In the past, eating outdoors meant gathering some food in a large picnic basket and going to the park with your family, friends, or a loved one. You would spread a picnic blanket and enjoy your meal.
If you liked being closer to home, you would fire up the grill and invite your friends for an outdoor barbecue that usually involved flipping burgers and making hot dogs.
If you’ve ever cooked on a grill before, you know how much of a hassle it is to run back and forth from the kitchen to your backyard to bring food or wash your hands. That’s exactly the reason why outdoor kitchens are gaining popularity.
In the recent years, homeowners started to realize how much easier and more enjoyable outdoor meals can be, provided you took special care in designing a versatile, alfresco cooking area. Outdoor kitchens were initially created in the Southwest USA. But with time, they started gaining popularity all over the country.
What kinds of dishes can you cook outdoors? It all depends on your skills and imagination. Anything you can cook in your home kitchen can be prepared in an outdoor facility just as easily.
Modern outdoor kitchens feature everything you need for easy and comfortable cooking. There are sinks, cabinets, and countertops available for the outdoors. You can design your outdoor kitchen that features such useful details as a covered bar or a buffet area.
When you are thinking about your outdoor kitchen design, you need to consider how often you will be taking advantage of it. The size of your alfresco area depends on the frequency of its use. You can either install a kitchen on a small part of your deck or create a fully functional facility.
Modern outdoor kitchen design options vary greatly. They go from simple to truly luxurious depending on your preferences. You can design a fully-featured outdoor kitchen that will be available for use all year round, regardless of the climate you live in. You can take advantage of luxurious grills with all the functions of a stovetop, large kitchen islands, dishwashers, cabinets, bars, and much more.
Making Important Decisions
When you are planning an outdoor kitchen, there are many different factors to consider. Choosing the right design will mainly depend on the space you have available to you. Will you be installing just a small grill island or will you create a fully-functional kitchen with all the bells and whistles included? Do you need this kitchen for occasional burger flipping or will you be spending long summer evenings there having dinners with your family?
Depending on your preferences, you need to equip your kitchen with a sufficient seating and dining area. If you are planning to use your outdoor kitchen when it’s cold outside, then you need to allow some space for an outdoor fireplace or a patio heater.
Choosing the Right Grilling Station
Now that you are done with space planning, the next step is choosing the right grilling station. You have to decide between freestanding and built-in models. Many homeowners choose custom grilling stations since they give your outdoor kitchen a more stylish appearance. Similar to the indoor kitchen island, an outdoor grilling station includes countertops and various cabinets. Most property experts believe that installing a custom-made masonry grilling station on your deck can add significant value to your home. Another choice is a functional prefab grilling station. Such models also feature a wide variety of useful options. At the same time, they are more affordable than custom-made stations.
Finding Proper Building Materials
When you are planning your outdoor kitchen, one of the most important details is finding durable weather-resistant materials. One of the most popular materials that is approved by experts is materials made from polymer. Unlike wood and concrete, the polymer material is sturdy enough to withstand rain and snow since it doesn’t absorb moisture.The polymer material is solid, which means it doesn’t crack or split as some layered materials do. For your countertop, you can consider such natural stones as granite, marble, and tile, or artificial stones like Corian.
Installing Outdoor Lighting
Outdoor lighting is important for the overall look and ambiance of your outdoor kitchen. That’s why special attention should be paid to this element of your kitchen design. You will be challenged with a wide choice of different lighting options: white or colored bulbs, LED lights, solar lights, and more. You might also want to consider specific task area lights and cabinet lights to make cooking more enjoyable.