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Design ideas and tips for creating beautiful outdoor living areas, kitchens, fireplaces, firepits and more.
Outdoor Kitchen Design: Sizing & Configuration
A great outdoor kitchen starts with a functional design with enough countertop space for all your cooking and entertaining needs, says Scott Cohen of The Green Scene. He shows you several different kitchen layouts, including a tri-level counter arrangement and a stand-alone kitchen island. He also discusses the important factors to consider when planning your kitchen layout, including:
Outdoor Kitchens & Barbecue Grills
Outdoor kitchens are the hottest trend in backyard entertaining and can range in complexity from a simple gas grill flanked by concrete countertops to elaborate, fully equipped kitchens that serve as extensions of the indoor kitchen. Cohen takes you on a tour of a number of projects, while explaining what to consider when determining the best setup for a particular space. The decision often depends on the yard size, your budget, your entertaining needs and the number of people you plan to accommodate.
Outdoor Kitchen Placement and Location
The biggest factor to consider when deciding where to locate your outdoor kitchen is the proximity to the house. Ideally, you'll want to place your outdoor kitchen close to the indoor kitchen to avoid long trips back and forth, says Cohen. But you also need to consider outdoor views, prevailing winds (and where smoke from the grill may drift), and the type of entertaining you'll be doing.
If there's another major focal point in your yard, such as a swimming pool or dramatic view, the outdoor kitchen may be best located offset to the side to avoid blocking the view from the back of the house.
Concrete Countertops for Outdoor Kitchens
Cast concrete is one of the best materials to use for outdoor kitchen countertops because of its design versatility, ease of maintenance and ability to withstand the elements. Cohen shows you some of his favorite installations, including a countertop with a decorative rope edge detail, countertops with decorative embeds such as pebbles and recycled glass, and counters that incorporate fiber-optic lighting and undermount edge lighting.
Outdoor Kitchen Counter Heights
When designing an outdoor kitchen, it's important to know the industry standard heights for comfortable dining at a table, for working at a countertop, or for sitting at a bar. Scott Cohen provides the numbers for all three levels so that your outdoor kitchen can be inviting and can accomodate chairs and legroom for guests.
Don't have time to enjoy your outdoor concrete countertops during the day? Then turn up the wow factor at night with the addition of fiber-optic lighting.
For more ideas, see Fiber-Optic Concrete Countertops.
Embedded Glass Countertops
Cohen shows you how to add razzle-dazzle to outdoor countertops by adding pieces of colored recycled glass and coral. For more details about the techniques he used, see How to Embed Glass in Outdoor Concrete Countertops.