Attention outdoor grillers: If you’re still hovering over an old Weber, struggling to light the coals and running back and forth from your patio to the kitchen to retrieve cooking utensils, you’re living in the past. While you’re rushing around, your neighbors are firing up their outdoor gas grills with the simple flip of a switch, pulling tongs from a nearby drawer and leisurely enjoying a beer from their outside mini-fridge.
Outside kitchens are all the rage, spurred, according to experts, by TV cooking shows, as well as a brighter economy, now that the recession is in the rearview mirror.
If you want to join the trend, Russ Faulk, vice president of design for an outdoor kitchen equipment company, recently offered these design tips in the Denver Post.
- Put a roof over the kitchen: This way, you’ll be able to utilize the space should it rain.
- Build ample counter space: Just as with an inside kitchen, you’ll need counterspace for plates, food prep, etc. Faulk recommends that homeowners allow at least for 3 feet of counter space in conjunction with the grill: 2 feet on one side and 1 foot on the other side of the grill.
- Include adequate lighting: Next to skimpy counter space, this is the most common mistake homeowners make with their outdoor kitchens. Remember: when the sun goes down, you may still be using the area, and unless you like stumbling around looking for a flashlight, lighting is critical.
- Consider location: Despite all the outdoor amenities, homeowners may still find themselves running to the indoor kitchen to retrieve items. For this reason, the outdoor kitchen should be located as close to the indoor kitchen as possible.
- Employ a similar style to your home: It’s important to retain the architectural style of the home when designing the outdoor kitchen. This way, it won’t look like an add-on, but an integral part of the overall home design.
- Evaluate wind direction: Take note of theprevailing wind direction in your yard, then arrange outdoor seating in a spot where visitors won’t be sitting in smoke from the grill. Also, install a vent hood to lessen the smoke output.
- Add storage: Tongs, grill brushes, oven mitts…the list of accessory items goes on. Make sure you have a place to put these items when the grilling is over for the day.
- Pay attention to flooring: Outdoor cooking produces an unfortunate mixture of grease and rain that can make floors slippery. Choose flooring that is grease-, fire- and stain-resistant. (Faulk suggests unglazed porcelain tile.)
Get more remodeling and DIY tips at RE/MAX of Cherry Creek’s blog.
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