By Christy Heitger-Ewing

Nothing says summer like a dream outdoor bar, complete with cool countertops, a crystal-clear speaker system, and a giant flat-screen TV telecasting the big game. But how does one go about selecting the best products that can withstand the elements?

When choosing an outdoor countertop, Cory Kroger, CEO of Stone Artisans, suggests granite, a natural product that handles both heat and cold. (Synthetic products like Quartz, Corian, and laminates can crack and deteriorate.) Granite is competitively priced and also stands the test of time.

“We’ve had customers who have taken the financial shortcut by purchasing something cheaper initially, but they end up spending more in the long run because the product needs to be repeatedly replaced,” says Kroger.

The same is true when it comes to audiovisual equipment. Ray Rice, owner of Digital Sight & Sound, notes that while purchasing a television that’s rated for outdoor use will cost roughly 30-40 percent more, it’s a better alternative than moving an indoor television outside (and back in again). Not only is that a hassle, but should condensation enter the unit, it’s toast.

“Plus, this way when you get a wacky 60-degree January day, you can catch that sporting event while inhaling some fresh air,” says Rice.

Given that homeowners build outdoor living areas, so they can maximize relaxation and entertainment time, investing in the right equipment makes sense.

“You don’t build a spectacular outdoor living area and then put in an above-ground pool, just as you wouldn’t install a beautiful in-ground pool and then plop down camp chairs around it,” says Rice. “[All your choices] need to be commiserate with one another.”

Rice recommends achieving seamless audio coverage by tying the audio into the television so that the sound can be heard from everywhere in the outdoor space.

“This way there are no loud or quiet spots,” says Rice, who also suggests investing in an outdoor weatherproof remote control.

Navigating the pitfalls of planning an outdoor living space can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. The experts at Home Artisans are here to help customers build their dream outdoor space that can stand up to Indiana weather and be enjoyed for years to come.

Contact Home Artisans of Indiana at or visit them online at to learn more.