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Creating the Perfect Outdoor Kitchen and Entertaining Space 

Longer days and higher temperatures have arrived in Colorado — and with the summer season comes the irresistible allure of outdoor living and entertaining. Colorado’s dry, sun-filled climate pairs perfectly with its backdrop of remarkable mountain and meadow views, creating the ideal setting for an inviting at-home outdoor entertaining space. With months left to enjoy Colorado’s warm seasonal embrace, now is an opportune time to consider reinvigorating your home’s outdoor haven 

Get the word perfect outdoor kitchen and entertaining
Get the word perfect outdoor kitchen and entertaining

planning a backyard entertaining space 


Creating a backyard entertaining space with little to no landscaping or hardscaping may seem overwhelming at first; but starting with a blank slate has its advantages. For starters, the space can be completely customized to your needs rather than adapting the backyard from previous residents’ tastes. Additionally, you can use temporary structures — such as pop-up canopies and movable garden boxes — to discover the best placement for permanent fixtures prior to breaking ground. 


Whether you’re starting with a blank slate or a fully landscaped oasis, transforming a backyard into a haven for summer gatherings begins with incorporating elements that enhance comfort and enjoyment. Start by designing a functional layout that accommodates various activities. Will you be cooking, dining, lounging or all of the above? If you plan on using the backyard space for recreational activities such as yard games, is there enough level space to safely play? 


Even in the smallest spaces, be sure to create distinct zones for dining, lounging and playing, ensuring there’s something for everyone. Below are ideas for the placement of these areas: 


playing + recreation // Choose a level area, preferably on a softer surface such as a lawn, where guests can safely run and move about. Ideally, this space is placed further from the home and dining/lounging areas to prevent injury. 

cooking // The closer you can place an outdoor kitchen area to the home, the better. The goal is to minimize the distance between the indoor kitchen and the outdoor preparation area to reduce risk of spilling and to create a seamless flow. 

dining // While it makes the most sense to keep the outdoor dining and kitchen areas adjacent, consider placing the dining area in a place with lots of shade and coverage from Colorado’s intense sun. 

lounging // Like the dining area, ensure that your lounging space offers coverage from the sun and elements. These two areas can also be combined with the right mix of outdoor furnishings. 

Get the word perfect outdoor kitchen and entertaining
Get the word perfect outdoor kitchen and entertaining

the essentials of an outdoor kitchen 


The cornerstone of a seamless al fresco entertaining space is an outdoor kitchen. Rather than preparing a meal indoors to be enjoyed outside, residents and guests can take full advantage of Colorado’s sunshine without missing a moment when meals and appetizers are prepared outside. An outdoor kitchen can be as simple or as elaborate as your space allows.  


Start by assessing your available space and determining the essential components for your outdoor kitchen. At its most basic, an outdoor kitchen might consist of a grill and a prep surface. For a more comprehensive setup, consider adding elements such as a sink, refrigerator and storage cabinets. Choose durable, weather-resistant materials like stainless steel, stone or concrete to ensure longevity and ease of maintenance. Below are additional considerations when building an outdoor kitchen space: 


grill station // A grill is the heart of any outdoor kitchen and a fixture of summer gatherings. Choose between gas, charcoal or electric grills based on your cooking preference. 

counter space // Ample counter space is crucial for prep work and serving. While a standalone table can serve as a preparation space, built-in counters offer convenience. 

storage // Include weatherproof cabinets and drawers for utensils, spices and grilling accessories. 

sink // An outdoor sink with running water adds convenience and enhances functionality. 

refrigeration // A mini-fridge keeps beverages and perishables within reach. 

pizza oven + smoker // For the culinary enthusiast, these additions can elevate your cooking options. 

Get the word perfect outdoor kitchen and entertaining
Get the word perfect outdoor kitchen and entertaining

furnishings for an outdoor entertaining space 


Dining and lounging in Colorado’s summer weather is an experience worthy of losing track of time. For that reason, choosing furnishings that are both comfortable and long-lasting is of the utmost importance, especially in Colorado’s inclement weather. 

Investing in high-quality outdoor furniture ensures that your space remains inviting and functional throughout the season. Opt for materials that can withstand the elements, such as aluminum, steel or synthetic wicker, which are known for their durability and resistance to sun, wind and rain. Cushions and upholstery should be covered with fade-resistant, waterproof fabrics to maintain their look and comfort over time. 


Comfort is key when selecting seating options. Look for ergonomic designs with ample padding to provide support during long, leisurely meals or relaxed lounging sessions. Modular furniture sets can offer flexibility, allowing you to rearrange pieces to suit different occasions and group sizes. 


Additionally, consider incorporating multi-functional furniture, such as storage benches or tables with built-in coolers, to maximize space and convenience. By thoughtfully selecting furnishings that blend comfort, style and durability, you can create an outdoor oasis that invites you to unwind and savor the beauty of Colorado’s summer days and nights. 

Get the word perfect outdoor kitchen and entertaining
Get the word perfect outdoor kitchen and entertaining

incorporating your own unique personality 


With the necessities of an outdoor kitchen and a dedicated layout covered, you can begin incorporating elements to make your backyard look and feel like a space in which you can spend the majority of your days and evenings. Using thoughtful décor and ambient lighting, a backyard can easily transform from a mundane outdoor space into an al fresco haven worthy of magazines. Below are just a few elements to consider when adding personality to your backyard: 


firepit // Perfect for cooler evenings, a fire feature adds ambiance and warmth while offering a gathering space before or after a meal. 

outdoor rugs // Rugs add a touch of coziness while defining sitting and lounging areas. Be sure to select rugs specifically crafted for the outdoors. 

string lights // Create a festive atmosphere with string lights draped across your patio or pergola. 

pathway lighting // Illuminate walkways for safety and aesthetics with solar-powered or LED lights. 

spotlights // Highlight trees, plants, or architectural features with strategically placed spotlights. 

textiles // Add throws, cushions and outdoor curtains to an outdoor lounging area for a cozy vignette. 

sound system + TV // Install an outdoor sound system or portable speakers for music. 

An outdoor TV or projector can make movie nights a hit. 

Creating an outdoor kitchen and entertaining space can transform your home into a haven for socializing and relaxation. With careful planning and thoughtful design, you can enjoy the best of summer and fall in your backyard. 

Skip the time commitment of a DIY approach and discover how Elevate by Design can transform your backyard into an entertainer’s haven.