How to Create the Perfect Outdoor Kitchen

Ah, the summer evening cookout. It sounds great in theory, but sometimes firing up the grill and running in and out of the kitchen multiple times throughout the night can become a real drag. People who enjoy grilling outside frequently during the warmer months are opting to invest in an outdoor kitchen to remedy this issue.

Not only does an outdoor kitchen look great in a landscaped backyard, but it’s also a fabulous conversation piece that’s sure to keep the dialogue flowing among partygoers on many a hot evening night. Most outdoor kitchens have a few key features in common.

Fridge

A refrigerator… outside?! Yes, this is not an uncommon feature. Many modern outdoor kitchens include a fridge, and it’s a great appliance to have if you want to “nix” the mad dash to and from your regular indoor kitchen. Plus, you can stash cold drinks for your guests within arm’s reach. One caveat, however – when it gets cold outside and your outdoor kitchen has hunkered down for the winter, consider unplugging your fridge until spring reappears. It’ll be safer during non-use and cut down on your energy bill.

Ceiling

Cooking outdoors is great, but if you design your space in an uncovered area, you’ll become a slave to the elements. Rainstorms will limit your fun quite severely, so fight back by including a ceiling feature in your design. Many people choose a removable pavilion-type covering, although others choose to build a more permanent cover that resembles an extension of their existing deck space.

Grill

The infamous grill—no outdoor kitchen would be complete without it. This feature should be a given, but the new outdoor kitchen emerging in landscaping magazines is boasting bigger, better, more breathtaking grills for your space. There are models with marvelous stonework, dramatic tiling, or gorgeous brick columns – the design choices are endless.

Sink

The complete outdoor kitchen needs a sink to really sing. Imagine making drinks then spinning around and washing your hands, all without leaving your backyard. A sink will round out the outdoor kitchen area and bring completeness to the space. Some opt for deep basin-style sinks made from weatherproof materials. Others choose stainless steel hand sinks, which are great for braving the elements as well.

Electricity

You can’t blend pina coladas without a plug, right? What if you’re outdoors all evening and you need to charge your phone? Electrical outlets are necessary for an outdoor kitchen. Install outlets in easily accessible, safe places and install protective hinged coverings for the outlets when they’re not in use. This will shield them from harsh winds and rain during a storm.

Your outdoor kitchen is an extension of your landscaping and your home, which is why you should plan and design carefully before breaking ground. The size of the kitchen, the existing landscaping, and your family’s needs are important things to ponder prior to the project. Considering which of the above features are important to you is the next step.

How to Get Your Landscape Ready for a Home Sale

If you were to put your home on the market today, what would prospective buyers think of your yard? Would it turn them away? Have you been neglecting it?

Today’s home buyers want to purchase move-in ready homes. They do not want to fuss with extra yard work or worry about renovations. Something as small as rotted plants or a faded water fountain facade can signal to a buyer that you do not care enough to keep up the home. This will most definitely turn them away.

With a few minor updates, you will save money in the long run by selling your house for what it is worth. Don’t give buyers any chance to say “no”!

Well-kept Beds – A little edging goes a long way. Even curving the edge of your flower beds to give the yard a more manicured look will increase your chances of a sale. A quick fix: If you have overgrown plants, widen your beds so the plants appear smaller to the natural eye.

Color Sells – If your landscape needs a quick pick-me-up, consider adding dashes of color with petunias or additional annuals that will continue to flower year-round. If you have the budget, add some large perennials. They will “wow” potential buyers and make the landscape look more attractive.

Depth Perception – Who said your mind can’t play tricks on you? If you place your plants away from your property line, your home will look farther away from the road and appear larger than it is. Also consider plants around the perimeter of the home to accentuate it and add some to block items you want to hide from potential buyers.

Green Grass – A brown or yellow lawn is a deal breaker for many potential home buyers. Ideally, you should start beautifying your grass long before you put your home on the market. But, if you are in a time crunch, try one fertilizer treatment to help “green up” the lawn. Some experts will also recommend green spray paint to spruce up dead grass areas.

Privacy – Buyers want to know their yard will be private. A beautiful landscape will lose its loveliness once a potential buyer sees and hears the neighbor’s kids splashing away in their pool. This is one of the most important factors to a landscape design.

If it is within your budget, consider a fence to surround the perimeter of your property. Even low-cost fences will be better than none at all. If you are not ready to sell the house just yet, evergreen shrubs will grow tall enough to create a private environment in a few short seasons.

Add Character – If your landscape is lacking drama and pizzazz, add a few elements to “jazz” it up. Consider statues, swings, or hammocks depending on your location. Create an oasis that will draw in your potential buyers. Add seating areas and places to relax and appreciate nature. The more appealing you make your landscape, the greater the chance you will receive an offer. Remember that it’s often an emotional experience that brings a buyer to make a decision.