What Every Outdoor Kitchen Must Have
Eating and entertaining outdoors expands your home and has a whole different atmosphere than indoors. We spend time and money to plan the right setting inside, and with a little effort you can create an inviting, practical space outdoors as well. Your outdoor living area should include spaces for cooking, eating and lounging. The cooking area, or outdoor kitchen, can range from basic to luxury. Look at the overall design of the project. Go through a solid design process in order to make sure you’ve thought of everything. Decide on a budget first and build from that, taking into account how much space you have to work with. Start gathering images of other outdoor kitchens you love to be able to properly communicate your design ideas with the contractor. Pinterest and Houzz are great places to locate lots of outdoor kitchens. Also visit your local Hardscape Contractor’s website (Southern Exposure’s Gallery) for images of work (they’ve done). Make sure to see their work in person, many contractors these days are simply taking images off the internet and claiming them as their own.
- Most people would agree that the grill is the must-have. Propane, gas and charcoal are all options to consider. Gas lines typically require a plumber and a permit to run the line. Make sure your grill is suitably sized: running into the house to check on food cooking inside because it wouldn’t all fit on the grill defeats the purpose of the outdoor kitchen! You’ll also probably want a couple of burners near the grill, for items that typically cook on the stove.
- A place for everything—counters for working on (just like your indoor kitchen) and for plating and serving. And waterproof cabinets to help store appliances, tools and paper towels, etc. that you would like to keep handy outside. Remember, everything must be suitable to being in the elements outdoors.
- A refrigerator is a necessity in your outdoor kitchen–so you can have your sauces, cheeses, meat and veg handy. And an assortment of cold drinks, of course! Choose a refrigerator that can handle being outside and complements your style. This must-have leads us to another must-have.
- Electricity! You will need to have a power source for your refrigerator, as well as any other appliances you may want—blender, food processor, slow cooker, rotisserie, etc. Have an electrician add the proper GFCI outlet (remember, safety is our first must-have).
- Safety first. Remember outdoor kitchens, are . . . outdoors. It can get slippery from rain, and when water and electricity meet, it can be especially dangerous if proper care is not taken. Use appliances and materials made for outdoor applications, and pay extra attention to safety.
- A sink with running water makes clean-up a breeze–you won’t have to run inside to rinse your veggies or wash your hands after handling raw meat. Make sure to use a plumber to tap into the household water supply (for hot and cold) or the proper type of hose if simply connecting to a yard hose (cold water only).
- Outdoor Patio Furniture. Don’t neglect comfort! Remember, this is another room of your home; treat it that way. Lighting: the blinding bright spotlight on the corner of the house is not making your guests want to stay! Here, your landscape lighting professionals can really make a difference. Talk to them before constructing your outdoor kitchen to plan for perfect lighting. Covering: Do you want an overhead structure? If it’s a sunny spot, you’ll want to provide some shade to keep it cool. There are many options to choose from! And finally, seating and tables. You’ll want to create an inviting atmosphere for your guests to enjoy their meals, and perhaps a few cocktails or a cup of coffee. And you know you want a fireplace or firepit—they are just perfect for lingering, and of course, s’mores.
Look to your indoor kitchen for inspiration for the things you use most and want in your outdoor kitchen, as well as your style. Blend your outdoor kitchen’s style with your indoor style and your outdoor kitchen will feel a seamless part of your home and extend your living area.
Located in Summerfield, NC Southern Exposure Landscape Management specializes in the design, installation, and maintenance of residential and commercial projects throughout the Greensboro Triad Area (High Point, Jamestown, Burlington, Reidsville, Oak Ridge, Brown Summit, Summerfield) With over 20 years in business, Southern Exposure has the experience and knowledge to not only design breathtaking outdoor living spaces, but can bring those designs to life with a detailed and experienced installation crew including beautiful outdoor kitchens and patios. Southern Exposure is the leading landscape management firm in Greensboro, NC. See why our clients choose us. Contact us today by web (online form) or phone (336.451.4969)