Embrace the Cold and Enjoy Your Patio this Winter

December 16, 2022 Outdoor Living

Winter is often seen as the season to huddle indoors, but why not take advantage of your patio and enjoy the crisp, cool air? Here are some of the best ways to make the most of your patio during the winter months.

Invest in a Fireplace or Fire Pit

Nothing beats the warm feeling of a crackling fire on a chilly winter night. Whether you opt for a built-in fireplace or a portable fire pit, you’ll be able to extend the use of your patio well into the winter months.

Add Cozy Outdoor Furniture

Don’t let a little chill in the air keep you from enjoying your patio. Invest in weather-resistant furniture that will keep you comfortable, like plush outdoor pillows and blankets or a swing or hammock.

Create a Comfortable Outdoor Space

Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your patio. Add heaters, outdoor rugs, and curtains or shades to create a cozy outdoor living space. Check out some of our favorite heaters here.

Host An Outdoor Winter Party

Invite friends and family over for a winter-themed outdoor party. Serve hot cocoa, make s’mores over the fire pit, and enjoy games and activities in the great outdoors.

Take Advantage of Natural Light

Even on the darkest days of winter, the sun can provide some much-needed warmth and light on your patio. Add plants or a small garden to bring a touch of life and color to your outdoor space.

Get Creative With Lighting

String lights, lanterns, and candles can add a warm and inviting glow to your patio during the winter months. Consider installing permanent lighting fixtures for added convenience and ambiance.

With a little creativity and some cozy additions, your patio can be the perfect winter retreat. Embrace the cold and enjoy the beauty of the season from your outdoor living space.

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 types of grills to choose from, it’s possible that you’re 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 that’ll get you ready to cook in no time.

Charcoal Grills

  1. Avoid Lighter Fluid

While charcoal brings its own great flavor, lighter fluid brings a much less desirable taste. If you’re looking for a different way to light your charcoal grill, electric charcoal or chimney starters are great ways to heat up 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 it makes sense to save time and throw everything on the grill, 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, take advantage of the heat by grilling smaller items like veggies on the side, or allow 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

Take advantage of the flat surface and throw some pots, pans, or skillets on the grill. This keeps you from having to go back and forth from the indoor stovetop to the outdoor grill.

  1. Trap Your Grease

You’re going to start accumulating grease while you’re cooking, which is totally 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

When it comes to 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 really quickly.

  1. Keep A Good Airflow

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

  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 of time 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.

Everything You Need to Know About Building Your New Patio

December 5, 2022 Outdoor Living

There’s no better time to upgrade your patio than the new year. Whether you’re looking for a simple redesign or want to add to your current space, there are plenty of factors to consider. Here are a few tips on how to get started.

Beginning the Process

There are plenty of things to consider before starting the design process. Whether you’re wanting to know prices or the patio process timeline, we have you covered.

“What should I do before calling TCP?”

With factors like usage, family size, and weather all playing a factor in designing your patio, find out what to do before you give us a call.

Read More

“How much should I expect to spend on my patio?”

It’s important to know your budget before beginning your process. Find out what factors make the difference between a $30,000 and $300,000 patio.

Read More

“How long will my patio construction take?”

If you’re looking to have your patio completed in a certain time frame, it’s good to know how long the process is. Find out when you can expect your completed outdoor living space.

Read More

Patio Design Tips

There are plenty of things that go into designing a patio. We’re more than happy to help you along the way, but if you want to start thinking about the design process, here are some great places to start.

“What style of outdoor lighting should I go with?

From spotlights to chandeliers and everything in between, there’s an outdoor lighting fixture to match your patio. Check out some of our favorite options.

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“Should my patio have a retractable screen?”

If you want a great way to stay cool and avoid bugs year-round, retractable screens are a great option for your backyard. Find out more about these patio game changers.

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“What kind of stonework floor goes best with my house?”

There are plenty of great options when it comes to patio floors, whether it’s stone, brick, or tile. Learn more about the pros and cons of each.

Read More

Everything About Outdoor Kitchens

An outdoor kitchen can increase your home’s value and make it the perfect gathering place. From appliances to countertops, we have everything you need to know about your new kitchen.

“What kind of kitchen sink should my backyard have?”

An outdoor kitchen sink is a great way to add convenience and functionality to your patio. Learn about some of our favorite designs.

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“What countertop fits my kitchen best?”

There are many types of countertop materials, all varying in style, durability, and price. Check out a few of our favorites.

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“What appliances should be in my outdoor kitchen?”

From ice machines to pizza ovens, there are plenty of great outdoor kitchen appliances you’ll love. Learn more about these great options.

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All About Water Features

Water features are a great way to cool down year-round. If you’re looking to add one or already have one, we can help make it perfect for your new backyard.

“Which water feature fits best in my backyard?”

Whether it’s pools, ponds, or fountains, the perfect water feature is waiting for you. Learn more about each feature.

Read More

“Should I get a chlorine or saltwater pool?

While both water treatment options have advantages and disadvantages, read our blog to learn more before making a decision.

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“Should I build a cabana or pool house?”

Nothing helps make your backyard an outdoor oasis like these two structures. Find out which one is best for your outdoor living space.

Read More

With these tools, you’ll be ready to take the plunge and make your patio dreams a reality.

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.

Project of the Month: October

October 18, 2022 Outdoor Living

This home did not have any covered space in their backyard and really needed some shade, giving us a large yard with a blank slate. 

TCP poured approximately 1330SF of new concrete to allow for both a covered and uncovered area. We built a covered space of about 810SF that included three distinct areas – a screened porch, a kitchen area, and just an open-air space.  

The screened-in porch area is a year-round room with screens meant for sun and bug-blocking. In addition, we installed a retractable screen in the opening that leads to the other sections of the outdoor space. A custom-built gas-starting wood fireplace is the room’s focal point, featuring Bromic heaters. The stone is an Austin Cream and Austin Chop White from Republic Stone, and a custom wood mantle was installed as well as a pre-stained tongue and groove wood American Nut Brown ceiling. A large fan was also installed to keep the family cooler in the summertime. 

The custom outdoor kitchen area is roughly 300 SF and has the same ceiling and stone finishes. The gabled roof really opens up the space over the kitchen counter. All appliances are from RCS and include a grill, fridge, door, and drawers, while the counter is granite and has a nice bar top area that wraps around to define the space. There is plenty of room for the dining table to seat eight people comfortably. 

This area is adjoined to an open-air space for the entrance into the home and as a connector to the uncovered patio area also installed. The flooring throughout is a Versailles pattern travertine color Philadelphia from QDI. 

This space is now a backyard oasis with plenty of room to enjoy the outdoors.

What to consider before calling TCP

October 12, 2022 Patio Design

You’ve deliberated and deliberated. “Should I do it?” “Is the time right?” “Will it be worth it?” After giving it some thought, you’ve finally decided it’s time to take the next step and start building your dream patio. 

What is that next step? Before you give us a call, there are a few things you should consider.

Price

What will the budget look like for this project? When you work with us, we’ll be able to give you an estimate of how much the project will cost, but it helps to go in with an idea beforehand. Take a look at our article where we talk about patio pricing.

Use

How will your outdoor living space be used? Is it a place for gatherings and parties? Is it a relaxing getaway for you and your loved one? Is it a perfect paradise for your pool? Once you’re able to answer this question, we’ll be able to give you ideas on how to accomplish this goal.

Weather

How hot does it get around your area? If the answer is “extremely hot,” it might be worth ensuring your patio has shade. Water features can also help you cool off, but nothing beats staying in the shade.

Materials

There are many types of stonework and patio materials to choose from. From brick to tile to sandstone, nailing down the style you want to see in your dream patio can help us make that dream happen.

Appliances

If you choose to build an outdoor kitchen, it’s worth thinking about what you’ll be using it for. Will it be predominantly for gameday parties and gatherings? Check out our blog on types of grills. Are you looking for an elegant-looking sink that is stylish and functional? Check out our blog on types of sinks.

Solving some of these questions before giving us a call will ensure your patio vision can be executed to the best of our abilities.

Everything about the kitchen sink

October 7, 2022 Uncategorized

Are you looking for a great addition to your outdoor kitchen? Here are some reminders when choosing a sink for your patio.

Know your materials

Before you decide what your sink should be made of, consider how often you’ll be using it, where it’ll be positioned in your kitchen, and how willing you are to maintain it.

The most common material used for outdoor sinks is stainless steel. And while it’s durable and easy to clean, it does come with a few downsides. They tend to scratch easily and don’t come in wide varieties if you want a specific look. Also, if you have it in direct sunlight, there’s a good chance it could be roughly the same temperature as the sun on Texas summer afternoons. 

With its striking look, a natural stone sink could look great with your patio style. On top of their look, they also don’t absorb heat as easily and can withstand the elements for many years. However, these sinks need to be regularly maintained and may not be suitable for heavy use.

Granite sinks have become a popular choice in recent years. Both durable and visually appealing, granite could be a great fit for your outdoor kitchen.

Specialty vs. utility sinks

If you’re planning on throwing outdoor parties this summer, it might be worth investing in a bar sink. This stainless steel sink allows for a space to wash your dishes by day and store your drinks by night, with a spot to hold condiments, cut up fruits and vegetables, and open bottles. The compact size also means you’ll have more room to eat and serve meals.

If you’re wanting something heavy-duty to get the job done as effectively as possible, a large utility sink might be in your future. This no-frills sink with one large basin is made to withstand anything you can throw at it. Doing dishes? Check. Making dinner? Check. Cleaning gardening tools? Check. Just because you have it in your outdoor kitchen doesn’t mean it should exclusively be for food, right?

Consider your flooring

One thing that may not be initially obvious to anyone planning their outdoor sink is the floor that will be under it. Like your kitchen inside, it’s best to have flooring that’s non-porous and can be hosed down or swept easily. That way, you won’t have to worry about spilling liquids or food under it.

An outdoor sink can be a very convenient addition to your outdoor kitchen. Consider these factors when planning the next chapter of your patio.

New Year, New Home

December 28, 2021 Patio Contractor, Patio Design

2022… the year of no more Covid-19? … health and new beginnings? … possibly even a six-pack stomach, and not beer this year? Whatever it is, make sure your goals will bring you happiness! For our customers this last year, a new custom patio brought great joy and a new place to make memories. See gallery of featured projects here. If you love what you see and would like to get the ball rolling, there’s no time like the present.

One of the first things that most people want to know, is how soon will they be lounging on their new patio? Use the handy guide below to know when your custom patio project needs to begin in order to be completed by these commonly requested dates. Factors such as material supplies and weather prevent us from guaranteeing completion dates, but we understand your excitement and work diligently to meet a desired date. The guide below was created to give you a ballpark look!

First, determine when you want your project completion to be, then discover what month you’ll need to contact our office to get started. For instance, if you would like to sizzle in style in your backyard for Father’s Day, pick up the phone and call now!

When you call our office, we’ll schedule an initial appointment. After the initial visit, we’ll follow up with a proposal. Once you’ve selected Texas Custom Patios as your outdoor design-builder, we’ll begin the permitting and homeowner association process. This can take up to 90 days depending on the particular rules of your community. When the design has met all requirements, a simpler concrete and cover takes about four weeks to complete(including a kitchen adds a couple more weeks).

Give one of our outdoor-living specialists a call at 281-265-1994 in Houston, or 972-915-2727 in Dallas/Fort Worth. Here’s to 2022 with a view!

Best of 2021

December 27, 2021 Patio Design, Project of the Month

In 2021, Texas Custom Patios completed 200 projects with each one having their own story to tell, all of them custom-designed and built to look as though it is original to the home. While it’s hard to pick a fav, here’s a look back at some top picks from 2021! Click the link below each image for full details.

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

Our Customers Love Us

In the past, we have had some problems with contractors. What they say and what they do are two different things. Not so with Texas Custom Patios. We knew what was going to happen, and when, and just as advertised, it happened. In three weeks, we had a 300 square foot addition to our house. We now have an outdoor media room and outdoor dining room and we LOVE IT.

© 2023 TCP Custom Outdoor Living