Category: Outdoor Kitchen

Custom Landscaping Project: Before & After

Today we have some awesome backyard landscaping pictures to share with you! We want to highlight a recent landscape design we completed for Scott and Lisa. They have a beautiful home that was not being showcased due to the overgrown beds in the front of the house. They also were not fully utilizing the beautiful setting they had in their backyard with a wonderful lake just a few steps out their back door. They had a number of landscaping ideas, but were unsure of how to execute them, which led them to Second Nature, one of your premier local landscaping companies in the Lee’s Summit area. Our team of designers worked with them to create a custom landscaping plan with one of the best backyard desks we have seen in a while!

Before, the front of the house had visually been taken over by the out of control bed.


After, the bed will complement, not compete, with the house. We also added a new retaining wall.


Before, the back deck area was overgrown and almost unusable. It was a dark and uninviting area that was mostly used for storage.



After, we implemented some of our best deck design ideas to create an amazing space for Scott and Lisa to relax, enjoy their hot tub, or entertain friends! With their outdoor living area they now have an outdoor kitchen, seating area, and fireplace. With the area around the patio and deck cleared out, they now can enjoy the serenity of the lake while they are relaxing outside.

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Before, the back of the house was completely obscured by the overgrowth surrounding the deck.


Now you can see the house, the deck, their amazing outdoor living area, and the expanded deck we built, which were all key components of the backyard landscape design we created for Scott and Lisa.


Before, the beds along the house were overgrown and undefined.


After, now Scott and Lisa have beautiful beds along their home along with a new and defined walkway that gives them easy access to the backyard!


Here are some additional photos of the final result of Scott and Lisa’s deck landscaping project.12



If you are ready to make some changes to your home’s landscaping call us at Second Nature, your local landscapers in Lee’s Summit, MO! We would love to discuss all your backyard ideas and help you create deck landscaping or landscape design ideas and plans!

Outdoor Kitchen Ideas on a Budget

We all have been getting a bit antsy for the great weather that comes with spring and early summer! That time is finally here and we can celebrate this weather in May with National BBQ Month!


As the weather gets nicer many people love to entertain and spend time in their yard. Today we want to discuss some ways to establish or improve an outdoor kitchen, on a budget.


Outdoor Cooktop

One of the first outdoor kitchen ideas on a budget to address is your cooking apparatus. Rather than a fixed grill with gas lines run to it, consider a portable charcoal or gas grill. A portable grill helps to keep costs lower because it doesn’t require a contractor for installation, it also provides the benefit of being able to take the grill with you if you were ever to move.


Storage Area

An island or an all weather kitchen cart can provide the needed storage as a way to update your outdoor kitchen on a budget. If you have wall space to work with you can add cabinets or a ledge at cabinet level.


Outdoor Drink Service

An outdoor kitchen idea on a budget for enhancing your drink service starts with a portable bar area. Again, this gives you the flexibility of taking it with you were ever to move, and it also is a lower budget item than having a contractor install a fixed bar. A portable bar can be something purchased or as simple as a metal tub on a stand where you can ice down some beverages.


Dining Area

When dreaming about outdoor kitchen ideas on a budget don’t forget to include where you will be eating this food you’re making in your new outdoor kitchen. Make sure you have a dining area that will provide seating for you and your guests. You can find outdoor dining sets at many local retailers and a number of online dealers.


Location Location Location!

If your outdoor kitchen ideas on a budget do include using a plumber or electrician you can reduce costs by positioning your outdoor kitchen as close as possible to a water source and existing electrical elements. It is even better for your budget if you can forgo hard wiring or plumbing, which would involve the added expense of an electrician or a plumber. For example, if you position your outdoor kitchen close to an entrance or a water hose you can handle clean up in that manner, rather dealing with the added expense of adding plumbing.


Backyard Design Ideas

Everybody has a different idea of what they want in a backyard. As you begin to plan and design your backyard think about what your perfect yard would look like in order for you to truly enjoy spending time in your backyard. It is a good idea to start with the overall design you are striving to achieve and then move to the smaller details that will really make your backyard design stand out.

Outdoor Entertaining Space

If entertaining is a big part of how you want to spend time in your backyard some backyard design ideas you may want to incorporate might include an area for al fresco dining, an outdoor kitchen and backyard bar, an outdoor living room, a built in fire pit, or a dedicated area for games such as washers or cornhole. When choosing furniture for your outdoor dining and lounge areas make sure you are keeping comfort in mind. Even the best-looking sets won’t be utilized fully if they are not comfortable!

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Family Friendly Outdoor Living

If you are more focused on how your family, and small children, are going to use your backyard you will be interested in a different set of backyard design ideas. If you have small children some elements you might want to be sure to include would be a dedicated play structure area, an area for sand/dirt play, lots of open space for running or playing ball, and a paved track around the exterior edge of your backyard can be great for riding bikes or other wheeled toys. Children’s play areas can be traditional with a cedar play structure, or you can think outside the box with an old canoe filled with sand or dirt, rather than a traditional sandbox.

Backyard Garden Design Ideas

While some people desire entertaining or recreation space some people dream about a beautiful and lush backyard filled with ornamental and flowering plants to soothe their senses. For these people, backyard design ideas may include a wide variety of organic and ornamental flowers, meandering pathways they can use for wandering through the garden, and water features. When planning the types of plants you will want to take into consideration the mature height of the plants, you want to make sure to use plants of varying heights so everything is not on the same level. It is also a good idea to use plants of varying colors and that flower and bloom at different times throughout the growing season. Using plants that are native to your local area will make it easier to grow the plants because they are already adapted to the temperatures and rainfall that your area typically receives. A water feature or fountain not only makes a great focal point, but can also add a musical note into your garden.

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2017 Outdoor Kitchen Trends

Winter is the perfect time to start daydreaming about how you will spend your summer outside. This may be the summer that you finally get that outdoor kitchen that has been on your mind for so long! If you start planning now, you can be ready for updates and install as soon as the weather cooperates and you can spend more of your summer enjoying your new outdoor space. Here are some outdoor kitchen trends that we have found to be in high demand for the 2017 summer.

outdoor kitchen trends

What Type Of Equipment Do You Need?

An outdoor kitchen doesn’t only have to consist of a traditional grill. One of the current outdoor kitchen trends is to incorporate a number of different types of equipment, such as side burners, power burners, built in griddles, rotisserie, smokers, or even an outdoor pizza oven. Some units even offer multiple forms of fuel so that you can opt for the cooking method that best suits the food you are preparing.

Keep Your Drink Options Open

A popular trend that you may want to jump on is a beverage center. You can customize your beverage center in any way that suits you, but options you may want to consider are an outdoor wine cooler, outdoor kegerator, outdoor refrigerator, and a central location to serve and mix drinks with storage, a sink, access to ice, and a storage place for condiments and garnishes.

Everything AND The Kitchen Sink

Having a sink is one of the outdoor kitchen trends that is becoming more of a staple each year. Not only can you use it as part of your beverage station, it will also be invaluable for cleanup and make for fewer trips inside to clean your hands or wash off a plate.

Establish Functional Zones

When outdoor kitchens first gained popularity, they usually just consisted of the cooking component. Current outdoor kitchen trends have moved towards a more complete outdoor living space where you can prepare food, mingle with guests while the food is cooking, and also not have to move inside to eat when the food is ready. You want to make sure that you establish zones that allow for all of this to happen in a natural way, but still allows for the necessary space needed for cooking, setting up of an outdoor dining table, etc. You also need to make sure you plan the zones with a logical eye. You shouldn’t put cooking, or heating, elements next to cooling elements; this would result in both those appliances working harder to do their respective jobs.

Design Elements Have Evolved

Gone are the days of cinderblock and porcelain tile for outdoor kitchens. The latest outdoor kitchen trends include granite countertops and stainless steel drawers and cabinetry. Gaining in popularity is powder-coated metal, which provides durability and a wide variety of color. They can even be coated to look like real wood cabinets.

Outdoor Kitchen Trends Are More Than Just A Kitchen

As mentioned above, the current outdoor kitchen trends are so much more than a kitchen. You often find outdoor entertainment systems, including a television, plush seating, heaters, fire pits, fireplaces, a misting system to combat the summer heat, and outdoor lighting have been incorporated into the outdoor kitchen/living space. The sky is almost the limit on what you want to include that increases the comfort and livability of your outdoor kitchen.

Whether you are just starting the dreaming process of your outdoor kitchen, or you know exactly what you want, contact your local landscaping company and they can help you take the next step in turning this dream of an outdoor kitchen into a reality.

The Best Materials for Outdoor Kitchen Countertops

Choosing countertops is always a tough decision in a home remodel. There are many different materials to choose from, each with their own benefits and drawbacks both in design and in practicality. Choosing countertops for your outdoor kitchen narrows your choices since you need a material that can stand up to Midwest weather. Here are some of the best materials you can choose from for your outdoor kitchen countertops.

outdoor kitchen countertops

Concrete Outdoor Kitchen Countertops

Concrete countertops are a popular trend in indoor kitchens and an excellent material option for outdoor kitchen countertops. They are durable, easy to clean, come in many different color and textures options, and provide a contemporary design to your outdoor living space. It is important that you have a professional install the concrete countertops, however. Improper installation will make them crack over time.

Granite Outdoor Kitchen Countertops

Out of all the stone outdoor kitchen countertops, granite is the best option for the elements and low maintenance. When properly sealed, granite countertops can easily handle the changes in weather without cracking or fading. The material is heat resistant, does not easily scratch or stain, and will never lose its shine in the sun.

Tile Outdoor Kitchen Countertops

Tile countertops provide a variety of design options for your outdoor kitchen, making it the most versatile when it comes to design. Tile is also an affordable material option, but be careful. Tile takes a little more care than other materials. Grout and tiles will crack and discolor during weather changes from freezing to blistering hot. Extreme temperatures which we are known for in the Midwest can wreak havoc on your tile.

Marble Outdoor Kitchen Countertops

In order to use marble for outdoor kitchen countertops, it is important to get a honed finish. This finish will help protect the stone from the elements. Marble is a favorite option for people who want a more rustic look since the weather elements will naturally etch the stone and will keep stains away (as long as you have a honed finish).

Soapstone Outdoor Kitchen Countertops

Soapstone is very resistant to heat, making it a great countertop for the summer, and will not stain easily. The biggest drawback to using soapstone for outdoor kitchen countertops is the material is easy to scratch. While it is easy to get the scratches out of soapstone, it requires more maintenance. Additional soapstone maintenance requires oiling and sealing regularly so liquids and fingerprints will not darken the stone over time.

Stay Away From…

  • Quartz Countertops. The topcoat of quartz counters will eventually fade and yellow in the elements.
  • Corian Countertops. Corian is prone to staining, scratching, burning, and fading in the elements.
  • Stainless Steel Countertops. Stainless steel can sometimes be a good option for outdoor kitchen countertops, but only under the perfect storm of circumstances. Don’t opt for stainless steel until you get advice from an outdoor kitchen professional.

Outdoor Kitchen Designs – Your Planning Guide for a Perfect Entertaining Space

As night falls and the sun stops beating down on your outdoor living space, spending time preparing food in your outdoor kitchen is the perfect way to spend your Kansas City summer. From special weeknights to weekend get-togethers, cooking in an outdoor kitchen is a great way to enjoy the season and avoid heating up your house when cooking. There are many outdoor kitchen designs out there and choosing one depends on how you will use the kitchen and what your entertaining space looks like.

outdoor kitchen designs

Personalize the Kitchen for Your Needs

Looking at outdoor kitchen designs is fun inspiration for your space, but getting a kitchen that works best for your needs requires some thought and planning. To personalize it, think about how often you are going to cook outside, how many people will be acting as a chef, and how many people will be dining outside. These are fundamental questions that will help you decide how large your outdoor kitchen should be versus the dining space.

After deciding the size of your outdoor kitchen, you next need to think about how you are going to use that space. Will it be used for grilling and other basic cooking? Or do you want to take advantage of the outdoor air ventilation to cook some items you can’t in the house, such as deep fried foods or whole birds? This will dictate what types of appliances and construction you will need for the kitchen.

Lastly, consider the storage and cleaning capabilities you want your in your outdoor kitchen designs. If you want to be able to store plates, cups, and utensils, the kitchen will need to have storage options that protect the dishware from the elements. If you want to be able to clean your dishes and other parts of your meal prep outside, then you will need to think about plumbing and washing capabilities.

Decide on Placement

Another fundamental part of choosing between outdoor kitchen designs is the placement of your kitchen space. This is a crucial point in the decision making process that requires a professional. Your kitchen cannot be too close to the house or you risk damage to the siding over time as well as smells and smoke ventilating into your home. Likewise your kitchen will need some shelter from the elements outside. Depending on the appliances you chose to include, the outdoor kitchen will also need certain support elements in the construction to prevent risk of fire or malfunction.

All of these decisions about placement will make a difference in the success and functionality of your outdoor kitchen. Where you place your outdoor kitchen can also change how much your kitchen costs. For instance, if you are placing your kitchen far from your house, you will have to run wires and piping which can be add up.

Pick A Layout From Outdoor Kitchen Designs

You know what you will have in your kitchen. You know the size it will be. And you know where you are going to put it. Now you get to decide on the fun design details, starting with the layout. For outdoor kitchen designs, there are three main types of layouts:

  • Straight. A straight outdoor kitchen is like a small kitchenette for your outdoor living space. This will usually be places unobtrusively against a retaining wall or deck. If there will only be one chef operating in the kitchen, the straight layout is a great option.
  • U-Shape. For those who are going all out on their outdoor kitchen, the u-shape layout is perfect to mimic the space of your indoor kitchen. This gives you plenty of room for all your appliances as well as availability for multiple chefs to move around in the space.
  • Islands. If entertaining and food prep go hand-in-hand for you, an outdoor kitchen island is the best option. This allows you to host a Mongolian BBQ style space where the food preparation happens in the same place where guests are seated.

Now that you have all your pieces put together, it is time to start creating! Get your outdoor kitchen constructed as early in the season as you can so you are able to enjoy throughout the rest of summer and into fall weather.