It's a warm summer night and your best friends crowd around a flat-screen television mounted above a granite-topped outdoor bar. On the grill, steaks and chicken sizzle. You grab a beer from the mini-fridge mounted under the counter and hand them out to the guys in celebration. Nearby, your wife and her friends sip wine around an open fire.
Sounds like one of the best ways you could spend a Friday night, right?
Now imagine you've provided an experience like this for your clients because you've designed and built an outdoor kitchen and firepit for them.
No, take that back.
You've not just installed a design/build project. You've made their lives better because they now can have this experience every weekend. That's what you're selling when you create outdoor kitchens and firepits – not concrete, gas lines and mortar. You're selling a lifestyle.
Feeding the flame.
In Atlanta, Thomas Boyce designs and builds 50 to 100 outdoor projects annually at Boyce Design & Contracting. About 75 percent of those projects have firepits.
Another 40 to 50 percent include some kind of outdoor kitchen, from a simple grill and countertop to a completely equipped kitchen with a full appliance package. Space planning, Boyce says, is the key to a successful project.
“Don't put a fire feature right on top of where the kitchen is going to be. Create outdoor rooms,” he says. “Make sure you have designated seating around the fire feature, and a good work space and seating for eating around the kitchen, either bar seating or a dining table. It's basic space planning, but a lot of contractors neglect that in an exterior space. Lay out a room the same as you would do it inside when you take it outside.”