Dining al fresco is only half the fun — things really heat up when you bring the entire cooking experience outside. Set your sights on the gorgeous details within these outdoor kitchens, and get inspired to design something similar for your own backyard.
METALLIC COUNTERTOPS Entertaining expert Lulu Powers dreamed of a copper bar for years, but worried it would turn green. Treating the counter and shelving with lacquer staves off weathering, and provides a glam places for outdoor cocktail parties.
ROOFTOP GRILLING Five stories above Brooklyn, a tar-paper roof became a gourmet cooking spot with panoramic views of the New York skyline. A charcoal grill anchors the space, but the beverage station provides the real magic. A slide-away cutting board and insulated ice bin make mojitos a snap. PERNILLE LOOF
FLOWER SINK Inspired by a similar basin at the famous Greystone Mansion, an outdoor sink features an inset container for blooms. The vessel also functions as an ice bucket for wine — just pull the plug at the bottom when the party’s over. DAVID TSAY
STAINED OAK In designer Bonnie Edelman’s Connecticut house, the pool kitchen’s stained oak ceiling pours warmth over cool stainless-steel cabinets. A drop-down metal gate protects appliances from rain. FRANCESCO LAGNESE
TERRACOTTA HUES This outdoor kitchen in California takes its colors from the earth and the sky. A Viking warming drawer is conveniently closest to the Fogazzo 1050 pizza oven. “It’s all about entertaining,” architect Michael Layne says. “People are going to gather where cooking’s going on, so you need lots of counter space and plenty of seating.” DAVID DUNCAN LIVINGSTON
REPURPOSED SHUTTERS In Malcolm James Kutner’s Key West house, the outdoor kitchen cabinets are made from old cypress shutters supplied by restorer Liz Devries. “With outdoor living in general, it’s about being friendly with nature and inviting it inside instead of trying to draw that heavy line in the sand that says, ‘This is the outside and this is the inside,'” he says. CHRISTOPHER BAKER