Who doesn’t want to make the most of those gorgeous evenings and sunsets along the Front Range? With the nation’s largest BBQ day now behind us, many homeowners are reevaluating their outdoor space and how they can spend more family and lounge time outdoors. But as with all remodel projects around the house, there is a balancing act between function and convenience, eye appeal, maintenance, and budget. To help you get started, here are a few considerations:
- Layout – While a simple grill cart that can be wheeled in/out of use is often sufficient for impromptu cooking sessions, many are looking for the feel of a true outdoor kitchen. Much like redesigning your indoor kitchen, determining how much space you want/need and the layout can be important, especially to keep a very inviting feel in your space. Grill islands, L-shape, and U-shape layouts are some of the most popular, with homes that have a protected patio along one side of the house being lucky enough to opt for a true, full outdoor kitchen, complete with upper cabinets and a vent hood.
- Number of guests – Do you want to cook for the entire baseball team or block party? Or is the small family gathering or birthday party the most you want to be standing at the grill? The size and number of grills can set the stage for who asks if you’re willing to host the next get together. Bear in mind, in addition to quality and features, the larger the grill, the steeper the price.
- Type of cooking – Are you the type of person who wants to turn on the Viking grill, cook a few burgers, and have them plated in less than 10 minutes? Or do you enjoy the low-and-slow, with applewood smoke wafting to your neighbors to let them know you’re cooking something delicious on your Big Green Egg? While some ‘Eggheads’ may consider it blasphemous to cook on anything but a charcoal grill, you can balance convenience with flavor and the BBQ’ing experience by having both a charcoal and gas grill. Determining the amount of effort, space, comfort level with fire, and amount of envy you want to receive from friends & neighbors play an important role in which (and how many) grills you should consider.
- Convenience vs. Maintenance – There is no doubt that having everything you need, including prep space and cold storage is more convenient and allows you to make the most of your time outdoors, with fewer trips in and out of the house. However, planning must be taken into account for how you will maintain in the wintertime – plumbing must be winterized and refrigerators must be outdoor rated. If it’s too much of a hassle, consider a built-in cooler into the countertop and an on-demand water system, such as this one by Challenger Designs. When it comes to low-maintenance countertop and cabinet material, our favorite combination is a Dekton counter by Cosentino, and Perma Tek cabinets by Atlantis. While at the higher-end of the range, they are near-indestructible and require nothing more than a hose or pressure washer to clean.
Once you’ve taken into consideration the type of outdoor kitchen you desire, we recommend finding your “must-haves” and setting your budget to keep yourself on-track – chances are, you may have to give and take in certain areas. At Lifestyle, we partner with some of the finest manufacturers to meet your needs and budget, and our design staff is always happy to help discuss your project and how to make the most of your Colorado afternoons and evenings.