7 Hot Outdoor Kitchen Trends and Ideas for 2021

Remember the days when backyard cooking areas were simple and rather boring?

They included little more than a basic grill and a wobbly side table overloaded with meats, condiments, and grilling tools.

This may even describe your current outdoor cooking setup.

Times have changed, however. Current outdoor kitchen trends have seen the outdoor living experience go upscale.

outdoor kitchen trends toronto

Modern outdoor kitchen designs can provide homeowners with attractive, high-functioning spaces. That extends to entertaining outdoors, too. After all, grilling and outdoor entertaining go hand in hand!

Is one of your New Year’s resolutions to make some home upgrades? Adding an outdoor cooking and entertaining space in 2021 is a great way to get more enjoyment from your home.

Outdoor kitchens are the most popular kitchen upgrade project

Forbes recently wrote that “outdoor kitchens and living areas are trending strongly and richly, with more enhancements than ever before”.

An American Institute of Architects’ Home Design Trends Survey also shows the popularity of outdoor kitchen additions.

500 design professionals were asked about their predictions for home design trends. 45% of the architects believed outdoor kitchens would be the most popular kitchen product and feature in the coming years.

This is a big deal because that’s among any kitchen project, including indoor kitchens.

Outdoor kitchen trends to make your space great

We all spent more time at home in 2020 than ever before. Getting outdoors whenever the weather was nice provided a welcome escape from the confines of our indoor spaces.

Unfortunately, it was difficult to enjoy many warm weather activities. Opportunities to travel, go to the beach, attend outdoor concerts, or go to an amusement park were few and far between.

That made our backyards incredibly vital. Did your backyard allow you to fully enjoy the time that was spent outdoors in the spring, summer, and early fall?

Life will soon return to normal. Eventually, social activities like having our friends, families, and neighbours over for a backyard cookout will be something that’s appreciated more than ever.

people watching man grilling in outdoor kitchen

When life returns to normal, we’ll appreciate social activities like an outdoor cookout more than ever.

An outdoor kitchen doesn’t require a lot of room. They typically range from 100 to 400 square feet. A smaller, relatively simple kitchen setup in the corner of a deck or patio can do quite a lot.

Or you can go bigger and more elaborate with your outdoor kitchen design. The more sophisticated designs of modern interior kitchens are being used in outdoor spaces. Adding a dining and lounging area to an outdoor kitchen space gives you the full outdoor living experience.

In 2021, make plans to extend your home’s living space to the backyard with an outdoor kitchen and entertaining area.

We took a look at what real estate and home design professionals are projecting to be the hot outdoor kitchen trends. Use their expertise about what essential features your outdoor living space should include to make it exceptional.

1. Use a premium grill

The grill is an outdoor kitchen’s centrepiece. Any upscale exterior kitchen needs a high-quality cooking appliance worthy of a professional chef.

Consider premium grill brands like Alfresco, Coyote, Lynx, and DCS. They make fine-tuned products that are far superior to even the highest-end grill models you’ll find in your local big-box store.

It starts with the construction. Any grill needs to be able to last and work properly in the ever-changing Canadian weather, even if it’s covered up during the winter.

Premium propane and natural gas grills use high-quality stainless steel and construction materials. This ensures long-lasting durability and reliable performance.

DCS premium grill

Grills with expansive cooking surfaces are a must-have for anyone who likes to entertain. Handy extras like a smoking box and rotisserie are also essential for those who take their grilling seriously.

Today’s luxury grills also come with some very swanky modern features. Here are a few examples:

  • backlit control knobs, interior lighting, and halogen surface lights
  • advanced tech to automatically maintain a preset temperature
  • smart controls that respond to voice commands and smart devices
  • hood assist systems that make opening the grill hood almost effortless

Standalone grills used to be the standard for an outdoor cooking space. One of the growing outdoor kitchen trends includes incorporating a built-in grill into the kitchen’s design. This saves space, looks professional and elegant, and creates a more efficient workspace.

2. Plenty of kitchen storage space

You can’t call a space a kitchen without cabinetry. Naturally, an outdoor kitchen requires a special type of cabinetry.

Outdoor kitchen cabinets must be durable enough to handle being outdoors and look appealing. They need to maximize your kitchen’s storage space as well.

Stainless steel is the material of choice for built-in cabinet systems used in the majority of outdoor kitchens.

Brands like Brown Jordan and Danver are made with commercial-grade stainless steel for superior durability. Powder-coated finishes ensure the cabinets stay rust-free for many years.

outdoor kitchen with grill and grey cabinets

Danver cabinets were used for this outdoor kitchen.

Stainless steel cabinets have a sleek look that can be customized to match your style preferences. They also complement nicely with the look of your grill and other outdoor kitchen features.

Another weatherproof cabinet option is a hi-density resin cabinet system. NatureKast offers this type of cabinet, which replicates the texture and natural colour of real wood remarkably well.

Marine-grade aluminum kitchen cabinets are also engineered to withstand harsh weather and climates. Quebec’s Urban Bonfire is one of the leading manufacturers of this type of outdoor cabinet.

3. A sturdy and attractive outdoor kitchen countertop

An outdoor kitchen countertop has three main functions. It has to:

  • have a resilient surface that can handle the requirements for a food prep area
  • be engineered for long-lasting structural and aesthetic integrity outdoors
  • visually complement the kitchen’s other stylish features

Some of the more common types of countertop materials include marble, granite, porcelain, soapstone, and concrete.

One of the outdoor kitchen trends we’re seeing more with countertops is to use surfaces made with sintering technology. This high-tech manufacturing process produces extremely durable surfaces that are highly customizable.

Any higher-quality outdoor kitchen countertop will be non-porous. It should also provide strong resistance to abrasions, stains, chemicals, and ultraviolet light (which prevents the surface colour from fading over time).

4. A full-service food prep area

A well-designed outdoor kitchen should include a full-service food prep area. A practical layout for everything allows you to work more efficiently.

The need for good lighting and an ample amount of counter space is a given.

Having every amenity you’ll need to handle all of your food prep is helpful, too. Cooking for a group of people is a lot of work. There’s no time to waste shuttling in and out of the house to use cooking appliances or retrieve a needed item!

warming drawer in outdoor kitchen

Convenient kitchen amenities like a built-in warming drawer make outdoor cooking easier.

There are a full complement of interior kitchen amenities that can be added to an outdoor kitchen. Here are a few examples, including some essential outdoor kitchen appliances:

  • faucet and sink
  • built-in countertop side burners
  • flat-top grill
  • outdoor pizza oven
  • countertop steam table
  • warming drawer
  • refrigeration and ice-making appliances

5. Plenty of refrigeration

Let’s look a little closer at refrigeration in an outdoor kitchen. Having enough ice and keeping things cool are both a big part of the outdoor cooking and entertaining experience.

Have your outdoor kitchen designed so it’s fully equipped to take care of both the host’s and guest’s refrigeration needs.

An outdoor cooking area with proper refrigeration saves you from making trips to your indoor fridge or freezer to restock on meats.

It saves guests from needing to make trips inside to get a fresh, cold drink. You also won’t have to keep coolers or tubs of ice filled with bottled beverages scattered around your outdoor entertaining area.

There’s no shortage of outdoor kitchen refrigeration options available. Top outdoor appliance brands like Alfresco and Lynx offer under-grill refrigerators, wine fridges, built-in under-counter fridges, and professional fridge/freezer combos.

How about adding an outdoor ice machine? Lynx has an energy-efficient appliance that can produce almost 40 pounds of ice. It even provides audible alerts and programmed cleaning reminders.

6. Tasteful décor

The attention you pay to the design and décor of an indoor living space should extend to your outdoor living space as well.

The modern concept of “style continuity” in the home (where there’s a natural decorative flow from room to room) drives another of the outdoor kitchen trends designers love.

More and more, the décor of outdoor kitchens complements the style of an interior kitchen or the closest room to the outdoor kitchen.

Decorative flair can also be used to accentuate the already-impressive looks of a premium grill, cabinet system, and countertop. Extra touches like including cabinet backsplashes and decorative moulding elements add to the kitchen’s visual appeal.

7. Add-on outdoor kitchen features

We’ve covered a lot with these outdoor kitchen trends and ideas, but there’s still more you can do to elevate your outdoor living experience.

Here are some more features and design elements to consider adding to your outdoor living space:

  • an outdoor fireplace or fire pit
  • high-end outdoor furniture
  • an outdoor TV
  • landscape lighting to boost the ambiance in your outdoor lounge area
  • an integrated sound system with hidden speakers and wiring
  • a herb garden close to the food prep area
  • overhead covering for added comfort
outdoor living space

Elevate your outdoor living experience with things like high-quality patio furniture, a fireplace, and a TV.

Adopt these outdoor kitchen trends for your cooking space

All of these outdoor kitchen trends and essential features will contribute immensely to your enjoyment of your backyard.

When you can enjoy the full outdoor living experience, you just might find that your backyard even replaces the living room as your home’s go-to social hub!

If you’re planning to upgrade or add an outdoor kitchen in your home this year, request a design consultation with Outeriors.

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How To Winterize Your Outdoor Kitchen

The outdoor cooking season is never long enough in Canada and the time arrives every year when an outdoor kitchen needs to closed up until next spring, unfortunately.

To protect the investment you’ve made in your outdoor kitchen, there are a few things you need to do to prepare the space for its months of winter inactivity.

Take the time once a year to follow these steps to winterize your outdoor kitchen. You’ll extend the life of your kitchen and its components.

Doing a little extra work now also results in minimal set-up being required when you’re itching to get that first big outdoor cookout started in the spring.

winterize your outdoor kitchen

Shut off your outdoor kitchen’s water supply

Turning off an outdoor cooking space’s water connection is one of the most important steps to winterize your outdoor kitchen.

Frozen water lines and burst pipes can cause expensive damage not just to your plumbing infrastructure, but to the outdoor sink and appliances they’re hooked up to.

Once your outdoor water connection has been shut off, drain the water supply lines by turning on the sink’s faucet(s). Make sure any water is also drained from any lines hooked up to your outdoor fridge and ice maker.

Winterize your outdoor kitchen sink

With the water supply shut off and all water lines and pipes drained, there are only a few more quick steps to winterize your outdoor kitchen sink.

Even though your outdoor sink is made with durable stainless steel, it should still be covered up to protect it from unnecessary exposure to the elements over the winter months.

You don’t want it filling up with rain water, snow, and sleet that will go down your drain and potentially cause damage. A sink cover is also needed to keep out any type of debris that can clog up your pipes, such as leaves.

Try to find a sink cover that is built specifically for your outdoor sink model so that it fits snugly. It’s worth paying a little more for a high-quality sink cover that won’t deteriorate or start fading after a few years of use. Covers made with carbon fibre vinyl are considered quite reliable.

A good sink cover should cover up the faucet as well, but you may wish to disconnect your faucet and store it inside over the winter, especially if it’s expensive.

Get your grill winter-ready

The end of the cooking season is when outdoor grills should get the most cleaning and maintenance attention. Give your grill some TLC so it will be good to go in the spring or be ready to use if you get a mid-January craving for some barbecued steaks.

Remove the grill’s grates and warming rack and scrub off any grease and food residue with a degreaser using a wire brush. Make an effort to get to all those other hard-to-reach corners of the grill and don’t forget to clean up around the burners, too. Once all the heavy-duty grill cleaning is done, use a stainless steel cleaner to give the grill a good polish.

Grilling experts recommend seasoning your grill regularly and before being stored for the winter. This involves firing up the grill (without food) for a short period after coating the grates and burners with a cooking oil to protect against rust, prevent food from sticking, and to remove contaminants.

outdoor kitchen grill

Afterwards, shut off the gas line if it’s a natural gas grill. Disconnect the gas line and cover up any openings on the end of the line and where it connects to the grill so no insects get inside.

If you have a propane grill and don’t plan to use it in the winter, disconnect the propane tank and store it upright outdoors in a well-ventilated area. To prevent the tank from rusting, keep it in a covered area (you can purchase a fabric cover or a tank container for winter storage). Never store a propane tank in an enclosed space like a garage or shed.

Your final step to winterize your outdoor kitchen grill is to cover it. As with the sink, use a cover made specifically for the appliance. A weatherproof cover made with a synthetic material that can breathe a little will prevent moisture from being trapped inside the cover.

Winterize your outdoor kitchen cabinets

What you do to winterize your outdoor kitchen cabinets will depend on what type of material they’re made from.

Stainless steel is the most common type of outdoor cabinet material. If you’ve invested in an excellent brand like Brown Jordan or Danver, they will be made using a high-quality, rust-resistant material such as 304 stainless steel.

High-end stainless steel cabinets also have low-maintenance powder-coated finishes that provide additional protection against the weather. A stainless steel polish can also help preserve the cabinets’ appearance and minimize the effects of exposure to moisture.

Danver advises that “although powder-coated stainless steel can be left uncovered in the winter months, covering adds extra protection which can never hurt”.

outdoor kitchen countertop

NatureKast makes a unique type of outdoor cabinet that is 100% weatherproof. Manufactured using a technologically advanced hi-resin system that replicates the look of real wood, their PVC cabinets are as maintenance-free as it gets. As you can see in this gallery on their site, their cabinets can sit uncovered throughout the winter, even in areas that get lots of snow.

Wood outdoor cabinets will require the most maintenance to get them ready for the winter. Wood is more susceptible to warping and moisture damage, so they need to be sealed or oiled every year.

Outdoor countertop winter preparation

As you have noticed, there’s a recurring theme that comes up when describing the materials the items in an outdoor kitchen are manufactured with – resilience.

Outdoor kitchen countertops are no exception. A premium outdoor countertop should last you for many years and modern technology allows manufacturers to engineer them for multiple applications including:

  • weather-proofing construction that provides moisture, UV, and thermal expansion protection
  • superior durability as both a work and dining surface that protects against scratches, stains, and heat
  • the ability to create an endless number of attractive custom designs

As with outdoor cabinets, the countertop’s material will determine what you need to do with them when winter arrives. Certain types of countertops require occasional sealer applications to prevent the finish from wearing down from prolonged exposure to the elements.

Some countertop brands offer products that require no sealer applications. Dekton is one of them. Their countertops are made using a highly advanced sinterized particle technology that produces ultra-resilient work surfaces.

Winterize your outdoor kitchen appliances

Unplug all of your outdoor kitchen appliances. Most high-quality outdoor kitchen appliances shouldn’t need to be brought indoors for the winter because they’re specifically constructed to withstand long-term exposure outside.

outdoor ice machineIt may seem wise to cover all of your outdoor kitchen appliances for their winter hibernation, but this can do more harm than good in some cases.

Things like built-in side burners and flattop grills will likely need covering, but covering some of your other appliances may trap moisture, which can potentially cause damage to the product. Check the manuals of your appliances to see what the manufacturer recommends for them in preparation for the winter.

It’s advisable that during the cooking season, you give your appliances an occasional cleaning. They should always be thoroughly cleaned when your outdoor kitchen is closed up for the year to preserve their finish and create less cleaning work in the spring.

Ensure all the water is drained from the lines of any outdoor kitchen appliances that are connected to a water supply, such as a fridge, ice maker, beverage dispenser, and dishwasher.

Once all the food and condiments have been removed from an outdoor fridge, clean the inside of it with some soap and water and make sure the interior is dry.

Don’t forget about the outdoor range hood

Some grills that are in an enclosed or semi-enclosed area have grill hoods installed. They work just like an indoor range hood by extracting smoke, odours, grease, and heat.

Because of the nature of what they do, an exterior grill hood is probably the item in your kitchen that gets the dirtiest during the cooking season aside from the grill itself.

Outdoor range hoods are most commonly made with stainless steel, so give the inside and outside of the hood a thorough cleaning with a good stainless steel cleaner. If there is a lot of grease and grime built up in some areas, use a degreaser.

Many outdoor range hood models also have removable filters that are dishwasher-safe.

Tips for extending your outdoor kitchen’s season

How can you extend your outdoor kitchen’s season to get a little more enjoyment out of it when the weather won’t cooperate?

A roof covering for a porch or attached patio will help all year-round, not just for your comfort but to keep the contents of an outdoor kitchen shielded from any precipitation. Having an enclosed or semi-enclosed outdoor cooking space is even better.

patio with fire pit at night

A few types of heat sources can be added to an outdoor cooking and entertaining space for ambiance and more comfort. The most popular options include:

  • outdoor fire pits
  • outdoor fireplaces or wood stoves
  • patio heaters

Upgrade or design your outdoor kitchen space

We hope these tips for helping you winterize your outdoor kitchen have been helpful.

Keep in mind that these are general guidelines that will help maintain the appearance and functionality of your outdoor kitchen. With a new kitchen you’re preparing for the winter for the first time, double-check with the product manufacturers and your outdoor kitchen installer to ensure you’re using the best kitchen care practices.

If the outdoor kitchen you’re planning to winterize could use some upgrades to turn it into an even more valuable extension of your living space, contact us.

Outeriors will work with you to create a beautiful outdoor cooking space you’ll be disappointed to close up in the late fall and look forward to using when the spring arrives.

Schedule a design consultation with us.

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Outdoor Kitchen Cabinet Materials: The 5 Most Popular Types

outdoor kitchen cabinet materials

When you buy indoor kitchen cabinets, the two main things you’ll be considering are how much storage space they provide and what they look like.

Good indoor kitchen cabinets should last at least 15-20 years before they need to be replaced, refinished, or refaced, so longevity is much less of a concern.

With outdoor kitchen cabinets, however, durability will be at or near the top of your priority list when a buying decision is being made.

Because they need to be able to withstand the demands of an outdoor environment (especially in the harsh Canadian weather), the type of outdoor kitchen cabinet materials you choose is important if you want to enjoy years of use from them.

4 considerations when choosing outdoor kitchen cabinet materials

There are several outdoor kitchen cabinet materials available. The most popular types are stainless steel, marine-grade aluminum, masonry, PVC, and wood.

The four most important considerations you’ll have when choosing between the various types of outdoor kitchen cabinets materials are:

  • Durability: even if they’re in a covered outdoor kitchen, are the cabinets highly resistant to moisture, sturdy enough to withstand extreme temperature changes, and able to handle prolonged exposure to the sun?
  • Aesthetics: do the cabinets have a high-end look and aesthetically complement the other key features of your outdoor kitchen, such as the countertop, grill, and other appliances?
  • Construction quality: is the construction quality of the cabinets capable of handling the wear and tear of regular use on a long-term basis? Is high-quality hardware being used for things like the hinges, drawer rollers, and door and drawer pulls? Is the entire cabinet frame of a high-quality, or just the doors and drawers? The latter is sometimes the case to lower the cost of indoor and outdoor kitchen cabinets.
  • Ease of maintenance: how easy is it to wipe up liquid and grease spills and clean the cabinets? Will the cabinets need any major maintenance work every few years?

Let’s take a look at the key features of the most popular types of outdoor kitchen cabinet materials to help you make an informed buying decision.

1. Stainless steel

brown jordan outdoor kitchen cabinets

Brown Jordan stainless steel outdoor kitchen cabinets with a powder coated finish.

Stainless steel kitchen cabinets are popular because they’re very well-suited for an outdoor cooking space. One of their biggest benefits is their durability, provided you invest in cabinets constructed with high-quality stainless steel.

Naturally, rust will be your biggest concern with steel cabinetry that sits outdoors. Top outdoor kitchen cabinet manufacturers like Danver and Brown Jordan use 304 or 316L grade stainless steels that are corrosion-resistant. Powder coated finishes provide further protection against rusting.

Pay attention to the thickness of the steel in the cabinets you buy. This is measured in gauges and the lower the number, the thicker the steel will be (which means the structural integrity will be higher). Aim for steel cabinets with a thickness in the 16-20 gauge range.

Another important thing to look for with your steel kitchen cabinets is the craftsmanship that goes into them. Ensure that they have strong frames with welded corners that won’t start falling apart after a few years.

Stainless steel is also one of the most popular outdoor kitchen cabinet materials because of its design versatility. Powder coating technology doesn’t only prevent corrosion, it allows for a wide array of decorative finishes to be used. This includes using solid colours, creating unique patterns, and even replicating the look of real wood.

The natural look of steel matches well with the aesthetic of an outdoor kitchen’s appliances as well, which gives the space a stylish, contemporary appearance.

2. Marine-grade aluminum

Another metal cabinet material worth considering is aluminum, but not just any old aluminum. Aluminum is naturally corrosion-resistant, which is why it is commonly used for marine applications.

The marine-grade aluminum used to make cabinets for outdoor kitchens comes in thick gauges, which ensures structural stability. Aluminum cabinets are also a bit lighter than steel cabinets.

This type of cabinet can be powder coated as well, so marine-grade aluminum cabinets from a reliable manufacturer like Urban Bonfire (which is made in Canada) should last for years.

They offer a viable alternative to stainless steel cabinets, while also giving you lots of flexibility to customize the type of finish and add optional features like pullout drawers and accessory racks.

3. Masonry

Masonry cabinetry involves covering a metal frame or concrete blocks with a stucco veneer, decorative stone, or brick.

The natural look of masonry cabinetry gives your outdoor kitchen a unique aesthetic with more of a built-in design. You can choose materials that blend nicely with the exterior appearance of your home or surrounding features, too, such as the patio or a rock wall.

As you would expect, masonry cabinet structures are very sturdy and highly resilient in most types of climates and weather conditions.

Some downsides of masonry outdoor kitchen cabinets are that they can take longer to design, are more expensive to install, and are more difficult to accessorize with.

4. PVC and resin

NatureKast PVC outdoor kitchen cabinets replicate the look of real wood.

One of the relatively newer types of outdoor kitchen cabinet materials is PVC (polyvinyl chloride), which is a synthetic polymer material.

PVC is one of the most widely used kinds of plastics. Although it was invented well over a century ago, only recently has it been used for outdoor kitchen cabinet manufacturing.

It makes a lot of sense why, as PVC is 100% weatherproof and can’t rust or stain. Like aluminum, this resilient material is often used for marine-related applications.

Cheaper PVC or vinyl kitchen cabinets are susceptible to colour fading from prolonged UV exposure and can warp when temperatures fluctuate significantly. This is why if you do want PVC cabinetry for your outdoor kitchen, invest in a high-end brand like NatureKast.

NatureKast PVC cabinets are in a class of their own because they use an advanced hi-density resin system that perfectly replicates the natural colour and texture of real wood, without the maintenance and deterioration that comes with wood cabinetry.

And PVC kitchen cabinets are extremely easy to maintain and clean. Since they’re completely waterproof, all you have to do is clean them with a hose or pressure washer.

5. Wood

Genuine wood cabinets are less commonly found in outdoor kitchens than the other types of cabinets listed above, but some homeowners prefer them for a few reasons.

Although high-quality PVC cabinets can be designed to look just like real wood, some people simply don’t care for the sterile, less organic nature of plastic compared to wood.

There is certainly no doubt that the natural look of real wood cabinets gives an outdoor kitchen a warm, classic feel.

Wood’s delicate nature makes it challenging to use in an outdoor kitchen setting, however, especially in Canada. It wouldn’t be practical to buy wood cabinets unless your outdoor cooking space was covered.

You need to use a more weather-resistant type of wood, such as teak, mahogany, and white oak. These specialty woods can get expensive and require a lot more maintenance than other outdoor kitchen cabinet materials. To preserve outdoor wood cabinets, repeat applications of water seals, oils, and stains will be required, depending on the type of wood.

Customize your outdoor kitchen cabinets

Now that you’re more informed about what your outdoor kitchen cabinet material options are, which type suits your needs best to create your dream outdoor living space?

Our design experts can answer any further questions you might have about outdoor kitchen cabinets and outdoor kitchens in general.

Schedule a free design consultation with us today.

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Outdoor Kitchen Design: 9 Common Questions and Answers

Home improvement projects to add or upgrade outdoor living spaces have been on an upward trend in the last few years.

In a recent Home Design Trends Survey, 45% of the architects polled predicted that outdoor kitchen additions would become the most popular type of remodelling project in the kitchen category.

When so many in-the-know professionals believe outdoor cooking space additions will be more popular than traditional indoor kitchen makeovers, that’s saying something.

outdoor kitchen and dining space

With the pandemic dramatically shifting how we live and function, maximizing the comfort level in our homes has become even more of a priority for a lot of homeowners.

The desire to enhance our lifestyle by creating more livable outdoor space in the backyard or at the cottage has made exterior kitchens very in-demand right now.

There are a number of questions you probably have about what goes into an outdoor kitchen design, so let’s provide some answers.

1. Who should I trust with my outdoor kitchen design?

Anyone can buy a new grill and patio dining set and call it an outdoor living space, but there’s so much more the outdoor living experience can offer. Think bigger.

Hiring a skilled designer to create an outdoor kitchen and living space will result in a finished project that serves your family’s needs better and has a high-end, professional look.

As a division of the storage and organization experts at Garage Living, Outeriors has the same high standards for our outdoor kitchen designs as we do for our garage designs. This includes working with only the finest gourmet grills, cabinetry, and appliances.

Our skilled designers are dedicated to creating one-of-a-kind outdoor kitchens that are customized to our clients’ style preferences and functional needs.

One thing that sets Outeriors apart is the full-service approach we bring to our kitchen projects. From design to installation, we take care of everything with your outdoor kitchen. This includes handling all aspects related to the outdoor living space’s:

  • cabinetry
  • grills
  • appliances
  • countertops
  • LED lighting
  • outdoor audio

2. What’s the best location for an outdoor kitchen?

One of the biggest decisions you’ll need to make is where the outdoor kitchen will be located in your backyard.

If you have an existing deck or patio where you want the outdoor kitchen to go then it’s an easier decision, but it’s good to take a few of the following factors into consideration.

Most homeowners prefer to have their outdoor cooking area located close to the house. This makes an outdoor kitchen and dining area feel more like an extension of the living space. The house also acts as a shelter from the wind and, depending on the design of the house, can provide shade.

This type of setup may be more desirable just for the sake of convenience when you’re cooking outdoors and want quick access to anything inside. Having an outdoor kitchen within close proximity of the house makes installing plumbing, electrical, and natural gas connections a bit easier, too.

Locating an exterior kitchen and entertaining area further from the house if you have a larger backyard has its benefits as well.

A poolside area outfitted with a cooking and lounging space can make your backyard experience feel like you’re staying at a nice resort and give you more room to get creative with your outdoor kitchen design.

Nothing beats the taste of grilled foods and even during the frigid Canadian winter, a lot of us still like to fire up the grill. If you fall into this category, keep that in mind when choosing your outdoor kitchen’s location. After all, you probably don’t want to trudge through a couple of feet of snow to get to that poolside grill in mid-February!

3. Is a patio or deck better for my cooking space?

outdoor kitchen on wood deck

The deck versus patio argument has been around for ages and if you’re looking to add either one for an outdoor kitchen, there are some basic facts you should know. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of each.

Patio

Compared to wood decks, patios are a little more cost-effective because they’re less expensive to install and tend to last a bit longer. Well-maintained wood decks should last about 10-15 years and a patio that has been properly maintained will last approximately 15-20 years.

Patios provide a wealth of options in terms of shapes, designs, and colours of paver and patio stones. This can help you create a patio design that beautifully complements your home’s exterior.

While you don’t have to worry about weight restrictions with a patio like you do with decks, you are limited to having it on the ground floor.

Deck

Decks typically cost more to build than patios but do provide a slightly higher return on investment (around 75% compared to approximately 70% for a patio).

One advantage decks have over patios is they give you more flexibility in terms of where they can be installed. A raised deck may be preferable to you depending on the layout of your home and an elevated deck also offers a nicer view if you live in a picturesque location. That last fact can also mean less privacy if you have neighbours living right beside you, however.

One issue you need to concern yourself with when it comes to raised decks is they need to be sturdy enough to handle the weight of an outdoor living space and its occupants. Elevated decks will also require some type of railing.

Wood decks will require occasional maintenance, naturally. There shouldn’t be much of a concern with wood decks posing a fire hazard if you take the following precautions:

  • locate your grill in a safe area (not too close to wood railings or any combustible materials)
  • work with a professional who will know how to design a cooking space that’s safe
  • apply a flame-retardant treatment to the deck wood

To eliminate the need for deck maintenance, you could choose a more premium type of deck material like aluminum or composite (the latter has a lifespan that ranges anywhere from 25-50 years).

4. What type of outdoor kitchen layout do I need?

How you plan to use your outdoor kitchen should be the primary factor that determines how the layout is designed.

Do you need a large or small food prep area? How much space do you need for storage or to add appliances or a sink? Do you want to incorporate a dining area into the cooking space? Where should the grill go?

There are many things to take into consideration in order to choose a kitchen configuration that will maximize your enjoyment of the space.

If you have a lot of room to work with and desire a fully-functioning outdoor kitchen, a U-shaped or L-shaped configuration is ideal.

These types of layouts will provide you with an ample amount of counter and storage space in your food prep area, as well as more room to add a sink, some appliances, and a larger grill.

Part of the countertop can even be used as a bar area with seating for guests. Another option is to incorporate an island into the kitchen’s layout, which can be used as an extra work surface (where you could put the sink), a bar area, or additional storage.

What if you’re working with a smaller budget, have a limited amount of space, or just aren’t looking to create a large outdoor kitchen? No worries – you can still create a beautiful outdoor cooking space with a nice grill, a modest amount of countertop space, and a few cabinets and drawers.

5. Is a premium grill worth it?

Coyote premium grill

If you’re used to paying a few hundred dollars for a grill that is perfectly fine and functional, there are several reasons why you should spend a little more for a premium grill.

Premium grills are built to last. Inexpensive barbecues cost what they do because a lot of manufacturers use cheap metals and parts that rust and break quickly. Spend a little more for a grill that has higher-grade construction materials like 304 stainless steel.

A high-quality grill just looks and feels nicer. One of the first things anyone looking at an outdoor kitchen will notice is the grill. Premium grills project a professional, upscale look and that superior quality is evident when you get hands-on with one, too.

A premium grill is more reliable and safe to use. If you get more than a couple of years of use out of the starter switch on a cheap grill before it’s toast, you’re probably happy. Luxury grills will work more reliably, from starting up every time to retaining their heat effectively to distributing heat more efficiently than budget grills (which reduces the occurrence of dangerous flare-ups).

Luxury grills work better for a custom outdoor kitchen design. If you’re putting the time and expense into getting a professionally designed outdoor living space, a premium grill is a must-have. You’ll have a number of style and size options to choose from to ensure the grill effectively complements the rest of the kitchen’s stylish features.

Premium grills come with convenient high-tech features. How would you like to fire up your grill or adjust the temperature with a voice command or by tapping a smartphone screen? Wouldn’t it be nice to use a grill with sensors that were so precise they could keep cooking temperatures at the perfect level? These are just some of the available features on modern smart grills.

6. What should I know about outdoor kitchen cabinetry?

Outdoor kitchen cabinetry works hard.

It needs to look great, provide you with efficient storage space, and be durable enough to withstand the diverse weather of Canada’s four seasons.

Oh, and it would be helpful if it was low-maintenance, too.

That’s a lot to ask of one product, but premium outdoor kitchen cabinet brands like Danver, Urban Bonfire, and NatureKast are up to the task.

They offer high-quality outdoor cabinet solutions with a range of materials, colours, finishes, and styles to make customizing your outdoor kitchen design easier.

Like grills, outdoor kitchen cabinetry needs to be made from high-quality materials that won’t rust or wear down rapidly. Here are three resilient cabinet materials worth considering:

  • commercial-grade stainless steel with a powder coating finish
  • PVC (which replicates the look of real wood and is very low-maintenance)
  • marine-grade aluminum

7. What type of countertop should I buy?

Another hard-working part of any outdoor kitchen are the countertops, which need to have a high resistance to scratches, stains, and high temperatures, in addition to being outdoor-proof and visually appealing.

High-end outdoor kitchen countertops from manufacturers like Dekton and Neolith are made with the latest in countertop design technology.

A highly advanced manufacturing process that involves using sintering particle technology can create work and dining surfaces that are exceptionally strong and durable.

They are also highly customizable, giving you an endless array of options for materials, colours, patterns, and textures.

8. How can I complement my outdoor cooking space?

outdoor living space

An outdoor kitchen adds stylish functionality to your backyard, but what are some ways you can complement it to create a complete outdoor living space?

There’s no shortage of ideas to add to your outdoor kitchen design and make your backyard a more comfortable and attractive extension of your living space.

An outdoor living and entertaining space and relaxation go hand in hand, so some comfy seating like a sofa, loveseat, or recliners are a must. Get a high-quality dining set built for the outdoors to make dining al fresco more enjoyable.

Proper lighting for an outdoor living area and the surrounding landscaping also makes a big difference. Strategically placed lighting accentuates the living space, adds ambiance, and allows it to be more functional and safe.

Here are some additional things that can be included in an outdoor living space:

  • an outdoor fireplace, fire pit, or patio heater
  • ceiling fans
  • an outdoor TV
  • an outdoor bar/beverage centre
  • a hot tub
  • outdoor rugs
  • a pergola, awning, or pavilion
  • an in-ground garden or a vertical garden with fresh herbs and vegetables

9. What are my outdoor kitchen appliance options?

An exterior kitchen’s main appliance – the grill – can do a lot of the “heavy lifting” when it comes to preparing outdoor meals, but what if you want to expand your cooking repertoire?

That’s where outdoor kitchen appliances come in. An outdoor kitchen design can incorporate a number of specialty appliances that give you more cooking options, which allows you to get more creative in the kitchen.

Appliances like a smoker, pizza oven, flattop/cooktop grill, outdoor oven, side burners, and warming drawers can, in many cases, be installed as built-in units that make efficient use of the kitchen space.

Some non-cooking outdoor appliances that also bring the amenities of an indoor kitchen to your outdoor living space include refrigerators, freezers, and ice machines.

Bring us your outdoor kitchen design ideas

Let’s talk about your outdoor kitchen and living space design ideas. We’ll work together to create an incredible and unique outdoor cooking and entertaining space for your home or cottage.

Request a free design consultation with us to start planning your outdoor kitchen project.

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Premium Grill Benefits: 5 Reasons to Go Upscale With Your Barbecue

Toronto premium grill benefits

With the right design, an outdoor kitchen and entertaining space can become a backyard oasis that expands a home’s living space.

If your goal is to create an outdoor cooking area that projects a stunning high-end look, a premium grill is a must-have.

Creating a luxury outdoor kitchen and using a cheap grill makes as much sense as wearing a pair of Crocs with a tuxedo or parking luxury cars in a rundown garage. The entire aesthetic is just plain wrong.

A premium grill does cost more, but as that familiar expression goes, “you get what you pay for”.

Here’s a more original and thoughtful way to justify spending more to get more with a grill, using the words of a writer from the 1800s: “The bitterness of poor quality lingers long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.”

What premium grill benefits should buyers be aware of when they’re putting together an outdoor kitchen design? It all comes down to looks, functionality, and durability.

5 premium grill benefits

Many people think that a premium grill is one of those larger, fancier, more expensive barbecue models they’ve admired on display at their local big-box store.

While these types of barbecues are an undeniable step up from the inexpensive, low-quality models that can found elsewhere in a store’s grill department, they’re actually just barely scratching the surface of what is truly “premium”.

Any discussion about high-end grills involves premium brands such as DCS, Kalamazoo, Lynx, Komodo Kamado, Coyote, and Alfresco being part of the conversation.

A natural gas or propane grill is the foundation of an outdoor cooking space. Choosing the right grill model can be the make-or-break difference between being merely content with your outdoor kitchen or the area being one of your favourite home spaces.

And it’s a premium grill that is found in the finest outdoor kitchens.

These five premium grill benefits explain why it’s worth going upscale when buying your primary outdoor cooking appliance.

1. Premium grills are built to last

DCS premium grill

Even with proper care and maintenance, cheap grills are notorious for rusting after a short amount of time.

Either you or someone you know has had that frustrating experience where a relatively new barbecue is found to be showing signs of rust, despite the fact a grill cover was always used.

If any grill is kept outside, using a good cover certainly helps to prolong its life. A grill used in Canada is still going to have to contend with extreme temperature shifts and moisture that collects underneath its cover, however.

That’s one of many reasons the quality of a grill’s construction materials is so important.

Cheap grills keep costs down by cutting corners on virtually all aspects of the manufacturing process, starting with the construction materials.

Budget grills rust quickly because the metals they use (including steel, iron, and aluminum) are typically low-grade and sourced overseas. They are often made from thin steels and inferior cast aluminum, which doesn’t offer much durability.

One of the biggest premium grill benefits is that they last much longer than cheap grills because metals of superior quality are used in the manufacturing process. Cheap steel manufactured in many countries, for example, includes a lot of recycled materials and can’t compare in quality to most North American-made steels.

Premium grills from manufacturers like Coyote and Alfresco are commonly made with 304 stainless steel (also known as 18/8 stainless steel in the commercial cookware industry). This thicker, higher quality steel provides excellent corrosion resistance and more grill durability.

Starter switches on cheap grills are notorious for how quickly they stop working. With a premium grill, you get better hardware and components that last longer and are more dependable. Lynx grills, for example, use high-performance ceramic and brass burners that won’t need replacing after only a few years.

The design and construction of a premium grill also pay more attention to important details like how the grill is welded. Cheap grills have poor designs with seams and gaps that let heat escape and cause a mess with leaking grease.

2. A premium grill just looks and feels nicer

A major incentive in taking on any home upgrade project is to make your living space look its best and be something you can’t wait to show off to visitors.

As the focal point of an outdoor cooking space, the grill is going to get its fair share of attention. You don’t want a low-end grill to detract from the high-end aesthetic of an outdoor kitchen that includes cabinetry, countertops, and additional appliances.

Even a grilling novice will immediately recognize the higher level of quality that a premium outdoor cooking appliance displays, compared to a cheap grill.

Those higher quality materials, heavy-duty construction, and the meticulously crafted design result in a sleek, finely-tuned outdoor cooking appliance.

Special aesthetic touches like integrated illumination via backlit designer knobs and high-intensity halogen lighting inside the premium grill cover not only enhance the look of the appliance, they also have practical applications. 

The “touch test” is another of the premium grill benefits that shouldn’t be overlooked. A luxury grill just feels nicer to the touch and provides a more satisfying tactile experience.

Superior grill quality becomes evident in the small details like having knobs that turn smoothly and consistently, or doors and drawers that open and close easily. And one of the real tests of a grill’s quality is whether or not these parts still work perfectly after a few years of use.

Keep in mind that another benefit of buying a premium grill is that they come with better warranties than cheap grills.

3. You get a better, safer cooking experience

open DCS grill with chicken on rotisserie

Our summers in Canada are all too short. Who wants to waste the limited amount of outdoor enjoyment time the summer offers dealing with an undependable, frustrating-to-use grill?

Premium grills provide a more consistent level of functionality and dependability, which translates into a better outdoor cooking experience.

Standard features on premium grills like long-lasting ignition switches that always work and spring-assisted lids that easily open and close are the kinds of smaller user-friendly details that you’ll appreciate after years of using cheap grills.

Grills with better designs and high-quality metals do a better job of retaining heat and distributing the heat more evenly, which results in more reliable cooking performance.

A higher-quality grill is safer to use, too. In addition to the aforementioned lighting features, they include, premium grills also use advanced heating systems that allow you to use different temperatures across the cooking area. This not only gives you more flexibility when grilling different types of food, but it also minimizes the occurrence of dangerous flame flare-ups.

Having a grill with a reliable ignition switch naturally makes the appliance safer to use as well. You won’t need to go through the nerve-wracking experience of standing over a grill to light it with a match or stick lighter because that darn starter switch stopped working!

And let’s not forget the convenient smart features included in some models of premium grills, which simplifies the grilling process even more. Find out more about this premium grill benefit a little further on in this post.

4. A premium grill gives you the option to customize

Another reason a premium grill is a must-have for an outdoor cooking space is you’ll want to take advantage of the ability to customize it for your kitchen design.

Luxury outdoor kitchens typically don’t have standalone grills – they incorporate the grill right into the kitchen’s countertop and cabinet design.

This built-in design creates a clean, seamless look and allows the kitchen to be set up for an optimal level of convenience and work efficiency for the chef(s) when preparing and cooking meals.

Even a big-box store’s best grills tend to only come in one or two sizes. Premium grills offer many more size options and allow you to customize extras like the sizes of warming drawers and side burners.

Additional outdoor kitchen appliance options that expand the cooking space’s versatility include products like refrigerators, flat-top grills, pizza ovens, and beverage centres.

You can ensure the kitchen’s aesthetic remains consistent by choosing outdoor kitchen appliances and accessories with finishes and styles that complement each other and your grill.

5. Smart grill technology makes outdoor cooking easier

MyChef iconSmart technology has made its way into many of the appliances we use, from refrigerators with touchscreens that allow you to order groceries to dishwashers that can send a message to your smartphone telling you when the wash cycle is done.

Grills are another home appliance that have convenient smart features available. You won’t find them on grill models that can be picked up at the local big-box store for a few hundred dollars, however.

It’s only the high-end barbecues that integrate this state-of-the-art technology into their designs, such as the Lynx Professional Smart Series of grills.

These grills use Lynx’s innovative MyChef technology. Check out a few of the impressive things this intelligent tech can do when you’re grilling:

  • voice or smart device-activated commands can start the cooking process and adjust temperatures
  • sensors in the smart grill keep cooking temperatures at the perfect level
  • the grill is connected to an online database with hundreds of recipes and instructs you on how to get the best grilling results
  • updates to the grill’s learning module are made based on the user’s input and cooking habits
  • a smartphone or tablet app monitors temperatures and cooking times and sends you an alert when the food needs to be flipped or is done

Perfect your outdoor kitchen space with the right premium grill

Have these premium grill benefits convinced you that they’re worth the investment?

Enjoying a superior outdoor cooking experience starts with your grill, so don’t settle for anything less than one of the top premium grill brands.

Outeriors only works with the finest grill manufacturers, including Lynx, Alfresco, Coyote, and DCS.

Schedule a free design consultation with us to look at your premium grill options for your outdoor kitchen project.

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