How to Create the Ultimate Backyard for Retirement Lifestyle

Outdoor cooking is a fantastic fair weather activity. If you’ve progressed from the occasional marshmallow roast all the way up to “grillmaster,” maybe it’s time to upgrade your setting. Here are some ideas for your new outdoor kitchen.

Practical Features

It’s important to maximize the usability of your outdoor cooking area. It will be disappointing if you can only use it when the weather is exactly perfect, so make design choices that allow your event to carry on, even if there’s a sprinkle of rain or a little wind. Proper covering will help you take advantage of less than perfect days, and extend your outdoor cooking season. A grill gazebo like Sojag has, lets you cook and entertain in any season. Gazebos are available from simple to elaborate, with or without side panels, and endless storage options. If weather isn’t a concern, a pergola offers a similar atmosphere to a gazebo, with a more open and airy presentation.

For saving space, a seating area can be incorporated into the food prep station. A series of bar stools at a marble or granite countertop give your guests a casually elegant experience, and the countertop can double as the food prep area until you’re ready to serve.

Do you already have a pool? Consider incorporating your outdoor kitchen into the pool area. Even if swimming season is over, the pool can serve as a scenic backdrop for your cooler weather gatherings. Possible ideas might include a BBQ cabana or poolside pizza oven. Or, if you want to get really adventurous, how about a swim-up bar adjoining a below-ground-level food and drink serving area?

Since you’re already running electrical power to your outdoor kitchen for appliances, you can add atmospheric lighting. LED fixtures draw minimal power, so be generous with fairy lights in the trees, ground level up-lights for splashes of color, and walkway accent lights.


The ability to refresh drinks without running into the house will keep your guests happy, and having immediate access to food ingredients makes the trip to the grill instantaneous. Keep the pace fast and save hundreds of steps with all your cooled cooking and beverage supplies close at hand. Choose a fridge that’s big enough for all the supplies you’ll need for larger gatherings. For self-service beer dispensing, consider a “kegerator,” which combines elements of a refrigerator and beer keg.

Grill Choices

Gas or charcoal? Why not both? A two sided grill offers the ability to use both methods on the same grill. You can also dedicate one side to meats and the other side to veggies and bread items. Short of buying two separate grills, this offers great flexibility.

Side burners are now considered a must-have, even for more modest BBQ grill setups. They are commonly found even on portable grills. A side burner lets you simultaneously cook multiple items that require different time and temperature. With hot dogs and burgers on the main grill, side burners can handle the baked beans and collard greens.

For keeping your cooked meats warm while you prepare large quantities for a big gathering, a built-in warming drawer is a great feature. Late arriving guests will especially appreciate this. And you can use it to warm rolls, tortillas, pita bread, or anything else that needs a little refresh.

Pizza Ovens

A wood fired outdoor pizza oven is a smaller option, but can still be an impressive backyard centerpiece. They can be built out of brick or stone, or for a more modest budget, portable units are also available. And they’re not just for pizza. A pizza oven is equally good for baking bread items, roasting meats, even grilling fish.


If you want to commit to a truly well-appointed outdoor kitchen, consider adding a sink and running water. Once the plumbing is in, a dishwasher is an easy add-on. And you might want that sink to have a garbage disposal, because why not?

About Retire Early Lifestyle

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired three decades ago at the age of 38 and began traveling the world. As recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance and world travel, they have been interviewed about retirement issues by The Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine, The Motley Fool Rule Your Retirement newsletter, nationally syndicated radio talk shows and countless newspapers and TV shows nationally and worldwide. They wrote the popular books The Adventurer's Guide to Early Retirement (Your Simple Path to FIRE) and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible.
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