Backyard Kitchens for Cooking Outdoors


Built-in  Kitchens for your Backyard

backyard kitchen in Santa BarbaraWe absolutely love it when our clients are interested in bringing their “indoor” lives outside. There are so many new and interesting options for creating a backyard kitchen and dining area which will enhance your outdoor living spaces.

Santa Barbara is great for outdoor entertaining because our weather is so mild in the winter that it makes it possible to  comfortably entertain family and friends for holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas  outside in your backyard.

During the last few weeks, we’ve been working on installing an example of one of these outdoor living spaces.. a fully functional outdoor kitchen. dining area  and fire pit. Our client had some of their own ideas and and we found the project a fun challenge so we thought we’d share it with you , our blog readers.

The steps we recommend:

Step 1: Select a reputable landscape architect. We recommend finding someone whose vision matches your own. For this project, we called on our friend Leland Walmsley of EverGREEN Landscape Architects located in Carpinteria, California.  We enjoy working with Leland because he is brilliant and gifted. He has an artist’s eye, just like we do! Furthermore, his focus—as his name suggests—is on the green landscape. We both prefer to use sustainable products that make your garden look beautiful while saving water and energy.  Check out his website at:

Step 2: First planning meeting. Client meets with the architect to discuss their needs and wants. This includes  talking about functional requirements, layout, location, utilities needed and desired materials.  Final measurements, a drawing (schematic or rough draft) and finally a draft to scale is prepared.

Step 3: Contractors bid the job per the architectural plans.

Step 4: Select contractor, discuss any plan modifications and finalize bid.

Step 5: Project begins. These clients spend a lot of time entertaining on their patio, so they had a lot of input on the job. They knew exactly what they were looking for in a kitchen.

How we managed this backyard kitchen project

The job went as follows:

  • Demo the old BBQ/kitchen. We had to dispose of it because the materials were not reusable.

    Outdoor Built-in Kitchen

    Work in Progress

  • Layout per design with marking instruments (spray paint, or pencil).
  • Before commencing new construction, all final measurements were made with precision in the field with the architect, homeowner, and our team. Reviewed all materials again with all the contractors working on the job.
  • The biggest challenge was that we had to work around existing materials, including a concrete patio, swimming pool, and an existing BBQ that needed to be refurbished. We had to take extra care when working around underground drainage, water, gas, and sewer, and we also had o tap into these existing systems without destroying existing concrete. This required a lot of underground boring—a term that refers to using a revolving tool to drill holes.
  • Dug out yellow clay soil and replace with rich organic soil and Humus.
  • Materials We Used:
  • BBQ was built out of CMU cement block with a stucco finish.

    backyard dining area and custom pergola in Santa Barbara

    Custom Pergola

  • Countertops made out of Oklahoma Cherokee Flagstone
  • Outdoor lighting was installed in the pergola for nighttime cooking.
  • New burner and BBQ were installed.
  • New steal trellis (pergola) was made over the tops of the kitchen.
  • Fire pit was made out of reinforced concrete CMU block with Santa Barbara Sandstone facing and Oklahoma Cherokee Flagstone capping.
  • Larger trellis was installed adjacent to the swimming poor and den made out of steel with steel posts supported by stucco columns and Oklahoma Cherokee Flagstone caps.
  • New planters formed out of cuts made in existing concrete decking with new waterlines and new drainage.
  • Plantings included dwarf citrus, two types agapanthus, creeping thyme, and erodium for groundcover.
  • Accent plants were day lilies, leather leaf ferns, star jasmine, heliotrope, and geranium (crane’s bill).

    Fire pit in Santa Barbara

    custom fire pit

The result was a job that we are happy to share with you, dear readers, as well as another new kitchen installation in the works and another one we are about to bid!

Give us a call! We’ll build a new outdoor kitchen for you in time for the Super Bowl!

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