8 Tips For Creating The Ultimate Outdoor Grilling Space

8 Tips For Creating The Ultimate Outdoor Grilling Space

Food is always a plus when it comes to bringing friends and family, together, making your grill a centerpiece of your backyard. So who doesn’t love a great barbecue? If you live in an area with excellent grilling weather year round, you know how much a dynamic outdoor space can improve the appeal and value of your home. Even in regions with cold winters, a few additions can help extend your barbecue season. Here are eight tips for creating the ultimate outdoor grilling space, no matter where you live.


1. Plan carefully

As with any outdoor project, it’s essential to map things out before you get started. Put some thought into what you’d like in your ideal finished outdoor space. What kind of features do you want? Consider the appliances, surfaces, and utilities you’ll need, and think about whether you’ll be able to design this space yourself or will need to hire a contractor.


2. Design with the future in mind

A high-quality outdoor grilling space will last your family for generations. When in doubt, add any features you may eventually want now since it’s easier to install electrical, plumbing, and heating utilities earlier rather than later. Think about whether you might prefer things like refrigerators, wine coolers, a bar with a beer tap, fans, vent hoods, or other items.


You should also invest in durable building materials, like flooring and appliances. Outdoor living spaces will face a lot more wear and tear than they would if they were indoors. You need to plan for excess moisture, foot traffic, and other wear and tear caused by exposure to the elements.


3. Add cabinetry

Nice cabinets may seem like a luxury, but this is a great way to improve the layout and upgrade the appearance of your outdoor grilling space. You need space to stash your utensils, cookware, and other must-haves, and you won’t want to keep running back and forth to the house. For an even more upscale grilling area, consider adding storage options like wine racks and built-in trash cans.


If you’re concerned about unsightly cabinets among your appliances, you can cover them with stone or brick veneers, so they blend nicely with the rest of your grilling schematic.


4. Always add a vent hood

Vent hoods are necessary not just for visual purposes, but for safety reasons. A vent hood will help reroute moisture and grease, preventing staining and other damage to your surrounding walls and the rest of your home. Most areas have building codes requiring ventilation systems in your grilling area if you’re placing it under another structure, like a pavilion or pergola.


5. Provide shade

Speaking of pergolas and pavilions, a shaded area is a must! Spending time outdoors is essential for our health and well-being but there’s nothing worse than baking in the summer sun with no relief in sight. You want to keep your guests outdoors, so if you don’t want to invest in a permanent structure, put up some umbrellas or tents.


6. Light it up

Good lighting is crucial in an outdoor grilling area, particularly if you plan on hosting guests. It would help if you had lights around prep and cook stations, as well as anywhere else you will be serving food. Adding lights produces a safer environment, and will also help to make your outdoor dining experience more enjoyable. After all, nobody wants to enjoy their steak in the dark! Consider adding a solar light to spotlight the grill or smoker. Most eyes will already be focused on it since that’s where the food is.


7. Add a fire pit

A fire pit is great for allowing your guests to get cozier. Whether you choose a gas model or a less expensive wood-burning model, it’s a great conversation piece that guests love to gather around. It will allow you to extend your grilling season into the winter months. (Is there anything better than roasting marshmallows over a fire?)


8. Don’t neglect the landscaping

Just because your grilling station is an extension of your indoor kitchen, you shouldn’t ignore the other outdoor elements that come into play. Take some time to plan out your landscaping carefully, and think about moving the flower beds close enough for guests to enjoy, but far enough way to keep the bees and other pests away from your guests.  Be sure to keep the lawn properly mowed, edged and irrigated.  You can also place tall potted plants around your patio as a moveable barrier. The tall plants will provide privacy for your outdoor living space, and you can easily rearrange them to make room for more guests. Another perk? Those plants will absorb much of the smoke from your grill, making the outdoors even more inviting.


Remember your grilling area will likely receive more foot traffic than other areas of your yard, so consider installing some stepping stones. If you follow these eight tips for creating the ultimate outdoor grilling space, you may never have to use your kitchen again.

Photo credits to CYC landscape 

Peter Goldberg is a gardening and landscaping writer, and outdoor extraordinaire. He likes to fire up the grill to cook for family and friends, as well as using his organically grown garden produce to create mouth-watering meals. Check him out at www.lawnstarter.com

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