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This outdoor living area by Texas Custom Patios was created as a personal retreat for the homeowners. It includes a full outdoor kitchen equipped with both a Big Green Egg and large gas grill, a microwave, a sink, plenty of storage and counter space. There is a full-size fridge in the storage closet at the end of the space. The fireplace keeps things cozy, and the owners enjoy easy access to the game court and swimming pool. The ceiling is a smoky bourbon colored tongue-and-groove pine that has been trimmed out with cedar beams and columns. Underfoot is concrete finished in a travertine tile. Electrical work includes coach lights on the columns and recessed can lights on dimmers, and ceiling fans keep the air moving. LED step lights are on the hearth and seat walls. (Photo – TKImages.)

Texans love to cook out all year long– come rain or shine, summer, spring, or fall. What better way to make grilling more fun than to have your own convenient outdoor kitchen, ready when you are, to tackle the job at hand?

Outdoor kitchens make life easier for those who enjoy grilling their meals and entertaining outdoors. You can design your deck or patio to be an extension of your family’s living space. It can also enhance your home’s resale value.

With proper planning, you also can enjoy your meals in the great outdoors. Here are some factors to consider when determining if an outdoor kitchen is right for your family.

 

WHAT WORKS BEST IN YOUR SPACE?

Outdoor kitchens can be as elaborate — or as simple — as you’d like. But to make the most of your new space, you need to carefully consider the design.

Think about how the space will be used. Do you want guests to eat outside or just mingle while you cook? What features (pool, trees, etc.) are already in your back yard and need to be worked around? Is there enough ventilation area so smoke from the grill can blow away?➝

Have a professional check the patio or deck where you plan on building your outdoor kitchen. While most can support the additional weight, you may need to add structural support.

Make sure there is plenty of space for people to gather without getting in the way or being too close to open flames. Typically, there should be 3 feet of space on either side of the grill for work space and food preparation.

 

HOW OFTEN WILL YOU BE USING YOUR OUTDOOR KITCHEN?

This will determine numerous factors, including the equipment you purchase. If you will use your outdoor kitchen just in the summer, a grill with wheels can be moved into the garage and protected from the elements once the seasons change. These types of grills are the most common and come in a wide variety of sizes and prices with a range of features.

If you plan to use your outdoor kitchen year-round, consider a built-in grill. Look for one with side burners in the base unit that allow for cooking at different temperatures simultaneously. This base provides extra countertop and storage space.

Make sure the grill is in an area that can withstand high temperatures and is impervious to stray embers or sparks, such as a stone patio. You won’t be able to take it with you if you move, so think carefully before investing a lot of money in a permanent grill.

Take into account your lighting needs. If you eat or entertain into the evening, you’ll want direct light for the work area so you can monitor the grill.

 

WHAT EQUIPMENT WILL YOU NEED?

Standard grill accessories include griddles for grilling fish and vegetables, a meat thermometer and tongs. An exhaust hood for a built-in grill will keep smoke out of your guests’ eyes. Refrigerators with ice makers are ideal for storing beverages and food. An outdoor sink makes prepping and cleaning veggies an easy task. Unless you plan on washing dishes outside, a cold water connection is all you need.

For small appliances and stereos, you’ll need outdoor GFCI outlets. Consult with a professional electrician for code requirements. Consider purchasing patio heaters or an outdoor fireplace if you plan on grilling in the chilly months.

Select weatherproof materials for countertops, cabinets and other elements of your kitchen. Stainless steel, slate, tile, stucco and stone all work well. A large tent or outdoor umbrella can cover your guests and equipment and provide shelter from the sun or rain. For more information visit NAHB, nahb.com

A contemporary lap pool renovation by Abbott Contracting. The area is enclosed with lush landscaping, a garden privacy wall, a cozy seating area and a shower for pool guests. (Photo – Harry Durham.)

 

The outdoor pool house and summer kitchen by Steve Hood Company Builders, was part of a larger project that included a porte-cochere and masonry fence encompassing n adjacent piece of property. The space is timber framed pine beam structure with v-joint cypress ceiling. A barbecue sits below the television cabinet. (Photo – Rob Muir.)

 

This exceptional outdoor living space, by John Gillette, GMB, CAPS, of Craftsmanship by John, has a covered cathedral ceiling, stone fireplace, plenty of seating, and a putting green.(Photo – courtesy of craftsmanship by John)

 

This outdoor space created by Sneller Custom Homes & Remodeling has an outdoor kitchen complete with grill, fridge, sink and granite countertop. Extending beyond the kitchen, a patio covers the fireplace with an electronic drop-down movie screen, seating area and dining table. Design by Matt Sneller, CAPS, CGP, GMB. (Photo – Kolanowski Studio.)


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