Memorial Day Weekend kicks off the outdoor season. And many of love weather that allows us to lounge by the pool, etc. But as summer progresses, slogging over a hot grill in 90-degree heat isn’t fun.
And that’s why fall is the ideal grilling season. The outdoor weather is still welcoming. But no insufferable heat. A little chill in the air is refreshing. We can stand by the grill and literally never work up a sweat.
The good news is fall will be here officially in a few weeks. So let’s look to our grills, our smokers, and outdoor fridges. And if upgrades are needed, now is certainly the time.
Grill Season Upgrades
If you have been planning to upgrade your charcoal or gas trill to a full outdoor kitchen, but were wondering if it’s getting a bit too late to bother, consider that the grilling season lasts all through fall.
“Even better, outdoor kitchens can be installed fairly quickly,” says Dave Stockwell, owner of Deck and Patio. “Planning for such an amenity isn’t too challenging. There’s the need to determine the kitchen’s best location for optimal outdoor living enjoyment, and also enabling a hook up to water and power sources. But these things usually aren’t difficult.”
Water and electricity are important because an outdoor kitchen encompasses much more than just a barbecue. In most cases they include a sink, refrigerator, a gleaming grill, cabinets for all kinds of storage, and some sort of masonry construction.
There are lots of ways to do this. They can be contained in one elegant outdoor kitchen/bar, or you can have the barbecue on its own and put the other amenities elsewhere.
“We find sometimes that clients opt for a fully-equipped outdoor kitchen as a more cost-effective way to extending their indoor cooking area — without having to remodel the whole kitchen,” adds Dave. “This is especially true when the home is on the smaller side.”
Of course, says Dave, even those who already have large modern indoor kitchens love the convenience of an outdoor center that can become the heart of outdoor parties and gatherings — this will be especially important during the holiday season, when an extra oven and prep space can be so helpful.”
With that in mind, let’s look at a sampling of the the various designs and sizes of outdoor kitchens Deck and Patio has built all across Long Island.
This outdoor kitchen’s amenities, built on the lower of two new Deck and Patio patios, include a built-in stainless steel grill, expansive work area, sink, refrigerator and eating/drinking bar with stools.
Both patio areas were built with Borealis’ modular slabs from Techo-Bloc. Note how the colorful umbrellas behind the outdoor kitchen can be moved as needed in their yard, and offer such nice pops of color wherever they are positioned.
Their new custom fire pit is overlaid in a facade of natural stone that mimics that of their outdoor kitchen.
Deck and Patio frequently locate outdoor kitchens fairly close to the inside of the house — unless the property has a destination pool. In the case where all the outdoor living areas are a distance from the house, this requires different planning.
As for the particular amenities show here, one trend we’re seeing in outdoor kitchens are warming/cooling drawers made by companies like Ronda. These insulated drawers are sealed and work without electricity. Your drinks stay cool or your food stays warm depending on what you put in its lower drawer.
They have a magnetic seal, which along with being waterproof will also keep away bugs and dust. Indeed, you can choose a single drawer just for keeping dishes and cutlery completely clean.
Deck and Patio used a natural stone for the veneer of the bar/barbecue and constructed a seat wall made of the same veneer, with the same edge-restraint as the capstone for the seat wall. This created a unique contrast between the patio, bar area and the extensive back veneer used for the house.
For this project, Deck and Patio constructed a custom activity area on the mid-level of a 3-level deck. Just steps from the top-level’s large seating area, the custom outdoor kitchen/dining area includes a new grill, refrigerator, a small bar to enjoy the water views, and even a smoker/cooker — all set within curved custom cabinetry with a raised bar that mimics the decking in style and design.
Wherever you locate your kitchen, just remember you don’t want to get burned up from intense sun during cooking or dining. A pergola is one answer. But another is to have moveable — yet sturdy — outdoor umbrellas for flexible shade.
A bar/dining area is a great place for guests and family to gather. In this case, it’s a truly peaceful spot since we installed a water feature with waterfalls next to their new portable hot tub. It creates a great atmosphere for conversation and enjoying an outdoor meal and drinks.
The bar and outdoor kitchen counter was constructed in a curved shape to mimic the patio design. It is granite topped and the base of the activity center is faced in natural stone. The lounging area’s outdoor umbrella is portable and can be used where needed, including at the bar/kitchen.
Of course, if you prefer permanent shade over your outdoor kitchen/dining area you can opt for a pergola like this custom one we built poolside. With a stainless grill, refrigerator, sink, storage areas, and a custom rock facade, the outdoor kitchen boasts a bar/dining area as well — a great escape after leaving the pool.
So! For great outdoor living all through fall, just remember what The Beatles used to sing!