With temperatures reaching the upper 60s in February, it’s hard not to start thinking about long days and nights spent in the backyard with family and friends. And nothing says hospitality quite like some delicious food, which is why the thought of being stuck inside cooking while your guests are enjoying themselves outside can be a major bummer.
As more people delve deeper into the art of cooking, entertaining at home has become a chance to show off your skills. It’s a much more interesting setting than your average restaurant, which is why outdoor kitchens have become so popular.
“Outdoor kitchens create additional usable living and entertaining space,” says Kris Holland, founder of Black River Landscape Management, an elite outdoor living service that designs and builds outdoor kitchens. “An outdoor kitchen adds a fun element by allowing homeowners to take their party outside instead of having an indoor party which may put more pressure on the host and the guests.”
For those of us who hope to spend as many minutes outdoors as we can during the warmer months, an outdoor kitchen is the answer. It not only adds value to your home, but it also gives you the opportunity to play, host and cook outside. However, if the thought of creating your very own outdoor kitchen seems extravagant, think again.
“Outdoor kitchens can have the simplest grill and counter top all the way to a kegerator, brick pizza oven, commercial-grade kitchen appliance, full size refrigerators and specialized wine coolers,” says Holland. He notes that outdoor kitchens can range anywhere from $8,000 to upwards of $25,000 depending on your design. “All you need is a least 250 square feet of space.”
Within those 250 square feet, Holland recommends designing a space that you would want to hang out in. That means thinking about what you like to cook, whether you’ll be using dairy, where you’ll store dishes, pots and pans outside, etc. To get us thinking about how to design your ideal outdoor kitchen, below are a few helpful hints from Holland:
Go with stainless steal appliances. Not only are they easy to clean, but they’re functional and can withstand temperature changes.
Rethink what you need. Start with the basics – a prep surface, a grill (built-in or portable), sink and refrigerator. Then start thinking about the extras such as a pizza oven, smoker, ceiling fan, etc.
Start planning early. The sooner you think about what you want, the easier it is to work with a designer who can help make your dream into a reality. Beginning the process in early spring will also guarantee that you’ll be up and running for the start of summer since many landscape designers are booking up fast and inspection permits may be needed.
New materials are always evolving. Right now concrete countertops are the new “it” material.
Now that you’ve got the 411 on creating an outdoor kitchen, it’s time to go outside and reimagine what your backyard can do for you. With only months till Memorial Day, there’s no better time to reach out to your landscape designer to collaborate on how bringing the indoors outside might possibly be the perfect addition to your home.