Outdoor Kitchen: Part 1

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Homeowners Autumn and Ashley Zellner
Homeowners Autumn and Ashley Zellner

Ashley and Autumn Zellner have a beautiful new home that they share with their three daughters, Ruby, Rose and Molly.

The Zellners’ existing porch wasn’t big enough for the outdoor kitchen they wanted to add. We helped them enlarge their patio space so we could create an outdoor kitchen that tied in with the house’s original construction.

It was a big job that took us two episodes to complete.

Here’s what we tackled in part one:

  • Poured two concrete slabs
  • Added brick rowlock border to the patio
  • Built the frame and doors for the cabinets
  • Split the bricks for the cabinet facade
  • Constructed a small fence
The crew works on pouring the concrete slabs.
The crew works on pouring the concrete slabs.

Extending the Concrete Patio

To create the outdoor kitchen we had to extend the patio in both directions, adding a small concrete slab to the left of the porch and another larger one on the right. It’s important to calculate the amount of concrete you’ll need for a project, and our Cubic Yard Calculator is a handy tool for doing just that.

We removed the grass in those areas using a Razor-Back sod lifter before building the wood forms for the concrete. The forms were designed so the concrete would spill under the form board to create a nice foundation for our brick rowlock border.

Because this was a larger concrete job, we called in our friends at Advanced Concrete Placement to pour the concrete. The advantages of having professionals finish large concrete projects are their specialized tools, skill and knowledge to deal with unplanned circumstances, such as the heavy rain we were dealing with. If you’re up for a DIY challenge, here are step-by-step instructions for Pouring and Finishing a Concrete Slab.

Despite the wet weather, our concrete slabs dried and we removed the wood forms. Finally, to tie in the newly poured slabs to the original patio, we laid brick rowlock along the ledge we created with the concrete.

Laying out the brick border
Laying out the brick border

Making Progress on Other Projects

splitting bricks
Autumn uses a wet saw to splits the bricks.

Plans for the outdoor kitchen include an L-shaped counter that will house a sink and space for Ashley’s existing grill. The cabinets will be wrapped in brick that matches the brick on the house, while the counter top is natural stone.

We built the cabinet frames and doors and split the bricks we’ll need to veneer the cabinets. We also constructed a small fence to separate the porch from the air conditioning unit.

At the end of part one, Ashley and Autumn’s outdoor kitchen is finally taking shape. Stay tuned for part two to see the finished results.

Allen and Bear build the frame for the cabinets, while Ashley and Autumn disassemble the grill.
Allen and Bear build the frame for the cabinets, while Ashley and Autumn disassemble the grill.

Other Tips from This Episode


Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
Adding LED Lighting Above Cabinets

For a nice, warm glow, use two stands of LED battery-powered lights on top of the kitchen cabinets – one along the wall and one behind the crown molding. Watch video.


Best New Products with Jodi Marks:
Ames Stand-Up Weeder

The Ames Stand-Up Weeder pulls weeds – roots and all – without your bending over and straining your back. It is available at The Home Depot. Watch video.

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Backed by his 40-year remodeling career, Danny served as the home improvement expert for CBS’s The Early Show and The Weather Channel for more than a decade. His extensive hands-on experience and understanding of the industry make him the go-to source for all things having to do with the home – from advice on simple repairs, to complete remodels, to helping homeowners prepare their homes for extreme weather and seasons.


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