of a synthetic resin woven into a wicker pattern. It’s a popular choice because it’s durable, easy to clean, and lightweight enough to be moved easily.

Look for wicker furniture made of a synthetic resin with of High-Density Polyethelene (HDPE). Less expensive wicker furniture is often made from PVC. However, PVC is not as durable and may crack and peel more quickly.

Patio cover with lamp and wrought iron chairs with cushions

Wrought Iron Patio Furniture

Looking for something a little more substantial? Wrought iron is one of the most durable types of furniture. You can find handcrafted pieces that last a lifetime.

White patio with wood couch, chairs and table


When it comes to wood outdoor furniture, we usually recommend teak. Many people are attracted to its durability and natural look. Due to its natural oils, it can withstand some of the most extreme weather conditions.

Teak tends to take on a grayish patina over time, so it’s recommended to have it refinished at least every two years.

Aluminum Patio Furniture

Aluminum is the most common type of outdoor furniture due its budget-friendliness. Despite a lower cost, aluminum furniture is lightweight and hold up well.

Modern patio with couch and fireplace

Cushions and Pillows

Water-resistant cushions normally come with your outdoor furniture. But you can always refresh the look of your outdoor space with new cushions and pillows.

Look for cushions and pillows that are made of weather-resistant materials that can withstand moisture and long periods of sunlight. 

We can help design the right patio. Get a free quote today at

What Kind of Fan is Right for Your Outdoor Space?

May 27, 2022 Patio Design

A ceiling fan is one of the simplest upgrades you can make to your covered patio. The right outdoor ceiling fan adds a decorative and functional touch to your design. 

Choosing a ceiling fan for your outdoor space is similar to selecting a fan indoors. However, there are a few things to consider to ensure the longevity of your ceiling fan.


Outdoor fans have damp or wet ratings. This rating indicates the amount of moisture a fixture is built to withstand. 

Damp-rated fans can withstand moderate amounts of moisture. However, you should avoid installing these in areas that may be directly exposed to rain. Therefore, damp-rated fans work better under covered patio spaces.

Wet-rated fans have a more waterproof design. As a result, they can withstand more moisture and are better suited for exposed areas such as pergolas.

Outdoor fan with pool

Other Environmental Factors

High winds and salty humidity may impact ceiling fan performance. If you’re in an area with special weather conditions (hello, Houston), look for a fan specifically designed to withstand the elements.

Determining the Size

The best way to determine the best size for your ceiling fan is to use the square footage of the space. For larger areas that may require two fans, use the square footage of each section to determine the most suitable size for each fan.

Spaces up to 75 square feet = 29-36 inch

Spaces 76-144 square feet = 36-42 inch

Spaces 144-225 square feet = 44 inch

Spaces 225-400 square feet = 50-54 inch

Outdoor living room with ceiling fan

DC vs. AC

DC fans are becoming increasingly popular due to their energy efficiency and quiet, less bulky motors. However, these fans tend to be more costly and usually require remote control operation.

On the other hand, AC fans usually cost less and can be controlled via a wall panel and remote. Some also come with chain switches, making operation more reliable.

Pool house with fan


Now for the fun part: choosing a fan that complements your outdoor living style

Whether you’re looking for an iconic mid-century modern design, something more traditional, or anything in between, there are styles available to fit any space.

One simple approach is to use the same ceiling fans you’re using indoors. If you plan to do this, make sure that your indoor ceiling fan is damp- or wet-rated.

Need help designing your outdoor living space? Give one of our outdoor-living specialists a call at 281-265-1994 in Houston or 972-915-2727 in Dallas/Fort Worth.

Patios for a Ranch-Style Home

April 22, 2022 Patio Design

Most people choose a ranch-style home for it’s accessibility and focus on indoor/outdoor living. Adding a patio or redesigning the current patio on your ranch-style home can extend your living space and complement the current elements of your home style.

Ranch-style homes are known for single-story, open floor plans. Other common design aspects such as large windows and glass doors help incorporate natural elements into these spaces. Choosing the right patio design can assist with the seamless transition from indoor to outdoor living.

Here are some design features that can transform your patio into an extension of your current living space.

Ranch style patio cover

A well designed cover

A well designed patio cover should look original to your home. Choosing the right contractor can ensure that the job is professionally done and seamless. 

You can also add interest underneath on the ceiling by using a material, color or pattern that complements your outdoor style.

A kitchen/dining area

Enjoying a meal outside is part of the communal outdoor experience. A strategically placed kitchen or grill allows the host to engage and be a part of the action while preparing meals. 

Fireplace and seating area

Living space with a focal point

An outdoor living space with a focal point gives guests a gathering point for conversation. Elements such as a fireplace with a mounted tv or a fire pit help keep people entertained and engaged. 

Ranch style tile flooring

Upgraded flooring

Some people opt for a standard brushed concrete. But other outdoor flooring options such as pavers can add a touch of elegance to your patio design. 

Upgraded flooring not in your budget? An outdoor rug can make your space feel more like home.

Choosing the right element for a ranch-style home patio provides an outdoor/indoor flow that’s ideal for entertaining and engaging with guests.

Need help designing a patio for your ranch-style home? Give one of our outdoor-living specialists a call at 281-265-1994 in Houston or 972-915-2727 in Dallas/Fort Worth.

How to give your patio a makeover

April 5, 2022 Outdoor Living, Patio Design

Feeling limited by your outdoor space? Even a small patio can have grand appeal with a few simple updates. 

Transform your outdoor design with these small patio makeover ideas that work for any budget.

Comfy seating and couches and statement rug

Add a Statement Rug

If you’re feeling a little shy about daring design choices, try an outdoor rug to make a statement. Bold colors or patterns add an eye-catching anchor to classic patio furniture pieces. 


Bring on the Comfy Seating

Another simple way to add visual interest is with comfy seating. Arrange benches, chairs, or even swinging chairs in a way that makes it easy for guests to engage.

Increase the lounge factor with plush cushions and pillows. Layer different sizes, colors, or patterns for eye-catching, functional appeal. 

Outdoor fireplace and covered patio

Warm it Up

Maximize time spent on your patio with a fire feature. An outdoor fireplace or fire pit adds functional touch and ambiance on cooler nights.

Incorporate a Water Feature

A fountain is another way to add to the outdoor ambiance. Imagine enjoying your favorite book with the calming sound of water.  

Add Some Greenery

Brighten up your backyard with plants or flowers. Choose large plants for a more decorative look. Or try a vertical container with herbs for more practical gardening.

Not only will plants and flowers give your space a vibrant new look, but they can also be a functional touch. For example, some plants like lavender and lemongrass repel bugs and mosquitos.

Use What You Already Have

Save money on your patio update by reimagining the items you already have. For example, repaint an old table for a fresh look, or turn a bookshelf into a bar cart.  

Even small accessories like vases can have a new life in your outdoor living space.

Need help with your patio makeover? Give one of our outdoor-living specialists a call at 281-265-1994 in Houston or 972-915-2727 in Dallas/Fort Worth.

Outdoor Fireplace vs. Outdoor Fire Pit

March 28, 2022 Outdoor Living, Outdoor Safety, Patio Design

An outdoor fireplace or fire pit is an eye-catching, functional addition to your outdoor design. A fire feature adds warmth and ambiance and can act as a point of engagement for guests.

While fireplace and fire pit structures add similar appeal, they have some key differences. These distinctions play apart in deciding which one is right for your outdoor living space.

Ask yourself these questions to determine whether an outdoor fireplace or a fire pit is right for you.

Pool House Fireplace

How much space do you have?

A fireplace is probably the better option if limited space is a concern. They are usually smaller and can be built on the edge of a patio to take up minimal space. 

A fire pit may require about 150 to 200 sq. ft. So if space is limited, a fire pit may not be ideal.

Outdoor Fire Pit

How do you plan to use your fire feature?

Desired experience is a key factor. Do you envision a group of guests sitting around the fire chatting? Or is warmth and ambiance the goal?

Fire pits are usually round, square or rectangular, making them ideal to sit around. They can act as a casual gathering and interaction point.

On the other hand, a fireplace offers space for a couple of people to sit in front. You may find that a fireplace creates a more elegant atmosphere or a focal point in your outdoor design.    

Do you live in a windy area?

Climate is another factor to consider. Do you live in a windy area?

Fire pits tend to produce a lot of smoke. Due to the unpredictability of winds, you can run into the issue of smoke blown in an undesirable direction. 

Whereas, fireplaces are built with a chimney to carry smoke away from the house. You can also use your fireplace on rainy days if your patio is covered.

Brick Fireplace

Are you looking for wood burning or gas?

With both fire pits and fireplaces, you have the option of wood burning or gas. 

With wood burning, you get that nice warmth, crackle and smokiness—almost like you’re sitting beside a campfire. However, there’s a bit more effort required in building and lighting the fire, and there are limitations on the style. Wood-burning options must be built using masonry with certain fire codes met for chimney height and distance from structure.

Gas, on the other hand, starts instantly, and there’s virtually no clean-up. There’s also more versatility when it comes to styling as you can add decorative fyre glass or lava rock. 

Cost of Installation

Going with a wood burning option can be good for your budget. Gas requires running a gas line, which can increase the cost.

Whether you go with wood or gas, an outdoor fire pit installation generally comes with a lower price tag. However, outdoor fireplaces generally increase your home resale value. 

In addition to the financial costs, a fire pit may require more cleanup and maintenance depending on the type and how it’s installed.  

With careful consideration, the right fire feature can add practicality and style to your outdoor living space. 

Our experts are here to help you make the decision easier. 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 very happy we chose Texas Custom Patios to build our dream patio/outdoor kitchen. Our project manager, Ryan, really listened to what we wanted and grasped our vision immediately. He was actively involved in the process from start to finish. Every question or concern was addressed immediately. We were part of every decision along the way, and were pleased with the flexibility of the process. Ryan had a positive “can do” attitude that was much appreciated through out. The various work crews were professional and always left the work site as clean as possible at the end of the day. The final product is absolutely breathtaking!

© 2022 TCP Custom Outdoor Living