MILWAUKEE, WIS. – June is Great Outdoors Month, an opportunity to enjoy nature. What better way to appreciate the outdoors than spending time in one’s backyard? Outdoor kitchens provide a space for people to prepare favorite meals, congregate with family and friends, and take in the scenery. Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Council, Inc., celebrating 50 years as the area’s leading home improvement and remodeling industry resource, offers tips for planning the ideal outdoor kitchen. Think About Needs
- Enjoy plenty of counter space.If homeowners plan to prepare and cook meals outdoors, they should make sure they have enough counter space for chopping and other food prep.
- Think about storage. Make sure there are cupboards and drawers available for storing items to avoid going back-and-forth between the indoor and outdoor kitchens to retrieve utensils.
- Plan for utilities and lighting. Many kitchen tools rely on a power source. Include outlets for blenders, mixers, and other equipment. Also, consider task lighting near the countertops and by eating areas and lights on pathways and steps. This will make the space safer and allow people to enjoy the outdoor kitchen after dark.
- Offer shelter. A shelter, such as an awning, pergola, roof, and more, can provide shade from the sun or refuge from the rain. It can also accommodate lighting, a ceiling fan, or heaters to make the space more enjoyable and extend its use into cooler seasons.
- Make room for a place to eat. When planning an outdoor kitchen, it’s easy to focus on the food preparation, but it’s also essential to plan a space to enjoy the meals. Whether homeowners have a picnic table or opt for built-in benches, designate a patio, deck, or other space for eating.
- Have running water. Including a kitchen sink outdoors will make washing fruits and vegetables, doing dishes, and cleaning up messes easier.
- Make it accessible. Keep the outdoor kitchen close to the house, and make sure there is a paved path to the area. This will make transporting food and other items more convenient.
Choose the Style, Build Wisely Picking the Right Location Whether a homeowner wants a simple grilling area or a location to entertain guests, it’s important to strategically choose the placement of the outdoor kitchen. Here are some characteristics of an ideal location:
- Near a shade tree or under a patio cover.
- Downwind from the home and dining areas, so smoke from the grill doesn’t bother others.
- Close to the indoor kitchen.
- In an area with privacy from neighbors.
- Overlooking a beautiful view – the landscaped yard, pool, or other aesthetically pleasing sights.
Low-Maintenance Materials Outdoor kitchens are exposed to the elements, so it’s essential to pick products and materials that will withstand the weather.
- Avoid porous products, such as limestone.
- Include high-quality stainless steel; it’s easy to clean and corrosion-resistant.
- Opt for cultured granite.
- Use concrete, composite materials, or manufactured pavers for the decking or flooring.
Complimentary Design The design of the outdoor kitchen should correlate with the style of the home’s exterior. Use similar materials and mimic architectural details to ensure a cohesive look and feel. The Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Council was chartered in July 1961, as a Chapter of the National Home Improvement Council. In May of 1982, the National Home Improvement Council merged with the National Remodelers Association to form NARI – the National Association of the Remodeling Industry. The Council’s goals of encouraging ethical conduct, professionalism, and sound business practices in the remodeling industry have led to the remodeling industry’s growth and made NARI a recognized authority in that industry. With over 800 members, the Milwaukee Chapter is the nation’s largest.