11 Essential Outdoor Kitchen Appliances

outdoor kitchen appliances

An outdoor kitchen gives you a welcome break from cooking your meals indoors.

The only thing your backyard grilling space might be missing is enough outdoor kitchen appliances to match the cooking functionality of your indoor kitchen.

Imagine the convenience of having every possible cooking appliance at-the-ready for whichever al fresco menu favourites you wish to make!

There are a wide variety of outdoor kitchen appliances available to help save you valuable time and eat healthier. You can also use them to personalize your outdoor kitchen to better suit your culinary skills and open up a broad range of cooking possibilities.

What are the best outdoor kitchen appliances?

Everyone’s familiar with common outdoor kitchen appliances like grills, side burners, and smokers.

That’s only scratching the surface of the kind of appliances that can be used in a backyard kitchen. How about adding amenities such as an oven, fridge, beverage centre, and ice maker to your outdoor kitchen?

Modern outdoor kitchen designs can include convenient, luxurious extras like these to give you a fully-outfitted cooking space.

Let’s look at some of the best outdoor kitchen appliances you can get to create the ultimate artisan outdoor cooking space.

1. Grills

A grill is the one appliance you’re guaranteed to find in any outdoor kitchen. Don’t rely on using any ’ol cheap grill as your outdoor cooking space’s workhorse, however.

Buying a premium grill is a smart investment for many reasons. They last longer, look nicer, function more reliably, and offer extra luxury features beyond a basic rotisserie, side burners, and warming rack.

Some luxury grill models have smart technology that removes much of the guesswork and unpredictability that comes with grilling. Lynx’s Smart Series grills use their innovative MyChef app, which ensures temperatures stay at the proper level for the perfect duration. When your food is finished cooking or needs to be flipped, a notification is sent to your smartphone. How convenient is that?

A charcoal grill involves a little more work to use than a propane or gas grill. That unique smoky flavour that charcoal adds to grilled food is worth it for some outdoor chefs, however. For the best of both worlds, you could get a hybrid grill that can be used for both gas and charcoal cooking.

lynx grill

Premium grills make barbecuing easier and more enjoyable.

2. Outdoor kitchen fridge

One of your outdoor kitchen essentials should include another hardworking appliance – a fridge.

Outdoor kitchen refrigerators are specially designed with weatherproof exteriors and electronics, as well as thicker insulation. They’re smaller than indoor fridges and can be used as a standalone unit or space-saving built-in that can go underneath a grill or countertop.

With a fridge right in your outdoor cooking space, meats, veggies, condiments, cold beverages, and anything else on the menu is close at hand. There’s no need to travel back and forth inside to retrieve things you’re serving up.

Outdoor fridges are quite versatile and can include built-in freezers, ice makers, or even function as a kegerator that serves up chilled draft beer.

3. Side burners

Side burners are another essential outdoor kitchen appliance. With one or two extra outdoor cooking spaces you can multi-task and heat up savoury sauces, make side dishes, or boil water.

Many grills come with one or two built-in side burners. Separate gas side burners give you the freedom to place built-in appliances like this further away from your grilling area if desired. The beauty of a custom outdoor kitchen is it can be designed specifically for how you want to use it. 

High-quality side burners from manufacturers like Lynx, Alfresco, and Hestan deliver better cooking results. Features like high-performance burners and ceramic infrared searing systems cook your food faster.

Premium side burners are also made with superior materials and craftsmanship, which virtually eliminates the occurrence of dangerous flare-ups from dripping grease.

4. Warming drawers

When you’re preparing food for a lot of people or cooking numerous things, good time management is important.

It’s a shame when freshly made food gets neglected and goes cold and soggy because you had your hands full taking care of other cooking or hosting tasks. Outdoor kitchen and entertainment spaces usually have a more laid-back atmosphere, making it that much easier to get distracted chatting with your guests.

Pullout warming drawers are perfect for keeping food that’s been cooked at the right temperature until it’s ready to be served.

Warming drawers are also ideal for keeping food warm for friends or family arriving after your outdoor feast has started. You’ll leave a lasting impression with latecomers for being such a thoughtful host!

warming drawer in outdoor kitchen

Pullout warming drawers keep everything you’re serving up nice and warm.

5. Smoker

Cooking your food on a grill is great, but you might want to occasionally mix up your cooking routine.

Smokers are an excellent way to enhance the taste of meats with a delicious smoky flavour. They’re ideal for ribs, brisket, and pork.

Not unlike a slow cooker, smokers cook foods for longer times at a low temperature setting. This produces juicy, tender cooked meats and veggies that taste better than slow cooking with a traditional oven.

Wood chips with flavours such as maple, mesquite, and hickory help give foods cooked in smokers their distinct taste. Smokers can run on a variety of fuel/power sources including:

  • natural gas
  • propane
  • charcoal
  • wood
  • wood pellets
  • electricity

If a full-sized smoker is more than your cooking needs require, it’s possible to buy grills that have smaller smoker boxes that can produce that appealing smoky flavour.

6. Ice making machine

Outdoor kitchen and living spaces get used when the weather is warmest, so an ice making machine comes in quite handy.

Anyone who frequently entertains guests in their backyard will appreciate having fresh ice for drinks always available. There’s no need to make trips to the store for bags of ice that get stored in a portable cooler.

Ice makers can be purchased as separate appliance units or as an additional feature on an outdoor fridge.

7. Outdoor kitchen oven

One appliance that adds a deluxe touch to a backyard kitchen is an outdoor oven that has lots of uses. You can bake, broil, or roast:

  • pizza
  • breads
  • calzones
  • meat and seafood
  • vegetables
  • desserts

Anyone with an oven in their outdoor kitchen probably has a model that runs on propane, natural gas, or electricity. Wood-fired ovens are also available. They involve a little more work to use but give your food an authentic smoky flavour.

Outdoor ovens can cook at higher temperatures than indoor ovens. This is one of the factors that makes pizzas cooked outdoors taste nicer and more like what you’d get at a high-quality pizzeria or restaurant. Cooking at higher temperatures means your pizza can be ready just a few minutes after being put in the oven, too.

Ovens powered by natural gas, propane, and electricity are typically made with stainless steel. Some kitchen owners want their ovens to have a more natural, vintage look. That can be achieved by hiring someone to build the oven using stucco or natural materials like stone and brick.

outdoor oven appliance

Outdoor ovens let you cook fresh homemade pizza in just a few minutes.

8. Flat-top grill or griddle

A flat-top grill or griddle is useful for cooking food that is too difficult (or impossible) to cook on a standard grill rack. Both appliances have a solid cooking surface without any holes or gaps.

Eggs, pancakes, bacon, hash browns, grilled cheese sandwiches, and Asian and Mexican dishes are just a few examples of food that is suited for these appliances.

You might be wondering what the difference is between a flat-top grill and a griddle. Griddles have a heating element that produces heating zones of various temperatures, which lets you cook several different types of food on the same surface.

Most flat-top grills use a heating coil that provides even heat distribution, which is ideal for cooking many pieces of the same food. Some high-end flat-top grill models like the Lynx Asado Cooktop have heating systems that produce independent cooking zones with variable temperatures.

9. Cocktail station/beverage centre

Wherever there’s outdoor cooking, dining, and entertainment, some cold beverages are sure to be part of the fun.

Kick your hosting credibility up a notch with a cocktail station/beverage centre that caters to all your thirst-quenching needs. A beverage centre keeps all your drinks and drinking supplies organized and accessible.

It’s all built right into your countertops and outdoor kitchen cabinetry for a seamless, professional look.

The bar is now open!

10. Grill exhaust hood

What are the two things people like least about outdoor grilling? Aside from the frustration of getting the appliance lit because the ignition switch on their ancient grill died ages ago, it’s probably the grease and smoke.

That’s why your outdoor kitchen should have a grill exhaust hood, particularly if the grill is in an enclosed or semi-enclosed space.

The appliance works just like the range hood over your oven. It extracts smoke, odours, grease, and heat to keep your cooking space cleaner and more comfortable.

11. Dishwasher

woman using dishwasher

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

If an outdoor kitchen had every appliance listed above, you might be thinking your kitchen had all the amenities you could ever want.

Not so fast…we haven’t gotten to the outdoor dishwasher yet.

An outdoor dishwasher not only does most of the work with one of our least favourite household chores, it’s another great time-saver as well. Frequent treks inside with loads of dirty dishes, cookware, and kitchen tools will become a thing of the past.

Dirty pots, bowls, grilling tools, dining plates and utensils, and glasses can be washed right on the spot. That lets your outdoor kitchen countertops and dining surfaces stay clutter-free and available for cooking tasks or that next delicious course on the menu.

Like all of the outdoor kitchen appliances we’ve covered here, the dishwasher needs to be a model that is specifically built for outside use. Most outdoor appliances like a dishwasher can be left covered outside during the winter after completing a few easy maintenance tasks.

Don’t forget the sink and faucet!

An outdoor sink and faucet are better categorized as fixtures rather than appliances. We’re including them on our list of outdoor kitchen essentials, however. After all, cooking and cleaning do go hand in hand.

Having a faucet and sink in your outdoor kitchen allows you to keep up with the washing of dirty pots, pans, dishes, utensils, and glasses while waiting for things to finish cooking.

Even if you’re lucky enough to have an outdoor kitchen dishwasher, an outdoor sink is still a must-have feature.

Adding an outdoor sink will involve an extra expense to hook up a water line, but consider that there are multiple uses you can get from the setup. In addition to having running water, the plumbing can also be hooked up to a fridge, beverage centre, dishwasher, and ice making machine.

Add the best outdoor kitchen appliances to your dream kitchen

Outdoor kitchen appliances maximize the functionality of an outdoor cooking space and save you time when meals are being prepared.

Outeriors carries many of the helpful appliances listed here. Our full-service approach to outdoor kitchen design involves taking care of everything needed to create an outdoor kitchen and living space your family will love.

Get started on putting together your customized outdoor kitchen design by scheduling a free design consultation with us.

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Gas Fire Pit vs. Wood-Burning Fire Pit: Pros and Cons

We’re all looking for an escape from the all-too-familiar four walls of our homes.

Canada has experienced a sluggish pandemic vaccine rollout, so lockdowns and travel restrictions continue to be our reality for a little while longer.

As the weather gets warmer, this means our homes will be where the majority of our time continues to be spent.

Take this opportunity to make the best of a bad situation. Upgrade a part of your home that may be getting overlooked – the backyard. With a little creativity, you can create a beautiful outdoor living area for your family to enjoy.

By adding a gas fire pit or wood-burning fire pit to an exterior area that extends your living space, you can also enjoy the great outdoors virtually year-round.

Which type of fire pit will suit your needs best? Let’s take a look at some pros and cons between gas fire pits and wood-burning fire pits.

gas fire pit

Gas fire pits vs. wood-burning fire pits: cost difference

One of the first questions most people choosing between a gas fire pit and wood-burning fire pit have is the cost difference. In both cases, the size of the fire pit will factor into the cost.

The materials the fire pit is made with is another factor that will determine the product’s cost. Common fire pit materials include:

  • cast iron
  • concrete
  • copper
  • steel
  • granite

Wood-burning fire pits tend to have cheaper upfront costs compared to gas and propane fire pits. Big-box stores offer a range of budget-friendly models that can be assembled yourself.

Natural gas fire pits typically cost a little more. Part of that cost can be attributed to the need for a professional to install the unit. The BTU output of propane and natural gas fire pits (meaning the amount of heat they produce) is another detail that affects cost.

Additional factors to consider are the ongoing costs to operate a fire pit. Naturally (no pun intended), your natural gas or liquid propane costs will be determined by how often your fire pit is used.

Wood-burning fire pits need plenty of firewood to operate. That can get expensive if you don’t have an endless supply of wood on your property and need to have it delivered.

stacked firewood

Wood-burning fire pits give you that authentic campfire feel. Just be prepared for the extra work involved, like cutting and hauling lots of wood. (Photo by Oziel Gómez from Pexels)

Installing wood-burning and gas fire pits

Fire pits can be built from the ground up in a variety of shapes with masonry products such as paver stones, bricks, and heat-resistant outdoor stucco. Most homeowners will choose to buy a pre-made fire pit, however.

One benefit of wood-burning fire pits is they can be assembled yourself. They can be placed anywhere in a backyard with a stable, level surface and enough open space.

Gas fire pit installations involve more planning and aren’t as straightforward to set up. To ensure a gas fire pit is installed properly and works safely, a certified gas technician should be hired.

Setting up a natural gas line for a fire pit will be less of a logistical issue if you’re already planning to add a built-in gas grill to an outdoor kitchen.

Fire pits that run on propane use the same type of small tank that propane grills do, so their setup process is relatively straightforward. If using a larger propane tank is preferred, the services of a professional would be required to install it.

Fuelling your outdoor fire: what you need to know

The convenience of using natural gas when compared to using wood to fuel a fire pit is undeniable. A dedicated natural gas line provides a never-ending supply of fuel. Once it’s installed, your only concern will essentially be paying your monthly gas bill!

One issue that may make natural gas impractical for a fire pit is the location of your property. In rural locations that don’t have access to natural gas services, wood and propane fire pits are your only options.

Propane fire pits offer a little less convenience since the tanks they use need to be refilled or switched out. You can invest in a larger permanent propane tank to cut down on the need to regularly refill your fuel supply. Cottage Life magazine explains here why “propane is super practical for the cottage”.

Wood-burning fire pits, on the other hand, require a lot more work and planning to operate. Here are four questions to ask yourself if you’re considering buying a wood-burning fire pit:

  1. Can you handle the physical demands of cutting down trees and splitting, moving, and stacking wood?
  2. If you need to have firewood delivered, can you get the right type of wood in a timely manner from a reliable company?
  3. Are you willing to invest the extra time it takes to maintain a wood-burning fire pit (especially cleaning it)?
  4. Do you have a dry place away from your house or cottage that can be used for firewood storage?

How easy is it to start and extinguish fires?

The ease of use of a fire pit ends up being a major factor when choosing what type to buy.

One of the biggest drawbacks of wood-burning fire pits is the amount of time and effort it can take to light them. Sometimes, even more time is needed to put them out!

To fully extinguish a wood fire in a pit, the best practice is to allow the wood to fully burn down to ashes. Follow that up by pouring at least a couple of buckets of water over the pit area. When no sign of burning embers is left and no sizzling sound from the water can be heard any longer, the fire should be safely out.

Or you could just push a button to start and stop your outdoor fire.

Here’s one area where the convenience of a propane or natural gas fire pit stands out. Gas fire pits come with a variety of ways to get a fire started easily. The quickest method is via a remote ignition system that starts the fire with the flick of a wall switch or press of a remote control button. Push button ignition systems (like the ones propane grills have) are another type. Some inexpensive gas fire pits can be started the old-fashioned way – with a match or lighter stick.

Turning off an outdoor fire with a gas fire pit is just as easy as starting it. With the press of a button or by shutting off the pit’s gas supply valve, the fire is safely extinguished.

gas fire pit at night

Natural gas and propane fire pits offer the convenience of instant ignition systems.

What type of fire pit is legal in my backyard?

Zoning restrictions in your area will dictate what type of fire pit you can and cannot use, so research your local laws and regulations before making a purchase.

In Vaughan, wood-burning fire pits and fireplaces (also known as chimineas) are allowed, but they are restricted in Toronto.

Areas that do permit outdoor wood burning can issue temporary fire burn bans when dry weather conditions increase the risk of grass, trees, and other vegetation catching fire.

Because natural gas and propane fire pits allow for more control when they’re being used, they’re considered much less of a safety hazard.

Your best option for complying with Ontario’s Fire Code is to get a propane or natural gas fire pit that is certified by the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA.)

Gas fire pit vs. wood-burning fire pit smoke

One of the most appealing features of burning wood is the unique ambiance it provides. The cozy warmth, crackling logs, dancing flames, and pleasant smell generated by an outdoor fire can’t be beat.

Unfortunately, those benefits are accompanied by one glaring negative – the smoke. Nothing spoils a fun time around an outdoor fire like having too much smoke cause your eyes to sting and tear up, or having to constantly change where you’re sitting to avoid blowing smoke.

Wood fires also lose some of their appeal when the odour from the smoke gets into your hair and lingers on your clothing. Drifting smoke into the yards of your neighbours may not be appreciated, either. The Canadian Lung Association actually recommends that you don’t burn wood in a residential setting because of the potential respiratory problems it can cause.

Outdoor fires fuelled by natural gas and propane admittedly deliver a more “sterile” burning experience. Although they may lack the authenticity and charm of a wood-burning fire, at least there’s no smoke to contend with.

Emissions and energy-efficiency of fire pits

The lack of smoke produced by a gas fire pit makes it significantly more energy-efficient than burning wood. The cleaner burn of natural gas emits 99% fewer emissions than wood. Propane burns cleaner than wood, but not as cleanly as natural gas.

Using gas or propane for a fire pit is more eco-friendly in another way besides reducing the amount of pollutants you put into the atmosphere. You’re not contributing to live trees being cut down to produce any firewood.

Gas fire pits are also energy-efficient because they provide a steady, controllable level of heat. The same can’t be said of wood-burning fires, which can be unpredictable and difficult to maintain at a comfortable heat level.

How easy is it to maintain a gas fire pit or wood-burning fire pit?

The convenience advantage of gas fire pits compared to wood-burning fire pits extends to the level of maintenance they need.

Wood-burning fire pits need to be cleaned after each use, requiring you to dispose of the leftover ashes. The process of gathering wood to burn (whether it’s doing it yourself or having it delivered) also qualifies as maintenance for the fire pit.

A gas fire pit involves relatively little maintenance since there’s nothing solid being burned. The most you’ll have to do is occasionally wipe it down and inspect the gas lines for blockages and leaks. For propane fire pits, you’ll have to replace the propane tank once in awhile.

Any fire pit should be covered when it’s not being used to protect it from rain and snow.

fire logs and ashes

Ashes should be cleaned out of a wood-burning fire pit after every use. (Photo by Barthy Bonhomme from Pexels)

What type of fire pit is the most durable?

Covering a fire pit when you’re not using it will extend its life, but you still need to make sure the product you’re buying is made with high-quality materials that will last for years.

Between the heat generated by a fire pit and the fact it’s located outdoors, cheap materials will break down quickly.

Those budget-friendly fire pits we mentioned earlier are usually made with cheap steel that is manufactured overseas. They tend to rust quickly and you’ll end up replacing the entire pit sooner than you’d prefer to.

Concrete gas fire pits are very durable. Outeriors sells handcrafted Dekko fire pits that are made with a proprietary lightweight concrete that is is less than half the weight of regular concrete. The Ontario-based manufacturer states that “Our products are built with longevity in mind”.

How safe are gas and wood-burning fire pits?

All types of fire pits require vigilance and care when they’re being used.

Gas fire pits pose less of a fire hazard than wood-burning fire pits, but they still need to be periodically inspected and maintained for maximum safety. When lighting a propane or natural gas fire pit manually, it’s wise to use a longer lighter stick or a metal match stick holder to keep you further away from the ignition point.

Always shut off the propane or natural gas when you’re finished using the fire pit. Some gas fire pit models have features like automatic turn-off timers that remove the guesswork of whether or not you remembered to turn the unit off. Tempered glass wind guards are another safety feature worth considering.

Because of the sparks and embers produced, wood-burning fire pits can’t be placed too close to your home, wood structures, or anything that is flammable. A wood fire needs to be monitored even more closely when it’s windier. Fire pit spark screens that prevent embers from leaving the pit area are a good investment. And once again, wood fires need to be fully extinguished when you’re finished enjoying them.

fire pit on rooftop deck

With the right setup and safety measures, it is possible to install gas and wood-burning fire pits on a wooden or composite deck.

I want to purchase a gas fire pit. What’s next?

Now that you have a better understanding of the pros and cons of wood-burning and gas fire pits, you can make a more informed decision on the fire pit best suited for your outdoor living space.

Outeriors has a variety of propane and natural gas concrete fire pit designs and accessories by Dekko to help you enjoy more time in your backyard throughout the year.

If you’d like to go beyond a fire pit and create an outdoor kitchen or upgrade your outdoor living space in other ways, request a free consultation with us today. You can also visit our showroom in Vaughan to learn more.

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Outdoor Living Renovations Are on the Rise

outdoor living renovation with new outdoor kitchen and deck

As the days become longer, and we see some light at the end of this pandemic tunnel, the urge to get outside is amplified, along with the hope that we can get together with family and friends.

It’s difficult to predict vaccination dates, but it’s safe to say that as different regions relax some restrictions, we can start moving about more freely. Still, wearing masks and practising social distancing will be our norm for the unforeseeable future.

Where to go? The most natural impulse is to walk out the door – to walk out your door into an outdoor oasis.

Outdoor living renovations

Last year, because of isolation rules and boundaries, home renovations reached unprecedented peaks, and there were shortages of decking and building materials.

Even manufacturers of appliances were having a hard time keeping up with orders as trying new recipes in modernized kitchens became a pandemic pastime.

outdoor kitchen

Now you can take your specialized cooking skills outdoors, and demonstrate your newly acquired recipe repertoire for family and friends. Outeriors takes all that you’ve come to rely on indoors, and adapts it to outdoor spaces. Exceptional outdoor kitchens are chef-approved and customized to the most discriminating tastes.

Breathe deep

After months of being stuck inside, and relying on streamed television programs for entertainment, you can finally spread your wings and plan for social occasions in the comfort of your own backyard.

Step aside from your out-dated vision of what your yard currently looks like, and imagine what it might become.

Create an outdoor kitchen

How about an outdoor kitchen with all of the bells and whistles, including a pizza oven, a professional grill and a cocktail station?

outdoor kitchen space

Now glance over your shoulder. Beyond a large patio table, friends are sitting in front of a warming fire pit on padded chairs that just might be more comfortable than your indoor living room furniture.

outdoor fire pit and seating

The kids are running around and getting some long-overdue exercise, and the pallor of everyone’s skin seems to have a healthier glow.

Tablescaping

It’s a common holiday image – a long table set to perfection with colourful pottery, woven placemats, patterned runners and cloth napkins. In your imagination you might be overlooking the Amalfi Coast and surrounded by olive trees. The oil from those olives and fresh balsamic vinegar are available in hand-made decanters to drizzle on your plate before you rip off a piece of fresh baguette.

You might not be able to recreate the actual setting, but your tablescape may have a view of your landscaped yard with dappled light filtering through maple leaves. You can capture that holiday feeling with a bit of imagination and a commitment to living your best life.

10 reasons to embrace your outdoor living space

  • Fresh air
  • A changing palette of colours from the renewed greens of spring, to the reds and yellows of autumn
  • An enhanced perspective of the world around you
  • The ability to interact with others while maintaining social distancing
  • Space to do what you want to do
  • An alfresco environment that is welcoming to others
  • Breaking free of routine and finding the littlest reason to celebrate
  • Having appliances and surfaces that are designed to weather seasonal changes so that you can prepare delicious snacks and meals
  • Where kids can be kids, and you don’t have to worry about spilt drinks and messy projects
  • A healthier alternative to being stuck inside

No need to worry about bad weather

Have you ever sat on a covered porch during a thunderstorm? Or inhaled the earthy scent as rain hits a freshly tilled garden or splashes on parched grass at the end of summer? Not only is the sound of rain a much-needed tonic, but when you can witness nature’s whims in an outdoor shelter that’s also open to the elements, it enhances the overall experience.

Outdoor cabinetry and countertops

outdoor cabinetry and long countertop

While we all prefer sunny skies, a light breeze and comfortable temperatures, you don’t need to be a fair-weather friend to your outside space. Outeriors has a wide range of outdoor cabinetry and countertops that are made from high-intensity products that can withstand:

  • Stains
  • Heat
  • Extreme climate conditions
  • Scratches & abrasions
  • UV light
  • Weight
  • And all types of spills and chemicals as the surfaces are non-porous

The ultimate staycation

Remote islands aren’t the only place where you can witness a spectacular sunrise or sunset, but you might have to get up a bit earlier and step outside, with coffee in-hand, to appreciate where you are, and what you have.

Plus, you don’t have to wait in long line-ups at the airport, or travel to another country in order to get a little R & R. So often, you need a holiday after a vacation, as it was anything but relaxing. Four days out of seven were spent travelling, and then an upset stomach interrupted your time on the beach after you ate some off-tasting seafood.

outdoor kitchen

A connection to nature is crucial for your well-being, and those trees and green spaces have a positive effect on your mental health. As a natural extension of your living space, your own backyard offers up so many possibilities. When you live in a climate with a variety of seasons, that space should also be adaptable so that you can enjoy it all year long.

And because we’re not travelling or eating out as much these days, the entertainment budget can be redirected by putting money back into your property for a significant return on your investment.

Treat yourself and your family to a more-extensive home environment that addresses all of your retreat-like dreams. When you have time off, you shouldn’t want to leave home for maximum enjoyability – but stay home.

Everything you need for outdoor living

Outeriors carries the finest selection of outdoor kitchen appliances, cabinetry, gourmet grills, fire pits and more – everything that you need to enjoy outdoor living (except your friends and family).

If you’re planning to upgrade your outdoor space, request a free design consultation to get started.

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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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