Additions and amenities for outdoor entertaining have become very popular in recent years. Watch as we add a great space for outdoor entertaining on the back of this home, including:

  • Covered patio with slate floor
  • Outdoor kitchen with stainless steel appliances
  • Outdoor fireplace

We also visited another home to see how a composite deck was added next to their swimming pool to provide a low maintenance area for outdoor entertaining.


Danny Lipford: A beautiful day like today would make anyone want to get outside. This week we will show you how to create the perfect outdoor entertainment area.

Announcer: Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford, the voice of home improvement, with projects tips and ideas to help you improve your home.

Danny Lipford: Many people love this type of neighborhood. It’s a zero-lot line development where you have little or no room between you and the house next door. The advantage there is very little lawn to maintain, very little grass and very few shrubs. But most of these types of developments have some type of common space that allows the kids and children to get out and play a little bit. But everyone still wants that private little entertainment area in the back of their house. That’s what we are creating on the back of this house. Not just a simple one, though. We are putting together this great looking kitchen outdoors with fireplace, covered area and very important, ventilation so that cooking can take place under the covered roof. And a little bit later, we’ll be checking in on a very special deck project that’s just outside St. Petersburg, Florida where a contractor is using a composite material to build the deck, which will allow the homeowner a lot more leisure time and less time taking care of the deck. Stay with us.

Danny Lipford: One of the challenges in doing anything in the backyard of a house that is positioned on a zero-lot line clearance is that’s all the space you have. Not big enough for a truck to drive down and bring all the materials into the backyard. So everything will have to be hand carried or pushed in a wheel barrel. But you know to create the perfect outdoor living space this is a good start. The homeowners’ installed their pool several years ago. It is a fairly small pool, but so is the area we have to work with. Also in the original construction of the house this little shade back porch was included, which is a nice little area, but it’s not quite big enough for what they really wanted to accomplish in their back yard. And that’s to be able to have another covered area that would take care of a nice cooking center, an outdoor kitchen and even throw in a fireplace. It did not take us that long to get to this point.

Along with the pool and the covered patio, the Hall family also had a small storage building already in the backyard, so we decided to build the outdoor kitchen as an extension of it. This way, it would back right to the neighbors wall and wouldn’t use too much of the pool deck. That meant we had to pour a concrete slab to serve as a foundation for the structure. As we often do, we used the pump truck to get the concrete into the backyard from the street. But here, with limited access to the workspace, it was more of a necessity than a luxury. The slab will be slightly higher that the pool deck for a couple of reasons. One, we did not want the runoff from the pool creating any puddles under the cooks feet. And two, we wanted the new area to be on the same level as the existing patio. In order for the new roof of the outdoor kitchen to be tied into the storage building, we had to do some demolition to the old roof.  In fact, we completely removed it. And because of the zero-lot line situation, we were working right up against the neighbor’s storage building so we really had to be careful not to mess it up in the process.

And once the lumber arrived, the guys started the framing and they began with this wall, which is attached to the cinderblock wall that separates this lot from the neighbor’s yard. Since the outdoor kitchen will be open on 2 sides, the guys put up a beam to support the front side of the roof structure. Those temporary posts will be replaced later with fiberglass columns. Once the beam was locked in, the ceiling joist could start going in and then the rafters so the whole thing can be decked and shingled. The Halls wanted to be sure that this addition did not make the neighbors’ side of the wall an unattractive site, so we added a few lattice panels, which will allow their ivy to grow up and completely hid the addition. We asked Heather Hall how she thought the addition would go over in the neighborhood.

Heather Hall: With our close, compact yard and our community, I think it’s going to work great. I think we are going to have neighbors coming over wanting to get in the pool, cook out. I think it is going to be a lot of fun.  I think it just adds to the ambiance of our yard.

Danny Lipford: I have installed more outdoor fireplaces in the last 5 years then probably the 20 plus years I have been in this business. It really makes a lot of sense in an outdoor area like this because all you need is just a little bit of a heat source to allow you to use this space for many more weeks in the year. Now the homeowner here chose a gas fireplace and many people would think of a wood burning fireplace in an outdoor situation like this, but the truth is a gas fireplace is so convenient to use, and if it is convenient, you are going to use it a lot more and it will provide plenty of BTUs to keep this area nice and cozy on those cool nights. Now the homeowners have thought about this for a long, long time to create this perfect cooking area. And, they thought about where every single component should go. It’s very important, not easy to do, but very important so that all of the wiring can take place with all of the switches and outlets. Also the plumbing lines that are necessary and all can be stubbed out right in the right place.

And a very important part of any outdoor kitchen that’s undercover is to have a vent hood that is adequate enough to pull all of the smoke out of this area. It is very, very important to prevent any chance of fire as well as discoloring on any of the ceiling area. Now bricks will be placed on this wall and they will actually be used to create the housing for all of the cooking components that will go all the way down this wall. But, our brick masons are not here today because they were waiting on one more of the cooking components to come in so they can get started. Well it’s here, so we’re ready for the brick masons to get started.

Really bricks over a wooden plywood wall which is attached to an 8 inch thick cinder block wall may seem like a bit of overkill, but by doing it this way everything has the appearance that it was built all at the same time. In other words, it doesn’t look like in addition because of the materials. After our Simple Solutions segment we’ll show you more of this project as well as a cool composite deck.

Joe Truini: Many homeowners will use a paintbrush just once or twice and throw it away, and consequently they end up buying really cheap paint brushes because they know they’re just going to toss them away. A better approach is to buy good-quality paintbrushes, clean them really well after each use, and store them properly. And, that way they’ll last you many, many years. Here’s a paintbrush that I used recently to apply some latex paint and first I cleaned it really well with warm soapy water. But before putting it away for good I’m going to use a brush comb which is nothing more than a wooden handle with these sharpened steel pins coming out of it. And it’s a great tool for straightening out the bristles and removing any dried paint chips that may have been stuck and left behind after the cleaning process. You can use a wire brush, but you have to be really careful because the bristles of the brush may tear out the paint bristles.

So once the bristles are nice and straight you can just wrap it up. I like using this craft paper or brown paper that I cut out of a grocery sack and fold it over and secure it with a rubber band. And now the important part here it’s to make sure the band is on the metal feral part, otherwise it will deform the bristles. The paintbrushes usually come with their own sheath. If you have yours from the original brush, then you can store it in that as well.

Danny Lipford: This week we’re looking at all the elements that are necessary that go together to create that perfect outdoor entertainment area. Now one of the decisions you’ll have to make when you’re creating that perfect spot in your backyard is what surface to use.  Here we had an existing masonry surface around the swimming pool commonly called cool deck. And next to that, under the covered patio, we have a stained and scored concrete slab that ties right into the new slab that we poured. All of that will be covered with a slate tile should look perfect. But for some homeowners, the outdoor entertainment area that you may have might be a deck. And when you think about a wood deck, it’s a lot of maintenance and a lot of upkeep. But, there is an alternative. It’s composite decking. And recently we worked with the contractor just outside St. Petersburg Florida where he’s building this great-looking deck.

John Segler: The design of this particular deck was really… had an extreme amount of input from the owners. We’ve run into people who call us and say we want deck and we don’t know anything about it. So we go out and try to pull things out of them. But the Rices really had a good idea of what they wanted. They have a space that could be really molded into a lot of different things. It was an initial two-hour visit that we kind of talked about this and that and whatever. And it’s been almost ongoing. “We’ll can we do this? Can we do this?” And I love that kind of thing because they are really into it. And I think that when we’re done, they’ll be very happy. In Florida especially, pressure-treated wood, if you don’t maintain it every single year, it has a life of probably six or seven years, eight at the outside. And people really don’t want to sand, stain and seal the wood every year. They want to use the deck, they want to have parties, they want to do this or do that. So, I always try to push composite decks. They are more expensive. There is no doubt about that. But, the longevity of them, the usability of them, the foot friendliness over time is really, really worth it. So, I try to do that.

Some of the lower decks in Florida, we don’t have a lot change in height as far as the ground goes, so we don’t really have high decks and a lot of times we don’t need railings a lot, that we’ll use them as an accent because then it’s not just like a patio but it’s more of an outdoor room. It influences traffic patterns and things like that. On this particular deck, we’re using hidden fasteners because, especially with composites, they’re spending all this money for this wonderful product and in you’re putting screws down through it. And even with the nice composite screws you’re still going to see the screw head. So, we’re going the extra step here and going to use the hidden fasteners and it’s going to look great.

Danny Lipford: I think John’s right, but ultimately it has to meet the owners’ needs. And Sue Rice told us why her family wanted to build a deck in the first place.

Sue Rice: We wanted to add a deck because we really wanted to have an outdoor living room. With the view of us having a lot of company and our children, one’s a teenager and one’s going to be a teenager. And we wanted a real friendly place for the kids to be able to hang out, and us too. We both contributed to the design of the deck because we wanted to add certain elements. My husband wanted the bar, that’s his part. I wanted to swing, that’s my part. And we wanted a quiet gathering place so there were several modifications of the initial drawing. We are really happy with it.

Danny Lipford: As it should be. John’s company did a great job combining the Rice’s idea into a clean design. And then, putting that together with the right materials and craftsmanship to create a beautiful deck that this family should be able to enjoy for years and years. You know composite decking material was a perfect choice for those homeowners, but for the Halls, the homeowners we’re working with on this project had a little tougher time figuring out what they wanted to use to cover the existing slab as well as the new slab that’s part of the extended outdoor entertainment area. Now, one option they thought about is to match this stained and scored concrete with the new. But I’ll tell you it never works, it never matches up even if you stain the whole thing you’ll see the difference between the old and the new.

Plus, it won’t address this problem that plagued them for years. A little bit of blowing rain last night blew in and a lot of water is standing here. It’s definitely a slip hazard and is just something that would deteriorate any kind of material that you use here. So, the solution that we’re offering is to fill this up a little bit with a floor patch compound to allow the water to drain off. Then, we’ll install the slate tile over all of the old and the new. Everything will tie in and it will function like it should with the water running off. When we come back we’ll get into laying the tile and show you a very unique outdoor kitchen area.

Danny Lipford: When you’re working outside it’s just a given that you’re going to get dirty. No one really wants to run inside from their outdoor chores just to wash her hands. But installing a sink outside can really be expensive. The Reel Smart Outdoor Sink can solve that problem. It’s an outdoor sink that connects to a normal garden hose so that it can go almost anywhere and doubles as a garden hose reel for even more convenience. It has a large capacity sink, a swivel faucet, to fold out shelves for workspace, hooks for cooking utensils or garden tools and a handy storage shelf underneath. Now you can use it as a prep area for your next barbecue, a potting station or a cleanup area for practically any outdoor projects. Now the built-in hose reel is powered by standard water pressure from any household spigot and is easy to install because it can be wall or floor mounted. Not bad for just under $100.

Danny Lipford: Well, our outdoor kitchen area certainly looks different than it did the last time we were here. If you remember, it had this ugly concrete block wall now the bricks have been laid and it ties in real nicely with the existing bricks on the house. It’s always a good idea with any home improvement project that you take on to make it blend in with the existing look of a house. You can see our fireplace is completely finished with the exception of the granite surround which will match the granite countertop going on our new outdoor kitchen. Now check this out how all of this was put together. There’s nothing in this entire structure that’s burnable. We used galvanized metal studs that they fabricated together here with screws and then cement backer board was screwed to that. It created the area for the grill, the refrigerator, and the other components that will complete the outdoor kitchen. Now I also mentioned how important it is to have proper ventilation. Well these homeowners took me very serious. Look at this big thing. It should be adequate with the two different blowers to exhaust any kind of smoke that is generated by the grill. And it is ducted over to the neighbors’ house so they’ll be hungry all the time.

Now the last thing we need to do here to complete everything is countertop components and our slate floor. Before the floor crew can get to work, the vinyl siding guys take over the area and the kitchen trimming out the ceiling and the soffits of the addition. When the floor crew can get to work the first thing they do is mix and apply that leveling compound we mentioned earlier. It fills in all the low places and creates a slight slope to drain all the water off the patio. Getting the surface of an outdoor entertainment area to drain properly is critical if you really want to enjoy the space. In fact, a lot of people opt for pavers laid over packed sand or gravel for that very reason. They do drain very well. This is a pretty do-it-yourself friendly job, but you can also pick up the materials you want at the local home center and have them take care of all the installation for you. Back at the Hall house the floor patch is dry, time for the tile to start going in. Now remember when you pick tile for this kind of job, it should be something that is suitable for outdoor use. That means you want one that’s fairly nonporous and won’t crack with freeze and thaw cycles. And, the surface should be somewhat slip resistant. Now that our slate floor is completely finished, grouted, and dried, now these guys can get busy with all of the granite countertops. Tony, I know that you’ve done a lot of inside kitchen jobs for us but do you have to do anything different with granite on an outdoor kitchen like this.

Tony: Yes, you want to watch your stone selection. You want to choose something that, in my opinion, is going to be dark and prevent the grease from making it any darker. Even though the sealing process has gotten better, it’s still recommended that you stay with something dark.

Danny Lipford: Okay, what about the thickness of this stuff? You got quite a bit of thickness on this material.

Tony: This is really thick. It’s an inch and a quarter thick.

Danny Lipford: Okay, but what about inside kitchens? What’s the most common for the interior kitchen?

Tony: The most common is 2 centimeters, which is three quarter. But, a lot of people do like to go with this upgrade, which is a nice look.

Danny Lipford: Man that looks great. I know the homeowners love it a lot. But what about something vertical like the fireplace surround. What he do you have to do with that? Do you use the same type of adhesive and everything?

Tony: You want to use something a little bit heavier duty adhesive like a liquid nail. It’s going to stand up real good on those vertical surfaces. You’re dealing with a lot of weight right there.

Danny Lipford: Yea I guess so, and you certainly don’t want one of those pieces to come tumbling down on the floor. Well this looks great. When these guys get finished we’ll be able to move forward with the grill, the refrigerator, and everything else we need to put this outdoor kitchen to bed. Tony’s crew is able to finish their work of gluing & seaming pretty quickly, so the granite is complete and the plumber can go to work connecting the grill and the fireplace. There does seem to be a little snag though, because the brick masons apparently made the opening for the refrigerator a little too snug. The refrigerator just won’t fit. Since tearing everything back out at this point is out of the question, our foreman Joe begins shaving the bricks first with a diamond blade on a circular saw and then using a grinder. After a lot of dust and a little effort, the fridge finally makes it into place. While the finishing touches go in, let’s check out this week’s Around the Yard segment.

Tricia Craven Worley: Water is so plentiful in some areas and so scarce in some others. Like I pray for rain all the time. If you want ways to conserve water, here are a few tips for you. If you have an electric or gas lawn mower, you can raise the blade two inches. And in doing so, the longer blade is going to protect the soil from drying out. And, of course, then it will take longer before it needs water again. Something else you want to do is go around and check all your hose bibs, where the hose meets. See if it has a washer. Put one in or replace it if it’s old. If you have a house that has a valley like this one does, you can put a rain barrel or trash can and when it rains it’ll just go right into that can. And otherwise anywhere, if you don’t have a valley, just put it along an eave and that water will come down.

And finally, instead of using the hose for patio washing, or any area that has debris, but a little upper body strength into it and just sweep it off.

Danny Lipford: Now this is a place I can really relax summer, spring, or fall. The Halls really have a great set up here. Of course they have a swimming pool to cool off on those warm days. There’s a new outdoor kitchen where they can put together a great meal any time of year thanks to the fireplace, which keeps it warm in almost any weather. Then, there’s the covered patio with its new slate floor where they can enjoy that meal out of the sun or the rain. While this outdoor entertaining space is mostly about bricks, mortar and stone, the Rices’ outdoor retreat in Florida relies on a great deck surface to define the entertaining space. Together with their contractor, they created a fun, attractive design that’s also very practical because it’s made from composite material. So it won’t demand a lot of maintenance.

While these two projects were very different in terms of the materials used, the owners have one thing in common. They spent a lot of time planning their projects. Sweating every little detail from components and materials used to the final layout and the design. And it’s really paid off. And this is some of the best time you can spend on any home improvement project. Hey thanks for watching this week. I’m Danny Lipford.

Next week we’re expanding a home to make room for a growing young family.

Editorial Contributors
Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio,, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

Learn More