Miami Green Homes

Outdoor BBQ Design Options For Your South Florida Home


What is a freestanding BBQ?

A freestanding BBQ is a unit that is not attached to any structure. They can be operated using either propane tanks or charcoal. Many of these have wheels, so they can be moved around easily and stored away when not in use. For smaller areas, these units are ideal. They can be situated just about anywhere for outdoor use and do not depend on the architecture of a home to determine their placement. 

Freestanding BBQs come in different sizes and price ranges, offering everything from a basic grill to features such as side burners, smokers, dual fuel (charcoal and gas), etc. A BBQ should be chosen based on the amount of use it will receive, what sorts of foods will be cooked on it, and cooking preference—charcoal fire or gas. 

What is a built-in BBQ?

A built-in BBQ is incorporated into a structure, whether the home’s exterior wall or a separate outdoor living area. Most built-in BBQs are “hard-plumbed” into the home’s existing gas system for convenience, eliminating the need for tank changes.

The architecture of a home dictates how easily this can be accomplished and may require the help of a professional architect to ensure an aesthetic and code-compliant addition. 

As with freestanding BBQs, a built-in can be as simple as a charcoal pit with a grill. These are convenient if used infrequently, or the homeowners prefer the stronger smoky taste charcoal imparts.

For those looking for precision in their grilling or ease of cleaning, gas units are available with various options and levels of complexity. 

Patio shade covering options

In the hot Florida sun, patio coverings are essential to get the most out of outdoor spaces. The shade provided by a well-placed covering can increase the number of hours every day spent outdoors, depending on factors such as existing tree cover and directional exposure. A patio on the north side of a home will receive more shade cast by the house than on the western side. Believe it or not, even the insulation built into the house’s walls can help determine the outdoor temperature next to the home. 

What types of patio coverings are available for a BBQ area?

Luckily, there are patio shade coverings to fit every budget. Which cover is chosen will depend on the amount of shade needed and other factors such as neighborhood covenants, the home’s existing architecture, and the primary function of the outdoor space.

These options include pergolas, awnings, canopies, thatched roofs, and solar screens. Each of these has advantages and can add to the functionality of an outdoor space. 

Ready to start your own project? Contact Sebastian Eilert Architecture for your Architectural and Interior Design project needs.



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Furniture for (outdoor) Miami / South Florida

Miami is a trending town. South Beach and Brickell feature a plethora of high rises, one sleeker than the next; seeking cutting edge contemporary furniture to match. Other places historic charm calls for old world style and serene durability. Yet all of these styles still seek a unique place: the outdoors. Here the style becomes secondary and durability takes over. No matter the design, the South Florida outdoor climate is harsh. Heat and humidity provide minimal opportunity for protection as may be accustomed from northern more climates. What is outside, will slowly demise.


Designers have contemplated many solutions and each have their own success – and failure. Permanent installations out of concrete or keystone are frequently bulky and attract mildew. The latter can be easily cleaned and the essential shape and function of the design maintained. In some cases the aging by the weather may be intended as part of the design. One of the great long lasting examples can be found at Coral Castle (website).


Plastics and metals are typically deteriorating the fastest. They offer the most versatile designs, but at an environmental cost. Humidity really goes to town here and high design pieces are best kept conditioned when not in use.


Composite materials are another option popular with architects and designers. These materials are engineering to withstand extreme weather as well as mold and mildew. Most perform reasonably well. This approach has also grown popular with material choices for decks and patio finishes, as well as sleek 3D design elements and backdrops.


Lastly all natural materials such as teak and tropical hardwoods are a many designers favorite. These materials must be treated and maintained in order to continue to function and look as intended. Again the design intention may include a certain aging in place, but the functionality and structural integrity will be hard to maintain, even with selective rotting.

With many great examples that are picture ready when completed, maintenance and protection are key to ensure a long life for outdoor furniture in Miami.

The South Florida OUTDOOR kitchen

After looking into all the great benefits the South Florida kitchen can utilize on the inside, let’s move to the outside…

One of the great benefits of living in South Florida is the ability to be outside pretty much year round. With the exception of some heavy rain-days, our climate is ideal to be outside. There are numerous options to add living space to the exterior without much effort.

Going back to some of the earlier settlers that helped define some of the appropriate building features, we see large overhangs and nice elevated porches. The fireplace, serving as the cooking area, is pushed to the outside or located, under cover, outside completely.

Simple outdoor living room

Outdoor living room

A great space to take the concept of outdoor living to the next level is the kitchen. From a simple BBQ area to a full fledged kitchen, with all the appliances its indoor companion would have.

Let’s start with the simple features. Pretty any outdoor kitchen will have, and is likely to be centered around, a BBQ. It makes perfect sense to have the BBQ outside, a favorite summer activity for northern climates and a year round treat for our southern climate to enjoy. Having this heat creating monster outside has another benefit in our backyard: no need to cool down the hot air created from cooking or open flame grilling!

The next best feature for the outdoor kitchen is a sink, preferable with some counter space adjacent to it to wash off prepped food for the BBQ and other items.

Outdoor BBQ South Florida

Since we have created a counter, the next step is under counter storage. Waterproofing is key and the type of storage will be different from items stored inside, especially perishable goods.

After storage we can focus on cooling: refrigeration. Besides minimizing the distance to grab a cold beer, and in the process letting out valuable cooled air by opening your sliding or French doors, the proximity offers many benefits, especially when entertaining.

Of course, when selecting items like cook top/BBQ and refrigerator, look for Energy Star or gas options. For the faucet, get a low Flow WaterSense label type and consider draining into a collecting barrel or rain garden. With limited use, it is easy to control what will go down the drain in the outdoor sink!

Items to avid on the outside:

Dishwasher, Microwave and Toaster/small appliances. Leave them inside and only bring them out for events. The dishwasher required proper drainage and this is an item that you also want to leave inside, to make your outdoor kitchen a reasonable project to complete. Even slightly moist areas will create mold and small appliances tend to rust quickly due to our high humidity. No need for mold and rust in your great new outdoor kitchen.

…remember the best of South Florida: year round vegetation! This means that you can grow your own herbs and even some veggies year round, and it also means that composting is an easy must…integrate it into the layout and have designated spaces close by. Your neighbors/guests just might pick up on the idea after seeing how easy it is.

If you like to get started on your own kitchen renovation, contact Sebastian Eilert Architecture today: