One all-important aspect of home design is storage. We all need extra space to put tools, toys, supplies, and more in the backyard. And while it’s simple enough to just toss everything into buckets or set up cheap shelves, why not make your storage look like a natural part of the backyard? It’s easy and fun to find ways to incorporate your storage into your overall design.
Creative Outdoor Storage
Why not get creative with your backyard storage? Find ways to integrate your storage naturally into your design scheme or make it subtler. Whatever you choose, the possibilities are nearly endless! Try one of these popular storage ideas:
- Firewood cubbies
- Hidden storage spaces
- Pool houses
- Outdoor bars
- Outdoor kitchen cabinets
1) Firewood Cubbies
A new wood-burning fireplace or firepit requires a decent amount of fuel for party nights. But who wants to constantly run to the store for more firewood or stack the logs in a precarious woodpile? Try a specialized cubby instead! You’ll keep the firewood out of the way until you need it. Plus, the cubbies are big enough to hold several nights’ worth of firewood! Just keep them full.
2) Hidden Storage Spaces
Certain pieces of outdoor patio furniture double as surprise storage spaces. For instance, a footstool might open to reveal a hollow space perfect for storing extra blankets. Some might even have a cooler hidden inside! And that’s far from the only option for outdoor storage. A chest could serve as a patio coffee table, for instance. Experiment with different furniture to find one with the storage features you prefer!
3) Pool Houses
Of course, a pool house is a perfect place to store all your pool supplies. Keep your swimsuits, floaties, pool toys, towels, and more in a nicely decorated storage space right next to your pool! Better yet, this gives you and your guests a private place to change for your pool party.
Pro Tip: Don’t settle for a simple storage shed. Use a pool house to hold all your pool supplies and give you a much more visually appealing storage solution!
4) Outdoor Bars
What outdoor dining room is complete without a bar? Besides the obvious benefit of being a great place to serve some wine, adding a bar to your backyard also gives you some unique storage space opportunities. Adding a small wine fridge lets you keep your beverages cold without taking up space in your primary outdoor kitchen fridge. And why store your glasses out of sight in cabinets when you can add a specialized shelf that’s equal parts practical and beautiful? Make your own bar as fancy as the one in your favorite restaurant!
5) Outdoor Kitchen Cabinets
Finally, this basic staple of kitchen design is equally crucial in both indoor and outdoor kitchens. Weatherproof cabinets will keep your cooking supplies and ingredients right at hand while keeping them safe from the elements. Save yourself the trouble of constantly running back and forth to bring out supplies from the house. Keep everything you need in your outdoor kitchen!
Get Clever with Your Storage Solutions!
Finding unique storage ideas for your backyard not only helps you organize all your outdoor necessities, but also gives you more potential designs for your backyard renovation. Make your storage system as elaborate or as simple as you prefer. And most importantly, make it fully suited to your preferences for the ultimate custom backyard!
Join the conversation to see how other homeowners incorporated storage into their new backyard designs.
As social distancing measures continue and people are stuck at home, homeowners are coming up with more creative ways to pass the extra time they now have. Some are learning a new language or taking up a new hobby. Others are reviving old hobbies or trying to get better at them. If you’re looking for ways to pass the time, why not practice your outdoor cooking skills? Fire up the grill and give these flavorful recipes a try!
What’s on the Menu?
The most commonly grilled dishes involve meat, especially beef, but your grill is far more versatile than that. You can serve up everything from standard beef dishes to seafood and even grilled desserts! Find your new favorite grilled dish here:
- Lemon grilled shrimp kabobs
- Chili rubbed ribs
- Salsa steak
- Java pepper steak
- Grilled pizza
- Cheesy potatoes
- Campfire cobbler
- Grilled fruit
1) Lemon Grilled Shrimp Kabobs
- ⅓ cup lemon juice
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ lemon zest
- 1 lb shrimp
- Cherry tomatoes (as many as you’d like)
- Sliced onions (as many as you’d like)
Mix together the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and lemon zest into a marinade, and let your shrimp and vegetables marinate for several hours or overnight. Thread everything onto barbecue skewers, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and grill on each side for approximately 3 minutes.
2) Chili Rubbed Ribs
- 6 lbs ribs
- 3 tbsp packed brown sugar
- 2 tbsp paprika
- 2 tbsp chili powder
- 3 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp salt
Dry rub the ribs with all these seasonings and refrigerate covered for half an hour. Wrap the ribs in aluminum foil and grill over indirect heat for an hour and a half. Finally, mix together your glaze over medium heat for 6-8 minutes:
- 1 cup soy sauce
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 2-3 cup ketchup
- 1-3 cup lemon juice
- 1 ½ tsp fresh grated ginger
Unwrap the ribs, rub them with the glaze, and cook over direct heat for 30 minutes or until nicely browned.
3) Salsa Steak
- 4 portions of steak (size can vary)
- 1 large tomato, diced
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 1 small cucumber, chopped
- Half yellow capsicum, diced
- 4 tbsp coriander, chopped
- 1 tbsp seeded mustard
- Olive oil to brush steak
Brush both sides of the steak with olive oil and sear each side, 2-3 minutes for boneless cuts and 3-4 minutes for cuts with bones. For a medium or well done steak, lower the heat to medium and leave for an extra 1-2 minutes. Once the steak is cooked to your preferences, remove from heat and cover for about 2 minutes to settle. While you’re waiting on the steak, mix up your salsa ingredients. Serve on the side.
4) Java Pepper Steak
- 1.5 lb tenderloin steak
- 4 tsp finely ground coffee
- 4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp ground cumin
- Salt to taste
Preheat your grill and while you wait for it to heat up, place all ingredients in a freezer bag and seal it shut. Shake the bag until the steak is evenly coated in the seasonings. Grill the steak to your preferred level.
Pro Tip: For an especially flavorful steak, rub it with spices and let it sit in the fridge overnight before grilling.
5) Grilled Pizza
- Naan bread or pitas, one for each serving
- Olive oil to brush crusts
- Pizza toppings of choice
Brush both sides of the naan or pitas with olive oil and grill for 2 minutes on each side. Remove from heat, add your pizza toppings, and return them to the grill until the cheese has completely melted.
6) Cheesy Potatoes
- 2 ½ lbs potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 1 medium onion
- 5 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled
- ¼ cup butter, melted
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 6 slices American cheese
Mix all ingredients except the cheese together and spread over a large piece of foil. Fold the foil tightly around the potatoes and grill for 15 minutes on each side. Open the foil and lay the cheese slices over the potatoes. Cover again and cook for 1-2 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
7) Campfire Cobbler
- 2 cans of fruit pie filling
- 1 package yellow cake mix
- 1 ¼ cups water
- ½ cup canola oil
Line a Dutch oven with aluminum foil and pour in both cans of fruit pie filling. In a separate bowl, mix together the cake mix, water, and oil. Spread the mix over the pie filling. Cook on the grill for 30-40 minutes or until the crust is browned.
8) Grilled Fruit
- ½ cup Greek yogurt
- ½ tbsp vanilla
- Zest of 1 medium lemon
- 6 tbsp honey
- Handful of lavender flowers
- 6 figs, halved
- 3 large fruits: peaches, plums, apricots, etc., halved
- Olive oil to brush fruit
Brush your halved fruits with olive oil to prevent them from sticking to the grill. Grill the fruit until nice grill marks form. Meanwhile, combine yogurt, lemon zest, and vanilla into a tangy sauce. Serve fruit with a dollop of yogurt, drizzled honey, flower garnish, and sliced figs.
Brush Up on Your Grill Skills
Few things are more comforting than a hot home-cooked meal prepared on your own grill. And what better way is there to stay fresh on your cooking skills? Give these recipes a try and serve up a great dinner tonight!
Connect with us for more recipes and cooking tricks for your grill.
An outdoor kitchen is a sizable investment of both time and money for most people. However, it’s worth it! Setting up an outdoor entertaining area gives you endless possibilities for parties, business gatherings, or even family nights in the backyard.
But before you can start enjoying your new outdoor cooking space, you need to decide how you want it to look, what you’ll be using it for, and what you’re willing to spend. Still in the brainstorming stage? Here are a few key considerations to help you figure out exactly what you want out of the newest addition to your backyard.
Like any type of home design, outdoor kitchen trends change with time. But certain stylistic choices, like stainless steel appliances, never quite seem to go out of style. And a refrigerator works just fine no matter what it looks like!
Two of the best recent trends for outdoor kitchens are built-in ice makers and kamado-style grills like Big Green Egg, grills that close completely over the cooking food to produce a deep, smoky flavor. And of course, the convenience of having freshly made ice right next to your outdoor fridge can’t be overstated. These trendy choices do more than just make your kitchen look great! They can also make your whole experience more convenient and simpler.
Of course, appearances aren’t everything. Since you’ll be cooking and hosting in your outdoor hangout space, you have to consider how well your design choices will work with what you’ll be doing. For instance, consider your outdoor kitchen’s countertops. Materials such as marble may look gorgeous, but without expert sealing and ongoing maintenance, they could be ruined by Houston rain or humidity. Most designers also don’t recommend them for kitchen use because marble is extremely porous, making stain prevention difficult. (Marble tiles, on the other hand, are specially formulated for kitchen use and are fine for an outdoor kitchen. Talk to your designer for details.)
The bottom line is simply that your kitchen must be equally functional as elegant. While you can certainly go for both–a completely utilitarian kitchen is boring, after all–you must take the time to consider how well your choices will work in an outdoor setting.
Pro Tip: As you design your outdoor kitchen, consider any potential future renovations you want to make and how to make them easier. You won’t want to have to pull up your new tile floor to install new pipes for a pool, for instance.
Finally, it’s time to look at your budget. This will vary depending on the materials you choose, the appliances you need, the square footage your outdoor kitchen will cover, and more. Consequently, you can’t simply estimate the base cost of an outdoor kitchen without a semi-detailed plan of what you want. The best approach to budget planning is browsing our gallery for inspiration and bringing your ideas to an expert to discuss cost options.
Enjoy Your New Outdoor Kitchen!
A lot of planning goes into designing the perfect outdoor kitchen and party space. But all that time will be worth it in the end. You can look forward to enjoying a brand new custom outdoor kitchen and making your friends jealous!
Join the conversation to find inspiration and more outdoor kitchen ideas.
Depending on the features you choose and the extent of your plans, a custom-built outdoor kitchen can be a sizeable investment. Even with a budget and financial plan in place, it helps to know just what you can expect to pay going into your backyard renovation.
Do you know what appliances and features you’ll want in an outdoor kitchen? If not, now’s the time to start planning. Without a concrete idea of what you want, you can’t estimate a cost and budget for your project. Here’s how to get started planning and budgeting for your outdoor kitchen.
Outdoor Kitchen Appliances
Since you already have a fully furnished indoor kitchen, you won’t need to replicate every single appliance in an outdoor space. For instance, don’t worry about installing a dishwasher outside. But for essential appliances, like the refrigerator or sink, you likely won’t want to keep running between your indoor and outdoor kitchens constantly to grab what you need and get back to work. The exact amount these duplicate appliances will add to your budget depends on which type you get, but a rough estimate could look something like this:
- Refrigerator: $400-$900
- Sink: at least $100 (nicer models could be higher)
- Side burner: $200-$500
But without a doubt, the most expensive item in your outdoor cooking area will be the grill. While you don’t want to blow your entire budget on a grill, it certainly pays to get a nice model that will give you a smooth cooking experience. The price of the grill you choose will vary depending on a long list of factors: its type, its size, its brand name, and more. Browse some of our more popular grill models below:
Countertops and Flooring Materials
Some outdoor kitchen designs use the same materials for both the floor and the countertops, creating a uniform look and simplifying the construction process. For a more contrasting look, choose different materials. Just make sure to keep track of the different prices between your chosen materials.
The exact price you can expect to pay will vary from contractor to contractor. However, these estimates of pricing for popular outdoor kitchen materials will help you get an idea of your budget:
- Brick facade: $15-$25/sq ft
- Bricks: $25-$35/sq ft
- Stucco: $5/sq ft
- Natural stone: $25-$45/sq ft
- Engineered stone: $20/sq ft
- Granite: $60-$70/sq ft
- Concrete: $60-$70/sq ft
Pro Tip: Stainless steel countertops are easy to maintain and look sleek and modern, but can trap a lot of heat in the Houston sun. Be careful when working on metal countertops in an outdoor kitchen.
Finally, don’t forget about electricity and running water! It’s nearly impossible to estimate these costs beforehand. However, keeping track of which appliances you’ll install and how often you’ll use them can help you narrow it down. For budget-friendly and energy-efficient kitchen equipment, check out Energy Star’s ratings for different appliances.
Planning Your New Backyard Kitchen
Even if money isn’t a concern, it’s always better to know exactly what you’ll be paying for your new outdoor kitchen. Take the time to research what you want and talk to our team of designers for precise estimates. Understanding your budget is the first step toward a successful backyard renovation.
Join the conversation to see what a completed outdoor kitchen will look like!
You probably already have a long list of things to consider as you design an outdoor kitchen. From appliances to running water, a lot of essential features go into your new hangout spot. But don’t forget the part of your kitchen that allows you to do any food preparation in the first place: countertops.
Elegant Countertops for Your Backyard Kitchen
The warm Houston climate means that certain countertop materials either won’t last long or will be unpleasant to work with, especially if exposed to direct sunlight for too long. Fortunately, there are plenty of far more durable options for homeowners to consider. Here are some of the best countertop materials for Houston-area outdoor kitchens:
- Metal (Stainless Steel)
- Butcher block
Durable and maintenance-free, soapstone is a great countertop choice for homeowners who need style and ease of use. It’s a natural stone that can be easily cut, shaped, and installed. Compared to granite or marble, counters longer than seven feet may require several pieces since they’re usually found ins smaller slabs.
2) Metal (Stainless Steel)
Relatively costlier than other countertop options, stainless steel countertops are a great option for homeowners with a sleek, modern kitchen. Because of its metal nature, the countertop is nonporous, making it resistant to any stains or rust buildup.
Granite stone countertops have been a customer favorite for years, and it’s no surprise thanks to its range of pattern and color options. Unlike many other countertops, granite won’t etch, discolor or lose its shine. Touting long term durability and easy care, your outdoor kitchen will find the perfect balance of style and function with granite counters.
Unlike the marble countertops found indoors, your outdoor countertop can be furnished with marble stone tiles to fit your space. For added durability, outdoor marble counters usually have a slightly textured surface to withstand weather elements. Proper cleaning methods are required to keep your counters looking clean year-round.
Pro Tip: Keep your countertops cool and easy to touch year-round by choosing a light-colored countertop to withstand the heat of the sun.
Sometimes confused with quartz, quartzite is a separate, natural stone that is quarried in a process similar to granite. Quartzite countertops in your outdoor kitchen are a crowd favorite, especially if you like the look of marble, want year-round durability, and low maintenance.
6) Butcher Block
While certain wood species may not be able to withstand the weather elements, butcher block countertops are a great way to add functionality to your outdoor space. Suitable woods such as elm, white oak, maple, or chestnut can sealed and installed directly on your cabinetry. With periodic maintenance and premium finish, a nearby butcher block will make food prep a breeze.
A unique design choice for an outdoor kitchen, glass countertops offer a number of customized options, such as special textures, patterns, or embedded stones. While most glass counters can etch from acidic foods or drinks, many homeowners have found success with its durable subtype, white glass countertops.
Compared to the different types of stone countertops, porcelain is a great option for those looking for a durable countertop that doesn’t need sealing. With the ability to span a larger counter space, fit any design style, and require low maintenance, porcelain countertops are quickly becoming a top choice for outdoor kitchens.
Usually poured during installation, concrete counters are a durable choice for many homeowners. With concrete, you can choose from a variety of stains to coordinate with your cabinetry and appliances. While they do require sealing, concrete counters are easy to clean and can withstand high temperatures.
Choose the Right Outdoor Kitchen Countertop
Beautiful, durable countertops are an essential addition to your backyard kitchen. While some materials or patterns may look appealing, remember that exposing them to the outside elements may result in damage. As you start making plans for your home improvement project, take the time to find the right material that matches both your aesthetic preferences and practical needs.
Connect with us on social media to see what completed outdoor kitchens with different types of countertops look like.
Back when an outdoor barbecue consisted of a couple of picnic tables and a BBQ pit, not many people thought of their backyard as a living space. A majority of homeowners mostly ignored their backyard and simply tried to keep the lawn groomed. Today, installing outdoor kitchens as an extension of indoor living areas is becoming all the rage.
Hot Design Trends for 2020
Can you picture an outdoor kitchen in your backyard? With a drink in one hand and a book in the other, spending time in a new outdoor living space can become a reality. If you’re in the process of designing a new outdoor kitchen, keep your eye on the following design trends for 2020.
- Kamado-Style Grills
- Built-In Ice Makers
- Stainless Steel Appliances
- Attached Living Areas
- Improved Functionality
First popularized in Asia, the kamado-style grills are becoming quite popular in American outdoor kitchens. Compared to metal charcoal grills, the enclosed design of a kamado grill cooks flavorful meats and vegetables with ease. That being said, kamado grills are incredibly versatile and can be used for a variety of cooking methods including smoking, baking, roasting, and grilling!
Pro Tip: Upgrade your outdoor cooking with your own kamado-style grill from Big Green Egg. We have various sizes available to fit your space perfectly so that you can start cooking your next meal!
Built-In Ice Makers
Why buy bags of ice when you can make your own ice cubes? This year, more and more homeowners are taking advantage of built-in ice makers in their outdoor kitchens. Whether you’re sitting by the pool or entertaining a large group, having ice readily available is a great way to add value to your outdoor space.
Stainless Steel Appliances
It doesn’t look like stainless steel will ever go out of style. Designed with weather-resistant surfaces and sleek features, stainless steel appliances are a must for any modern outdoor kitchen. Choose from a wide range of appliances including wine refrigerators, side burners, pizza ovens, and sinks to complete your updated kitchen.
Attached Living Areas
Outdoor kitchens have more than just counter space and cooking surfaces. Today, modern outdoor kitchens are a small part of complete outdoor living areas. Transform your backyard into a personal retreat by designing a dining space or lounge area nearby.
Instead of having to jump back and forth from your indoor kitchen, homeowners are designing outdoor spaces to be fully functional. By installing sinks, dishwashers, and even trash disposals, you can keep the party prep and cleanup contained in one area.
Modern and Stylish Custom Kitchens
Overall, we get to enjoy beautiful weather in Houston throughout every season of the year. That being said, entertaining outdoors is becoming a staple of every southern home. Whether you’re in the process of designing or about to consult the experts, it’s exciting to think of all of the new features that can be added to your outdoor living space.
Did one of these design trends catch your eye? Connect with our design team to find out how to include these features in your custom kitchen.