Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Creating the Ultimate Outdoor Kitchen

In recent years, the outdoor kitchen trend has been on the rise. Outdoor kitchen appliances have never been so affordable and easy to install, and many families are taking advantage of these new, convenient options to create the ultimate outdoor kitchen space. These kitchens make social gatherings more vibrant and entertaining. Even better... they will likely increase the value of your home.

If you are considering adding an outdoor kitchen to your home, here are a few tips to get you started on your project.

It All Starts with the Grill

At the center of any outdoor kitchen is the grill. Which type of grill you select will depend on your kitchen layout. If you plan on building a kitchen, complete with counters for food prep, look for a high quality built-in grill. These grills typically come in natural gas or liquid propane varieties and may feature accessories such as rotisseries and warming trays. If you want the look of a built-in, but aren't exactly looking to build, consider a prefab island like the American Outdoor Grill Stack Stone 60" Pre-Fab Grill Island which will create the look of a built-in grill - no construction necessary. If you would like your grill to be portable, there are a number of high quality barbecue islands on wheels. Whichever grill style you select, be sure to procure a properly sized BBQ grill cover to keep it in tip-top shape when not in use.

Keep Things Cool

A small outdoor refrigerator is a great addition to any outdoor kitchen. It will keep raw meat fresh, veggies crisp and drinks ice cold. Choose between a built in refrigerator or a refrigerator cart, which literally wheels around the yard like an airplane drink cart and can double as a bar. If your budget is super tight, you could even place a small, inexpensive refrigerator in a discrete place. If you are feeling artistic, paint the fridge a bright color... or simply cover it was a colorful tablecloth and it can double as a table when you aren’t grilling.

Stocking the Bar

A bar is a very fun addition to your outdoor kitchen space. Whether keeping sodas on hand for the kids, mixing margaritas for a sunny afternoon, or concocting adult beverages late night, the bar will keep the fun going. Many outdoor kitchens are also including wine racks and liquor cabinets, but if you are looking for something less formal, there are a number of attractive, portable bars available in a wide variety of designs, from traditional to funky.

Patio Furniture Will Make or Break the Space

There is no point in creating an outdoor dining space, if is uncomfortable to use. Your guests will need a comfortable place to lounge and trust me, cheap plastic seats just won’t cut it. Instead, invest in a quality outdoor dining table and chairs. Budget permitting, I recommend also splurging on a set of outdoor sofas or love seats complete with water resistant cushions. This will really make all the difference. After making that investment, be sure to select the right patio furniture covers to keep seats clean and protect the furniture from the elements. If you plan on using the space in the evening and at night, think about including an attractive outdoor fire pit. This will give the space warmth and charm, while also serving as a focal point for the gathering.

About the Author: Derrick Riley is a Managing Partner at Patio Products USA, a subsidiary of Neighbors Marketing specializing in patio products and accessories for the home and commercial use. Patio Products USA is one North America’s largest distributors of products to improve outdoor entertaining, including a wide selection of patio furniture covers, patio fire pits and garden patio heaters.

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