5 before and after Outdoor Kitchen Renovation Ideas

August 5, 2022

If you're looking for a way to really spruce up your outdoor living area, you can't go wrong with an outdoor kitchen. In addition to increasing the value of your home, adding one will also up the entertainment factor, as well as add functionality and convenience to your backyard. Additionally, because you can tailor a kitchen to your outdoor living space, you can add one no matter the size of your home or yard. But before you dive into planning, there are a few things to keep in mind. Then, when you're ready to get started, Straight Line Landscaping can help you design the outdoor kitchen of your dreams. 

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Custom Outdoor Kitchens and Outdoor Living Spaces

When it comes to backyards, each one is unique. That's why custom outdoor kitchen designs are the best way to go. You can easily tailor them to your available space. Before you can piece together your dream kitchen, though, you'll want to know the types of designs and what each one encompasses. 

  • Standard - a standard kitchen, often referred to as a straight design, usually includes one wall of cabinets and countertops. Appliances --- often a refrigerator and cooktop --- are installed either in between or to the side of the countertops. This is the best setup if you have limited space. 
  • Angular - an angular kitchen often incorporates sharp angles into the design, whether the counters hug an odd-shaped wall or you add dimension with a unique island. 
  • L-Shaped - an L-shaped kitchen takes up two walls, in the shape of an L. It has more cooking space than a standard design, which is great if you need the extra room. This comes in handy if you entertain large groups of people often. 
  • U-Shaped - a U-shaped kitchen is like its L-shaped counterpart, but instead of two sides, it has three. One side is left open for easy entry, and it also creates extra seating space as you can often place stools on one side of the countertops. U-shaped and L-shaped designs are best in larger spaces. 
  • Modular - a modular kitchen is comprised of several components --- or modules --- that form together to create your space. They're easier to disassemble and reassemble if need be.

Once you've decided on the basic layout of your outdoor kitchen, the real fun begins. It means it's time to start picking out designs. The best part of this process is that you can go as simple or as elaborate as you want, and add in the additional features that will make your outdoor living space your dream come true. 

  • standard kitchen
  • angular kitchen
  • L-Shaped kitchen
  • U-Shaped kitchen
  • Modular kitchen

Simple Designs 

Simple designs are good for smaller spaces and typically feature clean lines and practical elements. These often involve functional countertops, possibly stainless steel to withstand the outdoor elements, and cabinetry without any flashy colors or statements. These outdoor kitchen designs are perfect for anyone who prefers the minimalistic approach.

Elaborate Designs 

If you want to be elaborate with your outdoor kitchen design, it's an excellent approach for larger spaces, but can also work for someone who appreciates the finer things in life. Basically, there are no size requirements. Elaborate kitchen designs tend to include more features, such as a fancier cooktop with more than four burners. It could also mean stone countertops, for example, that add a luxurious look. Instead of simple concrete, maybe you'll add decorative tile or stone flooring to make your outside kitchen look like something from a showcase magazine. 

With and Without Cooking/Grill/Bar Features 

One of the decisions you'll face is whether to add cooking, outdoor bar or grill features to your outdoor kitchen design. Not having any or all of these additions works well if you have a smaller space or if you simply wouldn’t use them when you entertain in your outside cooking area. Some people are comfortable cooking inside and then bringing the food outside to the countertops where people can easily access it. Bar areas work well in larger backyard spaces and create additional seating as well as a place to mix or store drinks in a mini fridge, if you're so inclined. 

Since many people associate outside entertaining with grilling, having a grill handy makes it easier to cook outside and often to cook larger amounts of food than you could on a traditional indoor cooktop. For example, a large grill or BBQ can hold a dozen burgers and hot dogs or even larger foods like corn on the cob or steaks. If you really want to up your game, add a custom backyard grill with a smoker and do BBQ the right way. 

If you want to go top-tier, consider adding a brick pizza oven to the outdoor cooking space. You can use it for other foods as well, and it will become quite the talking point about your custom backyard remodel. 

Beat the Arizona Heat With a Custom Outdoor Cooking Area

Outdoor cooking areas are great for entertaining, and if you build them under a covered surface (highly recommended) it protects them from the elements, particularly the sun. In Arizona, where the sunny temps are a given, you'll also appreciate the chance to duck under the outdoor kitchen area and get some much-needed relief from the heat. Here, you can also set up some nice, comfy patio furniture for relaxing.

If you’re thinking this sounds like a good time, consider building a ramada or pergola at the same time and housing your outdoor kitchen underneath one of these coverings. Your Straight Line Landscape design team can help you determine exactly what will look best in your outdoors cooking space.


With the arid climate, it's important to consider the types of materials you choose because not all of them can stand up to the temperatures, UV exposure, and the lack of humidity in the atmosphere.

When building countertops, stone or bricks serve as a great base. Wood, is another beautiful option but it does need more maintenance such as oiling and refinishing on a regular basis because of the UV exposure. Consider South Pacific Redwood, Batu, or Tigerwood for some unique design elements.

For the actual countertops, stainless steel is easy to work with and comes in various sizes, plus it's easy to sanitize between uses. Polished concrete is another excellent choice for countertops as it's easy to maintain in the dry climate.  

Other Considerations to Keep in Mind

As with any construction or landscaping project, there are specific things you'll want to keep in mind. For example, when designing your outdoor kitchen layout, consider the flow of the area and build your landscaping around it. Additionally, consider placement. If you have a pool or water feature --- or you're planning to add one --- centering your kitchen around this area will add elegance without even really trying. Then you can plan your flowers and greenery around this focal point. 


The process of getting started with your outdoor kitchen design with Straight Line is easy. To begin, you'll fill out the online project inquiry form. Be specific in your details as best as you can to let the team know what you're thinking of for your space. The next step is an on-site meeting that takes up to an hour but gives the design expert the lay of the land and lets the team know what they're working with. After that, we'll craft a design base on your specifications and our analysis and establish the budget you're working with. From there, we'll present the project details and go over intricacies such as HOA guidelines and explain any revisions. 

The next step is creating the construction drawings. Once those are approved, both by you and the HOA, if necessary, we'll begin construction. The final step is walking over the finished landscape project and giving you the rundown on maintenance and warranty information. 

When you're ready to start your complete landscaping project, we're here to help you not only with the design but also to bring your outdoor kitchen space to life. 

A Few Pics of Outdoor Kitchens by Straight Line

While words are great, nothing shows off an outdoor kitchen design better than seeing them for yourself. That's why we've selected a few of our favorites to showcase here.

bbq and kitchen

This is a wonderful example of a standard design. It features a grill as well as a cooktop and some beautiful brickwork. The ramada keeps the cooking and eating area safe from the elements and offers some much-needed shade on the hottest of days. The outdoor kitchen also integrates perfectly with the surrounding elements.

bbq and kitchen

This U-shaped outdoor kitchen design works well under a fabulous pergola. Situated between the putting green and the pool, it's ideally located for maximum efficiency when hosting guests. The wine refrigerator is especially convenient and the movable cart allows you to add counter space while maintaining flexibility.

bbq and kitchen

Here's another pergola outdoor kitchen layout. You are never stuck inside while entertaining here. The U-shape allows you to interact with guests at a comfortable eating height on one side and bar height on the other  --- all while you create amazing food on the grill. The added lights on the pergola add a warm ambiance once the sun goes down.

Arizona Outdoor Hosting Spaces Made Easy 

Creating your outdoor eating and living spaces is sure to be fun and exciting! With decades of experience and many satisfied clients who often return to us for more landscaping projects, you can count on Straight Line Landscaping to make the process as simple as it is rewarding. 

In addition to your outdoor kitchen, we can help with bonus spaces such as firepits and fireplaces to add warmth to the space. Water features that brighten it up the area, and structures that’ll have your guests in awe of your outdoor living areas. Plus, with a complete landscaping project, you'll have a brand new backyard that will be the talk of the town. 

You dream it. We design and construct it. You enjoy it.

Here at Straight Line Landscape we are experts in custom landscape design and construction. From the creative design and selection of materials to installation and construction, you’ll recognize quality and attention to detail from start to finish.

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