Backyard Design: Build Your Fire Pit, Grill Shack or Grillscape & More

Do you dream about an awesome backyard design that looks stellar and has everything you need at your fingertips? Have you browsed pictures of other people's grill shacks and fire pits but don't know how to make them work in your own space, or how to modify them into something affordable?

Deciding on and creating a great backyard design is not out of reach! As a scenic and lighting designer and an outdoor cooking lover, I can show you options and ideas that can work within your budget and vision.

Jump to list of plans

What is a "grillscape"?

There are many ways to describe a structure that is designed to shelter or protect your grill or outdoor cooking area. Grill shacks, grill gazebos, pergolas and outdoor kitchens are some of the different structures and terms. I like to use "grillscapes" as an all-encompassing way to refer to the full spectrum of options.

What makes a great backyard design?

Design is a very individual thing, because everyone has different tastes and different needs. One person's ideal design is not the same as another's. There are many factors to consider when thinking about a grillscape that will allow you to cook and entertain in a way that's right for you.


How large is your yard? Are you ready to commit a portion of it to a permanent grillscape or outdoor kitchen? Perhaps you are more interested in a portable "grilling station" that can keep your tools and equipment organized but can be moved out of the way when necessary.

Are there building codes in your city (or neighborhood) that restrict the types of structures you can build in your yard, or how large/tall those structures can be?


Are you strictly designing a grillscape, or are you thinking more broadly — Maybe a comprehensive plan that also includes an eating or entertaining space?

Does your grillscape need to accommodate more than one grill? Do you want to include a countertop/food preparation area? Do you want shelves, racks, hooks, or enclosed storage for your tools and supplies? 

Do you want the full functionality of an outdoor kitchen (including a refrigerator and running water), or are you just looking for the simplicity of a sheltered spot to do your grilling?


One of the most important questions: How much are you planning to spend? The most elaborate grillscapes will cost several thousand dollars, but it's entirely possible to build something fun and functional for just a couple of hundred dollars!

My goal as a designer and fellow grilling aficionado is to help you get the most out of whatever budget you choose.


Are you looking for a sleek, industrial modern grillscape with lots of stainless steel? Or maybe a structure with fine carpentry details, constructed from exotic woods? Maybe you want to use more natural or weathered materials, to fit in with your surroundings. Maybe you want your new grillscape to match or complement the materials of your home or an existing backyard structure.

Your choice of materials will have a large impact on the overall look and feel of your grillscape, but it's also a large factor in cost. I can help you figure out how your materials selection can keep you within your budget!


Cooking facility designs

I have created some all-inclusive designs (construction drawings & tools/materials lists) for a variety of types of backyard cooking facilities:

Grillscapes: Grill shacks, grill gazebos, pergolas, portable grilling stations, outdoor kitchens

Eating and recreation space designs

Once you're done grilling, continue enjoying the outdoors with a stock or custom-designed space for eating and relaxing:

Custom-design backyard games

Coming soon!
Fire pits
Picnic tables
Outdoor bar
Unique seating environments

Lighting and other considerations

As a designer, I tend to consider the overall "audience experience." You and your guests will get the most enjoyment from your grillscape or other backyard design if you don't forget to factor in:

Coming soon!

Outdoor lighting options
Music/sound equipment
Seating options

Are you inspired and ready to get to work on your dream backyard design? Are you overwhelmed with the options and need a place to begin? In either case, I hope my starter designs and suggestions can be just what you need in order to move to your next step.