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A Carefully Planned Outdoor Kitchen is Worth the Investment
Do you have any idea how popular outdoor kitchens are becoming? We spend more time at home than ever before and we are fixing up those homes instead of buying new. Homeowners are opting for an outdoor kitchen over other types of remodeling projects because they extend the size of their living space. If they are spending more time at home, they are definitely entertaining more as well. Partying alfresco is a hot new trend because it is so relaxed and casual and it is less wear and tear on the house itself. Keep the guests outside as much as possible so you will have less clean up indoors.
There are some things to consider during the planning stages of the new kitchen. What is the style of your home? If you have a southwestern style in Arizona, it would be common sense to continue the style outside to the patio and the new kitchen area. It would look odd if you put in fragile looking patio furniture reminiscent of Victorian times next to the heavy terracotta. The same is true if you have a Victorian style and you want rustic log furniture in the back with a river rock fireplace. How do you like to entertain? Is a fancy barbecue in order? Do you want everything you need in one place for the kitchen so you don't have to go in and out all the time? If you like to cook in groups with your friends helping you, you will need a lot of prep space; otherwise it could be much smaller. If you are planning on having the grill as the focal point, plan your counter around the grill because that is where you will be spending most of your time. If you just want a simple barbecue, how about an outdoor fireplace as the focal point?
Your guests could sit down around the fireplace in easy conversation while you just are off to the side making some appetizers. Are you planning on installing a pool as part of the remodel? If a water element is present such as a pool or hot tub, you might also want that to be a focal point. If you want a hot tub to be more private, consider putting up a gazebo to enclose it or just put it off to the side of the backyard. Whatever you decide, think carefully when you choose appliances and materials. Outdoor furnishing is quite different than picking out furniture for the indoors. What is going to withstand the torture of the elements better than other things? You might want to think install the things "of nature" when extending the kitchen. Stone for the countertops is nice and looks balanced with the outdoor setting. Whatever appliances you have, if you have a winter climate in your area, you need to prepare it by shutting down water lines, insulating pipes, and covering everything. During the planning, don't forget about storage space. This doesn't mean just cupboards space, but other storage for the things that need to be covered for winter, or for the pool toys and other backyard equipment you may have. When I entertain I like to have all of my party things in one place so I don't have to hunt for them.
I usually use them just for parties and not for us as a family, and when I entertain I don't have time to think about having the right dish and utensils available. The dishes I use outside are all outdoor friendly. I don't have to worry about my favorite plate being broken on the concrete. They are exactly where I need them when I need them. Don't forget about the music system when making your plans. It is quite easy to install outdoor water resistant speakers for your musical enjoyment. A bar should be a consideration as well.
They are a great extension to any outdoor kitchen. Even if you make nothing but lemonade for your guests, you will need plenty of ice and glassware at easy reach. I think the most fun in an outdoor kitchen is the preparation. People should feel easy and relaxed walking around and enjoying nature as well. No one should feel uncomfortable in a beautiful outdoor setting. Have lots of seating planned which promotes great conversation. Let the beauty of the surroundings and the preparations of the food provide the entertainment for your guests. Even the ones that don't enjoy cooking won't be able to resist the invitation for your outdoor affair.
Bev Hlavka is a successful freelance writer offering guidance and suggestions for consumers buying patio furniture, gas grills, picnic tables and more. Her many articles can be found at http://www.patio-furniture-4u.com/Outdoor%20Kitchens.htm . She gives information and tips at http://www.patio-furniture-4u.com to help you save money and make informed buying decisions.
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