Outdoor Kitchens & Gas Grills

Outdoor kitchens and gas grills have become very popular within the past few years and many people barbeque all year long. Homeowners want more than just a 2 burner gas or charcoal grill today, they want multiple burners, side burners, rotisseries, smokers, infrared burners, and searing burners. Homeowners will spend more money on an outdoor gas grill or smoker than they do on the appliances in the main kitchen of their home. The criteria for kitchen design & planning for an outdoor kitchen is different than designing an indoor kitchen. There is usually more space to work with outdoors and less design restrictions in planning the kitchen and people can be more extravagant with the choices and purchases of appliances and building materials. If you are considering building an outdoor kitchen collect information on grills, appliances and kitchen photos from home centers, appliance stores and magazine pictures to get ideas of how to design your kitchen. Homeowners love showing off the new outdoor cooking area to friends and neighbors. The outdoor kitchen becomes the center of conversation when guests are being entertained and dining in your backyard..

As with any home improvement the first decision to make is what the cost will be for this project. Will your budget be only enough for a new deluxe gas grill or will it be for a complete outdoor kitchen with appliances and a roof overhead. In making your choices consider the following; how often will you use this area, will you cook outdoor all year long, do you want a serving area nearby for dining outside, does the cooking area need to be moveable or stationary and will this area require additional utilities for connecting electric or gas appliances and sinks. Design plenty of countertop space for food prep, cooking, blenders, mixing drinks, small appliances and serving areas. If you are planning for more than just a free standing grill, I would suggest purchasing a grill that runs on natural gas rather then bottled propane. A natural gas connection may restrict the movement of the cooking center but relieves the problem of running out of fuel as you are cooking or having extra tanks on hand to replace. The location should be near the house for ease of serving or preparing meals and carrying food and utensils from the main kitchen.

Placement for the kitchen can be on an existing patio, deck or build a new area just for the barbeque. Consider where the heat & smoke will go when designing the layout. Place the grill away from the house and windows to prevent damage to the house siding and to keep the smoke from entering the house. Plan on where the electric, gas, water or drains need to go and how will they tie in to the existing lines. For built in gas grills and appliances you will need cabinets or bases to mount these items in. Select building materials that will withstand outdoor weather and require little maintenance or replacement by using treated lumber, stainless steel, granite, ceramic tile or solid surface materials. Countertop material should be durable, weather resistant and preferably made of solid surface or granite. Also available are free standing ready made island units and base cabinets in stainless steel. These cooking islands can also incorporate additional worktops, dining tables or snack bar areas built in.

A freestanding outdoor kitchen can be designed with a roof over it or fit into a gazebo style structure to protect appliances and also protect you from inclement weather while you are cooking. Usually this type of enclosure or gazebo will be further away from the main kitchen and you should consider including other appliances like a refrigerator, dishwasher and additional storage cabinets for convenience. Design the roof area large enough so the overhang extends beyond the countertops, appliances and eating areas. The sidewalls can be left open with a railing around or a half wall where the actual cooking & work area will be to protect the appliances and sink area. Your new outdoor kitchen will become the center piece in the yard so coordinate it with the overall landscape theme.

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