Lacy Rice (left), his wife, Lisa, and their kids at home in Chevy Chase. Photo by Michael Ventura.


These days, many people who are building or renovating a home think beyond a simple grill for the backyard. Homeowners are increasingly asking for outdoor kitchens and other dining amenities, says Paul Davey, a principal architect at Studio Z Design Concepts in Bethesda. Plans might begin with a gas line for a built-in grill, but then expand to include a smoker, sink and other features that allow homeowners to seamlessly host outdoor gatherings. “When you describe what the area can become, that’s when the light bulb goes off and they see using the space year-round,” Davey says.

By adding a fireplace, television, bar, screened porch and comfortable seating area, these spaces can become a destination for guests to relax and hang out.

Here are three outdoor kitchens and entertainment areas with flair.