As you know, we live in sunny Florida. When we moved into our new house, it didn’t have a pool but we made sure it had plenty of space to put one in. It took 2 years but we decided to finally tackle the backyard. We started with the pool first last Fall. In case you missed it, you can check out the pool here. The next project on the list is the outdoor kitchen.
This project is not for the faint of heart. This may be one of our biggest DIY projects yet. Thankfully, Chris is handy around a saw and my dad knows his electrical and plumbing. Rather than list every single detail on this post, I will give you more of a guideline on how we (and by we I mean Chris and my dad) build this bad boy.
Before we begin, here is a picture of the back of the house before we moved in. We put the kitchen on the open slab to the left.
Step 1: Your layout
We had to decide on a layout back when the pool pavers went in. It just made it easier for us in the long haul for them to go ahead and lay the pavers as we would need them. It sat like this for a good 3 months.
Step 2: Pergola
For us, our step 2 was the pergola. Obviously, if you aren’t building a pergola than you would just skip over this. It took them about 2 days to put this up. It probably could have been done in one long day but trips to the hardware store and helping out with Kyler slows things down a bit.
We opted for 4×4 pressure treated posts and 2×6 cross beams. Everything is tied into our house so it’s nice and sturdy. We routed the ends to give it the look we wanted.
We also took 2x2s and ran them the other way. This made the pergola even stronger.
The pergola sat like this for about 3 months also. Before moving onto the next step, Chris stained and sealed it.
Step 3: Frame out the kitchen
We were finally ready to tackle this kitchen! The guys took a day and framed out the kitchen. Again, we used pressure treated wood for everything. For us, our kitchen consists of a space for a fridge, sink, 2 cabinets, and a place to wheel a grill into. During this step, you need to know your exact measurements. That means you need to have your grill, fridge and whatever accessories (ie cabinets and sink) picked out so you have true measurements.
You may ask why we opted to skip the built in grill. Well as much as I love the look of a built in, we were trying to keep costs down. Also, I know a few people with built in grills and they don’t seem to last any longer than a stand alone (and can be a lot more money to fix). Who knows, we may retro fit one down the road but for now, we are happy we our decision :)
Step 4: “Rough” everything out
They took another day and “roughed everything in”. If you don’t know what the means, it simply means to pull wire, run plumbing lines, etc. Nothing is hooked up, just ran and ready to go.
Step 5: Backer board
Time to seal it up! We choose cement board for this step. Chris took care of this in a short day while my dad worked on the plumbing and electrical connections. Thanks to my dad, we have 2 outlets, a light switch, and hot water!
I made a decision not to go with permanent shelving. I thought I would get more use out of it with a nice open space. Also, you can see the mini hot water heater here.
We used Hardi Board for the inside of the fridge space.
Step 6: Pick out your tile/siding
Well this step was pretty hard for us. We had decided on the siding pretty early on in the project. I love the look of stone but when it’s at least $10 a sq ft., that wasn’t going to work with our DIY budget. We ended up finding this tile from Lowes at $2.42 a sq.ft. Score!
I would have loved a solid surface but everything was just a bit too pricey for us so we went with a tile counter top. At first, we picked a darker grey tile but after leaving the test piece in the sun for about 30 minutes, I quickly changed my mind. Way too hot!
We found a cost effective travertine ($1.99 a sq ft) that worked well. We also picked a marble border to go around it to give it some pizzazz.
Step 7: Counter Top
Chris took a half day and put on the counter top. We used 3/4″ plywood and then put a 1/4″ of cement board on top of that.
For the bar top, he did the same, however, he inserted thick metal steel bars in between to hold up the weight. One of the perks of owning a sheet metal shop :)
Step 8: Tiling
Time to start tiling!
To tile this entire thing, it took about 4 days (not full days by any means).
Tiling at night to get this thing done!
Ready for grout!
Step 9: Lighting
One of the last things to add into the pergola was the lighting. We opted for 50′ commercial grade string lights. I thought about installing a pendant light or wall sconces but that was going to turn into a lot more work. After installing the string lights, I am not really sure we need anything else. They are great and put off a lot of light!
Step 10: Accessorize
Last but not least, it was time to accessorize!
Steel Doors: BBQguys.com
Grill: Weber Genesis EP-310 and we removed the wings. We LOVE it.
Fridge: Haier Fridge
We are THRILLED on how the outdoor kitchen came out and every time I look at it, I can’t believe how great it turned out! I am so proud of all the hard work my hubby Chris did and of course we could not have done it without my dad. We are so excited for spring/summer to begin and are looking forward to many cookouts this year! I have no clue how many we saved by doing this ourselves but I imagine it is thousands. We have 3 other outdoor projects and then our backyard oasis will be finished. Thankfully, those will be much easier :)
What do you think? What outdoor projects are you starting on?