Warmer weather entices people outside, and let’s face it, wide-open exterior spaces can provide more room to move around and reduce the potential for damage to your home’s interior.
However, to truly provide an outstanding outdoor entertaining experience, you will need to create a fun and inviting environment.
Here’s what you need to create the type of outdoor space that friends and family won’t want to leave;
More than a grill
A grill is an obvious starting place. You have got to have a good looking and functional grill. A favorite one for the outdoors would be one has a lid that folds all the way back and goes flush with the countertop.
However, we are seeing an increasing number of other appliances and accessories in summer kitchens. They are going beyond the BBQ and building out full kitchens. In fact, many families are adding pizza ovens to keep the kids and their friends close by.
In addition to grills and pizza ovens, homeowners are also adding other types of cookers. Specialized cookers, such as side burners for boiling seafood or wok cooking, and smokers are now becoming an additional detail for outdoor catering.
However, if you want to put a specialty appliance, in cabinetry, you will need to use non-combustible materials, like stainless steel.
Also, it’s best to line your cabinets with firebrick so they won’t become discolored due to extreme heat exposure. Another point to keep in mind is that your exterior kitchen layout is as important as your indoor kitchen layout.
Water and refrigeration
A sink and a refrigerator are must-have items, and it is recommended that you include at least 2 fridges in your outdoor kitchens — one for food and one for beverages.
In fact, if you want to maximize time with guests by avoiding trips indoors, duplicating your indoor kitchen works best. In addition to a sink and refrigerator, you could also include trash cabinets, and even dishwashers manufactured for outdoor use.
However, in lieu of an actual refrigerator, some homeowners are installing refrigerated drawers.
Seating is an important choice as it will determine your entertaining options. While outdoor wicker furniture has been popular in the past, we see a lot more built-in bench seating styled with throw pillows and cushions for a casual, comfortable feel that’s able to accommodate more people.
You will probably prefer to have guests sitting upright at tables to reduce spills when they’re eating. However, consider mixing this type of seating with more relaxing options.
Sunken seating areas provide depth and additional space for entertaining. And there’s something else you should keep in mind when choosing furniture. Composite furniture such as sofas, lounge chairs, and end tables are maintenance-free, fade-resistant and easy on the eyes.
Flooring and ceiling considerations
Flooring should be durable, yet stylish. Just as the connection in flooring is important for flow, consistency in ceiling height and material will also marry indoor and outdoor entertainment spaces.
If you have a ceiling in your outdoor entertainment space, adding tongue & groove planks or panels gives the appearance of a plank installation – painted or stained – and is perceived as a more refined level of detail.
When the sun is beaming down, you will need to protect your friends and family members from those damaging rays.
Cantilevered overhangs provide lots of shade while cooking/lounging outdoors. But that’s not your only option. It is also recommended using fans, misters, and light-colored furniture as additional cooling sources.
Having good lighting allows you to create a mood, grill and entertain far after the sun goes down and the martinis start to flow.
In addition to being an entertainment element, lights also create a safe environment, so you won’t get sued because someone tripped and fell in the dark.
As we navigate from the inside to the outdoor kitchen, entertainment will also transform these spaces with additions like outdoor speakers and big-screen TVs.
But as popular as TVs are, music is even more popular as an outdoor entertainment feature. Outdoor ceiling speakers make it easy to enjoy your favorite music while you cook or entertain guests.
However, when incorporating technology, consider the needs of your guests. Be sure to include several usable power outlets for cell phone charging.
Planning for colder weather
The hot season will be over before you know it, but by planning wisely, you can continue to entertain outdoors well into the fall months.
Just like indoor furniture, you can add cushions, throw blankets and pillows to your outdoor furniture for comfort throughout the year. Fire pits and outdoor fireplaces can also keep you warm and toasty when the weather turns colder.