A yard’s “hardscape” refers to the things we build into the environment, such as patios, walkways or decks. Learn more about how hardscaping can make your yard an ideal space for entertainment, play and relaxation.

Begin with this overview of a popular trend for backyards: outdoor kitchens.

All About Outdoor Kitchens

With Alain Joske, owner of Inscapes

With the beautiful weather in the Bay Area, it’s no wonder that one of the biggest local home improvement trends is to extend one’s living space to the outside with add-ons like decks and covered patios. However, even though these exterior additions are great, you can take your alfresco experience to a whole new level by building an outdoor kitchen, which will allow you to prepare meals and dine under the sun or stars. To learn about the process of outdoor kitchen construction, we’re joined by Alain Joske of Inscapes.

Plan way in advance. An outdoor kitchen isn’t built overnight—it’s a lengthy process, and the actual construction is often the shortest part. As Mr. Joske explains, the most time-intensive portion tends to be the planning stage, during which the design is drawn and approved. “The length of the planning phase depends on a few factors, such as how busy your architect is and the legal restrictions of the area you live in,” he says. “For example, in Marin, your project might have to go through a design review, which could take several months or even a year.” For this reason, if you want your outdoor kitchen to be ready by summer, Mr. Joske suggests getting started the preceding fall, with the goal of beginning construction in January… Read more about outdoor kitchens