Five steps to a successful outdoor kitchen project

In addition to designing and installing custom pools, we also offer outdoor kitchens and total backyards. Whether you’re looking to simply create a fun space for your family to gather or want to take your entertaining game to the next level, an outdoor kitchen or total backyard is a great option.

First, let’s talk about an outdoor kitchen project versus a total backyard. An outdoor kitchen is pretty much what it sounds like—a space to cook outdoors. That could mean anything from a custom wood-burning grill to a fully equipped kitchen with countertops, stove, oven, and sink. For a total backyard project, that includes not only the backyard kitchen, but also landscaping, sprinklers, pool/spa, pergola, and anything else to create your ideal backyard oasis.

Here are a few things to consider when thinking about an outdoor kitchen or total backyard project.

Step 1: Write down your vision for the space

With the wide range of outdoor kitchen options available, the first step is defining your vision for how you plan to use the space. Are you primarily looking for a built-in grill and a small workspace for hamburgers and hotdogs while your family enjoys a day by the pool? Or are you planning to host groups of people for outdoor dinners several times a month? Will the space be enjoyed by adults only or families with children?

If you’re hosting regular outdoor dinner parties, you probably don’t want to be running back and forth between your inside kitchen and outdoor kitchen the entire evening, which impacts the features of your outdoor kitchen. A larger workspace, a full sink, and both a grill and a stove top let you spend more time outside with your guests rather than inside prepping or cleaning up.

Step 2: Be realistic about your budget

As with any home improvement project, there’s always a budget, and that budget is going to impact your decisions about all sorts of things. It’s important to be realistic about the budget up front, so be sure you have an open conversation about your budget early in the process.

Also, when you’re thinking about your budget for a project, it’s important to factor in how long you plan to own that property. If you’re building your dream back yard in the last house you plan to own, you may have a bigger budget than if creating an outdoor space in a house you plan to sell a few years down the road.

Step 3: Identify your priorities

As you start thinking about your vision for an outdoor kitchen or total backyard, it helps to prioritize your list of features. What do you absolutely need in your outdoor kitchen? What do you want but don’t necessarily need? Having that clear list of priorities can help as you plan your project to fit within your budget.

Step 4: Know the process up front

When we work with customers to create an outdoor kitchen or total backyard, we have a specific process we follow. First, we meet with the homeowner at their property, listen to their vision, put that vision into a 3D program, talk about their list of needs and wants, and then get into the project logistics and budget. It’s important to know the process overview and at what point in the process your can make changes without incurring additional cost.

Step 5: Communicate throughout the project

Clear communication between the homeowner and the designer is one of the most critical factors for success in any project. If you have questions or concerns about anything, speak up! It’s better to talk through all the options and possibilities up front and have a shared understanding of the project goals. Without clear communication, a project can go over budget or end up different than what you really wanted.

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