Many of us are still working from home and/or overseeing our kids’ education from the kitchen table. Although your long-awaited trip to Tahiti may be on hold, perhaps it’s time to look to your backyard to find the serenity you seek — after a long day of 6th grade math! And Zoom meetings!
To branch out to leafier pastures, you may have already started with some DIY backyard landscaping. Or perhaps you finally took that partly shady, partly sunny stretch of earth and carved your own vegetable garden to enjoy yard-to-table freshness every day!
To make the most of this blank slate of a backyard space, you can start by giving your yard a hearth. It will offer a central place to gather. Think a stunning, brick or adobe pizza oven. Or a firepit that seats as few as two or as many as twelve. Bring in some cushy lounge chairs and you’ve got serious relaxation ambiance.
Dressing your patio in little white lights and accenting it with shade sails and perhaps even rich textiles hung from rods can elevate even the simplest slab of concrete. Pergolas are wonderful for defining a space and drawing the eye to a new focal point. When you surround one in a verdant variety of flowering shrubbery, intertwine vines throughout the lattice, and then top it off with a bench for birdwatching, you’ll have transformed what was once a dreary niche.
Less is more when it comes to home and exterior décor. You needn’t overwhelm any of these structures. They will stand beautifully on their own with just the right touch of adornments. Whether your budget is modest or robust, you can successfully expand or enhance your exterior living space to suit any aesthetic or practical need.
This may be your next, exciting step. There are millions and millions of configurations possible (with just as many budget options) to make your backyard feel like a true destination. So, where to begin?
Outdoor kitchens needn’t be goliath structures like you’ve seen in a movie star’s vacation home in Tuscany. You can add as much or as little equipment as you need to treat your family to your vision for resort-style living.
Your primary considerations are:
- Finding licensed professionals who come highly recommended and stand by their work
- Verifying the credentials and licenses of EVERY person who does work in or around your home
- Understanding and complying with all local ordinances
- Determining the best possible spot for a seamless integration into the existing space
- Getting everything in writing
- Obtaining a line by line breakdown of all labor and equipment
- Agreeing on what money is due when
- Establishing the best mode and frequency of communication with your contractor
- Deciding how you’ll finance the project
What’s the Plan?
According to the experts at The Creativity Exchange:
“The best way to get started when planning an outdoor kitchen or outdoor structure like a pergola or pool house is by hiring a good landscaper to advise you. Be sure and check references!! If you’re going to build a structure of any kind in your yard, most people think the best place to start is by hiring a contractor first but a highly experienced landscaper is invaluable through the beginning of this process. A good landscaper can advise you about drainage issues, how much space you can have without having to cut trees, dirt excavating (if you will need that), water/gas lines coming through your yard and the issues that go along with that.”
You’ll also want to take into consideration how you will use the kitchen:
- You can of course go super high-end with top-of-the-line appliances, enclosed pantry, outdoor TV, secondary grills, smokers, trash compacters, wet bars, beer taps, and pizza ovens. You can even set up this space for year-round use with patio heaters and heated concrete. But are these additions that look cool, unnecessary for your purposes?
- Understand also, your outdoor kitchen needn’t be completely utilitarian with no personality. You can take over the niche at the head of your pool, nestle a modest kitchen beneath a striking pavilion outfitted with a bar and some stools, a few club chairs, a grill top, and a couple burners, and you’ll have everything you need for the most splendid staycation or Saturday night!
- Is yours the place where everyone gathers to celebrate special occasions? Do you host every holiday? If you are going to consistently use this space as an entertainment venue, then you will want to let your contractor know so you can get recommendations on appliances, etc. that will stand up to a lot of activity while allocating the room you will need to prepare those festive feasts.
Essentially, you want to customize your design so it suits your purpose. Over-outfit with features and fixtures you’ll never use, and you may regret the expenditure. Short yourself, and you will be sorry you didn’t add that Asado Cooktop so you could dazzle your guests by firing up Asian and fusion cuisines!
In other words, consider all your options and make meaningful choices.
(Here’s some more interesting info from BBQGUYS that includes a great checklist that will also help you determine exactly how you want to use this extraordinary amenity.) In any home improvement endeavor, planning is everything!
The Creativity Exchange recommends:
“Whether your building a small or large kitchen, a plan on paper that includes electrical and plumbing is CRITICAL. Even if you’re doing a very small kitchen, drawing it all out can save you problems down the line. Outdoor kitchens take so much electricity and you need power to so many sources (not to mention plumbing/gas), make sure to have an electrical/plumbing plan on paper in addition to detailed measurements so your contractor, plumber and electrician can all point out issues on the front end versus mid-way through a project, which can be a nightmare and costly if changes need to be made.”
There’s nothing like communing with the natural sights and sounds in that splendid space between the grass and the treetops. And that unique kind of beauty lies right outside your door. So, close your laptop, turn off Netflix, and tell Alexa you’ll talk to her later. You have al fresco dining plans!
Providing pool and home improvement loans since 1979, Lyon Financial loves the great outdoors…and the versatility an outdoor kitchen offers! We also love the difference we can make for your family by providing something that puts years of memories within reach. Call 877-754-5966 for more information about creating your ideal backyard oasis.