When you think of cooking areas for the yard, the first components that may come to mind are outdoor kitchen appliances, such as grills, which are discussed below. But such features form the nucleus of such facilities, the proper deployment of other components is critical in creating spaces outside that are truly livable. Lighting, accents and accessories can enhance your grilling experiences; all can be used to tailor a space to your specific needs. Consequently, this article will also touch on such accessories, in conclusion. I asked David Gatti, Co-owner / CEO of P.O.P.S. Landscaping, to share his thoughts on the subject in the interview that follows.
Q. Give us some quick thoughts on the basic outdoor kitchen appliances to be found in most any up-scale design. Let’s begin with grills.
A. The grill is the heart of any cookout or barbecue. One option is to make it the foundation around which to build the rest of the room. Designers offer many plans as to how homeowners can encase their grills or other cooking-related outdoor kitchen appliances with decorative stone.
Stainless steel is the best way to go for grills, because they don’t rust and will last much longer than powder coated metal. They provide easy maintenance. Grills usually can’t be covered if they are built into a custom surround. Sometimes the manufacturers make covers that work well. To fit into a budget and get more for your money, you can buy a propane grill and change the connections by purchasing a conversion kit from the manufacturer and converting it to natural gas. You can save thousands by doing this.
You can also purchase a free standing grill that has all of the elements you want (instead of all of the separate outdoor kitchen appliances), and then remove the wheels and set it into a custom surround. This is a cheaper way to get all of the options you want. Most grills have rotisserie cooker options on them now. A lot of people are adding warming drawers. The frequency and amount of people entertaining should be a factor to determine if warming drawers are necessary.
Q. Another obvious outdoor kitchen appliance to consider is the sink. What materials are available for sinks?
A. There are inexpensive sink units available that hook right up to your house’s water supply or can be fed with the hose. Again, a stainless steel sink is ideal because it will not rust or corrode. High-end design sinks are available in a variety of stone materials. One new trend includes stone sinks shaped like bowls with interior-like fixtures.
A stone-style vessel sink is the current trend in sinks. They are set on the top of the counter with a gooseneck faucet and an extension sprayer to clean off the counters and surfaces. This also adds a decorative element to the space.
Code states the following for sinks: if you use hot water, the water has to drain to a sewer line. Hot water has to be installed, insulated, and is very expensive. It could cost $3,000 - $5,000 for a complete system. If you use cold water only for your sink, you can run drain water to your drainage system as you would for a utility sink –- a very inexpensive option.
Q. A final outdoor kitchen appliance that is a must to discuss is the refrigerator. What counsel do you have to offer homeowners regarding the installation of refrigerators?
A. Traditional units typically include a refrigerator for keeping food and drinks cold during warm summer months. Two obvious options are the conventional, regular-sized refrigerator and a smaller low-watt unit. A design / build professional can customize many kinds of built-in areas with stone and hardscape surrounds to house refrigerators, icemakers and wine coolers.
For a small-to-slightly larger size refrigerator, typical cost is $450 - $550. There are many options ranging in price to meet any style or preference. Refrigerators are not always necessary. You can buy a regular indoor type and add a stainless steel front, with the front costing around $99. This covering will help protect the refrigerator from the elements. It may eventually acquire mildew on the outside but, it would work for many years before needing replacement. Obviously you will need electrical outlets in the space to connect any electrical components. Always use a licensed electrician to do any electrical work.