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Outdoor Living Spaces in PhoenixAlthough I have lived in Arizona for over 20 years, I am still amazed every spring at the absolute perfect weather we have at this time of the year.  There is hardly an evening that goes by when my family and I are not outside enjoying our yard.  It is truly the most used space of our home.  Families all over the valley are recognizing just how wonderful outdoor living can be and are creating valuable and useable new spaces to enhance their lifestyle.  If you are thinking about any landscape or hardscape additions to your home, you could not find a better time to do it.

One of the most popular additions to any landscape remodel these days is the outdoor BBQ, or should I say, “Outdoor Kitchen”.  The things people are creating around the BBQ have given outdoor grilling a whole new meaning.  If you like to entertain, the outdoor kitchen and bar is one of the valley favorites.  The uses and possibilities seem endless.  Let’s see… we have a wide variety of grills, smokers, side burners, refrigerators, drop-in coolers, kegerators, sinks, storage drawers, lights, electrical, plumbing, bistro tables, bar tops, even pizza ovens, just to name a few.  We can then use a variety of different materials to create hundreds of different looks. Travertine, tile, flagstone, granite, concrete, stucco, paint, faux stone are just a handful of materials being used to create these wonderful additions to your home.

Custom BBQ’s like the ones shown here have similar framework but are simply finished with a variety of different materials to accommodate just about every need and budget.  Prefabricated units found all over the valley are steel frame studded, use hardy backer board for sheathing and usually have some sort of a ceramic tile finish.  They are made at a local factory and simply delivered and set where you want, but unfortunately don’t last as long.  Custom units on the other hand can be made any shape or length you wish and have a more solid frame made of concrete block.  A foundation is dug, sleeving into the BBQ for natural gas/propane, electrical and plumbing is installed and then the block work begins.  It is first important to know the dimensions of every appliance you are planning to install, so you know how big each opening needs to be. It is always advisable to have a detailed sketch of the BBQ showing where everything is positioned. This will give you an idea of how much counter or bar space you will have upon completion.  The standard countertop height is 36” above finished deck.  Bar tops and bistro table’s finish off at a height of 42” which gives you ample room for bar stools with the legroom you need under the counter.

Now the big question…how much do they cost?  Custom BBQ units, including a basic 3 burner stainless grill with a standard five-gallon propane tank, start at about $4,500.  Of course, buying a grill is like buying a car…there are dozens of grill manufacturers all over the country.  I have seen some grills alone costing over $6,000 which doesn’t include the cost of the cabinet; however, most people can find a good 4 burner stainless grill which handles all their needs for about $1,500.

If you are looking for an outdoor kitchen that is used for not just a grilling station, but an entertainment space with some of the bells and whistles mentioned above, you can expect on average to pay anywhere between $6,000 and $9,000 depending on materials and number of appliances. I have built outdoor kitchens in excess of $20,000 if you go really crazy and love to entertain. An excellent place to shop for anything you want for your outdoor kitchen is BBQ Island located right behind the IKEA at I-10 & Warner Rd. It is owned by a good friend of mine, Mike West who has everything under the sun for your outdoor grilling/cooking needs.

Feel free to e-mail me with questions, or to set up a free consultation and design for your BBQ or other landscape projects.  I can be reached at RCHAVENS@COX.NET   Lots more pictures of BBQ’s on my website at OUTSIDELIVINGCONCEPTS.COM


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