Outdoor kitchens and a party-ready atmosphere certainly add a lot to your backyard. But don’t forget natural beauty! A well-tended lawn and eye-catching decorative plants bring an atmosphere of tranquility that anyone will appreciate.
As many Texan gardeners know, it’s important to find plants that can survive and even thrive in a Houston summer. Fortunately, a long list of beautiful flowers can do just that! Here are just a few colorful plants to keep in your backyard all year round:
Most of the year, azalea bushes are dark green. But every spring, the entire bush is covered in fragrant dark pink flowers. These plants are perfect as a poolside accessory! Plant your azaleas in the spring in a lightly shaded part of your yard for best results.
Known for their dark green leaves and their vibrantly white flowers, gardenias bloom in early summer and release a strong fragrance. These plants require a bit more attention to grow, but once the bush is strong and healthy, they thrive in the hot Houston climate. Plant your gardenias in an area of full sun to light shade.
Lilacs are the perfect choice for a homeowner looking to plant a rainbow of flowers! Colors include pink, purple, white, and yellow. Better yet, lilacs planted as a hedge can grow up to 9 feet tall and serve as a natural privacy fence with minimal care required! Plant your lilacs in the spring or fall in a space that gets a good amount of sun every afternoon.
4) Star Jasmine
White, sweet-smelling star jasmine originates from Japan and China, making it an excellent candidate for the warm Houston climate. This plant has a slow start, but once it gets going, it can grow up to between 3-6 feet high! Depending on how they’re planted, they can either spread out as ground cover or climb nearby structures for a breathtaking look.
Pro Tip: Want a truly elegant pergola in your backyard? Plant some star jasmine nearby and train it to climb the structure! The flowers will provide a wonderfully perfumed atmosphere.
Finally, families with children will love the chance to watch butterflies! To attract these colorful insects, plant milkweed around your yard. Don’t worry–the plants aren’t poisonous to people (though they can be harmful to pets). The bright orange and black monarch butterfly exclusively feeds on milkweed nectar, all but guaranteeing you’ll see plenty of butterflies in your backyard! Plant your milkweed in full sunlight and give the leaves plenty of time to grow.
Natural Decor for Your Yard
At the end of the day, nature is the best decorator on the planet. Fragrant, colorful flowers are the perfect way to bring a pop of color and gentle beauty to your outdoor hangout space.
Designing an outdoor kitchen means designing a space that can withstand the elements on a daily basis. Certain features or construction materials that are perfectly acceptable indoors can’t survive outside. This is particularly important when it comes to outdoor kitchen flooring materials. The floor will inevitably be covered in dirt or splashed pool water at some point, so it had better be strong enough to withstand abuse.
Two common types of material are often used for outdoor kitchen floors: concrete or a form of treated wood. Both have their pros and cons depending on your local climate and decorative preferences. Before building your outdoor kitchen, look over this list of popular flooring materials and consider which type will work best for you:
1) Pressure-Treated Lumber
Using high pressure, preserving agents are forced deep into wood to create pressure-treated lumber. This type of wood stands up remarkably well to moisture, making it an ideal choice for humid environments. Pressure-treated lumber is easily manufactured and relatively inexpensive compared to other materials, but does require annual maintenance to retain its appealing color.
Cedar wood has a well-deserved reputation for being beautiful and resistant to both rot and bugs. While it does cost slightly more than pressure-treated lumber, it’s also very durable and will last for many years without rotting or weakening. The only potential drawback is the color. Over time, cedar weathers to a silvery gray color. Many homeowners still love this color, but if you’re looking for an outdoor space that looks the same for years, cedar may not be for you.
Redwood may have a higher price tag than other natural wood floorings, but it’s very much worth it. This wood already resists rot on its own, and once sealed, it lasts longer than any other wood floorings on the market. Better yet, redwood retains its color far longer than cedar. It still fades with time, but the vibrant reddish color will last for years.
4) Composite Wood
Strictly speaking, composite wood is not true wood, but a convincing copy. This material consists of plastic and wood fibers pressed tightly together into boards. Composite wood looks and feels virtually identical to genuine wood, but due to its high plastic content, it lasts far longer. It also requires virtually no maintenance. Plastic can’t soak up water or rot, after all!
Wooden flooring provides an elegant flair that is difficult to duplicate. However, homeowners who prefer a low-cost, low-maintenance, and durable flooring material will appreciate concrete. If the idea of a gray, lifeless concrete floor sounds unappealing, don’t worry–concrete is a remarkably versatile material! Concrete can be stained a variety of colors or even stamped with textures that resemble elegant bricks or tiles. Repairs are very straightforward as well. While constant use will eventually cause concrete to chip or crack, replacing the slab costs significantly less than repairing a wooden floor.
Pro Tip: Stamped concrete laid by a professional looks identical to color bricks or tiles. This style of flooring gives you an elegant aesthetic at a fraction of the cost of other materials!
Creating an Appealing Outdoor Space
There’s no “correct” choice for flooring materials used outdoors. However, beginning the project with an understanding of your local climate and maintenance schedule will help you find the best material for your particular outdoor kitchen.
Connect with us to browse our outdoor living designs and building materials.
Hot, humid Houston summers aren’t always the most pleasant times to be outdoors. Fortunately, you can still enjoy the fresh air and gentle breezes by adding a few features to your backyard to protect yourself from the heat. You can even have outdoor parties during the summer! All you have to do is make sure your outdoor kitchen and hangout spots are ready to provide comfort during the hot weather.
With strategic designs for your outdoor kitchen and hangout space, you can create a backyard ready for any summer day. Here are just a few ideas to spruce up your yard for warmer weather:
Tidy up the yard
Cover your dining area
Upgrade your appliances
Style outdoor furniture
Add a bar
1) Tidy Up the Yard
Nobody wants to party in a dirty, overgrown yard! Mow the grass and haul away any trash. Consider pressure washing your patio and any concrete surfaces for a brand new look. In general, just take the time to make your yard look appealing and ready for when guests arrive.
2) Cover Your Dining Area
An outdoor dining room may sound appealing for backyard parties of any kind, but if it starts to rain or the sun gets too hot, your guests will have to run indoors again. Prevent this issue by installing a new patio cover over your dining space! Let the party continue, rain or shine, and enjoy a shady spot all year round.
3) Upgrade Your Appliances
Whether you have an entire outdoor kitchen or just a grilling station in the backyard, you likely enjoy the ability to cook fresh food for your guests. Why not upgrade your appliances to make your experience easier? Swap your old grill for a more efficient model or see what your outdoor kitchen still needs. A few new cooking appliances could make a big difference in your party hosting experience.
Pro Tip: Hosting parties after dark? Hang string lights or install solar pathway lights for an elegant touch and to let everyone see in the dark!
4) Style Outdoor Furniture
Outdoor dining areas or hangout spots need comfortable seating for all your guests. Of course, it’s equally important to make sure that the furniture you choose can withstand the elements. Find outdoor-safe furniture to match your design scheme and furnish your backyard to get the party started!
5) Add a Bar
Finally, add the finishing touch to your summer party space: an outdoor bar. A nearby wine fridge or full-sized refrigerator can keep drinks cold and produce ice for everyone. A well-designed, comfortable bar is the perfect addition to a summer evening spent with friends outdoors. Give it a try!
Enjoy Your Summer!
Upgrading your backyard relaxation spaces goes a long way toward making summer days that much more enjoyable. Try throwing a family cookout or moving a planned party outdoors. Take full advantage of your newly refurbished space!
Your newly refurbished backyard may have all the room for parties and relaxation that you want, but something’s not quite finished yet. Anyone can renovate the yard. But why not make your backyard party space unique to you? Don’t settle for a simple renovation.
Brand-new appliances and shaded spots certainly add a lot to your backyard, but they can also feel a bit “standard” on their own. Every homeowner decorates their house’s interior with personal artwork and furniture–why not give the exterior the same treatment? Try personalizing your backyard with one of these ideas:
What’s more fun than a movie night under the patio on a beautiful night? A patio cover with large enough walls provides the perfect spot to mount a large TV or even a projector screen. Build an outdoor home theater to host movie nights in your own backyard!
2) Outdoor Pillows
If you’ll be spending a fair amount of time outside, you’ll likely want to include weatherproof furniture. But many weatherproof materials aren’t exactly comfortable to sit on. Outdoor-safe pillows, however, can fix that! Add a splash of color and comfort to your backyard furniture.
Pro Tip: Cushions made of outdoor-safe material require different care than indoor pillows. Make sure not to damage them when you clean outside.
3) Fire Pit
Anyone who loves cooking over open flames will love having a fire pit in the newly renovated backyard! Aside from its functional purpose, fire features add an exotic atmosphere to your backyard space and keep parties going well into the night. Some homeowners even add fireproof glass fragments known as diamond nuggets to give the flames a magical effect. Customize your fire pit to complement your new private party space!
4) Decorative Lighting
Finally, as nice as a fire pit is, it can’t provide as much light as some late-night parties will need. That’s where other types of outdoor lighting come in. Stake lights situated along the sidewalks will show your guests where to walk, for instance. Lanterns provide a soft, ambient light for a relaxing atmosphere. And brighter lights mounted under the patio cover let you keep working in your outdoor kitchen. Just like any feature, you can customize your lighting choices to your heart’s content.
Customize Your Outdoor Space
A brand new outdoor kitchen and dining room can do wonders to add appeal to your backyard. But why stop there? Add your own touch to make the space truly your own! Give yourself and your loved ones the gift of an awesome, personalized backyard.
Connect with us to see how some of our clients decorated their completed backyard paradises.
One all-important aspect of home design is storage. We all need extra space to put tools, toys, supplies, and more in the backyard. And while it’s simple enough to just toss everything into buckets or set up cheap shelves, why not make your storage look like a natural part of the backyard? It’s easy and fun to find ways to incorporate your storage into your overall design.
Why not get creative with your backyard storage? Find ways to integrate your storage naturally into your design scheme or make it subtler. Whatever you choose, the possibilities are nearly endless! Try one of these popular storage ideas:
Hidden storage spaces
Outdoor kitchen cabinets
1) Firewood Cubbies
A new wood-burning fireplace or firepit requires a decent amount of fuel for party nights. But who wants to constantly run to the store for more firewood or stack the logs in a precarious woodpile? Try a specialized cubby instead! You’ll keep the firewood out of the way until you need it. Plus, the cubbies are big enough to hold several nights’ worth of firewood! Just keep them full.
2) Hidden Storage Spaces
Certain pieces of outdoor patio furniture double as surprise storage spaces. For instance, a footstool might open to reveal a hollow space perfect for storing extra blankets. Some might even have a cooler hidden inside! And that’s far from the only option for outdoor storage. A chest could serve as a patio coffee table, for instance. Experiment with different furniture to find one with the storage features you prefer!
3) Pool Houses
Of course, a pool house is a perfect place to store all your pool supplies. Keep your swimsuits, floaties, pool toys, towels, and more in a nicely decorated storage space right next to your pool! Better yet, this gives you and your guests a private place to change for your pool party.
Pro Tip: Don’t settle for a simple storage shed. Use a pool house to hold all your pool supplies and give you a much more visually appealing storage solution!
4) Outdoor Bars
What outdoor dining room is complete without a bar? Besides the obvious benefit of being a great place to serve some wine, adding a bar to your backyard also gives you some unique storage space opportunities. Adding a small wine fridge lets you keep your beverages cold without taking up space in your primary outdoor kitchen fridge. And why store your glasses out of sight in cabinets when you can add a specialized shelf that’s equal parts practical and beautiful? Make your own bar as fancy as the one in your favorite restaurant!
5) Outdoor Kitchen Cabinets
Finally, this basic staple of kitchen design is equally crucial in both indoor and outdoor kitchens. Weatherproof cabinets will keep your cooking supplies and ingredients right at hand while keeping them safe from the elements. Save yourself the trouble of constantly running back and forth to bring out supplies from the house. Keep everything you need in your outdoor kitchen!
Get Clever with Your Storage Solutions!
Finding unique storage ideas for your backyard not only helps you organize all your outdoor necessities, but also gives you more potential designs for your backyard renovation. Make your storage system as elaborate or as simple as you prefer. And most importantly, make it fully suited to your preferences for the ultimate custom backyard!
Does your living room not have enough space? Does it simply feel cramped or too small to be comfortable? While it may seem like the most logical solution is knocking out a wall, you can take less drastic measures to make your living room seem bigger than it truly is.
Don’t worry about rearranging your entire home’s layout to fix a too-small living room! Several strategic decorative choices will help you create a brighter, more open atmosphere for your living area. Here are just a few ideas to get you started.
Very light or very dark colors tend to give a room depth. Combining the two, such as painting the walls white and buying dark navy furniture, makes the space pop even more. Your eye is drawn to the contrasting colors that create the illusion of a bigger room. This also has the advantage of giving your living space a clean, elegant look.
Pro Tip: Decorating with pale or bright colors in a room with low natural light will accent the light it does have, making a compact space feel more open.
A few strategic decorative choices can help outline your space. Large rugs on the floor and large paintings hanging on the walls trick your mind into seeing the room as bigger than it actually is. A large mirror hanging on the wall also helps create the illusion of depth and makes a room feel more open.
Additionally, your choice of accessories comes into play here. Too many small decorative items can make your room feel cluttered and tiny. Buy a few larger decorative pieces instead to complement the room and mesh perfectly with your paintings and rug.
One excellent method of saving space is to find creative ways of storing necessary items. Plenty of homeowners accomplish this through specialized furniture. For instance, cushions on a window seat could lift up to hold extra blankets or pillows. A couch can fold out into a bed. A coffee table can expand into a standing desk. You can even find creative ways to incorporate shelves or drawers into your furniture plan. Whatever you choose, removing excess clutter without sacrificing any necessary things will definitely help your room feel more open.
Making Your Living Room Look Bigger
With an eye for color and decor, it’s not difficult to make a room feel larger without actually changing the floor space. It’s all about tricking your eyes! Experiment with different colors, decorations, furniture, and more to create your new ideal living room.