12 Outdoor Kitchen Benefits To Inspire Your Own Project

Interest in outdoor home improvement projects was at a high level before the pandemic.

Now that we’re seeing the end of this difficult time coming clearer into focus, the demand for outdoor living upgrades has gone to the next level.

The importance of improving our living spaces for more comfort and function has never been so front-of-mind.

Outdoor kitchen additions are one of the projects leading the outdoor living upgrade charge. Why? Because there are so many life-improving outdoor kitchen benefits that it only makes sense to invest in one for your backyard.

As Outeriors president Daniel Albo told the Toronto Sun, “An outdoor kitchen has become the final frontier of any renovation project.”

outdoor kitchen with food

Outdoor kitchen benefits worth considering

Dining out once in a while is nice, but it’s equally enjoyable to create your own grilled meals in the backyard and feed the people you enjoy spending time with the most.

The outdoor cooking area has evolved from a few square feet in the backyard occupied by a standalone grill into spacious, luxury outdoor cooking spaces with all the functionality of a traditional kitchen.

There are many good reasons why outdoor kitchens have become so attractive to homeowners – at least a dozen of them, in fact.

If adding an outdoor kitchen has been on your home improvement wish list, get inspired to start your project with these 12 outdoor kitchen benefits.

1. Increase your home’s livable space

A rarely used backyard is wasted space and wasted potential, not unlike a spare room.

Having a little more livable space is appealing to almost everyone and that’s exactly what an outdoor kitchen and entertainment area provide.

Indoor kitchen remodels are consistently one of the most popular home renovation projects. If you’re considering such a project, it makes a lot of sense to rethink that plan and devote your remodeling budget towards adding a second kitchen space outside.

An enhanced outdoor living area with a kitchen, dining, and entertaining area transforms your backyard into a space that is optimized for comfort and added home functionality.

It can be custom-designed to fit your lifestyle. For example, more livable outdoor space creates extra room for hosting large get-togethers. Guests can socialize inside or outside.

2. Expand your summer menu options

Eating the same dishes month after month gets a little boring. When the spring arrives and you can fire up the grill on a daily basis if desired, it’s fun to shake up your menu options for the next several months with some new recipes.

Barbecues offer an endless choice of grilling recipes to try out. If you Google “grilling recipes”, almost a billion results come up!

Maybe you’ve heard someone you know boast, “My indoor kitchen has everything!”. Really? Does it have a grill? Probably not.

Even an indoor kitchen with “everything” is likely missing the one thing that makes some of our favourite dishes.

Lots of Canadians use their grills year-round, too. You know a grill isn’t just any ’ol appliance when people are willing to bundle up, brave the frigid weather, and shovel snow off the patio just to grill up some burgers and steaks.

assorted meat and veggies on grill

A fully-outfitted outdoor kitchen can inspire you to get adventurous with your summer grilling dishes.

3. Take a break from your indoor kitchen

On a gorgeous early summer evening, why stand over a hot stove indoors preparing dinner if you can do your cooking out in the backyard?

You can have an outdoor kitchen designed to include all the amenities of an indoor kitchen, including:

  • refrigeration
  • an ice machine
  • cabinet storage for grilling tools, dining utensils, serving plates, glasses, etc.
  • a wide variety of outdoor cooking and food warming appliances
  • lots of countertop space
  • a dishwasher
  • various types of cooking surfaces

And let’s not forget the beloved grill, which is something that your indoor kitchen can’t provide you with!

Although we’re so conditioned to cooking inside our homes most of the time, cooking outside regularly shouldn’t feel unnatural. After all, our earliest ancestors were doing it ages ago.

4. You can go all-out with your kitchen design

If you have a large backyard (along with the budget and desire for it), you have more space and freedom to go even bigger and more elaborate with your outdoor kitchen design than your indoor kitchen.

Get the cooking space set up with gas, electrical, and water lines. Add a built-in grill with a cooking area large enough to feed a small army. Pamper yourself with spacious countertops for dining and meal prepping. Load up your cooking space with appliances and all the outdoor cabinet storage you could possibly need.

We can’t even say you can have everything but the kitchen sink…because a sink can be included in an outdoor kitchen, too!

Without the constraints of an already-constructed and defined space to work within, you can go hog wild with your outdoor kitchen design.

Or not.

Outdoor cooking areas can also be smaller and/or less elaborate. A modestly-sized patio section that is outfitted with just the essentials like a good grill, a few cabinets, a small countertop, and an appliance or two can still let you get a lot done.

luxury outdoor kitchen

Creating an outdoor kitchen gives you more freedom to go big with its design more than most indoor kitchen designs can.

5. Grilled food just tastes better

Benjamin Franklin famously said, “Nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” We can add to that, “And grilled food always tastes better.”

Cooking over a hot flame brings out delicious flavours that simply aren’t achievable in an oven or with other indoor cooking appliances. And not just in meats, either.

Cooking seafood, vegetables, and even fruit on the grill can produce surprising results that add some welcome variety to your summer menu.

6. More time spent outdoors is good for your health

Spending more time in the great outdoors is good for your health. Don’t just take our word for it – science shows that spending more time outside has many health benefits.

Here are a few examples of how more outside living can benefit you:

  • Sunlight provides vitamin D and can lessen the effects of pain on the body.
  • Some people pay for aromatherapy sessions to relieve stress. Experiencing the smells of nature like freshly cut grass, pine trees, and flowers does the exact same thing.
  • Being outside more boosts your immune system.
  • The outdoors helps calm your mind and restore your focus, which makes you more creative.

The pandemic eliminated the ability for us to socialize much – if at all – with our friends for far too long. FaceTime and Zoom calls simply aren’t the same as spending quality face-to-face time with those we’re closest to. A lack of social interaction took a toll on the mental health of many of us.

As normalcy returns, socializing more with friends and family in places like backyards, on pub patios, or at a ball game (if the Blue Jays ever make it back home) will be good for the well-being of everybody.

2 kids in backyard

Spending more time outside during the summer is good for your health. (Photo by Allan Mas from Pexels)

7. A beautiful outdoor kitchen impresses everyone

A high-end outdoor cooking and entertaining area will become a go-to summer destination for your friends, neighbours, and family.

A fully outfitted backyard kitchen that can satisfy everyone’s appetites is only part of the appeal. With an outdoor entertainment area that includes an outdoor bar, TV, fire pit, and comfy furniture, your guests will never want to leave.

Not only will everyone want to soak up the cozy, inviting atmosphere and good food, they know they’ll be well taken care of by their hosts.

8. Maximize the enjoyment of your spring and summer

We’d bet that no other country in the world enjoys their summers more than Canadians. Summers here are all-too-short, but the amount of time we spend outside enjoying the warm weather shouldn’t be.

Make it your favourite part of the house from early spring through to late fall (and even beyond that if you’re particularly resilient!) with the right design and supplying the space with heating.

All sorts of practical backyard heating solutions are available to help extend your enjoyment of the outdoors. This includes:

  • outdoor fireplaces
  • gas and propane fire pits and fire tables
  • wood-burning fire pits
  • patio heaters
friends toasting in backyard

What better place is there to share good times with your friends and family than a nicely designed backyard? (Photo by Kampus Production from Pexels)

9. Grilling is healthier for you

Grilling your food on a barbecue instead of frying or broiling it is considered more healthy for you.

Fried foods absorb lots of fat. If too much of it is consumed, the higher cholesterol levels they contain can raise your blood pressure and increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

If you grill your food more often, a lot of the fat on the meat drips off. That lowers your calorie intake and results in a healthier diet and potentially fewer health issues.

Another health-related benefit of grilling that most people aren’t aware of is a piece of food that is grilled has more nutritional value than if you fried the same type of food. Grilled meats and veggies cook faster, which lets them retain more of their nutrients.

10. Outdoor kitchen building projects are less disruptive

If you’ve ever undergone a major renovation on an interior space like the kitchen or bathroom, you know how inconvenient and disruptive it can be.

Because all of the work with an outdoor kitchen project occurs, well, outdoors, there is less disruption to your family’s daily routine.

To ensure the project is done right and in a timely manner, hire an outdoor kitchen design company like Outeriors. Did you know that 8 in 10 homeowners used professional installers for their outdoor kitchen additions?

Here are some interesting statistics about home improvement trends in Canada, courtesy of the RE/MAX 2021 Renovation Investment Report:

Infographic from RE/MAX

11. Outdoor summer cooking saves energy

Next on our list of outdoor kitchen benefits is the energy conservation it contributes to.

Being outside more to cook during the summer keeps your home a little cooler because the indoor oven will be used less. Your air conditioner won’t have to work as hard to cool your living space if the largest source of indoor heat during the summer (that isn’t weather-related) is on vacation.

The dishwasher, which also generates a lot of heat, can take a break, too. Consider air-drying your dishes to save energy or you could add an outdoor dishwasher to your exterior living space for even more convenience.

Another way an outdoor kitchen saves energy is that with everything you need in your food prep area, trips in and out of the home are all but eliminated. That prevents the escape of cold air from your house’s interior and keeps the warm air outside where it belongs.

Your outdoor kitchen appliances will still be using electricity, naturally, but the heat from things like a pizza oven and side burners will dissipate quicker outside.

12. Add value to your home

If you’re adding an outdoor cooking space to your home, you’re obviously not planning to move anytime soon. One day, however, you might find yourself being a seller.

The 12 outdoor kitchen benefits we have listed here certainly make your house more attractive to potential buyers. The added functionality an outdoor kitchen and living space offers adds value to your home and is a great selling point. And until that happens, you’ll get years of enjoyment from your investment.

Buying products made with premium materials and finishes that last longer will make your outdoor kitchen retain its long-term value even more.

Outdoor kitchens have a high return on investment

If you do an online search for the estimated return on investment (ROI) of an outdoor kitchen addition, the numbers vary quite widely.

Some real estate professionals believe an outdoor kitchen project has a 70% ROI, which is considered very good. Others believe it’s much higher and in the 90-100% range. Some even believe adding an outdoor kitchen recoups well over 100% of your building costs in the long run.

Whichever ROI estimate you trust, even at the lowest end, outdoor kitchens are a smart investment that provides a return on investment that exceeds the 68.6% average for the most popular home remodel projects.

Reap the benefits of an outdoor kitchen

Have these outdoor kitchen benefits convinced you that it’s time to add a second kitchen to your home?

Prioritize outdoor living and reimagine your backyard space. Our design pros will work with you to choose the best products, materials, colours, and styles to make your outdoor living space concept above and beyond what you dreamed it could be.

Kick-start your outdoor kitchen and living space project by booking a free design consultation with an Outeriors design consultant.

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7 Summer Grilling Ideas and Tips Everyone Should Try

summer grilling ideas

Summer is finally here. The sunny, hot weather can’t come soon enough for Ontarians who had to endure another winter indoors during a pandemic lockdown.

There are only a precious few months ahead to enjoy your backyard. For most of us, summer grilling will be at or near the top of the list of our favourite summertime activities.

Whether it’s with your family or increasingly with more friends as things become safer, there are always ways to improve your outdoor cooking and dining experience.

These summer grilling ideas cover everything from outdoor kitchen design tips to menu suggestions to bug control tips. See you in the backyard!

1. Create the ultimate summer grilling space

If you’re grilling outside regularly during the summer and preparing meals for large groups of people, a proper outdoor cooking space is essential.

That cheap, rusty grill that flares up more often than Alec Baldwin on a Manhattan street and burns your meat regularly just isn’t up to the task.

Having a backyard cooking setup that includes wobbly plastic tables to hold your serving plates, cutlery, uncooked food, and grilling tools also falls well short of what you need. And those beat-up plastic coolers for ice and keeping drinks cold? No, you can do a lot better.

Invest in a professionally designed kitchen that includes everything you could possibly need for cooking in the backyard.

As Outeriors president Daniel Albo told The Toronto Sun, “For the luxury homeowner, the days of a freestanding cart barbecue simply don’t cut it, as an outdoor kitchen has become the final frontier of any renovation project.”

Essentials for an outdoor kitchen

Outdoor kitchens can be designed in all shapes and sizes. That can range anywhere from a small space in a patio corner with a few cabinets and a built-in grill all the way to a fully-outfitted cooking space worthy of a professional chef.

Start with a built-in premium grill that is engineered to deliver a superior cooking performance. Add any appliances that fit your cooking style, such as an outdoor oven, side burners, smoker, and warming drawers.

Ditch your portable coolers and get a fridge and ice-making machine to handle all your outdoor refrigeration needs. Including a sink in your kitchen design plan is a great idea, too.

That covers everything required to make your outdoor meals. Next, surround your cooking appliances with attractive outdoor kitchen cabinetry for storage, along with weather-proof countertops for dining and meal preparation.

Now you’re really cooking with a kitchen space that is set up perfectly for summer grilling!

outdoor kitchen for summer grilling

A complete outdoor kitchen with a premium grill, appliances, sink, fridge, cabinetry, and countertop.

2. Go beyond dogs and burgers

Burgers and hot dogs are a reliable summer grilling staple, but why not change up your menu once in a while?

Here are a few suggestions for delicious grilled dishes that aren’t so predictable:

Grilled pizza: Pizza can be cooked right on your grill grates. For a well-done crust, cook the pizza dough on one side for a few minutes. Then flip it over and add your favourite pizza sauce and toppings. Cook it until the cheese is melted. For a softer crust, skip the step of cooking the dough by itself and just grill the whole pizza in one go.

Using a wood-fired or gas-fired outdoor pizza oven is another way to cook homemade pizza. Outdoor pizza ovens cook at a very high heat and can have your pizza cooked in only a few minutes.

Grilled quesadillas: Quesadillas offer a limitless variety of recipe options that can be tailored to the taste of you and your hungry diners.

Keep experimenting with different types of meats, fishes, vegetables, cheeses, spices, and cooking oils for new tastes that will surprise you.

The popular Mexican dish is super-easy to make and is perfect for the grill. This recipe explains how to prepare and grill quesadillas.

grilled pizza

Looking to shake up your summer grilling menu? Give grilled pizza a try! (Photo by Ponyo Sakana from Pexels)

5 less obvious summer menu ideas

Are you looking for some other less obvious foods and dishes (compared to burgers, hot dogs, and steak) to cook on the grill? Here are a few ideas:

  • seafood like salmon, tuna, and shrimp
  • grilled steak tacos
  • pork
  • lamb chops
  • brisket

Don’t forget the vegans: For the vegans being served at your outdoor cookout, there are lots of tasty recipes available that might even win over the carnivores at your dinner table. Here are 15 vegan grilling recipes you can try.

3. Appetizer, dessert, and side dish grilling ideas

Grilled bread: Instead of just serving up bread right out of the bag, Eataly.com recommends grilling up half-inch thick slices of hard crust bread that are brushed lightly with extra virgin olive oil. Add some fresh garlic to bring out more flavour.

After a couple of minutes over a medium heat, grill marks should appear, which tells you they’re ready.

BBQ bacon meatball skewers: We found this intriguing recipe for bacon meatball skewers that sounds very tasty. Two types of grilled meat together in one appetizer? What’s not to love?

The meatballs cans be made with ground beef, chicken, or turkey and the whole dish can be prepped and cooked in just over 20 minutes.

Grilled fruit: Everyone knows how amazing grilled veggies taste, but grilled fruit is equally worth throwing on the barbecue as a dessert or appetizer option.

Cut larger sections of harder fruits like watermelon, apples, pears, pineapple, and tomatoes (yes, they’re a fruit). You can put them right on the grill as is or add some extra flavour by basting them with a sauce.

The grilled fruit’s natural sugars will caramelize and give them a pleasant, distinct taste that will make you view them in a whole new way.

4. The best wines for enjoying in the summer

wine being poured while dining outdoors

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Chilled white wines tend to be the beverage of choice for a lot of us when we’re spending time outdoors in the warm weather. Their crisp and refreshing lighter taste is ideal for a summer grilling and dining setting.

White wines usually have less alcohol than reds, which means anyone enjoying them won’t get dehydrated as quickly during hot weather. You can’t go wrong with a good dry white Bordeaux, Sauvignon blanc, Pinot Grigio, or Riesling.

For the devoted red wine drinkers at your backyard gathering, a chilled rosé is always a good choice. Light-to-medium-bodied reds like a Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, or Merlot are also ideal.

Wine pairing recommendations for grilled meats

Grilled food tastes even better when it’s served with the right wine. Here are a few meat and wine pairings that work well:

  • Steak: Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, and Shiraz
  • Pork: Rosé, Riesling, and Pinot Noir
  • Hamburgers: Cabernet Sauvignon or Franc, Shiraz, and Sangiovese
  • Chicken: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Riesling, and Sauvignon Blanc

5. Summer grilling the healthy way

As great as grilled food tastes, not all of it is the healthiest for you. Some of the menu suggestions listed above do have less fat and fewer calories.

Here are a few healthier grilling ideas and tips worth trying:

  • Use leaner cuts of meat like veal, chicken, turkey, sirloin or porterhouse steaks, lamb, and pork chops or tenderloin.
  • Fish is a healthier alternative to meat and has less fat and high protein. Many types of fish are also chock-full of omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for your heart.
  • Store-bought condiments, barbecue sauces, and marinades are loaded with sugar and salt. Look online for some easy-to-make homemade recipes that are a little healthier.
  • Some people like their grilled meats well-done, but don’t overcook things until they’re charred. Charred meat can potentially form harmful carcinogenic compounds.

6. Grilling safety tips

Where there’s fire there’s always danger, so it pays to always be diligent when the grill is fired up. Always open the lid on a natural gas or propane grill when lighting them. Put all the burners on high and let the grill heat up for 5-10 minutes before starting to cook. This burns away any residual food and grease.

Wire grill brushes are the most common tool used to clean off a grill, but it’s actually not a good idea to use them. The wire bristles can break off and end up in your food the next time you grill. Consumer Reports advises against using wire grill brushes and using a grill stone, non-wire brush, or a scrubbing pad instead.

Avoid using spray-on grill cleaning products, even if they’re advertised as being safe for cooking surfaces. They probably still contain chemicals that aren’t good for your health. Use natural cleaners like vinegar or baking soda to get the job done.

Here’s a post-grilling safety tip: don’t leave your food out for too long in the summer heat (and especially not in the hot sun).

Cooked and uncooked food can spoil after two hours outdoors when the temperature hits 31°C. If it’s even hotter, food can spoil in only an hour. Not only will some good food go to waste, anyone who eats it could get food poisoning. Talk about putting a damper on the party.

man grilling steak

Some of the bristles from wire grill brushes can break off when the grill is being cleaned and end up on your food. A grill stone, non-wire brush, or a scrubbing pad are safer options.

7. Tips for keeping the bugs away

Fewer things ruin a pleasurable summer evening in the backyard than a bunch of annoying mosquitoes who are hungrier than you were before dinner was served.

Relying on the smoke from your grill as a mosquito repellent is a bad strategy. It’s probably just as annoying to anyone around your cooking space!

Instead, try these more practical bug repellent solutions:

Eliminate pools of standing water: Small pools of stagnant water are breeding grounds for mosquitoes. If possible, avoid having any of them on your property to limit the mosquito population around your house. Target areas like garden ponds without running water and other things that collect rainwater like flower pots, buckets, and inflatable pools.

Screen in your outdoor living space: If the smell of citronella candles and bug repellent is a turn-off, set up mesh netting around your outdoor living space to keep the mosquitoes out.

Ensure your lights aren’t bug-friendly: Incandescent bulbs are a magnet for mosquitoes and other bugs. Switch the bulbs around your outdoor kitchen to yellow-hued LED bulbs that won’t attract as much attention from any unwanted visitors.

Use fans: Using ceiling fans and standup fans on your patio can be a moderately effective deterrent for bugs. The moving air not only makes it harder for mosquitoes to fly, it also disperses the human scents the pests target to feed on. One downside of using fans outdoors is that they may be a little too noisy for your liking.

Savour the taste of summer grilling

The weather isn’t the only thing heating up – grilling season is, too!

Use these summer grilling ideas and tips to maximize your enjoyment in your backyard over the next few months.

We can help you create a complete outdoor living space. From designing a beautiful outdoor kitchen and entertaining space to installing high-quality backyard lighting and audio systems, Outeriors takes care of everything with your project.

Schedule a free design consultation with us today so you can get the most out of your backyard or cottage this summer.

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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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