Party in the Back: Build a better space for outdoor entertaining

Summer is here, and that means heading outside for pool parties, cookouts and all-around fun. And whether you’re just beginning to plan an outdoor kitchen or ready to upgrade your existing space, consider these essential building blocks for creating an outdoor entertaining area you’ll enjoy and want to share all summer (and beyond).



Detail photo of outdoor kitchen countertops, flooring and stacked stone panels that make up the island
Some of your favorite indoor surfaces — think quartz, granite, marble or travertine — are equally suited for outdoor living. Above, this kitchen features Tuscany Beige travertine pavers, Babylon Gray quartz countertops and Rustic Gold RockMount stacked stone panels for the cabinet base’s exterior. (
MSI Stone)


Modern outdoor kitchen arranged in a half moon layout with light gray pavers and black tiles

For the minimalist who wants elevated design and clean, smooth lines, Techo-Bloc’s Industria collection of pavers is teamed up with the company’s newest finish, HD 2. The smooth Para HD 2 stone pavers, shown here in Greyed Nickel, create a sleek pathway to the kitchen space. The large pavers transition to the long, thin Industria rectangles — also in Greyed Nickel — set in a half-moon floor that echoes the kitchen’s curved design. Industria pavers in Onyx Black are nestled atop large river rocks and provide another pathway from the kitchen to adjacent outdoor entertaining areas. (Techo-Bloc)


Cambria USA Roxwell quartz beauty photos with an arrangement of cut citrus.

Outdoor countertops should meet all of the same requirements they do indoors, as well as be able to stand up to the elements. Natural quartz, shown here in the Roxwell pattern by Cambria®, is a strong choice. Not only is quartz remarkably durable — even more than marble or granite — it is maintenance-free, nonporous and nonabsorbent, making it ideal for food prep and meals. (Cambria)


Cabinets & Islands

Not unlike the aforementioned surfaces, today’s outdoor kitchen cabinet options are as elegant and modern as the most upscale interior cabinets. NatureKast offers truly modern and totally weatherproof options, from the PVC cabinet and drawer boxes to the resin used to create the door and drawer fronts that look and feel like real wood.

NatureKast Contempo Door Style Cabinets Arctic Slate finish in a rustic contemporary outdoor kitchen NatureKast outdoor kitchen cabinets in the Louver and Slab door styles in a Silver Birch finish

The new Contempo door style, shown here (top) in Arctic Slate, is a transitional design that is equally at home in a modern space or a rustic, farmhouse-style space. A combination of slab and louvered door styles in the Silver Birch finish (above) contrasts with the darker finish of the flooring and the solid wood beams overhead, and imparts an upscale coastal cottage vibe to the heart of this outdoor entertaining space. (NatureKast)


John Michael Kitchens Modern Marine Blue Flat Panel Cabinets with Wolf stainless steel grill.

John Michael Kitchens — makers of some of the most luxurious outdoor kitchens around — uses marine-grade 316L stainless steel for all of their handmade cabinets. Resistant to rust and corrosion, marine-grade stainless steel offers weatherproof protection in any environment, not just coastal areas. Available with two door styles (Shaker-style inset doors or flat-front panels, shown above) and more than a dozen colors, including Marine Blue, shown here. (John Michael Kitchens)


John Michael Kitchens Trio Freestanding Stainless Steel Outdoor Kitchen Components

An emerging trend in outdoor kitchen design is the freestanding mobile kitchen or mobile cart. From a chef’s prep station to storage cabinets to even a pizza oven cart, the options from John Michael Kitchens all feature the same heavy duty marine-grade stainless steel used to handcraft the brand’s built-in cabinets. Add low-profile casters that are virtually undetectable, and you’re on the move to becoming a backyard chef. (John Michael Kitchens)


Outdoor Kitchen Island with wood faced cabinets and VIking Stainless steel grill and appliances

Outdoor kitchen packages from Viking® are available as pre-configured designs based on the brand’s stainless steel outdoor kitchen cabinets. With island, angled and straight-lined layouts, and from four to eight cabinets, Viking’s outdoor kitchen packages are designed to accommodate their award-winning grills, warming drawers, side burners and more. (Viking)

Stay tuned for our July guide to American-made grills, smokers and other outdoor cooking essentials. In the meantime, learn how a folding door system can open up your home to all of the possibilities that outdoor entertaining has to offer.


Photos courtesy of vendors. 

Outdoor Living Spaces: A light-filled home blurs the line between indoors and out

Maximize outdoor living spaces with patio doors that extend the comforts of home to the backyard and beyond.

In a home filled with windows, Jenni Rahrig has one that she loves a little more than the others. “My favorite window in the entire house is the sliding patio door. I use it all day, every day,” she says.


When Jenni and her husband Jeff began looking for a new residence a few years ago, they realized that, to achieve the amount of natural light they desired, building a new home trumped undertaking a renovation. The couple worked with Grandfather Homes in Charlotte, North Carolina, to create their dream home.

The Rahrigs’ home is a great example of the builders’ signature style. “We consider it traditional yet progressive architecture,” says Missy Bagley, sales representative with Grandfather Homes. “We want our homes to feel familiar and comfortable, yet gracious and well-appointed.”


The couple’s style is wonderfully modern, with light being one of the most important elements in the design. “We knew from the beginning that windows would be a big part of the home,” Jeff says, and Jenni agrees. “Light is so important to our design aesthetic, and we wanted to make sure we maximized the amount of light that we had coming into our home.”


Through these doors lies one of Jenni’s favorite spots in the home—the covered terrace and the pool. “It’s just beautiful,” she says of the outdoor living space. Jeff and Jenni chose Custom™ wood JELD-WEN patio doors, which allowed them to customize the interior and exterior color of the doors. JELD-WEN patio doors are made for blurring the lines between indoors and out.

Once the exact placement of the home on the lot was determined, the team at Grandfather Homes extended the back of the floor plan to maximize the outdoor living space and poolscape. This allowed for the great room to naturally transition — almost vanish — into the covered terrace. 


Covered terrace overlooking a swimming pool

Overlooking the pool, the covered terrace has a broom-finished concrete floor and stained wood ceiling, which is accented by cedar-wrapped columns. The terrace is outfitted with clean-lined furniture in a neutral hue that blends with the surrounding space; orange cushions give the décor just the right amount of color.


During the day, the patio is a welcome respite after soaking up the sun in the pool, and in the evening it’s made for dinner and drinks for two or more. “It was such a pleasure to work alongside Jeff and Jenni to design their dream home,” Missy says. “We are so proud of this home and trust their family will enjoy it for years to come!”

Jeff and Jenni’s home offers major design inspiration at every turn. To see the full home tour, visit Grandfather Homes’ portfolio.


Side Yards with Serious Curb Appeal

Design a passageway that transitions your home’s landscape style from the front yard to the back

Long and narrow, wide and wild, short and sweet: Side yards come in all shapes and sizes. Make the most of this sometimes-overlooked space with design elements that create a seamless transition between your home’s outdoor style from the front yard to the back. Whether you start from scratch with new landscaping or reinvent your current space, a well-designed side yard will elevate your home’s curb appeal.

Classic Modern Beach Cottage with Green Shutters Brick Patio Curb Appeal JELD WEN Doors Windows
Short and sweet! For such a tiny space, this verdant cottage packs major design inspiration. The absence of a traditional side yard invites creativity, and instead of a grassy area the primary surface here is brick pavers laid in a classic herringbone pattern. A lush strip of grass partially divides the surface, leading the eye first to the container installation and on to the simple wood-slat gate. Shrubs and ornamental grasses, as well as the charming window boxes, complete the space.
Slightly offset and asymmetrical, this modern walkway of oversized stone tiles set atop a bed of river rocks makes a strong visual impact. The path stretches the length of this Texas home, and is framed on one side by a living wall. A towering privacy fence could impart a tunnel-like look and feel, but a swath of golden bamboo keeps the passage airy and inviting. The bamboo, which can grow 30 to 60 feet tall, obscures an existing fence and brings movement and texture to the walkway. Steve Nedd, owner of Outer Image Design, says of the design: “We use [natural elements like the bamboo] when there is close proximity to adjacent properties—it’s great for maintaining an open feel in a tight space.”


This Mediterranean-style California estate is replete with gardens, including this spacious side yard. A wooden bench is flanked by a pair of young trees, creating the perfect spot for relaxation. The surrounding beds of flowering plants are ready to burst into a riot of color. The rustic walkway is accented with lantern-style landscape lights that are a design element during the day, and provide a safe, illuminated path after dark. Designed and installed by Torrey Pines Landscape Company in San Diego, the home’s gardens and outdoor living spaces were chosen as an editor’s pick in HGTV’s 2018 Ultimate Outdoor Awards. The category? Picturesque Landscapes.
wall planter for side yard filled with leafy green plants
Whether space is tight or time is limited, a quick and easy way to add visual appeal to a side yard space is with a wall planter. Installed on the exterior of your home, wall planters are available in all shapes, sizes and materials. This Jamie Durie Planter Blanket from Pottery Barn is an impressive 47.25 inches wide and 43.5 inches high, with eight large and two small plant pockets. For a small space, one large planter creates an eye-catching work of natural art. Large areas will be transformed with groups of three or more planters arranged on your home’s exterior and even on an adjacent fence.
For more outdoor inspiration, our patio door gallery is filled with unique views.

Curb Appeal After Dark: Let Landscape Lighting Illuminate Your Home

Light up the night with beautiful landscape lighting design

From the manicured lawn to the well-appointed porch, you’ve worked hard to create a home that is welcoming to guests and eye-catching to passersby. The addition of a well-planned landscape lighting design will ensure your home’s curb appeal is in the spotlight even when the sun goes down.

But where to start? Consider your home and the surrounding property. Are there areas you want to illuminate for safety, such as steps and walkways? Does your home have architectural details that simply must be seen at night? Perhaps you have flower beds filled with interesting plants or decorative elements such as statuary?

Once you have chosen the focal points of your lighting plan, it’s time to explore the different types of landscape lighting.   


Types of Landscape Lighting

Hinkley Pathlights Round Posts

Path lighting adds style and safety to a walkway. Consider the light output of your fixtures to determine spacing that keeps the light from overlapping. Stagger the lights along each side of the walkway to create pools of light that illuminate a safe passage to the home’s entrance. (Atlantis Round Bollard, Hinkley Lighting)


Exterior Night image of modern multi level home with landscape and hardscape lighting

Hardscape lighting is ideal for use with brick or stone columns and under all types of steps, including wood, stone, brick and composite. It also works well on the underside of outdoor surfaces such as hand railing and fence rails.


Nighttime image of a home's exterior that is illuminated with spot lights

Spotlights are the workhorses of landscape fixtures. Use them to highlight the most visually-appealing focal points such as foliage, trees and architectural elements, like this home’s stone façade. (120v retrofit path and accent lights, Kichler Lighting)


Steps with lighted risers leading to entryway with modern JELD WEN door and windows.

Step lighting is a safety must for any outdoor zones with elevation elements, especially in areas without overhead lighting. Consider the traffic pattern of your space to ensure commonly used areas are covered. Step lights should be installed on the horizontal center of each riser.


Landscape Lighting Techniques


Beautiful home exterior landscape lighting grazing technique

Grazing emphasizes a textured surface — think tree trunks or stonework — by placing a light source within one foot of that surface and aiming the light beam parallel to it. 


Uplighting and downlight landscape light techniques displayed along a walkway and wall

Uplighting illuminates an area, surface or object from below to create a focal point in the landscape. For example, a spotlight is aimed at the tree in the foreground while the front of the home remains relatively dark. Alternately, downlighting illuminates an area from above, such as a tree-mounted spotlight pointed at specific garden elements or an area that needs a little extra light for safety. (FX Luminaire Lighting)


Landscape Lighting Design Techniques Shadowing and Silhouetting

Shadowing is an effect created by placing a light source in front of an object and projecting a shadow onto a surface behind the object. For example, placing spotlights directly in front of a row of bushes will produce shadows on the home’s façade. Silhouetting is used to dramatize a uniquely-shaped object, with a spotlight placed between the object and the front of the home. (Spot and path lighting, Kichler Lighting)


Landscape lighting design should be equal parts functionality and creativity. Whether you illuminate a simple walkway with path lighting, or project the shadows of hedges onto the front façade of your home, landscape lighting will ensure your property’s best features are in the spotlight. 


Photos courtesy of vendors.

Welcome! Chic Entryway Décor Makes a Great First Impression

Coastal Cottage Curb Appeal Entryway Inspiration Board

No matter your style, a few easy additions to your home’s entryway are all it takes to amp up the curb appeal

Traditional Traditional Curb Appeal Entryway Inspiration

Stately architecture deserves equally elegant curb appeal, and what better way to begin accessorizing than with a grand light fixture? Designed by E.F. Chapman and available at Circa Lighting, the large Darlana Arc lantern is just over two feet tall and 17 inches wide, and is available in a bronze finish that will complement a variety of exteriors. Large brushed brass Newberry house numbers offer a classic finish in a transitional style, and pair perfectly with the unadorned, clean-lined Adkinson wall-mounted mailbox in aged brass. Both items available at Rejuvenation. Complete the look with a pair of planters spilling over with beautiful blooms—the crimson Darcey Bussell shrub rose from David Austin Roses is compact and perfect for containers, like the zinc Litchfield planter by Century Furniture.


Coastal Cottage

Coastal Cottage Curb Appeal Entryway Inspiration Board

Attention: Casual does not mean boring! In fact, a laid-back cottage-style home lends itself to truly unique and eye-catching curb appeal options. To illuminate your entry, consider a wall-mounted marine light in weathered zinc—it will add a touch of coastal charm whether you’re on the beachfront or in the subdivision. Hand-painted address tiles—like this one from Wayfair—add playful color and texture to an entrance. In lieu of a standard door mat, this hedgehog shoe cleaner is cute, functional and ready to greet guests. Who needs a regular planter when you can have a sweet little iron bicycle sculpture instead? Park this little cruiser by Olivia & May on your porch and fill with containers overflowing with easy-care plants like ColorBlaze Apple Brandy coleus and Diamond Delight euphorbia, both from Proven Winners. At just 21-inches-by-10-inches, it’s the ideal size for small spaces.


Modern Modern Curb Appeal Entryway Inspiration Boards

Freshen up a modern entryway with natural materials and finishes. Frame your front door in light with a pair of Dunmore sconces in polished nickel with curved, louvered glass shades, from Circa Lighting. Minimalist house numbers, like the Modern Avalon collection from Atlas Homewares, offer a sleek way to display your address, while the Mid-Century Post-Mount Mailbox from Rejuvenation adds a not-so-serious pop of color that is sure to make snail mail fun. Eco-friendly and weather resistant, this raised door mat from Crate & Barrel is crafted from sustainable teak for a decidedly Zen welcome. Low-maintenance plants like these colorful varieties of sweet potato vine introduce movement and texture, and are perfect for filling planters like this iron and wood pot from Wayfair.

Your entryway is the perfect place to make a statement about your personal style. Let the timeless artisan finishes and on-trend colors and textures of the JELD-WEN Statement Collection of exterior doors lead the way.

Inside & Out: Choose windows that look amazing from every perspective

From new builds to renovations, choose windows that have as much inner beauty as they do curb appeal

Exterior photo of two story modern home with pitched rooflines and JELD WEN windows

There are two sides to every window: The exterior that’s presented to neighbors and passersby, and the interior that frames your view. One complements the architecture of your home, while the other blends seamlessly with your interior style. That may sound like a lot to consider when you choose windows, but with a variety of interior and exterior finishes and clad colors, as well as trim styles and hardware options, JELD-WEN Siteline wood windows are crafted to exceed your expectations.


Two Story Interior image of modern home with all white walls and window trim

In such an open, modern home, the walls of no-grille windows offer unobstructed views and lots of natural light. On the inside, the windows have a white finish that coordinates with the home’s all-white interior. Along the bottom of each window configuration, functional awning windows are outfitted with white hardware that almost completely disappears, keeping the focus on the beautiful view.

Contemporary home with unique pitched roofline and open air patios and outdoor areas

Outside, the clad-wood windows have a black finish that, against the home’s subdued slate-blue exterior, elevates them beyond functional necessity and establishes them as a major design element for the entire home. Not only do the windows look good, they’re made from AuraLast pine, which protects against wood rot, water saturation and termites.

Choose windows that amplify the best details of your home, such as the multi-level roofline of this modern abode.

Exterior photo of modern home with many lights and unique pitched rooflines

Think a home with so many windows and no treatments or blinds would be impossible to regulate, temperature wise? Not so fast! The Low-E 366 glass blocks infrared rays and keeps the home cooler in the summer by reflecting heat to prevent it from entering the home. And in the winter, the glass minimizes heat loss by reflecting it back inside. Low-E 366 glass is standard on Siteline wood windows. Another standard feature is Neat glass, which uses the sun’s UV rays to loosen dirt on the window, allowing it to be easily washed away by rainwater. A must for a home with so many magnificent windows!


Interior photo of modern master bathroom with spa like decor and stand alone soaking tub

The second-floor master bath is absolutely breathtaking—from the standalone soaking tub to the modern floating vanity and soothing, barely-there color palette. Unobstructed views continue here, with the surrounding trees outside serving as a natural privacy screen. A frosted glass panel helps diffuse sunlight and keeps the space worthy of a five-star spa.


Modern staircase with windows on one side and leading to the second floor landing

The home’s well thought-out architectural and interior design intersect beautifully at the staircase. The modern risers and handrails echo the lines of both the windows and the home’s exterior, giving the homeowners an eye-catching geometric view from each floor.

Before your next project, learn more about the possibilities of Siteline windows.