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Outdoor Kitchens

Originally a feature of year round warm weather areas, outdoor kitchens are sweeping the nation as the latest ďmust haveĒ for those who enjoy outdoor entertaining. More than just a barbecue grill, a table, and some chairs, these are sophisticated spaces that can include a full set of appliances made especially to withstand the elements and still look stylish.

Consider the following if you are interested in having an outdoor kitchen:

  • Outdoor appliances include grills, wood fired ovens, griddles, refrigerators, wine coolers, dishwashers, ice makers and just about anything else found in interior kitchens. Stainless steel exteriors are the most popular choice for these appliances because it is so durable and does not rust. Remember that you may have to put in gas, electricity, and water lines in order to install these appliances.
  • You will want to have cabinets for storage and countertops for food preparation and serving. These also need to be made from weatherproof materials. Tiles or stone (such as granite) make good countertop choices and add a warm, natural texture. Stone, brick, concrete, or rot resistant wood decking are good floor choices. Donít overlook new composite materials, such as cast stone or synthetic decking, when making your choices.
  • Lay out your outdoor kitchen as carefully as you would your indoor kitchen. Plan for both food preparation and areas for socializing. Donít forget the work triangle and allow for a sheltered seating area. It is usually nice to have both sunny and shady areas so that the kitchen can be used in a variety of weather conditions and times of the day. Sun umbrellas and retractable awnings are very useful. Pergolas are another good option.
  • Donít forget the lighting. Outdoor lighting systems can add a great deal of ambiance to your outdoor kitchen area. Consider using lanterns, votives, candles, and torches. Check to make sure the appliances you pick out have task lighting.

If you live in a climate where the nights can be chilly, consider installing an outdoor wood burning fireplace (which can also be a pizza oven). Fire pits and patio heaters are also a good idea.

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