About Custom Outdoors

Kenneth KlareI am a Houston native, born in Spring Branch Hospital and raised in the Spring Branch area. I had the usual paper routes as a kid and I mowed many of my neighbor’s lawns. I was 15 years old when my father got me a summer and weekend job working for a friend of his. The company was Buller Plumbing and Steel and I started out as a plumber’s helper. I dug a whole lot of ditches but I learned a lot along the way.

Over the next few years I worked on steel tying crews as well as plumbing crews. When I turned 18 years I started driving my own plumbing truck and running my own plumbing crew. I graduated from Westchester High School in 1984. In 1984, the economy in Houston wasn’t doing very well but was much better in the northeast part of the country. Anthony Sylvan Pools, one of the companies Buller Plumbing and Steel contracted for, sent the Houston crews to New Jersey to tie steel so I found myself, 18 years old, in New Jersey. We worked all summer 1984 in New Jersey but when the snow got too deep we headed back to Houston.

The following summer, I joined the Army Reserves and went to boot camp in Missouri. After Boot Camp I came back to Houston and Buller Plumbing and Steel. I was still plumbing pools and working hard when someone approached me about a new job. The swimming pool industry had really slowed down with Buller because of the down economy so Houston Spa and Deck became my next employer. The owner hired Buller to plumb their pools and spas so they had observed my work ethic, energy, and quality of work. I was always a very hard worker. They hired me to be their company plumber. I would get to run my own jobs so I moved on. On days that there were no pools or spas to plumb I would help out other crews so I learned a lot while with Houston Spa and Deck. I laid stone patios, learned to install tile, became a very proficient carpenter, poured and finished concrete, if it involved building a back yard I did it.

In 1988 I got married. Still working hard and learning all I could — then Desert Storm happened. I was activated and went to Saudi Arabia in 1990. All told I was active for 7 months, and while I was still in Saudi Arabia my boss contacted me and offered me a promotion upon my return from active duty. Also during this time I was becoming a father. My wife had our first of two children only 2 months after I returned from Desert Storm in 1991.

My promotion moved me from being exclusively a laborer in the field to being a job manager/salesman. I managed all the company’s jobs in the field and I started selling in the showroom. I realized I could sell so the next logical step was to learn to design. So, that is what I did. By this time Houston Spa and Deck became Backyard Creations. I was still the Project Manager/Salesman. I always enjoyed working on and building swimming pools with Buller Plumbing and Steel and Anthony Sylvan Pools but Houston Spa and Deck then Backyard Creations didn’t focus on pools they sold spas and the decks and arbors that went with them. We only built a few pools a year. So it was time for me to move on again.

In 1996, I started Custom Outdoors. Custom Outdoors was literally created while my wife and I drove down the Katy Freeway one afternoon. I wanted to call it Custom Outdoor Living but my wife thought that was too long and shortened it to Custom Outdoors. I still sold decks and arbors but I put more emphasis on swimming pools. Now I design backyards and create complete outdoor living environments. Custom swimming pools, outdoor kitchens, pizza ovens, fire places, fire pits, fish ponds, gazebos, shade arbors, Texas porches, walkways, unlimited water features, wood decks — If you want it in your back yard Custom Outdoors can create it for you