An Excerpt from Paul D. Rugarber’s Forthcoming Book,
Architecture to Construction and Everything in Between
“To sit in the shade on a fine day, and look upon verdure, is the most perfect refreshment.”
– Jane Austen
Outdoor kitchens and grilling areas have gone from luxury pieces that only a few homes had to popular space additions. For many homes, the backyard has become an extension of the indoor living space. Creating unique and relaxing exterior spaces enhances the home and provides a place to enjoy the outdoors while entertaining family and friends. You will need to create a list of items that you want incorporated into the design such as a grill, counter space, storage, refrigerator, sink, fire pit or fireplace, pizza oven, pergola, umbrellas, and seating for guests. Add lighting for use at night and speakers for some relaxing music.
The location of the space will be tied to the amenities you would like to have in your outdoor kitchen project. Most towns will allow a patio, grill, and cabinetry to be located almost anywhere, as long as the grill is kept away from combustible materials. If you are planning to add a roof or pergola to this space, there will be more stringent guidelines to follow. As with all projects, if you are not sure, consult the local zoning office to see what codes you need to be aware of that may affect your design and location. Your next thoughts should be what you want to see while you are in this space. Is there a pool you would like to face, attractive landscaping to look at, or – on the other hand – possibly a neighbor you do not want to see? Screening can be incorporated to obscure unwanted views, and seating/bar space can be set up to direct your gaze to the pool or yard.
The material selection is critical to this type of project so that it does not become a maintenance nightmare. The area near the grill will be susceptible to grease stains, so pavers or concrete with a sealer is a better choice than wood decking. Cabinetry needs to be weather resistant, so choose materials like plastic, concrete, or stone. The countertop material will get the most use and needs to be highly durable. Granite, other natural stones, or manmade synthetics are a good choice; the darker the color the better, as it will not show stains from food or nature. Apply a sealer each year to keep your beautiful top looking fresh. If you are using metal doors or drawers, get good quality units made from stainless steel. Using the correct materials will ensure that your gorgeous project will last for years to come!
As always, proper planning is the key to success with your project. Look online or in magazines and books for ideas, get creative, and have fun with it! Remember you are the one using it, so create the space you want and your outdoor space will be a success. Your new outdoor kitchen will add to the value of your home and provide you with years of enjoyment!