When it comes to fun summer get-togethers, grilling hot dogs and burgers with family and friends just can’t be beat. You fire up the family bbq, smokers, charcoal or propane grill in the backyard, fill a table with tasty sides and desserts, and sip sweet tea or a cold one while you relax in a comfortable chair.
After Labor Day Weekend, however, the summer bbq often winds down and everyone moves inside for the season. But with a nicely equipped outdoor kitchen, you can enjoy many meals outside for most of the year. Learn how to give your Murphy, NC home a pleasant backyard cooking and entertaining space that still fits within your budget.
21st CENTURY OUTDOOR KITCHENS SERVE TWO PURPOSES
Modern outdoor kitchens and grills are a relatively recent phenomenon, gaining prominence during the 2008 recession. Cash-strapped consumers, who started cooking at home to save money, often enjoyed a cookout on the deck or patio. At that time, a grill and basic serving amenities comprised a simple outdoor kitchen. Then, as families sought ways to enhance their home’s value while providing more of a “vacation feel,” they gradually transformed their outdoor kitchens into extended living and entertaining spaces.
Today, new construction and remodeled homes often include some version of an outdoor kitchen. Although the bbq and grills remain popular, this coordinated cooking complex often features stylish countertops and cabinets, plus refrigeration and an onsite sink. Specialty equipment can include a built-in smokers, food warmer, ice maker, and even a nicely equipped bar center.
MIXING AND MATCHING OUTDOOR KITCHEN COMPONENTS
When it comes to outdoor kitchen amenities, the sky (and your budget) are the limit. Built-in vented grills have become increasingly common, and are often joined by a smoker and even a bbq island. A nearby food warmer and/or warming drawer keep your tasty cooked food at the right temperature. At the opposite end of the spectrum, outdoor refrigeration equipment nicely chills your sides, salads, and sweet tea. While you’re waiting for the big feast, enjoy a cold beer or cocktail from the bar center.
If you’re hosting a cool-weather gathering, minimize the chill by placing one or more propane patio heaters in strategic spots. While keeping you warm, they’ll add a festive touch to your outdoors feast.
GUIDELINES FOR CREATING YOUR CUSTOM OUTDOOR KITCHEN
To design an inviting, easy-to-use outdoor kitchen, engage in some thorough advance planning work. Invite your propane service company to provide their professional expertise for running gar to your bbq or grills, and hire the services of a reputable plumber and electrician. Although the process will take some time, you’ll increase your odds of a quality finished product.
Define Your Cooking & Entertaining Space: Good space planning is key to creating a high-quality outdoor kitchen. First, consider your family’s preferences, as you’ll essentially be designing an “extended family room” in the great outdoors. If possible, place your outdoor kitchen near your existing kitchen, making it easier to transport food and serving ware back and forth.
In addition, decide how you’ll entertain on a larger scale. If you enjoy informal cookouts and a bbq, for example, you might require a different layout and traffic flow compared to seated dinners. Regardless of your entertaining style, design an efficient “working triangle” between your refrigerator, sink, and cooking station. For the best result, consult with a kitchen design professional.
Choose Your Appliances & Food Service Equipment: Your appliance selection is key to your outdoor kitchen’s space requirements and designs. Simply speaking, if you must accommodate more appliances, your outdoor kitchen will need a bigger footprint. When choosing a layout, consider straight line, L-shaped, and semi-circle designs. Because your bbq, grills and appliances take up space otherwise reserved for countertops, consider installing larger cabinets that provide more food preparation surface area.
Because more appliances require extra power sources, consult with an electrician experienced with outdoor kitchen projects. Ask about the need for additional utility lines to handle the enhanced electric, gas, water, and waste demands. If your region sees freezing temperatures during fall and winter, minimize water lines’ freezing and cracking risks by providing effective insulation.
Add Shade, Lighting, and/or Landscaping Elements: Consider installing a solid roof that provides welcome shade and inclement weather protection. Understand that you’ll likely need to follow local building codes that ensure structural integrity and adequate ventilation.
Choose your outdoor kitchen’s lighting effects, and work with your electrician to bring your ideas to fruition. Again, realize that increased power demands may require an upgrade to your home’s electrical service, so be prepared for this expense.
Give your outdoor kitchen a striking look that blends nicely with your interior décor. Choose complementary styles and color palettes, and select sturdy structural materials such as brick or stone. For your countertop surfaces, consider durable granite, tile, or concrete. If you desire, add some plants and/or other landscape elements to soften the kitchen’s hard, angular lines.
Select Durable, Properly Sized Furniture: If you want to purchase an eight-seat patio dining set, plus comfortable seating options for another dozen guests, ensure that your space can accommodate that furniture. Assign locations for serving carts, barstools, and other furnishings, if applicable.
While laying out the items’ dimensions on paper is helpful, creating cardboard mockups will help you visualize the traffic flow. Most importantly, you’ll learn whether your guests will be packed in like sardines or they can comfortably mingle and nosh their way through the party.
After your outdoor kitchen area gets the finishing touches, host the first of many backyard gatherings on your patio for your family and friends. Chances are, this all-season addition to your Murphy, NC home will add a new dimension to your cookouts, potluck dinners, and festive parties.
The Poltrock Team – REMAX Mountain Properties – Murphy NC – ilovemurphy.com – Call us Toll Free at 1-866-Murphy-NC or 1-866-687-7496 – Murphy’s #1 Real Estate Team