Outdoor bars are one of the best additions to any home or garden, but they can also be some of the most expensive.
However with a little creativity and some help from your local DIY store, you can have your dream outdoor bar without blitzing your bank account.
Here are our top 10 money saving tips for an outdoor bar on a budget:
The Tree Bar
Who has not looked at their big beautiful tree and thought that is where they wanted their outdoor bar? A lot of people actually.
This can be tricky because you want the bar built around the tree and you don’t want anything to damage it or block its growth.
Think about how big that tree is going to grow in five years, not only how much space it will take up but also where the shade will be as your outdoor bar.
Many people have successfully added a simple roof over their bar area surrounding the tree with no issues of future growth or shade impediment.
On average an established Oak Tree can reach 60′ high with a canopy that may span 40′ from front to back. This size would require careful planning regarding any structure that would surround it.
An Oak Tree requires well-drained soil, full sun exposure and ample room for root development. They are relatively slow growing trees once they reach a mature size.
Since many of us may lack the necessary knowledge to provide this, it may be best to discuss it with a landscaper or arborist before moving any further.
The Patio Bar
This is one of the most common types of outdoor bars you find in people’s yards and they can make for some really great setups. You have your bar top surface which provides plenty of room for mixing drinks and getting creative.
A few stools around the edge give you a place to sit and enjoy your tasty treats from the grill as well as company from family and friends.
The options here are pretty limitless with what materials you could use but typically a stamped concrete patio or stone topped table best because they hold up reasonably well against the elements and are easy for anyone to clean.
You could add a simple umbrella or two for shade should you desire but that isn’t always necessary if your bar is in the right area of the yard. For example, ours sits near our patio under some maples which provide plenty of shade during those hot summer days.
The only time we might need something would be on exceptionally bright sunny days. If this is where you plan on having your outdoor bar, just keep in mind where there is no tree coverage you’re going to have less shade options.
A Custom Outdoor Bar
This can be done basically any way you’d like with most materials available at your local hardware store or online supplier. Many people build these out of wood, stone or even cement blocks to match their current patio.
Just make sure you have the proper permits and support beams. This is if using wood as most local building codes require a certain amount of clearance around the bar top surface for safety reasons.
There are some styles that can be considered portable but they typically cost a lot more than a permanent structure.
You may want to check with your local authorities before going this direction. This is because it is important to meet all standards and codes required in your area for public structures such as these bars.
It would be unfortunate to pour some concrete and build something only to find out later you need some special permitting just because it has wheels!
A Grill Station
These can be added into or made part of some other type of area to make for a specific area for grilling.
This can be really great if you’re having an event and do not have room for all of the guests to grill their own food. You can either bring in some tables or build something that will hold several grills side by side like this one above.
Grill station with prep table, firewood storage as well as metal mesh backsplash which helps contain flying sparks from the flame. In case you didn’t notice it also has a sink with running water which is always a nice addition to these types of structures.
This would typically be built where your propane tanks could feed into it from behind so there is no need to move them around when needed. A few simple tools and a friend to help move it into place will make the job much easier.
This is your elevated bar top surface with two sides for stools and a lower shelf area. Height may vary but typically they look similar to this picture below:
A nice touch would be to add some glass backsplashes or metal mesh just as we have seen on others before. There are many other things you can do here from installing lights under the bar top surfaces.
Adding tile work around the bars themselves or even decorative glass in front of them if desired. All of these options could potentially drive up cost so keep that in mind when designing yours.
The Backyard Pub
These offer all the fun atmosphere you can imagine when you walk into your local neighborhood pub. This might be the kind of place where people gather and enjoy each other’s company while having a few drinks and some laughs inside or out on the patio.
When designing yours you could either go at it alone like we did or hire someone to help with construction and design if you really want one that is top notch.
We made ours from cinder blocks, insulating foam boards and cement board siding with shingles added for an authentic look. It has taken quite a beating over the past couple years but still looks good as new thanks to simple care such as cleaning off the dirt & grime every so often.
You may also notice our nice addition of lights around the top edge which can be great for those cooler evenings.
People have been known to spend a lot of money constructing their backyard pub but you can certainly get by with a much more modest approach as we have shown here. Keep it simple and focus on the good times instead of worrying so much about the money.
The Rolling Patio Bar
This bar can be moved where ever there is room for it which makes it ideal if you do not want something fixed in place like most bars. You could even make these out of either wood or metal storage like above.
Just make sure it is high enough off the ground to offer adequate room for people to walk around it comfortably. We have seen some bars that are really low to the ground which can be a safety hazard if someone falls down beside them.
In addition you might incorporate a couple of built in beverage coolers under the top surfaces.
These types of storage units can hold your ice cold bottled drinks and keep them out of sight from little kids who might not know any better.
The Rounded Pub
This may simply be what you call a standard bar with nothing too fancy about it but maybe you would like something more rounded instead?
This could eliminate some square edges which make cleaning up after parties much easier on your back when moving things around.
Also if placed near your home there may be less chance of someone accidentally bumping into it which would cause damage to either the bar itself or perhaps even others.
Building this one will require a more comprehensive step by step guide that we do not have on hand at this time but these plans should get you started.
The Built-In Bar
If you really want something nice and sturdy outside and don’t mind spending a little more money, this is certainly an option worth looking at.
It’s almost like having an entire room built for entertaining guests outside with almost everything included from stools to lighting to storage areas underneath.
This is very similar in appearance to what we had originally done inside our home when building it however, we wanted something more like a wet bar to include the sink and refrigerator.
Luckily we were able to find used equipment for our outdoor bar as well but be prepared to spend some money if you decide on this option.
The Freestanding Bar
If you really want quality and it’s within your budget you might consider building your own home bar instead. Most people do not even know this is even possible.
I hope we can convince some of them otherwise.This is because this is certainly an amazing option that has been done before. Since by many others who have been inspired by us.
In most cases they have purchased a standard indoor style house with almost no land around it so they figured out a way to incorporate most everything they would need into one single space. The end result can be quite impressive.
This one has a total of three different refrigerator/freezers, two dishwashers, wine cooler, sink and even an ice maker. There is also a ton of storage area around it which is great for large parties where everyone brings something to drink & eat so there is always plenty on hand.
We hope these top 10 outdoor bar ideas help give you some better insight on what your options are when entertaining outside for those special family gatherings, neighborhood out, and friendly get-togethers.
From what we have seen above it’s just really a matter of budget and style preference for most people.
There are lots of other styles out there but after taking a look at these you should be able to decide on something that works best for your particular situation & home or maybe even try your hand at building your own.