As the snow melts away and you’re looking forward to warmer weather, you may be anticipating that first outdoor cookout. Barbeques have become an important time of many spring and summer celebrations, but the mess they can cause often results in a difficult affair to clean up after. One way many people solve this problem is through installing a kitchen island outdoors. Having a set place for the grill and everything that goes with it, plus a dining area, makes it easy to stay organized and safe. At the same time, it offers easy clean-up and a natural focal point for entertaining.
When it comes to kitchen islands, your choices are almost limitless. You can opt for something as minimalist and utilitarian as a stainless steel table beside your grill, or you can choose something that incorporates a cooking area while complementing the rest of your outdoor structures and providing storage for your grill However, be sure to take your climate into account when shopping. If you’re selecting one which will stay outdoors year round, consider whether it can handle the extreme cold. For instance, tile is prone to cracking when the temperature drops.
One popular option is to go for a prefabricated island. This is the less expensive of options, usually costing around $2,500 for a built-in grill, side burner access door, and tile-top. Depending on whether it is free-standing or built in, and whether you need to run gas and/or water lines, you may need a professional to handle the installation. But if you’re opting for a basic unit, no installation may be necessary.
The other, slightly more expensive option is to get a custom island. These structures are often comparably priced to the prefab, but you get the ability to choose building materials and amenities. Some of those options include stone surface and stone cladding instead of masonry. If you already have some hardscaping such as a patio or fire pit, you can have your landscape planner develop a design that incorporates materials you’re already using.
Regardless of the type of island you opt for, you’ll still need to decide how you’d like it to be oriented in your yard. Pay attention to where the sun is at the times you’re most likely to be using the area. Sunlight can blind the cook or guests, so it’s wise to place the island at least partially in shade. If the cooking space has a roof, remember to install fans to avoid smoke from getting trapped. Another good idea is to separate the island with a raised ledge, so cooking can take place undisturbed on one side while guests can enjoy the bar on the other.
No matter the choice you make, an outdoor kitchen adds a fun note to cooking and makes outdoor entertaining easier.