Top Hat Outdoor Living Blog

Creating Outdoor Spaces

Creating An Outdoor Space That Suits You, Uniquely

A one-size-fits-all outdoor space isn’t any more ideal than a one-size-fits-all home — we all have our own unique needs and expectations when it comes to both the inside and outside spaces we inhabit. That’s why we specialize in custom outdoor living spaces at Top Hat Outdoor Living. We don’t just want to help you improve your outdoor space (though that’s certainly part of our aim). We want to help create the exact outdoor living area you envisioned, whether it’s a simple and cozy nook that lets you cuddle up by a fire, or an expansive outdoor cooking area fit for a chef.

We know you have questions about what options are available to you. We have answers.

We know you have questions about what options are available to you. We have answers.

Some of the options we can walk through if you work with Top Hat on your outdoor living space:

A Patio That Suits Your Taste And Space

A home doesn’t look or feel finished without flooring, and an outdoor living space usually doesn’t look or feel finished without a patio to frame out and anchor it. If you plan to entertain or enjoy meals and togetherness outside, a patio makes that experience feel like a lot more than just sitting in the yard.

We work with different approaches and designs to help develop the perfect patio, whether it’s surrounding a pool or forming the base for your outdoor cook’s kitchen. We can go over the aesthetic and functional benefits of concrete and pavers, options for covering your patio (like a pergola) and how materials and designs fit into your budget and needs. At the end of the process, our aim is to deliver your vision, and to make you fall in love with your outdoor space.

An Outdoor Fireplace That Fits In Size And Design

We may be biased, but we think an outdoor fireplace really elevates an outdoor living area — makes it cozier, more comfortable and more beautiful. It also becomes a really strong focal point, so most of us want a fireplace that really exemplifies our taste, whether it’s something modern that carries through the aesthetic of the inside of our home, or a totally unique look that makes us feel like we were transported to a Tuscan olive grove.

At Top Hat Outdoor Living, we can design and build everything from a small and simple fire pit to an ornate fireplace with a prominent stone chimney and built-in seating around the sides. A custom fireplace gives you a chance to put a design stamp that really reflects your tastes — and we love turning those visions into reality.

An Outdoor Kitchen That Meets All Your Culinary Needs

If you love to cook, an outdoor kitchen can really enhance your life, from allowing you to stay among your guests while you cook (instead of running in and out of the house) to adding new tools to your arsenal, like a wood fired oven. At Top Hat Outdoor Living, we can outfit an outdoor kitchen with everything you need to have a perfect work and entertaining space, from a simple grill and cutting area to the whole works — refrigerator, dishwasher, even a wine cooler.

In terms of value, outdoor kitchens remain hugely popular with homeowners, and that popularity isn’t expected to slow down either — according to The American Society of Landscape Architects’ 2014 Residential Landscape Architecture Trends Survey, outdoor kitchens (and fire pits too) are still among the Top 10 Outdoor Design trends. So if you ever decide to sell, you know you’ve added something desirable (and something you’ve been able to love in the interim).

If you’ve been thinking about ways to make your outdoor living area more than it is — something that suits your needs to a T — Top Hat Outdoor Living would love to help you realize that vision. Just give us a call!





Want an Outdoor Fireplace?

Are You Dreaming About Adding An Outdoor Fireplace?

If you don't know how to spruce up your outdoor space, opt to have an outdoor fireplace installed. Know your options.

If you don’t know how to spruce up your outdoor space, opt to have an outdoor fireplace installed. Know your options.

While the dead of a Southern summer can get the best of all of us, we really do have a great weather benefit here in Middle Tennessee: extended, outdoor-time-friendly stretches in spring and fall that are made that much better with the addition of an outdoor fireplace.

At Top Hat Outdoor Living, we specialize in what our name implies: Turning outdoor areas into extensions of your home, whether that means building an expansive patio with a pergola, a customized outdoor kitchen or a cozy nook with an outdoor fireplace perfect for entertaining or family togetherness.

Sizes, Styles And Finishes: We Can Create Your Dream Fireplace

At Top Hat Outdoor Living, we’ve been creating outdoor fireplaces for more than two decades, and we’re committed to taking our clients’ visions and making them a reality.

We can customize your outdoor fireplace from start to finish, whether you’re looking for a simple fire pit or a large and detailed fireplace with intricate stone design that becomes the focal point of your property. We’ll work with you to choose materials (brick, stone, tile or beyond), pinpoint your desired aesthetic (clean and modern, or like the grounds of a Tuscan villa?) and decide on the right fuel (do you want the convenience of gas, or the classic charm of wood?). No matter how simple or grand your outdoor fireplace vision is, Top Hat Outdoor Living’s CSIA-certified technicians can bring it to life, with the detailed workmanship we’ve built our reputation on.

Your Outdoor Fireplace Can Be More Than A Fireplace

Are you passionate about culinary pursuits? Your outdoor living area can bring a versatile new tool into your cooking arsenal too. We regularly install, build and customize woodfire ovens for clients who want more than just warmth and ambiance from their outdoor fireplace. You can certainly sit and enjoy a glass of wine next to your woodfire oven, but you can also perfect your bread and pizza making, and cook a host of other dishes. Since woodfire ovens can get as hot as 1000° F, you can do a lot with these that you can’t do in your traditional oven. And like all of our outdoor appliances, we can customize your oven, and make it exactly what you want.

Ready to talk about the outdoor fireplace you’ve been picturing? We’d be glad to answer any questions you have, and talk options, approaches and installation. Give Top Hat Outdoor Living a call!

Advantages of a Woodfire Oven

If you want to make crispy crusted, mouth watering pizzas, then we suggest you have an outdoor woodfire oven installed. Call us now!

If you want to make crispy crusted, mouth watering pizzas, then we suggest you have an outdoor woodfire oven installed. Call us now!

It’s no secret: We are huge fans of woodfire ovens here at Top Hat Outdoor Living. For many of our outdoor kitchen clients in the Nashville, Franklin, and Brentwood, Tennessee, areas, the woodfire oven becomes the centerpiece of their outdoor living space. Not only are they extremely functional—capable of cooking up delicious pizzas, breads, and basically anything else you can imagine—but they’re also durable, beautiful, impressive structures built of masonry. Also known as “wood ovens,” “pizza ovens,” or “bread ovens,” woodfire ovens also add value to your home and really do transform your patio or garden into a beloved extension of your home. For many foodies and cooks, there is simply no substitute for the taste and tradition of a cooking oven that uses wood fuel.

How a Woodfire Oven Works

Woodfire ovens are available in both cast refractory and brick. They have three main components—the floor or hearth, the dome above the hearth, and the oven opening. To use one of these ovens, you must first light a fire to heat up the inside of the oven. During this stage of cooking the oven gets extremely hot—sometimes even more than 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. This is called the “firing” stage, after which you will no longer heat the oven, instead allowing it to cool over several hours or even days.

You’ll then push the ash and red hot coals to the outer parts of the oven (or sweep them out) to make room for the food you’ll put inside to be cooked. There is no steady temperature with a woodfire oven, as you can expect with a more traditional oven. Because the oven begins very hot and then gradually cools, slowly and evenly releasing heat over time, you will need to plan out what to cook when, depending on the varying temperatures the oven reaches.

The Ultimate Foodie Must-Have

It can be said that having a woodfire stove built at your home will be the beginning of a new lifestyle for you. If you’re a foodie or just look to cook, your woodfire oven will encourage you to add new flavors to your cooking and may change the way you feel about food forever. Many of our customers love that the way their woodfire oven helps them connect with traditional cooking styles. And there are certain things—pizza and bread chief among them—that are just best from a woodfired oven.

Many woodfire oven cooks like to experiment with the different tastes imparted by different woods. Dry hard wood works best—think oak, almond, fruitwood, walnut, avocado, olive, or pecan, while pine and spruce are too resinous to work well in a woodfired oven.

Also, please remember that wood-fired ovens don’t have to be outdoors. We can also install one inside your kitchen, taking your kitchen from ho-hum to dream kitchen. Just think how much more warm, functional, and inviting your kitchen would be with a wood fire oven. In addition we are happy to do woodfire oven installations in commercial settings, including for caterers, pizzerias, bakeries, and restaurants.

Best Things to Cook in a Woodfire Oven

Woodfire ovens are extremely versatile and can accommodate most any food, but there are some foods that especially benefit from time spent in a woodfire oven. Some of our favorites are below:

  • Pizza—Woodfired pizzas are known for having the crispiest crusts. Crispy, chewy, and dotted with char, their crusts are best cooked when the ovens are at their hottest.
  • Breads—All kinds, from whole-grained to sourdough, sweetbreads, and Turkish breads cook beautifully in a woodfired oven over the course of 4 to 6 hours. Breads do best once the oven has cooled a bit.
  • Meats and Seafoods—Steak, turkeys, fish, and lobster are always huge hits right off a woodfire oven.
  • Vegetables—Flavorful grilled vegetables are superb when cooked in this way.
  • Pies and Other Desserts—A baker’s dream is to bake a pie the way they used to be baked. Pies and desserts are best baked at lower temperatures.

If all of this sounds great to you, and you’d like to learn more about the woodfired oven lifestyle, contact Top Hat Outdoor Living today. We’ll get you cooking as quickly as possible.