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Outdoor Trends

Submitted by on March 1, 2017 – 6:50 amNo Comment

Limited space made this patio cover a challenge, but Texas Custom Patios was able to create an open air living space that complemented the home’s original architecture. The contemporary gas fire pit keeps things toasty and creates a border to define the space. The vaulted ceiling adds height to the patio cover, allows for a gabled opening and is finished off with stained tongue and groove with exposed beams that are stained darker to make it pop. This outdoor kitchen is an L-shape with an RCS grill and appliances – including a wine cooler at the end of the counter area which has custom cut stone on the sides and a granite counter top. This patio cover is about 500 square feet and allows for plenty of room for both a dining and sitting area, and of course the outdoor kitchen. photo-TKImages

Build functional and fun outdoor living spaces with these ideas.

Homeowners who are thinking about a home makeover but don’t know where to begin should consider starting in the back yard. Many homeowners are transforming the exteriors of their houses to add extra living space and, with a little finesse, those outdoor spaces can rival the interiors.

“Outdoor kitchens just kind of exploded over the past five years,” said Stephen McNiel, founder of Creative Property Restoration Inc. “People used to just have a Weber grill. Now they are putting in an entire kitchen,” he said. “In Houston, you can be outside from October to June, and people want to take advantage of the weather.”

But that’s just the beginning.

Kenneth Charanza, president of Charanza Contracting Inc., has also seen a rise in outdoor renovations. “It extends your house,” he said. “You can take the indoors out. Your backyard becomes another great entertainment area.”

Among the ways builders recommend improving outdoor space are these ideas:



In Houston, shade structures, or even ceiling fans are essential. “People can utilize outdoor space year-round,” Charanza said. “But if you don’t have any cover, you’re stuck with scorching Houston heat.”



Good lighting makes outdoor living spaces safer and extends the use of a deck or lawn into the evening. “LEDs are transforming the lighting industry,” McNiel said.



Charanza and McNiel both report that many homeowners are adding refrigerators, sinks, pizza ovens, counter space and even bars. Commercial-grade grills, stainless steel cabinets and granite countertops are high on homeowners’ wish lists.



Water features are also popular, McNiel said, creating a beautiful ambiance when you are sitting outside. “Especially in the Inner Loop, a water feature can become the focal point of a small space.”



“People are adding outdoor seating areas around a fire,” Charanza said. Gas logs are a popular option. They can be turned on with a switch and require less maintenance.



En­tertainment systems added to outdoor living space can include big-screen televisions and sound systems that range from small and budget-friendly to extraordinary and pricey, the builders said.

Adding unique features to an outdoor space can improve property value. “People are seeing a finished entertainment space, instead of just a lawn full of grass,” McNiel said. “And if you have a small house, you can really extend your space. You’re creating something you can use for years.”

Texas Custom Patios’ Steven Schell was challenged with a large project that required merging several features into a limited space and budget while maintaining the home’s existing Hill Country vibe. The homeowners wanted to spruce up their outdoor space by adding a kitchen/bar area and a fireplace/lounging area where they could enjoy both the fireplace and outdoor TV. The hearth was extended from the fireplace to facilitate a seating wall at the back of the patio where the yard slopes dramatically to the fence line. Paint by Sherwin Williams; stone/tile by Alamo Stone, Cheyenne Blend/Woodland Blend; appliances by RCS, Cutlass II Pro Series; flooring by Stone Quarry, Dark Walnut travertine. Awards: Finalist – GHBA Houston Best Prism Awards, Outdoor Living Space. photo-TKImages


Matt Sneller of Sneller Custom Homes & Remodeling, along with interior designer Cindy Aplanalp-Yates from Chairma Design Group, remodeled this family’s weekend beach retreat, including the kitchen, laundry, master bedroom and bath, the hall bath and even the exterior including the back patio. Outdoors, the view not only includes the beautiful beach, but overhead the patio ceiling features a reclaimed Wyoming snow fence. photo-Jenny Sneller

photo – Jenny Sneller

photo-Jenny Sneller


This picture-perfect Pearland backyard was designed for entertaining by Jack Knowlton with Envision Design Build. A pergola with travertine columns adds filtered shade, while a fire pit offers warmth during cool nights and a tabletop for entertaining in the summer. Broken tiles lend a colorful finish to the bar and flagstone flooring adds texture and durability. A drop-down television, designed for yachts, is located in the ceiling behind the bar. photo-Jack Knowlton


Striking architectural elements make this remodel by Greymark Construction a success. The slanted ceiling with wood accents defines the space; the black, winding staircase creates an expansive feeling with the second-story exposure; and the retractable glass doors open to the pool deck in the backyard and invite the outdoors in. photo – Kathleen Ryan


This back patio remodel by Jeff Patrizi with CAM Construction resulted in a cozy enclave, featuring an outdoor kitchen and dining area and a comfortable space for watching TV. It’s now a favorite retreat for the homeowners. Milton Architects, landscaping by Baldridge Landscape.


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