Freshen up for fall

photo courtesy: pexels.com

Spring is the season we typically equate with new life and new growth – a season of renewal. Even with that being true, fall remains an excellent time to breathe new life into the yard or garden. How is that so? Some thoughts probably come to mind easily, such as re-seeding the lawn. But there are other things you can do at this time of year that will make a big difference right now and will also be a benefit come springtime.

Many summer annuals have run their course. Instead of letting their pots stay empty for several months, try planting some winter pansies or ornamental cabbage. If you’re unsure of what to do, just call the ever-helpful Miranda Alumbaugh in our Abilene office and she will be more than happy to give you some pointers! Fall is also a wonderful time to give new trees a healthy start. Planting in the fall allows trees to develop their root system before warmer months roll around. Our Extreme Exteriors designers can help you determine the right trees for your home and our landscaping crews will do an excellent job planting any new trees if that is something you would like help with.

American Smoke Tree, photo courtesy: wildflower.org

With our busy lifestyles, sometimes it is hard to keep live plants flourishing. If this is a challenge for you, there are still solutions! Just as cut flowers breathe life into a room, many plants are harvested in the fall and can make your outdoor space look more alive. A few bright orange pumpkins will really add some color, as will striped or spotted gourds. Consider how an interior designer uses texture in a space, and think about adding some corn stalks or hay bales to add variety and visual interest. If you want to add something green, why not consider a small evergreen? They can go in pots or into the ground and will be a welcome constant as the seasons change.

Finally, remember that fall is a wonderful time to plant various tubers and bulbs, giving you something to look forward to when spring does roll around. We encourage you to try one or two things this season to keep your exterior looking fresh and vibrant. We’re here to help if you need a question answered or a design created for your unique space. Most of all, we hope you enjoy this wonderful season of the year!

The Big Green Egg

Have you ever tasted a dish so delicious that you just had to find the recipe? When you join the community of Big Green Egg aficionados, you’ll be blown away at how much amazing food you can cook on your EGG. Whether you’re cooking for two on a BGE Minimax, or cooking for a crowd on an extra-large EGG, you can guarantee that friends and family will ask you, “How does this taste so amazing?”

photo courtesy: thepatrioticpam.com

photo courtesy: thepatrioticpam.com

Let’s face it, cooking is work, but the Big Green Egg makes it fun and easy! Getting the temperature right is simple, with the high-quality temperature gauge that measures accurately up to 750 degrees F. Big Green Egg also offers several digital thermometers, so you’re never guessing about the meat’s internal temperature.

Prepping your EGG is a breeze, with BGE’s own organic charcoal that has no by-products, chemical fillers, or petroleum additives. Use BGE’s all-natural charcoal starters or the Looftlighter to get your charcoal ready. Throw in some BGE wood chips to create your signature flavor! Choose from mesquite, hickory, cherry, pecan, and even Jack Daniel’s barrel chips to create hundreds of mouth-watering combinations. Caroline McCann, owner of Braeside Meat Market said, “Once I did a home-made bacon smoking demo on the Big Green Egg using some smoking chips and the result was ridiculously divine. When I opened the lid ready to remove the bacon, the smell reached the audience and there was a collective sigh and everyone looked longingly towards the EGG – I wish I’d taken a photo.”*

You’ll have photo-worthy results every time because the EGG is so consistent. The EGG was specifically engineered to provide the best heat retention, durability, and strength of any outdoor cooker on the market. These qualities make the EGG the product that withstands the test of time and can even be handed down from one generation to the next!

photo courtesy: Lauren Wilson, Extreme Exteriors

photo courtesy: Lauren Wilson, Extreme Exteriors

Literally anyone can cook, grill, or even bake on the BGE. Vivian Howard of Chef & the Farmer in North Carolina said, “At first we were a bit intimidated by the EGG because it’s such an impressive looking piece of equipment. You might think it requires a tremendous amount of skill to use, but it’s infinitely easier than our old grill. I was never the one in my family to cook on the grill and now, more often than not, I am. The EGG has made me the grill cook that I always thought I could be.”*

Essex residence

photo courtesy: Anchoring Hope Photography, Essex residence

Using BGE items such as the baking stone or the Conveggctor, any pizzas, breads, or pies will turn out perfectly. The Conveggctor provides a heat-directing barrier between the charcoal and the food, essentially turning it into an outdoor convection oven.

Many Extreme Exterior’s clients love to use the EGG, and our construction team often builds them into our clients’ outdoor kitchens. Our showrooms in Midland and Abilene also have a good selection of EGGs and accessory items so you can see for yourself how impressive they are. You can find even more cooking tips, warranty information, and tasty recipes on the Big Green Egg website. Once you’re cooking with your own EGG, you can join the online EGGhead forum, and share the unique culinary creations that you achieve. So come see us to buy your EGG and get grilling!

Benefits of an outdoor kitchen

If you’re an outdoor person, then an outdoor kitchen might be just the thing for you! Many people would much rather be outside, breathing fresh air and enjoying the sights and sounds than stuck inside the kitchen behind a hot stove. Especially if everyone else is outside playing, why should you be one left alone inside preparing dinner? For this reason and more, outdoor kitchens are a popular option to consider when designing your ideal outdoor living area.outdoor-kitchens1

What goes into an outdoor kitchen? It all depends on what you want, and we’ll design the outdoor kitchen area to suit your needs. Some clients ask us to build a generous patio area with space for one or two dining sets. Others prefer to include a bar only with bar stools. Some clients want the works, including a sink, outdoor refrigerator, cabinets, grill, and plenty of counter space. Another popular option is to build a space for a Big Green Egg. The Big Green Egg is well-loved for its long life and consistent results.  

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Hanamint Chateau round firepit table

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California Outdoor Concepts

In addition to cooking and prep space, some clients also like the addition of a fireplace or a firepit to sit and chat by the glow of firelight. When we build a fireplace or firepit, we work hard to design a look that will complement the look of the home and patio. When considering firepits, there are many stand-alone options to choose from, including wrought-iron looks from Hanamint, stone tabletop options from California Outdoor Concepts, and wood-look varieties from Ebel. Our construction team also has a lot of experience with creating gorgeous built-in firepits.

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Dash and Albert rug, photo courtesy: Dash and Albert

Often our retail team works closely with the design team to complete the look, recommending outdoor furniture, rugs, pottery and accessories. As a valued Extreme Exteriors client, you will receive a customer appreciation discount item on most retail items so that you can begin enjoying your outdoor kitchen to the fullest the moment it’s complete. 

So take a minute and consider how you might benefit from an outdoor kitchen. They’re gaining in popularity for more than one reason! If you’re not sure where to begin but you like the idea, give us a call and we’d be more than happy to have a designer meet with you and come up with the plans for your ideal outdoor kitchen!

Design Consultation – Inspiration

Photo by: Lisa Romerein

Photo by: Lisa Romerein for Santa Barbara Magazine

Every Extreme Exteriors project begins with a design consultation. And even though we’re a Texas based company, we encourage our clients to search far and wide when they are coming up with their design inspirations. Today we’re going coast-to-coast to show that design inspiration can come from all across the United States! We love it when our clients think big and challenge us creatively.

We start in California, which has been synonymous with outdoor living for decades. In fact, one of the homes featured in this article from Santa Barbara magazine still looks amazing after more than 100 years! Titled “Gardens of Eden,” we were impressed with the rock walls, fountains, and mature trees that graced one of the featured properties. We could easily see this translating well into an Extreme Exteriors landscape, especially one that had some mature trees already on the property. A second Santa Barbara property featured a pool with agave plants in beautiful pottery. Agave plants do well in Texas, and this would not be a difficult look to recreate.

Photo by: Lisa Romerein for Santa Barbara Magazine

Photo by: Lisa Romerein for Santa Barbara Magazine

Second, we travel north to Minneapolis, Minnesota, known for its many public gardens. We were impressed with the Normandale Japanese Garden in nearby Bloomington. Take a look at the small bridge leading over the stream.

Photo from Normandale Community College

Photo from Normandale Community College

Wouldn’t it be fun to add this to your backyard, especially if it led to a little she-shed? If you didn’t like the Japanese style, you could find a different type of she-shed or small structure and the Extreme Exteriors team could build it! Of course, the nearby trees have to withstand the Minnesota snow and wind, so our designers would need to choose appropriate trees and shrubs.  Our experienced team understands that the same kinds of plants that do well in Aledo may not survive in Andrews, but we can answer any questions about plant hardiness during the design consultation visit.

Photo from Normandale Community College

Photo from Normandale Community College

Finally, we head east to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, home to Flamingo Gardens. Flamingo Gardens showcases several varieties of gardens. Of course the tropical rainforest garden would not translate well in most of Texas, but several of their other gardens

Photo from: USA Today 10 Best

Photo from: USA Today 10 Best

including the butterfly and hummingbird garden, the xeriscape garden, and the wildflower garden, all have inspiration to offer. And remember, it’s not always just about the landscape plants — many times you may gain inspiration for the layout of the flower beds or the patio as you gather your design ideas. Our designers work with you to achieve the look you want to create. So look far and wide, gather those ideas, and meet with us to create your perfect look!

Photo from: USA Today 10 Best

Photo from: USA Today 10 Best

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