Do you live in family where the summer cooking is more about the outdoor grill than it is about the indoor oven or the top burners on the stove? You are not alone as grilling is one of the most popular outdoor past times across America and in numerous other countries. Cooking, dining and entertaining in an open-air setting is a great part of warm weather fun and the hot trend in that fun is to move all of the cooking outside with an outdoor kitchen on your patio or maybe in your cozy, colorful garden area.

An outdoor kitchen is the perfect complement to any house. Not only are you able to cook delicious meals outside but also you will not have to be stuck in the main kitchen, missing all the fun outside. Certainly, there are a variety of grills that have side burners, warmer racks, and rotisseries that allow a great deal of the cooking to be done outside around the grill. A great example is the Weber Genesis E-320 Gas Grill with side burner. Even then however, a great deal of the food prep, cookware, serving bowls, and utensils keep the cook moving from sink to cabinet to the grill to the refrigerator and back to the grill. A well-designed outdoor kitchen allows you, your family, friends and guests to interact in one place and enjoy the patio breeze and sun.

Experts indicate that Americans spent well over $50 billion on exterior home improvements in 2006. With rising prices for gasoline, it is likely that families will be relaxing at home and entertaining more rather than traveling. You will need at least a few thousand dollars before beginning your outdoor kitchen but consider it an investment. Before you rush out to buy materials and appliances, here are some things you should know about outdoor kitchens and their design.

Patio Kitchen Design

There are three basic outdoor kitchen designs, which are an L-shaped island, a basic island, and a U-shaped center. An L-shaped island has space for both cooking and preparation. A basic island features a sink, a grill, and a space for preparation. Basic islands tend to be small so if you are going to be cooking for more than a couple of people, you might want to consider another type. A U-shaped center has a grill in the middle and spaces on either side for preparation and serving. This is a handy design if you want to be able to serve food straight from the grill without leaving it. The island base can be brick, stucco or any attractive non-flammable material. This is the point at which you can decide whether you want a bar height serving area or regular height for chairs.

Outdoor Kitchen Cabinets

Remember that outdoor kitchens will be exposed to sunlight, water, and cold temperatures, so you need to use durable materials for the counter tops and cabinets. Marble, granite, brick and various man made materials are good to use. Wood rots easily, especially if left untreated. It is also highly flammable. Outdoor kitchens are supposed to last for many years, so you should invest in the best quality cabinets and counter tops you can afford.

Patio Kitchen Appliances

The centerpiece of all outdoor kitchens is the grill. You can choose a gas grill, a charcoal grill or even both if you are going all out with your design. A critical decision is whether you want a movable or built-in grill. In either case your will want a natural gas hook up built into your patio kitchen. Movable provides the greatest flexible and if it should need repairs or warranty work done, it will much easier than taking out the Mega Super duper 10 Burner 400,000 BTU built-in. The Weber Genesis E-320 Model noted about is a sound, solid choice for a patio kitchen. You will need a waterproof cover for your grill, if it will be exposed to the elements.

Lighting and Shade for Your Outdoor Kitchen

One of the things that greatly enhances the potential of your outdoor living and entertainment area on your patio, is lighting in evening and shade from the sun during the day. A super addition to your patio sanctuary is the patio umbrella to provide protection from the sun’s harmful rays and cooling shade. Another enhancement is some soft lighting to allow this wonderful space to be part of your home after dark.

One incredible patio umbrella takes care of your needs in both of these areas. The Galtech 9ft Aluminum Patio Umbrella with Lights has a built-in LED lighting system in the umbrella ribs that provides a soft glow of lighting for the dining or wet bar area of your patio after dark. It is bright enough to pour drinks, manage appetizers, and see the face of your conversation partner. During the day, the Auto Tilt mechanism and 9 feet of Sunbrella fabric, provide excellent protection from heat and the sun’s rays.

How to Build an Outdoor Kitchen

The first thing to do is plan exactly what you want and need and see how that compares to the budget you are working within. Consider what type of cooking you will do, how many people you will be feeding and whether the food will be eaten outside or brought inside to be served. Ask yourself the question about whether you want the outdoor kitchen to be a fixture or movable arrangement.

When you have a firm idea of what is required, you can either build your own outdoor kitchen or hire a contractor to help. Outdoor kitchens should be near the house so you can bring food in and out but not in an area where smoke will blow into the house or into the faces of your guests. Other safety precautions include making sure the grill is a comfortable thirty-six inches high and not using any flammable materials in your outdoor kitchen construction.

Once you have your plans or blueprints and have arranged for the materials, it is time to build your outdoor kitchen. When it done you will have your perfect place to relax with your family, entertain your friends and enjoy creating delicious meals for many years to come.

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