Everybody loves spending time in an outdoor kitchen. Where else can you wiggle your toes in the grass, enjoy the breeze or soak up some sun just steps from your culinary kingdom? But the perfect outdoor kitchen requires a few extra steps in the planning department. Most are designed to entertain larger numbers of guests than normal kitchens―so thinking about traffic flow and seating is key. And outdoor kitchens and appliances are subjected to the elements in a way that indoor kitchens aren’t. These local Atlanta designers and builders make it look easy as they serve up stunning alfresco alternatives.

Bright and Breezy

Location: Brookhaven
Covered outdoor kitchen: 600 square feet
Design and installation: Vincent Longo Custom Builders | LongoCustomBuilders.com

“This family absolutely loves being outdoors. Their goal in nice weather is to spend a ton of time outside,” says Vincent Longo, president of Vincent Longo Custom Builders. “Our designer, Casey Bowie, wanted to replicate the look of their light, bright indoor kitchen and pull it outside, where they can grill and entertain.” Bowie designed this outdoor space for them, complete with a Bull Brahma grill and custom hood (vent by Vent-A-Hood®) and a KitchenAid® dishwasher, fridge and icemaker. To keep the look consistent with their indoor kitchen, Bowie used wood siding to create a shiplap effect on the walls, but she used painted cedar rather than pine, which is commonly used indoors but doesn’t hold up well to the elements.

Photo courtesy of All Square Contracting, photography by Abby Breaux Photography.

Outdoor grills require a bigger vent hood than a normal stove—make sure you designate space for one

Everyday Getaway

Location: Johns Creek
Covered outdoor kitchen: 480 square feet
Design and installation: All Square Contracting | AllSquareContracting.com

Micah Purvis, owner of All Square Contracting, and the designer of this cozy outdoor kitchen, was asked to construct an outdoor room that would blend seamlessly with the existing brick façade of the house. Because the kitchen would be used for entertaining at night as much as during the day, he knew he’d need to focus on lighting. But there was a problem: “It was tough incorporating lighting when there weren’t any ceiling cavities to hide the wiring. So we used small, flush-mount fixtures embedded in the wood beams―there’s no need for a conduit for the wires. It provides great task lighting and a very nice ambience.” Purvis selected a TEC infrared gas grill and also a bright-orange Kamado Joe grill, not only for variety, but to add a punch of color to the kitchen

Photo courtesy of All Square Contracting, photography by Abby Breaux Photography.

Lots of grilling means lots of smoke—plan for ventilation with ceiling fans and openings in walls to allow fresh air to flow freely.

Perfectly Patterned Patio

Location: Kennesaw
Outdoor kitchen deck: 1,000 square feet
Design and installation: Cabinets of Atlanta, Inc. | CabinetsOfAtlanta.com

Rafal Kozdeba, owner of Cabinets of Atlanta, Inc., designed this unique outdoor kitchen in a part of the homeowners’ backyard that served no other purpose. “This was a big, really steep, backyard. The deck required complicated construction methods, so it’s built to last―it’s bulletproof!” Kozdeba chose Ipe wood (pronounced “ee-pay”), which is almost twice as dense as normal wood, for the deck itself and the cabinetry in the kitchen. “It’s perfect for outdoor applications, but it’s not nicknamed ‘Stone Wood’ for nothing,” he laughs. “We went through an unusually high number of drill bits and saw blades on this project!” Perlick appliances and Viking and Primo Kamado grills were used in the kitchen island. And a misting system was hung above the countertops to help combat the hot Georgia sun.

Men laying new hardwood flooring

Varying the pattern in your deck flooring adds visual interest. The angled pattern here draws your eye to center stage—the kitchen island.

Poolside Paradise

Location: Sandy Springs
Covered outdoor kitchen: 1,600 square feet
Design and installation: Boyce Design and Contracting | BoyceDesign.com

This design for a gorgeous outdoor entertainment area required thinking in global proportions. Micah Rogers, the landscape architect and designer, explains, “The challenge was taking inspirations the clients found when traveling the globe and then tying them into the design.” He infused the space with the warm hues of Japanese saunas, a bar and lighting reminiscent of Brazilian beach huts, and the clean lines of Europe’s modern ski chalets―resulting in a cohesive finished product. To evoke a luxe look, Rogers used countertops in “Cheyenne Leathered” granite and chose Perlick appliances, an Evo grill, and Infratech built-in heaters. Cedar slat walls enclose the living and kitchen/bar areas and provide a sense of an “outdoor room,” while still maintaining an inviting, open atmosphere.

Updating A Busy Family Kitchen

Guests always want to hang out where the action is—make sure to have comfy seating close by so they won’t crowd the chef.