Americans love outdoor dining – so much, in fact, that according to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA), 75% of all US households have a grill or smoker outside on their deck, patio, balcony, or driveway. Over the last few years, alfresco dining has moved to a whole new level as many homeowners are investing in outdoor kitchens where they can cook, eat, and relax while enjoying summer breezes.
Indoor kitchens are often considered the heart of the home, but the “heart” now overflows into exterior living space, and people are wanting to equip their outdoor living space with fully functional kitchens, not just rolling barbecue carts. While some of these kitchen are low-budget DIY builds, high-end models include stainless steel stoves and refrigerators, granite countertops, built-in cabinetry and comfortable furniture set on professionally designed outdoor spaces and elegantly lit with natural flame gas lanterns.
What’s Included In An Outdoor Kitchen
As people embrace outdoor living, the outdoor kitchen is not just a room but an experience that is more about fun than functionality. To maximize potential enjoyment of the space, homeowners want features that go beyond a grill and a picnic table. These might include a pizza oven, sink with running water and wet bar, fire pit, fireplace, cabinets, warming trays, refrigerators and freezers, and stoves and built-in and freestanding grills. In addition, they see their outdoor kitchen as part of a larger entertaining scheme might include a pool, deck, pool for canopy, overhead lighting, water features in the yard, music systems, space heaters, and more .
Surveys conducted among outdoor kitchen owners indicate that after the fact, many wish they had gone for some of these high-end features. More than 90% of survey respondents valued expandable spaces more features could be added in the future.
Constructing An Outdoor Kitchen
Some new construction these days includes an outdoor kitchen option, but the majority of the spaces are created for existing homes. There are three ways to get the job done:
- Using a kit. The most economical way to add an outdoor kitchen, a kit is prefabricated and minimally contain a grill and counterspace with add-ons available such as a freezer, storage cabinets, sinks, and more. Running from $3,000- $10,000, the kits are often used by handy homeowners who might rely on professional utility installations.
- Modular construction. Modular outdoor kitchens are more extensive kits that are joined on site give a cohesive appearance, at a cost of $5,000-$15,000.
- Custom built-ins. Usually installed by a professional landscape company, custom outdoor kitchen offer better integration with individual outdoor space. They are often teamed with other features such as a pool, built-in pergolas, wet bars, and extensive nighttime lighting. Depending on the features incorporated in the design, the pricing for custom outdoor kitchens is between $15,000 and $60,000 – the sky’s the limit.
The type you choose depends on how much you anticipate using the space, the number of cooking appliances you want to include, and how much space you find. Since outdoor kitchens will not add appreciably to the sales value of your homes, you need to decide how much investment makes sense.
Are Outdoor Kitchens Only For Warm Climates?
The outdoor kitchen trend is not just hot in states with warmer year-round climates; contractors throughout the country are increasingly called on to create an outdoor living space that includes cooking facilities. In extremely cold, snowy climates, the ability to use and enjoy an outdoor kitchen is more limited, but with proper design, proper materials, and proper appliances, the outdoor kitchen is usable for more of the year.
Because frigid weather puts additional demands on equipment used outside, kits are not the best solution in cold climates. While this is a cheaper alternative than custom building, kits are often intended to be bolted or screwed together and then bolted to concrete. In bad weather, moisture can infiltrate weak spots where items are bolted together which results in cracking and a breakdown of materials. Professional installers lay out the kitchen to avoid control joints in poured cement, use footers appropriate to cold climate, often use concrete blocks to provide a steady base for the kitchen, and use finishing materials that can weather climatic conditions.
Part of the cost of outdoor kitchen covers sturdy appliances that are UL listed for outdoor use, along with countertops and cabinets that can withstand temperature fluctuations and the cycle of freezing and thawing. Rugged appliances and building materials designed for exterior use will hold up in extreme condition without cracking, rusting, discoloring, or failing.
Even with the right materials, you will need to winterize your kitchen by disconnecting appliances, shutting off the water supply, and covering the grill and other components.
Creating The Outdoor Living Area You Want
The more time you plan to spend outside, the more you will want amenities such as a coverings over some areas and ample outdoor lighting. Having a pergola will shade you and your guests from sunshine, while a roof offers better protection from light rain. One of the most important ways to create the functional inviting space when is with proper outdoor lighting.
As is true inside, you may want different lighting in specific areas of your kitchen. This might mean a fixture over the grill or stovetop, supplemented with halogentask lights over the area and even undercabinet lighting. If you have a ceiling over your cooking and dining area, a fixture with the ceiling fan dispel mosquitoes and improve the performance of the whole kitchen area.
To improve the light in the ambience of the whole space, add post lights with natural gas flames around the perimeter of your patio or other area devoted to conversation. Wall mounted or column mounted versions of this type of lantern can a beautiful soft lighting to your space. Just remember that since gas lanterns are much hotter to the touch than electric fixtures, so make sure that they mounted high enough so that children or even adult guests will not accidentally touchthem. If you want the look, but not the risks of gas lights, consider electric models with flickering candelabra bulbs
Your total outdoor lighting package should also include solar lighting around driveways and walkways. If stylish post lantern would pose a safety risk for impede on planned recreational activities, solar lights can also define the area.
Installing Natural Flame Gas Lanterns
installing utilities for your outdoor calls for licensed professional help. If you are adding gas lines for grill, stove, fire pit, fireplace, or alternately, you should hire the services of a National Fireplace Institute (NPI)-certified installer to make sure that your work is completed safely and in compliance with local codes
When selecting lighting for your outdoor kitchen, consider authentic, handcrafted productions from Lantern & Scroll. With many stylesavailable in both electric and natural flame gas lanterns, find the perfect picture to complete your outdoor living space.