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Outdoor Living


Improve the Yard With an Outdoor Kitchen


outdoor

At its simplest, an outdoor kitchen can include some campsite cooking stoves and a picnic table. However, most homeowners are looking for something a little more functional and impressive. It's not uncommon to find everything from refrigerators to pizza ovens to granite-topped prep stations.

The outdoor "leisure lifestyle" industry now brings in $6.2 billion in annual revenue. And according to a third-party survey conducted for Weber grills, purchases on outdoor appliances is up by 8 percent, a telling figure in an economy yet to fully rebound from the recent recession.

Homeowners hoping to add an outdoor kitchen to their spaces have to address some factors first. Naturally, budget is one of the biggest concerns. Once the financials are ironed out, location is the next factor to consider.

There are advantages and disadvantages to having the outdoor kitchen located close to the house. Some of the biggest advantages include reduced costs running water, plumbing, electric, and natural gas to the outdoor kitchen. There's also the convenience of proximity to the house for carrying food items outside.

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On the other hand, having the outdoor kitchen located too close to the house could make it feel like the rest of the house. And if the outdoor kitchen is too close, contractors might be forced to factor an exhaust system into the design to draw heat and smoke away from the house.

Location of the outdoor kitchen will also have to take into consideration the size of the yard. Those with a large property can have an expansive kitchen. Individuals with a smaller yard may have to scale back and ensure their cooking and lifestyle habits don't infringe on the neighbors.

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Whether the kitchen is located near or far from the house, homeowners should think about some sort of protection from the elements. A shelter can include a buffer wall to ward off wind and weather and some sort of overhang for shade and other weather protection. This way the outdoor kitchen and entertaining spaces can be enjoyed even if there is light rain or blazing sunshine.

It's more than simply cooking outside, too. Outdoor kitchens are about bringing the entertainment experience outside. The kitchen is the central gathering point of the home; therefore it makes sense to offer a similar space the family will enjoy outdoors.

With this in mind, many homeowners are choosing weatherproof cabinetry, lighting, storage, fireplaces, music, and other accoutrements to make their outdoor kitchens the epitome of luxury. Ice makers, deep-fryers, smokers, wine coolers, and so many other accessories are routinely showing up in outdoor kitchen designs.

Gone are the days of a simple charcoal grill and a few patio chairs. Outdoor kitchens are revitalizing al fresco entertaining and adding considerable value to homes across the country.

For more information, visit a local contractor or a home improvement retailer.

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