Seven Oaks, Austin, Texas

Propane is the secret behind this home's spectacular 2,000-square-foot outdoor living space.

When Ron and Lori Olfers say they love to entertain, they mean it. The couple, who live in the Seven Oaks subdivision in Austin, Texas, use their expansive 2,000-square-foot outdoor living space for a wide range of functions, including church events, concerts, fundraiserseven a wedding. The Olfers and their close friends also use the space for smaller, more intimate gatherings all through the year.

The key features of the outdoor living space include a kitchen with a Wolf grill, a spa, two pools, and a fireplace. Those features have helped make entertaining a breeze, thanks to energy supplied by metered gas service from a community propane tank. "With propane, I never think about it not being there," says Ron Olfers. "I just turn it on."

Another propane characteristic that appeals to the family is its clean-burning nature. That important environmental benefit is a selling point for consumers who seek to balance value with green-conscious building or remodeling investments. "It's less expensive to heat a home with propane than electricity," says Michael Bodine, area manager for Austin-based Sharp Propane, which provides service to the Olfers' neighborhood.

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