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OUTDOOR COOKING AT ITS BEST!

Poolside Cabana

Outdoor kitchens are a great way to add a dynamic, friendly atmosphere to your space. Equip your backyard for entertaining and feeding friends and family!  These types of elements are always a hit with visitors and homeowners love the flexibility of indoor/outdoor living. In addition, homeowners see an incredible return on their investment (especially in the Austin area) when it comes time to sell.  A new case study reported by Quicken Loans shows area homeowners today can expect an ROI, or return on investment, of 100% to 200%. Not a bad investment in your property.

When planning an outdoor kitchen, you’ll need to think about how many people you intend to accommodate, your entertaining needs, and your budget. At this point we recommend reaching out to a professional landscape designer to go over options for your next steps—determining the best location for your kitchen, the size requirements, design layout, countertop placement, materials (granite, concrete, aluminum, etc.) and then finally, the appliances you’ll need.

Speaking with a trusted professional about your needs, your wants and your budget will get you off on the right track and will ensure your area turns out exactly how you envisioned it.

Adding an outdoor kitchen sees an average ROI of 100 to 200 percent!

Outdoor kitchens, once offering little more than a grill to fire up the burgers, have evolved into increasingly sophisticated and multi-featured spaces perfect for luxury entertaining.  While outdoor entertaining has always been one of Central Texas’ favored casual pastimes, today’s outdoor kitchens offer so much more than just fresh air, sunshine and the delicious aroma of burgers cooking on the grill.

The simple grill has been replaced with elaborate, multi-functional cooking appliances – including hybrid grills that cook with wood, charcoal or gas – plus warming drawers, griddles, pizza ovens and more. Often, the space may be rounded out with fire pits, bars and beverage centers, upscale cabinets and countertops, lighting, tile designs to rival the fanciest indoor backsplash murals, plus dishwashers, wine units and entertainment centers that include everything from big screen TVs to audio equipment.

These spaces aren’t just used during summertime; many Central Texans use them year-round to expand their kitchen space and enjoy an extended array of cooking and entertaining options.

Outdoor Kitchen designs are also completely customizable when it comes to size and location. Whether you envision a sprawling, scenic paradise or want a smaller functional space, today’s outdoor living features have homeowners re-envisioning what it means to enjoy cooking and dining in the great outdoors. Likewise, today’s designers are taking up the challenge of creating sophisticated spaces for a variety of budgets that are perfect for entertaining, escaping or just being one with nature.

The overall goal for any outdoor kitchen is to create a highly functional space that makes outdoor cooking and entertaining effortless and enjoyable.  Not only do outdoor kitchens have one of the highest ROI’s for home renovations, most homeowners in the Austin area are able to use their outdoor space year-round.  Not sure where to start or where your budget should be? Try contacting your local landscape design-build professional for a good start.

Best of Texas Landscapes Outdoor Kitchen

Landscape Design for Central Texas – Part 2 of 2

Now that you understand how to plan your space, let’s talk about what will complete it.

LANDSCAPING PLANTS

A great source for getting ideas regarding your space, and what will work best in your location, is to consult with local landscape designer. Finding a local professional who has extensive experience in your area will provide you with the knowledge to make informed decisions regarding the plants that will inhabit your new space.

Select plants according to their ability to thrive in your specific space. Many home owners choose from native varieties, and are pleasantly surprised by the number of options that are easily overlooked. There are many plants that perform well in our area that are not native, however its generally good to consult with a landscape design professional before planting.

Native (indigenous) plants provide a beautiful, hardy, drought resistant and low-maintenance options because they have evolved over thousands of years in a particular region. They are suited to the geography, hydrology and climate of that area. However, even with native plants, it’s important to group them with plants that have similar needs in terms of sun, water and soil conditions.

Types of Plants to Consider:

Flowers
Shrubs
Ferns

Trees
Grass
Herbs

Vines
Cactus
Ground Cover

HARDSCAPES

Typically, one of the most striking parts of your new space will be the hardscape. These are the walls, paths, patios and non-living elements in your outdoor space. Hardscapes make your space more functional and fill in bare spots to make it more aesthetically pleasing.

Again, this is a great time to speak with a landscape designer. Seeing past projects as well as having a walkthrough can help you as well as the designer come up with the perfect vision for your space and your budget. Think, paths of gravel or stone, patios or decks, rock walls (like a retaining wall or decorative element), arbors or pergolas.

IRRIGATION SYSTEM

Using native and drought-tolerant plants is always a great way to reduce your need for supplemental irrigation, but you still need an efficient way to irrigate. No matter how tolerant your plant selection is, they are going to need water. On average, 30 percent of your water bill will be dedicated to outdoor use.

There are many options regarding irrigation in your space from sprinkler and drip systems to grading and effective use of your property’s physical features and all points in between. For the best options for your area and the plants inhabiting your new space it pays to speak with a professional who can offset long-term irrigation bills with a modern, efficient irrigation system designed for water conservation.

LIGHTING

Improved technology has made landscape lighting one of the most popular outdoor living features among homeowners. Nothing makes your new space more inviting than custom lighting designed specifically for your property.

Types of lighting to consider are pathway, accent and security lighting. A good landscape designer will make sure all three of these lighting options are addressed in your space.

(American Society of Landscape Architects, found 96.2% of homeowners want outdoor lighting.)

WHO TO HIRE

Hiring a Designer

It’s a good idea to shop until you find someone who will take the time to ask you questions about how you want to use your space, what your design style is, and can consult on how to landscape and irrigate your property. Hiring a professional who sees the grand vision as a whole, will help you design a space that looks good all year, because your landscape is a living work of art that has its own life-cycle.

Hiring Contractors

Additionally, you’ll need to hire a team to complete the design – to install plants, irrigation systems, and construct hardscapes.

Sounds like a lot of thought and preparation needs to go in to your new space! We encourage you not to start this journey on your own. Instead, reach out to Best of Texas Landscapes to get started and stay on the right track to create the perfect space for you and your family. We can help remove all the guess work from how long it will take, to how much it will cost, and how it will look from season to season and year to year.

The landscape design-build professionals at Best of Texas Landscapes work as a cohesive unit, combining the knowledge of design and horticulture with the hands-on skill of landscape contractors to complete your project on-time and on-budget. Adding substantial value to your property should the goal of every home owner and when you reach out to Best of Texas Landscapes you’ll be amazed at how easy it can be.

Landscape Design for Central Texas

In Central Texas, designing a beautiful landscape can often mean enhancing the natural elements that Texas has already given us. However, with a lush native landscape and a fairly mild climate, we’re also able to enjoy plants from many regions.

With so many options, it’s important to consult with a professional landscape designer. A seamless design connects your home’s interior to its exterior, increasing your overall living area. By hiring a professional, you can transform the look and appeal of your outdoor space to make your yard more functional and inviting.

MAKE A PLAN

First things first, you need to have a plan before you begin shopping for plants, pavers and other items to redo your outdoor space. A landscape designer can help you create a design plan that fits your budget and meets your goals, so you can choose materials and plants according to functionality and your design aesthetic. Then, you’ll have a realistic idea of how much your project will cost, how long it will take to complete, and what your ultimate vision will look like.

Survey Your Property

Central Texas is home to just about every kind of terrain you can think of, from rolling hills to vast fields, groundwater, layers of rock, red clay and lots of cactus. If drainage is an issue on your property, that will need to be addressed before the installation of plants or hardscapes. If your home faces north, you’ll need to plan for blasts of cold air and a lack of direct sunlight.

Understanding what your challenges are will help you build a realistic plan for construction. Some places around the Austin area, like Lakeway or Lago Vista for instance, are very rocky, and may require more time or added equipment to complete certain projects like a deck or fence installation.

Planning Your Space

Visualize your outdoor space as an extension of your home, so that each individual space flows seamlessly to the next. Knowing how to best utilize your space will help you place plants accordingly. Decide if there are any kinds of functional spaces you’d like to include, where they should go and what needs to be built. That will help you identify where you need specific elements, like added privacy for a yoga or meditation garden.

Remodel Planning

Even if you’re planning to spread your project out over time, it’s important to have a plan based on one grand vision. This will help you stay on track toward your goal and save you time and money. Instead of back-tracking and changing newly installed elements, build towards that grand vision so elements installed now will complement those installed later.

Installation

Before you begin installing plants or constructing design elements, make sure your project is executed in a logical order. If you need a new sprinkler system, that needs to be done before you install new sod. Remodeling your front and back yards? Start in the back so you don’t hurt the front yard with contractors trying to access the back. By planning to install in logical steps, you won’t waste time and money by damaging new or existing designs.

Now that you know why you need a landscape design and what to plan for, our next installment will go over different landscaping elements to consider for your project, and which backyard designs are trending in the Austin area.

To see an example of one of our landscape designs, click here