Backyard Design with pool and outdoor kitchen
Craig Murray cooks steaks in the brick barbecue island in his backyard.
If one pulls up to Dave Hunter's home in Sacramento, Calif., at the right time — and that's at least a couple of evenings during the week and on weekends — the aroma of grilling food will be in the air. It won't be coming from your standard barbecue grill, though, but from his beautiful new outdoor kitchen.
What's an outdoor kitchen? Essentially, it's a patio with an attitude. A very pleasant attitude.
Riding a wave of popularity throughout the West, outdoor kitchens allow backyard chefs to mingle with guests while cooking. They make trips to the home kitchen for supplies virtually unnecessary.
A grill, of course, is part of the equation. But only a part. Outdoor kitchens frequently include many features-the number depending on the owners' budget and enjoyment of dining al fresco.
Outdoor kitchens range in cost from about $3, 000 to more than $30, 000 and can include stovetop-style burners, griddles, roasting spits, sinks, refrigerators, storage space for dishes and cooking gear, low counters for prep work, bar-height counters for guests, stereo systems and more.
Hunter and his wife, Leslie, have been improving the backyard of their house since moving into it three years ago.
Two years ago, they added a swimming pool and surrounded it with a stylized concrete deck. Last year, right next to the pool, Hunter built the outdoor kitchen with the help of friends.
The Hunters' V-shaped, 14-foot outdoor kitchen is built above a paver stone deck next to the pool.
The star component is a $1, 300 Australian-made grill. An island housing a sink, refrigerator, storage compartment and stereo system completes their outdoor setup.
The Hunters estimate the outdoor kitchen cost them $8, 000, but "it probably would have been twice that if we had had to pay for labor, " says Leslie Hunter, an accountant.
"I priced a premade island setup that I sort of liked, and it was over $10, 000, " Dave Hunter says. "That wouldn't have included the deck, and it wouldn't have been nearly as nice."