Natural Stone Veneers Take Outdoor Dining to the Next Level

Whether you want a freestanding pizza oven, a built-in BBQ island, or a full outdoor kitchen with counters, cabinetry and bar seating, Polycor’s natural stone veneers can help create a first-rate outdoor space.

The main topic of conversation these days is outdoor living, a nicety that’s become a necessity. This idea of cherishing outdoor spaces, and treating your patio area as a part of your home equal to the interior space, has grown beyond the standard concrete pads and dome grills of the 1950’s.

And, as outdoor kitchens and eating areas dominate our conversations, the outdoor dining experience itself is upping its game. Think: sinks, fridges, cabinets, countertops, bars, fire pits, and freestanding pizza ovens that compliment a home’s foundation wall, beautiful stone pavers, or chimney.

Outdoor kitchen with Polycor's Indiana Limestone veneer

Our perception of natural stone veneers is changing, too. It’s true that veneers are often perceived as being for one kind of application, as an alternative to siding. But natural stone veneers are highly suitable for a host of outdoor applications, and contractors are discovering the ease with which they can be installed. The lighter weight of stone veneers allows for new possibilities on surfaces not structurally able to withstand the weight of natural stone, bringing a natural finishing touch to your outdoor kitchen or fire pit. Natural stone also makes sense for outdoor kitchens, standing up to all kinds of weather. The composition of natural stone material even makes it bacteria resistant so it’s great for such applications as countertops, sink and storage surrounds.

Aesthetically, nothing compares to this material for outdoor applications: how could any material compliment the natural surroundings of your garden better than natural stone? 

Outdoor kitchen types generally fall into three categories: Modular, meaning stand alone pieces like a bar, sink or grill; Prefab, which might incorporate an outdoor kitchen island with built-in grill and sink; and Custom built-in kitchens. 

Take a look at designer Sara Raak’s magnificent custom outdoor kitchen, which incorporates Polycor’s GEORGIA MARBLE ‐ PEARL GREY™, INDIANA LIMESTONE ‐ FULL COLOR BLEND™, WOODBURY GRAY™ granite to get your inspiration juices going.  

Outdoor kitchen with Polycor's Indiana Limestone veneer

Considering how much we are thinking about our outdoor space, it’s not surprising that Polycor’s Estate Veneers Series is becoming one of the hottest things on the residential hardscape market. Contractors enjoy working with the thin stone veneers because they are a welcome alternative to heavy, labor-intensive standard veneer and brick that typically rely on incommodious cramps and clips. They are lightweight and easy to cut, which makes them much easier to install than full bed veneer materials. Because they are 100% natural stone they can be chiseled and shaped while preserving the look and color of the face on exposed edges, unlike cast concrete and other artificial stone veneers that don’t have a “through look”. 


Though easy to install, stone veneers give the impression of something more monolithic, heavy and like an installation achieved through traditional masonry methods. Which stone to use for an outdoor kitchen and which to use for a custom fire pit are major decisions. Here are a few tips and ideas to get a project started. 

You can’t go wrong choosing a stone that echoes a home’s existing architecture; take a foundation wall or chimney as a starting point for example. Choose a natural stone that harmonizes with the natural landscape around it. 

Allow your aesthetic to guide your choice of stone veneers. The different characteristics of veneer slabs from Polycor’s Estate Veneer Series can inspire modern, rustic or  historic design longings. But they all offer the durability, versatility and pedigree of INDIANA LIMESTONE ‐ FULL COLOR BLEND™, an American classic. For nearly 200 years, it’s been an enduring building stone, chosen for such iconic structures as the Empire State Building, the Pentagon and the Biltmore Estate. And because it’s the same composition throughout, Indiana limestone resists fading over decades, is impervious to the freeze-thaw cycle, and requires very little maintenance.

Outdoor kitchen with Polycor's Indiana Limestone veneer

Vanderbilt Classic is a rectangular flat solid veneer with strong, clean lines, and a uniform, smooth surface. An application of Vanderbilt results in an uninterrupted expanse with clean joints — a perfect choice for a minimal aesthetic.

Outdoor kitchen with Polycor's Indiana Limestone veneer

Berkshire, with its clean edges and a split face, offers a pleasing, random definition that is just as beautiful. It’s a perfect choice if you like a clean but more organic look. The stone’s varying heights, broken out for a taller and shorter effect, make it ideal, for example, if you are after a brick-like Ashlar pattern (in which each column is off-set by half a tile, creating four different heights to break up the joint.) The multi-color characteristics of Berkshire make it great as an accent piece, a counter that pops or a grill wall. It’s also available in thin sawn and full bed.

Evette Rios' outdoor fireplace with Polycor's Indiana Limestone veneer

Rockford Estate Blend is a lightly-tumbled veneer, also available in thin sawn and full bed. It’s textural, and organic looking — the most rustic looking veneer in Polycor’s portfolio. It’s ideal for creating a traditional, handcrafted, farmhouse aesthetic, such as a rough stone counter. It blends naturally and contains a full color range.


Making sure the layout of the backyard has the right flow is paramount to an outdoor project. Take a look at designer Evette Rios’ stunning transformation of the backyard deck of her historic home into a series of multifunctional zones, that are beautiful and made more so in the way they flow with the rest of the house and its surrounding landscape.

Evette Rios’ outdoor kitchen with Georgia Marble – Pearl Grey countertop

Evette Rios’ outdoor kitchen with Georgia Marble – Pearl Grey countertops

Outdoor kitchens can have a huge range of appliances, from the simplest grill and countertop, to a stone pizza oven, or a full outdoor kitchen with commercial-grade appliances. When building your outdoor living space, you want products that will compliment the quality and perform well for years of outdoor living. Some of the products we recommend include Wolf grills, which are sculpted in double-wall stainless steel and precision-welded so they will not rust or hold water. We also like their line of wine coolers and refrigerators. If you are looking for a pizza oven, we like Ooni Koda Gas-Powered Outdoor Pizza Oven, whose super high heat can cook pizza in a minute just like the pizzerias of Naples.

There are some amazing outdoor living styles to be explored. And whatever your choice, Polycor can make the dream of an outdoor kitchen a reality with easy-to-install natural stone veneer, which delivers a personal look that will never go out of style.

Want to learn more about installing Indiana Limestone thin veneer? Watch this video to see how to install thin stone veneer on an outdoor kitchen base.