by Jamie Schultz
The kitchen is the gathering place of the home, where family meets over meals and conversation. And it makes perfect sense; it’s where the smell of roasted vegetables and seared steaks fill the air, where the wine is poured, and where the food preparation makes up a majority of the fun.
With such a fully stocked kitchen, it may be the perfect time to move the party outdoors. Create a kitchen space in the fresh air, under the sun, for even more communal times. Before the build out begins, here are a few tips on what to consider when transporting your favorite kitchen experiences—outdoors.
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Spotlight on the grill
When it comes to outdoor cooking, the grill is the centerpiece of the alfresco experience. When crafting your ideal outdoor kitchen, decide which type of grill suits your needs—a four-burner stainless steel grill with under counter carts, a large island with a gas grill and side burner, or a rotisserie with two warming drawers. There are plenty of options out there, so think about the grill that matches and heightens your cooking needs. After all, outdoor cooking is the perfect place to experiment with new grill recipes.
Incorporate other outdoor appliances
The amount of patio/yard space you have available for your open-air kitchen will help you to figure out what other elements to include in your layout. From a sink, to an icemaker, to a fridge, to a wine rack—your outdoor kitchen should reflect your ideal eating experience. The bartender in you might love an icemaker, the chef in you can’t live without a sink, and the burger lover must keep condiments cold and close by in the outdoor mini fridge. Decode what can fit in your allotted area, what fits in the budget, and what fits your personality.
Keeping a clean grill isn’t just for vanity sake. A failure to clean the grill was the leading factor contributing to the fire in one–fifth of all grill structure fires, according to the National Fire Protection Agency. Clean your grill each time before use to help you control the flames while grilling, and if your home is clad in James Hardie® siding and trim, you can feel secure even with a grill nearby. The siding and trim are made of fiber cement, a material that will not ignite when exposed to direct flame or contribute fuel to a fire, unlike wood which goes up in flames and vinyl which melts easily.
Accommodate your crew
If you thought your indoor kitchen gathered a crowd, wait until you create an outdoor one. Family and friends will flock to outdoor parties and to the smell of what’s cooking on the grill. So besides having enough grillables, you’ll want to be sure there’s enough seating and tabletops. Whether you opt for a circular table with an umbrella, an oversized family-style rustic table with plenty of mismatched chairs, or an island with a few modern stools—thinking about where your people will park with their piled-high plates is always a good call.
Add simple style and ambiance
Carry your home’s personality into your outdoor kitchen design. If your home’s exterior siding is a modern gray, you may want to incorporate durable tile or slate that matches the contemporary vibe. Or if your exterior siding is a vintage-inspired cream, rustic cabinetry and a reclaimed wood island may translate well. While you’re designing your dream outdoor kitchen, don’t forget about lighting—you’ll likely be spending plenty of nights grilling up a sirloin (or four) and you’ll need a little more than moonlight to be sure they’re medium-rare.
Open the doors, bask in the warm sun (or the moon glow)—it’s time to gather and grill in your new outdoor kitchen.