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Adding an Outdoor Kitchen

Adding an Outdoor Kitchen doesn’t have to be an overwhelming project.  Devoting some time to research before begin will definitely pay off.  We have created a checklist that you can use as a reference to help you get started.

Location, location, location…

Think about placement and where you want your new space installed.  Are there any existing challenges like trees, water features etc.?  Is there adequate flooring already or will you be adding that as well?  How will you power your grill?  Do you have Natural Gas piped in to your house?  Or will your outdoor kitchen use propane?  Do you need to contact your utility provider?

Now is a good time to think about any particular shape or layout concerns.  Most outdoor kitchens are typically shaped like an “L” or a “U” depending on how much room there is.  Pay attention to access from other areas of your patio, yard and house.  An outdoor kitchen that is not easily accessible will not likely be used as often as you’d like.  For example, do you want any of the counter space to function as an area for sitting and eating as well?

Is shade, privacy, weather or lighting a concern?  Will you be incorporating features like a pergola or awning?  Will you need outdoor heating (i.e. patio heaters, fireplaces)

Function & Design

How do you anticipate using your outdoor kitchen? Are you the “go-to-grill-guru” of your social group?  The house where most cookouts tend to be hosted during holiday weekends?  Or are you the busy feeding your kids (and their seemingly endless parade of hungry friends) burgers and hot dogs every week?  Durability and maintenance is what to think about because if you plan to stay in your home (and use this outdoor kitchen) for at least 10 years, then think about how your needs may grow and change during that time as well.

The type of food will you be cooking will help determine what sort of equipment to buy.  Let’s say cooking steak is all you care about; then accessories like a rotisserie or pizza oven may not suit you but refrigerated storage might be a priority.  Side burners are typically a tremendous asset to any outdoor kitchen.  Matter of fact, I’m tempted to install just a side burner outdoors so that I can cook the “smellier” foods like onions or fish. Depending on the outdoor kitchen components installed, you may need to plan for plumbing and electrical work as well.

Final helpful tips:

1)     Obtain and compare warranty information about replacement parts BEFORE purchasing any equipment.  Are replacement parts for your equipment available?

2)     Stainless steel is extremely durable and can last a lifetime if properly maintained.

3)     Extreme weather (heavy snow or rain) may affect the location of your outdoor kitchen

4)     Combustible materials (wood) should be avoided in your design

5)     “Neutral” tones and finishes (countertop, back splash) are usually a good idea because most people will like them (think future buyers if you need to sell your house)

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