In recent times, the outdoor kitchen has been growing from a simple fixed barbecue grill to a full kitchen suite, including fixtures like refrigerators, cupboards, etc. Safety and functional considerations require weatherproofing the appliances; but if done right, the investment could very well be worth the cost. Consulting two design experts, Associated Press writer Melissa Rayworth gives some pointers on how to step up outdoor kitchens in NJ and elsewhere.
Have a Countertop
An outdoor kitchen can hardly be called one without a place to season the meat or prep the veggies. This makes a countertop essential, either attached to the grill or as a separate section. Granite countertops are a popular choice, provided they have been treated with a sealant.
If you want a separate countertop but don’t have the space for it, go modular. Design an outdoor countertop to serve as both a workstation and dining area. To minimize surface damage to the stone, clean up stains right away and use pot mats for hot pots and casseroles. Also, avoid damaging granite from contact with sharp objects.
Make It All-Season
Cooking outdoors wouldn’t be fun if the temperature outside is a frigid ten below zero. Experts recommend installing a fireplace, either a free-standing or a wall-mounted one, on the outdoor kitchen. Design the fireplace such that smoke doesn’t blow over your guests.
Before planning an outdoor fireplace, however, check the local code first; not all areas permit outdoor fireplaces. Fortunately, New Jersey allows recreational fires under Chapter 307 of the state residential code. However, the fireplace must be at least 25 feet away from any structure.
Pergolas and drapes provide shade and beauty to the outdoor kitchen, but flammable fabric should be kept away from any stove, as specified in the residential code. Pergolas also give you additional options such as installing extra lighting for a cozy ambience.
For that unforgettable outdoor dining experience, however, beautiful landscaping, complete with hardscape and flora, is unmatched. Consult NJ landscape services like Scenic Landscaping for an outdoor kitchen design that is safe, functional, and provides a feast to the eyes.
(Source: The evolving outdoor kitchen, The Seattle Times, June 13, 2014)