As social distancing measures continue and people are stuck at home, homeowners are coming up with more creative ways to pass the extra time they now have. Some are learning a new language or taking up a new hobby. Others are reviving old hobbies or trying to get better at them. If you’re looking for ways to pass the time, why not practice your outdoor cooking skills? Fire up the grill and give these flavorful recipes a try!
What’s on the Menu?
The most commonly grilled dishes involve meat, especially beef, but your grill is far more versatile than that. You can serve up everything from standard beef dishes to seafood and even grilled desserts! Find your new favorite grilled dish here:
- Lemon grilled shrimp kabobs
- Chili rubbed ribs
- Salsa steak
- Java pepper steak
- Grilled pizza
- Cheesy potatoes
- Campfire cobbler
- Grilled fruit
1) Lemon Grilled Shrimp Kabobs
- ⅓ cup lemon juice
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ lemon zest
- 1 lb shrimp
- Cherry tomatoes (as many as you’d like)
- Sliced onions (as many as you’d like)
Mix together the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and lemon zest into a marinade, and let your shrimp and vegetables marinate for several hours or overnight. Thread everything onto barbecue skewers, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and grill on each side for approximately 3 minutes.
2) Chili Rubbed Ribs
- 6 lbs ribs
- 3 tbsp packed brown sugar
- 2 tbsp paprika
- 2 tbsp chili powder
- 3 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp salt
Dry rub the ribs with all these seasonings and refrigerate covered for half an hour. Wrap the ribs in aluminum foil and grill over indirect heat for an hour and a half. Finally, mix together your glaze over medium heat for 6-8 minutes:
- 1 cup soy sauce
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 2-3 cup ketchup
- 1-3 cup lemon juice
- 1 ½ tsp fresh grated ginger
Unwrap the ribs, rub them with the glaze, and cook over direct heat for 30 minutes or until nicely browned.
3) Salsa Steak
- 4 portions of steak (size can vary)
- 1 large tomato, diced
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 1 small cucumber, chopped
- Half yellow capsicum, diced
- 4 tbsp coriander, chopped
- 1 tbsp seeded mustard
- Olive oil to brush steak
Brush both sides of the steak with olive oil and sear each side, 2-3 minutes for boneless cuts and 3-4 minutes for cuts with bones. For a medium or well done steak, lower the heat to medium and leave for an extra 1-2 minutes. Once the steak is cooked to your preferences, remove from heat and cover for about 2 minutes to settle. While you’re waiting on the steak, mix up your salsa ingredients. Serve on the side.
4) Java Pepper Steak
- 1.5 lb tenderloin steak
- 4 tsp finely ground coffee
- 4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp ground cumin
- Salt to taste
Preheat your grill and while you wait for it to heat up, place all ingredients in a freezer bag and seal it shut. Shake the bag until the steak is evenly coated in the seasonings. Grill the steak to your preferred level.
Pro Tip: For an especially flavorful steak, rub it with spices and let it sit in the fridge overnight before grilling.
5) Grilled Pizza
- Naan bread or pitas, one for each serving
- Olive oil to brush crusts
- Pizza toppings of choice
Brush both sides of the naan or pitas with olive oil and grill for 2 minutes on each side. Remove from heat, add your pizza toppings, and return them to the grill until the cheese has completely melted.
6) Cheesy Potatoes
- 2 ½ lbs potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 1 medium onion
- 5 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled
- ¼ cup butter, melted
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 6 slices American cheese
Mix all ingredients except the cheese together and spread over a large piece of foil. Fold the foil tightly around the potatoes and grill for 15 minutes on each side. Open the foil and lay the cheese slices over the potatoes. Cover again and cook for 1-2 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
7) Campfire Cobbler
- 2 cans of fruit pie filling
- 1 package yellow cake mix
- 1 ¼ cups water
- ½ cup canola oil
Line a Dutch oven with aluminum foil and pour in both cans of fruit pie filling. In a separate bowl, mix together the cake mix, water, and oil. Spread the mix over the pie filling. Cook on the grill for 30-40 minutes or until the crust is browned.
8) Grilled Fruit
- ½ cup Greek yogurt
- ½ tbsp vanilla
- Zest of 1 medium lemon
- 6 tbsp honey
- Handful of lavender flowers
- 6 figs, halved
- 3 large fruits: peaches, plums, apricots, etc., halved
- Olive oil to brush fruit
Brush your halved fruits with olive oil to prevent them from sticking to the grill. Grill the fruit until nice grill marks form. Meanwhile, combine yogurt, lemon zest, and vanilla into a tangy sauce. Serve fruit with a dollop of yogurt, drizzled honey, flower garnish, and sliced figs.
Brush Up on Your Grill Skills
Few things are more comforting than a hot home-cooked meal prepared on your own grill. And what better way is there to stay fresh on your cooking skills? Give these recipes a try and serve up a great dinner tonight!
Connect with us for more recipes and cooking tricks for your grill.
Is your backyard boring and just plain blah? Does your family spend more time inside on the couch rather than spending it outside in nature? Are you embarrassed to host outside get-togethers because your yard is unkempt and uninteresting? Don’t worry, your backyard isn’t a lost cause. In fact, it’s simple to transform your backyard from being dull to unbelievable with the right outdoor design!
An Unbelievable Backyard with Outdoor Design
Anyone can have an incredible backyard. To instantly transform your outdoor space, follow these five secret tips of outdoor design and you’ll be planning a party to show off your new yard in no time!
- Work from a Plan
- Plant for Seasons
- Lines & Edges
- Separate Spaces
- Secret Gardens
1) Work From a Plan
Working from a plan is the first step in creating an unbelievable backyard. Draw your plans out and then work in phases so you don’t get too overwhelmed. Be sure to include any hardscape items you will be adding to your space, like an outdoor kitchen, covered patio, or pergola.
2) Plant for Seasons
If you want an amazing backyard through all seasons, plant to make it happen! With a little research, you can find the best plants for the best seasons and have a variety in your yard so you have greenery and flowers blooming all year round.
3) Lines & Edges
Pay attention to the lines and edges in your yard. Make a natural edge with different grasses or plants, or use stones or other materials to make your garden more enticing. Additionally, pay attention to the lines and add character with sweeping curves throughout your landscape.
4) Separate Spaces
To begin, separate your outdoor space into several smaller spaces. This allows you to make each individual space distinct and fills your yard with interesting details. By separating areas in your backyard, you can delegate specific spaces for everything! Have a lounge area for relaxing, a dining spot for eating al fresco, or a play space for the little ones.
Pro Tip: Don’t let bad weather chase you indoors! Talk to your contractor about adding a pergola or patio cover to your hangout space so the party can go on, rain or shine.
5) Secret Gardens
Everyone loves secret hideaways and your backyard is the perfect place to sneak one in. Find a nice corner or an area between two trees and add a little seating area, water fountain, or even a fire pit. This partially hidden area will not only give you a private spot to relax and enjoy, but the half-hidden space creates the illusion of more space.
Create an Outdoor Oasis
Your backyard is a large part of your home and it should be used just as much as the inside–especially now that we are coming up on the fall season with cooler temperatures! By following the above tips on outdoor design, you will have an unbelievable backyard in no time! If you don’t have the time or just want some help in the process, consider contacting a landscape professional to assist in designing your outdoor living area.
Connect with us to learn more secrets of outdoor design to help you create an unbelievable backyard.
Depending on the features you choose and the extent of your plans, a custom-built outdoor kitchen can be a sizeable investment. Even with a budget and financial plan in place, it helps to know just what you can expect to pay going into your backyard renovation.
Do you know what appliances and features you’ll want in an outdoor kitchen? If not, now’s the time to start planning. Without a concrete idea of what you want, you can’t estimate a cost and budget for your project. Here’s how to get started planning and budgeting for your outdoor kitchen.
Outdoor Kitchen Appliances
Since you already have a fully furnished indoor kitchen, you won’t need to replicate every single appliance in an outdoor space. For instance, don’t worry about installing a dishwasher outside. But for essential appliances, like the refrigerator or sink, you likely won’t want to keep running between your indoor and outdoor kitchens constantly to grab what you need and get back to work. The exact amount these duplicate appliances will add to your budget depends on which type you get, but a rough estimate could look something like this:
- Refrigerator: $400-$900
- Sink: at least $100 (nicer models could be higher)
- Side burner: $200-$500
But without a doubt, the most expensive item in your outdoor cooking area will be the grill. While you don’t want to blow your entire budget on a grill, it certainly pays to get a nice model that will give you a smooth cooking experience. The price of the grill you choose will vary depending on a long list of factors: its type, its size, its brand name, and more. Browse some of our more popular grill models below:
Countertops and Flooring Materials
Some outdoor kitchen designs use the same materials for both the floor and the countertops, creating a uniform look and simplifying the construction process. For a more contrasting look, choose different materials. Just make sure to keep track of the different prices between your chosen materials.
The exact price you can expect to pay will vary from contractor to contractor. However, these estimates of pricing for popular outdoor kitchen materials will help you get an idea of your budget:
- Brick facade: $15-$25/sq ft
- Bricks: $25-$35/sq ft
- Stucco: $5/sq ft
- Natural stone: $25-$45/sq ft
- Engineered stone: $20/sq ft
- Granite: $60-$70/sq ft
- Concrete: $60-$70/sq ft
Pro Tip: Stainless steel countertops are easy to maintain and look sleek and modern, but can trap a lot of heat in the Houston sun. Be careful when working on metal countertops in an outdoor kitchen.
Finally, don’t forget about electricity and running water! It’s nearly impossible to estimate these costs beforehand. However, keeping track of which appliances you’ll install and how often you’ll use them can help you narrow it down. For budget-friendly and energy-efficient kitchen equipment, check out Energy Star’s ratings for different appliances.
Planning Your New Backyard Kitchen
Even if money isn’t a concern, it’s always better to know exactly what you’ll be paying for your new outdoor kitchen. Take the time to research what you want and talk to our team of designers for precise estimates. Understanding your budget is the first step toward a successful backyard renovation.
Join the conversation to see what a completed outdoor kitchen will look like!
With the spring season around the corner and warmer temperatures on the forecast, your outdoor living space is about to be the prime hangout spot. Whether you already have the perfect backyard space or are interested in upgrading your current one, there’s no better time than now to extend your home’s style outdoors. Get ready to transform your outdoor living space in Houston for your family to enjoy.
Create a Customized Outdoor Space (6 Easy Steps)
Have you dreamed of sprucing up your backyard flower beds or installing a functional outdoor kitchen? Transforming a backyard into a unique outdoor space doesn’t have to be a dream to save for the future. With our professional assistance, your journey to creating the perfect outdoor space can begin easily. Follow these 6 steps to start the process of customizing your backyard.
- Make a List of Ideas
- Plan Your Upgrade
- Decorate with Style
- Choose the Best Appliances
- Install a Pergola or Patio Cover
- Start Entertaining
1) Make a List of Ideas
To start customizing your backyard, the first step is to brainstorm design ideas. What features are available? Which upgrades are the most important to your family? From installing an outdoor kitchen to building a pool, the options are endless. Narrow down your choices and find backyard designs to match your vision before building.
2) Plan Your Upgrade
When creating an outdoor living space, neglecting to plan can have disastrous consequences. Before you start constructing, consult the experts and make a plan that will meet the expectations of your space. From HOA limitations to scheduling a consultation, planning your backyard upgrade will ensure your success long term.
3) Decorate with Style
Your home’s style is what makes your home unique compared to your neighbors. Whether it’s through architectural elements, paint colors, or entertainment features, your outdoor space is no different. Design your backyard space and outdoor kitchen decor with elements that are customized just for you.
Pro Tip: Use matching cushions and pillows in your outdoor living area to add style, function, and comfortability for your guests to enjoy.
4) Choose the Best Appliances
If your outdoor space is going to include an outdoor kitchen, there’s no better way to improve the functionality of your space than with built-in appliances. From a refrigerator to side burners, the appliances you choose will ultimately determine how much time you’re able to spend outside. That being said, install appliances essential to your cooking habits so that you can use your space to its full potential.
5) Install a Pergola or Patio Cover
If you want to use your backyard year-round, especially in the hot Houston, don’t forget to install a pergola or patio cover for shade. Choose from a range of wood stains and natural stone elements to design the perfect outdoor roof to coordinate with your home’s style.
6) Start Entertaining
It may come as a surprise, but the last step might be the most important for exceptional outdoor living in Houston. Once you’ve created the perfect backyard space, it’s time to start entertaining. Plan a party or host a movie night to show off your new space to the loved ones in your life.
Designing and Building Backyards in Spring, TX.
Whether you’re spending time as a family or hosting a barbecue cookout, your backyard space should be designed with you in mind. From swimming pools to fire pits, our Houston area design team is committed to including the best features to make your space stand out. If you’re interested in creating an outdoor living space to host your gatherings, our free consultation is a great way to get the process started.
Connect with our backyard design experts to learn more about the features and additions that can be added to your outdoor space.
The new year is a great time to reevaluate your progress and set goals for the future. As you start setting resolutions for 2020, don’t forget to make plans for your outdoor space! This is a great time to start brainstorming backyard ideas for entertaining your friends and family this year.
Creating Your Entertainment Space
Is your home the go-to hangout spot for your community? With a couple of improvements, your backyard could become the talk of the neighborhood. Instead of looking out your back window with regret, start designing the entertainment space of the year with these impressive ideas.
1. Host a Movie Night
Ever heard of a drive-in movie theater? Instead of having to drive somewhere, provide that same experience in the great outdoors! With an outdoor living room and projector, your backyard can become the perfect space for a movie night. Add stove-cooked popcorn and homemade pizza, and you’ll have the best cinema in town.
Pro Tip: Keep drinks cold for any occasion with a wine cooler or outdoor fridge. Your outdoor parties will be a hit with refreshments within arm’s reach.
2. Make Your Backyard Kid-Friendly
If your goal is to create a great backyard this year, don’t forget about the kids in your life! From a custom pool to playground equipment, designing a kid-friendly backyard will add value and functionality to your outdoor space.
3. Install an Outdoor Kitchen
Do you really want to be the entertainer of the year? Then, install an outdoor kitchen. Easy to access appliances and customized dining tables will upgrade your space exponentially. Instead of being cooped up inside, you can enjoy the beautiful weather and entertain your guests with the personalization of an outdoor kitchen.
This is Your Year
No matter what may have transpired in 2019, the start of a new year welcomes a fresh start and room to achieve your goals. Don’t waste time thinking about what you wish you could accomplish. Make 2020 the year to design the perfect backyard for you and your family.
What are your new year’s resolutions? Share with us on social media!
Make your backyard the talk of the neighborhood with exceptional outdoor kitchen appliances. Instead of being stuck inside, you and your guests can bring the party outside with all of your necessary equipment within arm’s reach.
How functional is your Houston outdoor kitchen?
How are you going to use your outdoor kitchen? The goal is for you to have a fully-functioning kitchen so that you keep all of your food preparation in one place. Make sure these 5 outdoor kitchen appliances are on your list:
- Ice Maker
- Wine Cooler
- Vent Hood
Besides countertops or a sink, a refrigerator is a top feature to have in your outdoor kitchen. Keep your drinks and fresh veggies cold with a fully-functioning fridge installed within your cabinets. Depending on the size of your space, you have the option of choosing a refrigerator/freezer combination or a two-drawer fridge to suit your needs.
Pro Tip: If you’re a lover of wine and regularly entertain guests, consider installing a wine cooler for extra convenience in your backyard.
2) Side burners
When you’re outside entertaining your guests, cooking is a great way to bring everyone together. Be sure to add side burners to your outdoor kitchen for increased functionality and flexibility. Whether you need a double burner or a single side burner, there are multiple models to choose from to customize your kitchen however you’d like.
3) Ice Maker
There’s nothing like having a drink that’s lukewarm. Have ice readily available with an ice maker installed in your outdoor kitchen. Instead of having to run to the store, you can have up to 55lbs of clear ice available year-round.
4) Outdoor Grill
Instead of having a separate charcoal or gas grill on your back patio, install an outdoor grill directly within your cabinetry. From built-in griddles to grills with rotisserie, there are a number of options to make your grilling experiencing fit your appetite.
5) Pizza Oven
Take your outdoor cooking to a new level with a pizza oven that can be fully accessed outside. From pool parties to weekend gatherings, your guests will love the authentic pizza taste that comes from cooking in a pizza oven.
The Difference that Counts
When you’re designing your outdoor kitchen, don’t forget to choose appliances that will work for your family. There’s nothing worse than having an appliance that takes up space and isn’t being used. Instead, choose appliances that will give your outdoor kitchen the functionality it deserves.
Did your favorite appliance miss the list? Connect with one of our outdoor kitchen designers for more information.