Keeping Warm, Texas-Style

Now that cooler temps are here, you might start thinking that it’s time to retire the backyard for the season. After all, who wants to sit outside and freeze? Well, actually, me! No, not the freeze part, but sit outside? Yes please, all the time, all year long if I could. And I don’t want to let the unpredictable North Texas weather tell me when I can do it, either! What’s the solution?

Outdoors Meets Indoors

Outdoor fireplace, baby! Outdoor fireplaces are a fixture in the chillest of backyards, and there’s a good reason for that- having a fire outside is the epitome of taking it easy. Picture it- you just had a long commute home. You’re tired. The weather is clear and it’s been gorgeous all day, but you missed it because you were inside in your stupid office doing your stupid job that keeps you from enjoying days like these. All you want to do is sit outside and enjoy what remains of an assuredly beautiful North Texas autumn day. So, you go outside to the fireplace, toss in a few logs or branches, crack a beer, and let the glory of fall wash over you.

Gives. Me. Chills. Seriously, is there any better way to enjoy October in DFW?

Making Dreams a Reality

So how do we take this from fantasy to legitimately what we’re doing tomorrow night? First, you need the set up. You can’t just burn stuff in your backyard in city limits without having a safe way to ensure that you aren’t going to set your neighbor’s house on fire by accident. With an outdoor fireplace, you are containing the flames and embers, as well as protecting your fire from wind (which is both dangerous and super annoying). If you’ve already got a pool, adding the fireplace to the poolside area looks heavenly, and it will warm you up if you like to swim late into the season (or you’re taking advantage of the spa). If you’re working with an open space, consider making the fireplace the focal point of your backyard. Build a permanent stone seating area around the fireplace, and use your budget to really get creative with the stonework on it. Natural boulders, bricks, flagstone…what catches your eye? Perhaps some moulding or colorful glazing? Whatever suits you; make it your own!

Budgeting Your Way There

How much should you expect something like this to cost? Well, it depends on what you want and how much you’re willing to spend to get it. I mean, they sell chimineas at Kroger for $35, but if you really want something that looks nice, you’re looking at probably anywhere from $3000 to as much as $10,000 and more. You know that old saying, “you get what you pay for”? That definitely applies when you’re talking about something like this. You can’t expect to have that $35 Kroger chiminea last for 10 years (spoiler: mine lasted about 2 years before crumbling to pieces). But a gorgeous stone fireplace with a quality fire box and matching stone seating area, large enough to fit 10 people? Yeah, you could spend $10K on that, and enjoy it for the next 20 years. Worth it.

Happy fall, y’all! We are so happy that fall is here- football on the tv, brats on the grill, cold beer by the fire outside. Plus, fall is when we get to plan our spring projects. Have you gotten on our schedule yet? If you’re wanting that fireplace up and ready to go before next year, don’t wait because spots are filling up fast. Remember we service most of the eastern Metroplex, including Dallas, Plano, Richardson, Frisco, McKinney, Allen, Fairview, Lucas, Prosper, and much more. Give us a call and let’s get started!

Fall in Texas is Spelled F-O-O-T-B-A-L-L

Now that fall is officially here, it’s a great time to talk about another talent of ours- building outdoor pavilions and entertaining spaces!

Sunday Funday

With football season in full swing, I’m guessing your Saturdays and Sundays are booked solid for the next few months with game day fun. Watching the game with your buds is a time-honored tradition in America, and one that we take seriously in Texas. No self-respectin’ Texan is gonna miss watching their favorite team tear it up on the field, no sir! Heck, we even follow high school football like it’s another branch of the NFL!

So, with all this football love, why the heck are you still watching the game on a tiny television in your living room?

Best Way to Watch

Hands down, the best way to watch the game, besides actually being there, is outside on a big screen TV with a cold beer in one hand and a hunk of meat in the other, CAN I GET AN AMEN?! One of the things Natural Stone Pools specializes in is creating comfortable outdoor entertaining spaces for just this very scenario! Imagine this- a large, open air living room right next to your pool and spa, a fireplace on one end, a grill on the other with a built-in refrigerator and beverage cooler, and there, right in the middle, a giant television tuned in to your favorite team (hopefully) kicking butt up and down the field. Sounds perfect, right? Furnish this space with some comfy, cushioned outdoor loungers and chairs, and you’ve got the hot spot for all the football parties for the season!

Must-Have Features

When you’re building an outdoor space like that, you have tons of creative freedom, so really the sky’s the limit. Personally, I think that must-haves include a fireplace (North Texas weather can be unpredictable- 75 one day, 30 the next; a roaring fire can heat up your pavilion and keep that late-fall/early-winter chill at bay), a cooking area (this can be anything from a simple grill to a full stovetop range and oven combo), a refrigerator (size depends on your available space, but at the very least a mini fridge for easy access to cold bevs), television (obviously, that’s the whole point, right?), and comfortable seating. We’ve built luxury pavilions for clients with a full kitchen and an attached bathroom, which is a really nice touch; we’ve built simple pavilions for clients with just enough room for covered seating and a mounted TV. You can really go in any direction with it- it all depends on what your needs are and how we can fulfill them. I always think it’s a nice choice to have your pavilion situated close enough to the spa that you can enjoy the game while you have a good soak, but hey, that’s just me!

Space

I mean, it’s no lie that you’re gonna need some room for an outdoor entertainment space, but just because you might have limited available space doesn’t mean this dream has to die! A decent-sized pavilion can start at 10 feet by 8 feet and grow from there. We have the best team of designers and creatives in the Metroplex…believe me, Jerry and Shannon can make it work, and they will be straight with you if they can’t. Our goal, with all of our clients, is to make your backyard the kind of place you want to hang out in, at all times of the year, and we will work with you to make sure that you can make the most of the space you have.

Things We Can’t Do

We can build you the coolest outdoor living room in town. We can build you the perfect fireplace to keep it warm. We can build you the most beautiful stone grill and fridge combo to feed your guests. Unfortunately, though, there are a couple of things we can’t do. We can’t make your friends cool enough to hang out with you in your new palace. We can’t make those tasty brats lowfat for your calorie-conscious guests. And, saddest of all, we can’t, try as we might, make the Cowboys win (I mean, really, Boys get it together this year!).

For all your North Texas pavilion and outdoor entertainment space needs, however, give us a call! We service Plano, McKinney, Allen, Frisco, Richardson, Lucas, Fairview, Prosper, Melissa, Dallas, and many more locations throughout the DFW Metroplex.

Closing Down Your Pool for the Season

It’s that time of year again! Cooler temps are bringing an end to summer here in North Texas, and fall will be here before you know it. So how will you welcome autumn?

Hot Summers, Mild Winters

As summer draws to a close, I don’t need to remind you that summers here in the Metroplex are hotter than a habanero. It’s blazing, humid, and when you go outside you seriously question why the hell you live like this. Well, we live here because winters are generally extremely mild (and also tacos, but I digress). Sure it might snow every now and then, but mostly you can expect cool and rainy days. Because of this relaxed weather, you don’t really need to “close” your pool, at least not in the same sense as our East Coast friends do. The main thing you want to remember to do is to put up your toys, and keep your pool clean and free of debris. All the falling leaves are attracted to your pool like a moth to a flame and they can really gunk up your pool filter if you don’t stay on top of it. Also, winters here tend to bring plenty of rain, so make sure to check that pH balance to keep algae from growing over the winter.

Use Your Time Wisely

Since your pool isn’t in use right now, it’s the best time to plan any remodeling or repairs that you might need to have done. Coping tiles popped off? Let’s take a look at your expansion joints, and make adjustments as we find necessary. Cracks in the plaster? Let’s drain it and see about getting those repaired. Maybe you’re sick to death of your plain old plaster anyway, and it’s time we laid down some mosaic tiles or a fresh color. What about maybe a new deck to go around your swimmin’ hole? All of these can give your backyard a little facelift without breaking the bank, and we should get that planned out now while the weather is fine and the kids are occupied with school and football.

Convert to a Heated Pool and Just Keep Swimming!

Maybe this is the year that you splurge and buy a pool heat pump! For just a few grand, you can convert your pool from a summer-only playground to a year-round amenity. Just imagine- swimming on Christmas Day and not because of global warming! Heated pool pumps really help you get the most out of your pool all year long!

Just because fall is here doesn’t mean you should ignore your pool until June. Spruce it up, heat it up, or whatever you decide to prioritize. It’s your backyard oasis, so let’s make the most of it and take the best care that we can! If you live in the DFW Metroplex and want some ideas for how to change things up this season, give us a call! We service Dallas, McKinney, Plano, Frisco, Fairview, Prosper, Lucas, Richardson, Allen, and much more!

Happy Fall, everyone!