Article: Outdoor Kitchens

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Foodie culture is pervasive. There are no regular restaurants anymore; everything is a gastropub, or an epicurean destination, or a farm-to-table hub. Kitchen products are tailored to finer tastes, promising healthier, higher-quality ingredients or higher performance in preparation — you know, because your kids will notice that their ketchup is actually pureed roma tomatoes with organic sea salt and just a touch of lime (they won’t… but you probably will).

But for those inclined to enjoy the finer side of food preparation, it’s a welcome trend. Shouldn’t your home be outfitted to take advantage of your blooming culinary talents? Of course it should! The good news is that investment in your kitchen can go far beyond just having the juiciest juicer on the market — it can add to the value of your home, as well.

Kitchens are, obviously, one of the most important rooms in the home when it comes to resale. Do not skimp. But with grilling season upon us, we’d like to focus on outdoor kitchens and a few of the trends, do’s and don’ts that might help you add value and enjoyment to your house.

Tips range from the practical to the lavish, but there are some very basic things to consider when establishing an outdoor cooking and dining space.

First, proximity to the house. There are two main reasons for this: convenience and smoke. If you’re gonna grill (and let’s get real, you’re gonna), you want the cooking area far enough from the house’s doors and windows that it’s not going to waft back into the house. However, it shouldn’t be too far away. There’s bound to be a good deal dishes, drinks and ingredients going back and forth, and you don’t want to feel like you need a sherpa just to have a sandwich al fresco.

This article, from porch.com, addresses several of these more practical issues, including appliance size (scale the whole setup to the size of your appliances) and starting with solid flooring.

Outdoor kitchens often go hand-in-hand with a pool (and could save you on install if you do both at once). Boscoe’s Pools has a short list of must-haves. A wet bar and a grill are no-brainers, but electricity… yeah, don’t forget that. Make sure such details and consultations are taken care of before you start digging.

Finally, the Foodie Gardener takes a look at must-haves for those who appreciate the act of cooking. Our favorite tip here (she also repeats the need for proximity and lighting) is to make space next to your outdoor kitchen for an herb or vegetable garden. There’s nothing quite as cool as tossing in some basil that you literally just pulled from the ground, or making that sauce out of a tomato that your guests watched you pick from the vine.

Happy cooking!