There are few better ways to enjoy a summer evening than sharing a meal outdoors with family and friends. Due to people’s love for the outdoors, barbecuing has evolved beyond simply firing up the grill to complete kitchens with all the fixtures you need for a great cooking and hosting experience.
Outdoor kitchens have become a popular addition to homes, particularly in regions that experience great year-round weather. An outdoor kitchen makes your home a more comfortable and welcoming place and increases its value if you decide to move.
Whether extending an existing patio or designing an entirely new outdoor living space, there are several key features to consider when designing your outdoor kitchen. From propane outdoor grills to infrared heaters, here are five must-have features every outdoor kitchen needs.
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The first item on your shopping list should be a high-quality grill. Investing in quality cooking equipment can provide years of memorable dinner parties, family barbecues, and social gatherings.
While there are many grill styles to choose from, few are as versatile and easy to use as gas grills. The heat retains its temperature quickly and allows precision cooking with multiple individually controlled burners. This allows you to cook a variety of foods simultaneously, using different temperatures.
Many gas grills offer up to 10,000 BTUs per burner, and many come with an infrared top burner, ensuring you can cook rotisserie style on one side while searing a perfect rib eye on the other.
Propane outdoor grills are often more popular than natural gas or traditional charcoal grills. Since propane tanks are portable, the entire grill can be moved or transported elsewhere for storage.
This is particularly useful in regions that experience harsh winters as well as warm summers. To get the best bang for your buck, consider outdoor kitchen packages that include a grill along with other useful extras like side burners, access doors, and refrigerators.
You don’t want to abandon your outdoor party at the first hint of a breeze or a slight drop in temperature. Patio heaters are an excellent way to ensure your gathering continues well into the night and allows you to enjoy entertaining in any season.
Choosing the right heat source can be challenging. While style and aesthetics may play a role in your decision, the two most important factors are the size of your space and your preferred fuel source.
Before deciding on a heater, check that it is powerful enough to heat your kitchen area. One to two high-quality heaters is typically sufficient for heating a large outdoor kitchen.
While freestanding or tabletop gas heaters are popular for outdoor spaces, they occupy a lot of space. An electric, infrared, indoor-outdoor heater is efficient, discreet, and safe for covered and uncovered outdoor areas.
This type of unit heats up in seconds using infrared rays. It can function at very high temperatures, but the exterior stays cool to the touch, making it an excellent option for families with young kids. These heaters have valuable features like automatic shutdown, programmable timers, and remote controllability.
Countertops are often overlooked when it comes to outdoor kitchens. Too many homeowners opt for style over substance, contributing to the rapid decline of their work surface.
Durability and quality should be a priority when choosing a countertop material, ensuring it can stand up to the demands of food preparation, cooking, and weather exposure.
While a timber work surface may tempt you, it may not withstand the elements like heat exposure, rain, and temperature fluctuations. Various types of stone, like granite or quartzite, are superior options for outdoor use.
Durable stone slabs don’t stain and are highly resistant to corrosion, UV rays, and odor absorption. Concrete is another excellent outdoor option.
However, to avoid cracking and structural issues, it should be reinforced with tensile steel, which can significantly add to the price. Tiles are a low-cost alternative that can create a unique and colorful aesthetic.
Your outdoor dining set is likely to be the centerpiece of the entertainment space, making it a critical feature. While you may also have a bar area or stools for your countertop, a comfortable dining set is crucial for entertaining guests.
Depending on your available space and family size, the size and shape of the table will vary. However, a rectangular or circular shape is a space-efficient option for a standard six-seater dining table.
Since the dining set can be moved and put away during winter, you have more flexibility in terms of material than with a countertop.
Rattan, wicker, and softwoods make for excellent casual, country dining options. They are available in various colors and can be styled using cushions, cloth, or plants and flowers.
Aluminum or stainless steel are also popular materials for dining sets, particularly if you intend to leave them exposed all year. A glass tabletop is a charming feature for an outdoor kitchen but may be unsuitable if you have young children.
While relying on an electric or gas-powered heater is safer to keep your outdoor kitchen warm, a fire pit creates the perfect gathering space for post-dinner conversations, storytelling, or a late-night drink.
Before you set your sights on the perfect pit, check your state’s laws regarding fuel burning and environmental protection. This helps keep you safe and avoids having you pay hefty penalties for breaking the law.
Provided your space isn’t covered, you may have various choices for your fire pit. For a rustic-style pit, consider a cast-iron bowl. It is more rust and stain-resistant than other materials like aluminum or iron.
There are several stylish propane or natural gas fire pits for a contemporary outdoor kitchen. Many of these pits are finished with natural stone or decorative concrete, creating eye-catching features.
A great plan is critical to any home improvement project. Start planning your dream outdoor kitchen today, from exploring different materials to researching a restaurant-worthy grill. Pick features that combine style and practicality to create an outdoor kitchen and dining space that you and your guests will love.