Kitchens alfresco

Three designs, three budgets: from elaborate stone pavilion to simple counter
Peter O. Whiteley and Julie Chai

Cooking and dining outside for much of the year is one of the great traditions of living in the West. But no time is more sublime to do it than summer, when warm days stretch into balmy evenings. On nights like this, we can't imagine turning on the oven. This is where the outdoor kitchen comes in: An icon of Western living, it's the ultimate barbecue fantasy, one that almost every homeowner has daydreamed about.

The outdoor kitchen means so much more than a barbecue with a prep sink. There are pizza ovens, griddles, infrared rotisseries, built-in woks, deep-fryers ― you can customize your outdoor kitchen to suit the food you cook and the way you want to entertain. From fireplaces to pop-up thin-screen televisions, the features are limited only by your budget.

Here are three alfresco kitchens that represent a range of options, yet share one common purpose: to bring families together for good times in a beautiful setting.