Outdoor living Houston does it year ’round, so it’s pretty much leading the pack when it comes to the latest trends and innovations.
And Wayne Franks, owner of Outdoor Homes capes of Houston – sees three popular ones for 2015: Wireless technology, upscale outdoor heating systems and wood-fired pizza ovens.
“When it comes to Outdoor living Houston, Texas homeowners want everything controlled by an app on a smart phone or tablet,” says Franks. “Whether it’s outdoor lighting, audio-visual systems or even the temperature of the steak on the grill.”
Such apps are typically integrated via Bluetooth to a home automation system or individual device. The iGrill app, for instance, pairs your smart device with Bluetooth to a receiver. When you grill a steak, a probe in the meat sends the temperature reading to the connected receiver, and the receiver relays that information to your phone.
“That way, you can go out and mingle with guests, and not have to babysit your steak till it’s ready,” explains Franks.
Upscale outdoor heating
Franks says portable heaters are going the way of the horse and buggy when it comes to quality outdoor living. Houston homeowners do get chilly weather from November through March and they don’t want the hassle of storing and refuelling the portables.
“True, the portable outdoor heaters offered at big-box home improvement stores come with super-low price tags,” says Franks. “But they get in your way, often have starters that don’t work, wear out in a few years, have to have bugs cleaned out when you take them out of storage and – most of all – just don’t project the heat very far.”
That’s why Franks’ customers are increasingly turning to high-quality electric or gas outdoor heating systems permanently installed in innocuous, safe, yet effective places like patio ceilings. Quartz infrared units have been particularly popular.
The cost of such systems – product and installation – can range from about 3,000 to $ 6,000. The cost of operation for the Solaira quartz infrared heating systems offered by Franks cost about 15 cents an hour to run – a cost that can be controlled with a correct outdoor heating design and the units’ precision temperature controls.
Wood-fired pizza ovens
“Wood-fired outdoor pizza ovens are becoming the next big thing,” says Franks. “They offer that perfectly chewy, charred, bubbly crust that people have come to love in restaurants.”
And they’re not just for pizza anymore – not inside and not when it comes to outdoor living. Houston homeowners are now using them year ’round for just about everything.
“You can also use them to bake breads and grill and roast meats and vegetables,” adds Franks. “Plus, they turn outdoor cooking into a customized, sensory experience. Choose your toppings, smell the wood smoke and take the pizza in and out of the oven with those big oven peels. Today’s outdoor living is definitely about the experience.”