Outdoor Countertop Materials: Which Type Is Right for You?

outdoor countertop materials hero

An outdoor kitchen design includes many different elements, not least of which is the countertop.

The grill is often the focal point of an outdoor kitchen. Because the countertops significantly affect the overall aesthetic of an outdoor cooking space and provide some of its structural makeup, they can also be the centre of attention.

Indoor kitchen countertops offer plenty of different materials and designs to choose from and so do their outdoor counterparts (excuse the unintentional pun).

With so many outdoor countertop materials to choose from, it can get overwhelming trying to choose the best one for your backyard.

Some material types require a lot less maintenance than others. Maybe you have a specific look in mind that only one or two countertop materials can provide. Budget limitations will also naturally affect your range of choices, as prices can vary widely from one type of material to another.

This article will provide some clarity about what the numerous types of outdoor countertop materials offer. Keep reading to learn more about which countertop types are worth buying, which ones you should think twice about choosing, and the types to steer clear of.

Why your outdoor countertop material is so important

Perhaps the hardest working part of a backyard kitchen is the countertop, even moreso than the grill. A backyard food preparation work surface deals with all sorts of things that test its durability. That includes everything from encountering spills and food and drink stains, to handling hot temperatures, to having sharp cutting tools being used on it.

The functionality of countertops doesn’t stop there if you have a larger outdoor kitchen design that incorporates a bar and dining space. The countertops in a multi-functional outdoor living space are a magnet for activity. They’ll be used to dine on, mix drinks, as a resting spot for drinks, and even just as a surface for people to lean on while conversing with others.

Outdoor countertops don’t only need to be strong enough to handle the rigorous use that’s demanded from them, they need to contend with the harsh Canadian weather, too.

As important as the looks of any countertop are, durability has to be an even bigger priority with outdoor countertops.

With that in mind, here are the features and qualities (excluding looks) to prioritize for the outdoor countertops you buy:

  • overall weatherproofing performance
  • ease of maintenance
  • high-strength construction
  • abrasion and impact resistance
  • non-porous
  • UV-resistance
  • colour stability (meaning how effectively the colours are retained)
  • resistance to high temperatures
outdoor countertop

As important as an outdoor countertop’s looks are, it matters even more how well it stands up in an exterior setting.

The best outdoor countertop materials

It only makes sense to start our look at outdoor countertop materials with the most popular types that you’re most likely to find in any backyard with an outdoor kitchen.

There is no shortage of great countertop options to choose from. Here are the best countertop materials for outdoor usage, in no particular order.

Granite

One of the most popular outdoor countertop materials is granite, which has an appealing combination of durability, looks, and fairly easy maintenance.

Granite countertops come in many different colours and finishes. This gives homeowners more options to create a dynamic, unique outdoor kitchen design.

The toughness of granite lets it stand up well in an outdoor setting. It can tolerate high temperatures and resists scratching, abrasions, and stains. With an effective seal, granite surfaces won’t fade from prolonged sun exposure and will last longer.

Most outdoor granite countertops need to be resealed periodically (typically once a year) to maintain a non-porous surface that protects against stains, mould, and mildew. Higher grade granite surfaces have a higher density, which makes them less porous. That means they can go longer without needing to be resealed.

Granite does have one drawback – its cost. It is on the more expensive side compared to other outdoor countertop materials.

Dekton

Dekton is a relative newcomer to the outdoor countertop market. It’s manufactured by Cosentino, who are renowned for their technologically advanced, high-performance surfaces, including brands like Silestone and Sensa.

While Dekton may not have the countertop name recognition of granite, concrete, or porcelain, it’s well worth a look. The high-tech Sinterized Particle Technology process Dekton is made with produces ultra-compact surfaces made from a combination of porcelain, quartz, and glass.

Because a Dekton slab is so dense, it can be fabricated into countertops much thinner than what other stone materials offer. Dekton’s ample design versatility extends to its many pattern and colour options, which allows for a vast array of aesthetic possibilities.

Dekton’s extremely durable, innovative design is tailor-made for use outdoors. Here are a few more benefits it offers:

  • highly UV-resistant to maintain the countertop’s colour
  • completely stain-proof and resistant to abrasions and scratches
  • exceptional thermal expansion properties that are ideal for Ontario’s climate
  • the low-maintenance, non-porous surface never needs sealing and can be easily cleaned
  • competitively priced with other natural stone countertop materials
  • withstands high temperatures without burning or cracking
dekton countertop

Dekton countertops are extremely durable and offer a wealth of colours and patterns to create a beautiful design that stands out.

Soapstone

One of the biggest selling points for soapstone countertops is that they’re non-porous, which makes them well-suited for the outdoors.

Soapstone countertops are very dense and don’t require any sealing, although liquids can darken the surface if they’re not regularly cleaned with water and soap. An occasional application of mineral oil helps protect the surface and maintain its shine.

As well as soapstone can endure outside and withstand high temperatures, it is a soft material. That makes it more susceptible to scratches and abrasions, which may be a concern for those who anticipate using their outdoor kitchen a lot.

Soapstone is a dark natural material. This limits your range of colour choices to darker shades. Those darker colours become a notable factor for an outdoor countertop because they can become uncomfortably hot in direct sunlight.

If you are considering soapstone outdoor countertops or dark countertops made from another material, prioritize keeping them shaded with an overhead covering.

Concrete

Concrete outdoor countertops are quite trendy right now and it’s not hard to understand why. Because these countertops are produced by pouring a cement mix instead of installing a manufactured slab, an abundant number of design options open up.

Unique countertop shapes that most other materials can’t produce without costing significantly more (if they can be made at all) are possible with concrete. Moulded features like a sink cutout can be crafted by a skilled tradesperson to add even more of a custom look and specialized functionality to the countertop.

You’re not limited to the dull grey look of concrete, either. Concrete countertops can be stained virtually any colour and can also have artistic effects added for more visual appeal.

Considering that concrete is one of the strongest building materials, it’s not surprising that when installed and maintained properly, outdoor concrete countertops can last a long time.

Some ambitious people have had success DIYing concrete countertops for their outdoor kitchens. We’d advise against this unless you’re proficient in moulded concrete applications, however. You don’t want to be one of those DIY novices who have had the unfortunate experience of seeing their concrete countertop project fail when the supporting base collapsed from the weight of the poured concrete!

Another reason to think twice about DIYing a concrete countertop is that a poor installation job can lead to all sorts of headaches, especially cracking.

There are three other notable drawbacks of choosing concrete as an outdoor countertop material:

  • because concrete is very porous, it needs to be resealed annually to prevent cracking and damage from stains and mould
  • concrete countertops that aren’t protected from direct sunlight can lose their colour and start to yellow over time
  • intricate countertop designs can be expensive to mould and install

A gorgeous countertop like the one pictured here becomes the focal point of an outdoor kitchen and living space.

Quartzite

It may be pricier than other types of countertops because it’s made with a rarer natural material, but quartzite is an intriguing choice for a few reasons.

The beauty of quartzite is undeniable, highlighted by the material’s colourful hues and an elegant look that often gets confused with marble.

Quartzite, which is not the same as quartz (the former is a natural stone and the latter is an engineered product), is very durable. It’s harder than granite and although quartzite is porous, one of these countertops will last for many years as long as it gets resealed once a year.

The material can withstand hot temperatures from the sun and retains its colours nicely. Quartzite performs less effectively compared to other materials when it comes in contact with high heat, such as setting a hot pot down on the surface. Quartzite does scratch a little easier as well.

Porcelain

Another in-demand countertop material is porcelain. It has most of the attributes of a high-quality outdoor countertop:

  • very durable
  • excellent UV resistance and colour stability
  • high heat resistance
  • non-porous
  • low-maintenance
  • excellent stain, cracking, and scratch resistance (except from ceramic blades)

Because it’s man-made, porcelain slabs can be manufactured in a wide range of colours, finishes, and patterns. That makes them capable of exhibiting the kinds of attractive characteristics and patterns that natural stone produces.

Porcelain is one of the most hygienic types of countertop material, so food prep can occur right on its surface safely. That’s worth noting for anyone with a busy outdoor kitchen.

Adding another tick in the “pros” column for porcelain is the fact that it’s priced very reasonably compared to most other popular outdoor countertop materials.

Slate

Slate can be a finicky material to choose for an outdoor countertop because its quality tends to be more inconsistent. You really need to pay close attention to what the quality is of the slate the countertops are made with, as it can vary widely.

Lower-quality slate is less durable and less dense. Remember, less density means the material is more porous and more prone to staining, scratching, cracking, and abrasions. As with any non-porous countertop material, regular sealing applications will protect the surface and extend the countertop’s life.

Higher-quality slate provides better strength and durability and requires less maintenance (like resealing) because it’s denser and less porous. Slate is a softer stone, so extra care is needed to prevent the surface from getting scratched and chipped. The material also has a high resistance to heat.

outdoor living space

A multi-level countertop design adds visual appeal and zones that separate the work and dining areas.

Glass

If you’re looking for something different from the popular look of stone for your outdoor countertops, glass is worth considering.

Because we instantly associate glass with fragility, some might be surprised that it’s a viable option as an outdoor countertop material. Keep in mind that a glass countertop can be manufactured to be several inches thick.

Although glass is more breakable than any of the other outdoor countertop materials we’ve covered and scratches a little easier, it’s still well-suited for use outside. It’s non-porous, very hygienic, won’t get damaged from prolonged sun exposure, extremely easy to clean, and modestly priced.

Acidic drinks and foods can stain regular glass countertop surfaces easily. You can avoid this worry by buying higher-quality white glass countertops.

A major benefit of glass countertops is the high level of design customization they have. Here are some examples of the unique design options glass offers:

  • available in many different shapes and sizes
  • lots of colour options
  • add patterns and textures
  • embed stones, shells, or other materials
  • incorporate dynamic LED backlighting (a guaranteed conversation starter!)

Think twice about buying one of these countertops

Now let’s look at three countertop materials that present a few more questions than the above materials about their viability for outdoor use.

Marble

This one might be a tad controversial, but while researching this article, we found that marble outdoor countertops were less favoured by design professionals.

Although marble is certainly aesthetically pleasing and durable, concerns came up more than once from them about marble’s resiliency in colder climates. A honed or tumbled finish is strongly recommended over a polished finish for a marble surface, which won’t wear well over time.

Marble is porous and a softer stone, so more care needs to be taken to prevent stains and scratches. Like several other countertop materials, regular surface resealing will protect your investment.

Wood

If you’re partial to the natural, rustic look of wood as a countertop material, it will come at the cost of more maintenance.

That means putting in time every year to preserve the surface by sanding, oiling, and sealing it. For some folks, that may be a deal-breaker. After all, an outdoor living space is supposed to be for relaxation, not creating extra work projects.

Because wood surfaces are more vulnerable to the elements, make sure they’re protected by an overhead covering.

Stainless steel

The biggest drawback of having stainless steel countertops is they don’t play well with the sun. Unless they’re in a shaded area, outdoor stainless steel countertops will get very hot and cause a blinding glare.

Stainless steel is fairly durable and low-maintenance. However, it is more prone to denting and is typically on the higher end in terms of cost.

If you can live with these shortcomings, stainless steel is still a solid choice, especially if you’re aiming for a sleek outdoor kitchen aesthetic.

open outdoor living space

Whichever type of outdoor countertop you choose, keeping it below an overhead covering will protect both it and your investment.

Avoid these outdoor countertop materials

There are three countertop materials you should steer clear of altogether when your outdoor kitchen design is being put together.

Tile

Ceramic, porcelain, and stone tile countertops are one of the cheaper options and offer a wealth of design possibilities. Unfortunately, tile is not a good choice for cold climates.

Even in ideal temperatures, tile can break, chip, and crack easily. That becomes a much bigger issue when the tile resides outdoors and has to deal with the elements, especially freeze-thaw cycles. The countertop’s colours will fade much quicker compared to most other countertop materials, too.

Another major issue with tile countertops is their grout. We all know how fun it is trying to keep the grout in our bathrooms and kitchens clean. You can imagine how much more of a challenge this is when the grout is outside.

Even with a grout sealer and if the countertop is in a covered space, it’s still a lot of extra work to keep the grout clean and stain-free. And on top of this, grout applied outdoors is a lot more vulnerable to cracking.

Quartz

Quartz is another popular material for indoor countertops that doesn’t hold up well in most outdoor climates. The exception would be a climate that’s dryer and has consistent, moderate temperatures. Even then, outdoor quartz countertops need to be located in a well-sheltered area.

Although quartz may be non-porous, the resin it’s made with will yellow from the sun. Extreme cold and hot temperatures, as well as humidity and moisture, will cause quartz countertops to warp and deteriorate faster than most other materials.

Laminate

When anyone pricing outdoor countertop materials takes a look at laminate, it quickly stands out as one of the lowest-priced options. Laminate is also likely the worst choice for an outdoor countertop.

The structural integrity of this type of countertop will reveal its shortcomings relatively quickly because low-quality particle board is used beneath the laminate.  That makes the material vulnerable to moisture and humidity, with issues involving mould, rot, and warping sure to follow.

Get the best outdoor countertop for your kitchen

Now you can make a more informed decision about which outdoor countertop material to use for your outdoor kitchen.

Outeriors will work with you on a customized design to make your outdoor kitchen and living space the heart of your home this summer, featuring a high-quality Dekton countertop.

Schedule a free design consultation with us to start planning your dream outdoor living space.

Please share this post if you found it useful.

See also:

9 Winter Grilling Tips To Enjoy Your Barbecue Year-round

Outdoor grill with snow on it

One of the things some Canadians most look forward to in the spring is firing up their slumbering grill for the first time since the fall.

For many Canadians, however, barbecue season doesn’t stop when the snow starts falling – it’s all year long.

A Weber survey found that 43% of Canadians grill year-round. An older Ipsos-Reid poll produced similar results, finding that 39% of us partake in winter grilling.

The appeal of enjoying flame-cooked food that is fresh off the grill is strong. It must be to get anyone to abandon the stove in their perfectly warm house and go stand in front of a grill when it’s -20 degrees and there’s a foot of snow on the ground!

Barbecue year-round with these winter grilling tips

As cold as our winters can be, we’re surprised more Canadians don’t treat themselves during the season to the taste of delicious grilled food that doesn’t come in take-out containers.

There is simply no substitute for the taste of hot-off-the-grill, home-cooked food. And for some of us, a meal grilled in the winter tastes that much nicer knowing it required a little more work and perseverance to get the job done.

It doesn’t require too much more of an effort to use the grill during inclement weather, however. Try these winter grilling tips to satisfy your appetite for freshly grilled food, even when the weather won’t cooperate.

winter grilling tips

1. Dress for warmth and practicality

Canadians don’t need a reminder to bundle up when they’re going out into the frigid winter weather.

Along with dressing in layers, covering your head, and wearing the rest of your winter attire, there are a few other things to consider when you’re cold-weather grilling.

If you’re wearing a scarf, ensure it’s tied around your neck and not dangling, which could become a fire hazard. Also, don’t use thick winter gloves that make it harder to work the grill and carry things. Get some heat-resistant grilling gloves that are lightweight and designed for warmth.

Because you’ll be going in and out of the house a few times to do your cooking, try to choose a jacket and footwear that are easy to put on and take off.

A hot, grilled meal is reward enough for your efforts. And if you need any additional motivation to fire up the grill when it’s freezing outside, remember this: at least there isn’t a single annoying bug to contend with!

2. Keep the grill close

Having a barbecue that is easily accessible is an important part of winter grilling. Remember, the closer a grill is to the indoors, the more inclined you’ll be to use it in the winter.

Ideally, you want the appliance to be located as close to the house as possible so you don’t have to break out the snow shovel to get to it. Not too close, though – always keep a grill at least 10 feet from your house and any wooden fixtures.

Having some type of overhead covering is also recommended for year-round grill use. When it’s warm, a covering will protect you from the rain and hot sun, as well as give you more privacy. And in the winter, a grill that is located in a covered, more controlled environment will be much easier to use. Being exposed to less moisture will extend the life of the grill as well.

If your built-in grill or movable grill can’t be located closer to the house and does require some snow shovelling to get to, keep a couple of things in mind:

  • be careful using a metal snow shovel around your grill so you don’t dent it (a plastic shovel is safer to use)
  • sand, salt, and ice melting products will damage patio and pathway stones, wood and composite decks, and grills

Be sure to move grills with wheels before the snow starts falling. And never use any type of grill in the garage during bad weather, even with the doors open. It’s a fire and carbon monoxide hazard.

Outdoor grill in cabinetry with snow on ground in winter

Keep your grill located as close to your house as possible to avoid having to get out the snow shovel to access it. Shovelling the driveway is enough work as it is.

3. Have sufficient outdoor lighting

The short days and long nights of winter will make good lighting around your outdoor cooking space essential.

Having sufficient lighting for your winter grilling tasks makes it safer to navigate around the backyard and to get a good look at how the food you’re cooking is progressing. You don’t want to tie up one of your free hands with a flashlight or your phone with its flashlight turned on.

If your backyard lighting isn’t up to snuff, buy an all-weather lamp or install a permanently mounted light fixture by the grill. Even a small clamp or clip-on grilling light will help while cooking.

Some premium grills come with useful features like under-the-lid lighting and backlit knobs that are very useful for cooking after dark.

4. Use a good grill

Speaking of premium grills, let’s get into why they’re worth the investment, especially for winter cooking.

A grill’s cooking efficiency is even more important when it’s cold outside and getting your food cooked just right is more of a challenge.

Premium grills cook your food more evenly and have useful features like zone heating that allows for variable cooking temperatures on your grill surface. A feature like this is quite handy when two or three different types of food need to cook at different temperatures.

High-quality grills function more reliably as well. They’ll start when they should, provide accurate temperature readings, and are made with better parts and materials than cheap grills. Inexpensive grills are constructed with low-quality metals that rust faster and don’t retain heat as well as premium grills, which increases the amount of time it takes to heat up the appliance and do your cooking.

You’ll appreciate all of these premium grill benefits because you can get your cooking work done faster so you can get back inside to the warmth of your home and start dining.

5. Grill “smarter”

Another benefit of cooking with a luxury grill is the smart features some of them offer. Models like the built-in Lynx Professional Smart Grill deliver a 21st-century outdoor cooking experience with high-tech features such as:

  • the MyChef™ automated cooking system that cooks at precise temperatures for the optimal amount of time
  • responsive grill controls that can be activated with voice commands or a smart device
  • alerts sent to your smart device informing you that the grill is heated up to the desired temperature, that it’s time to flip your food, and when your food is done cooking

If your grill lacks any smart features, get a smart meat thermometer. These great, inexpensive devices involve inserting a probe into the meat on a grill so the internal temperature can be monitored. The cooking progress is monitored via a smartphone app that alerts you when the temperature is higher or lower than needed.

Making use of this smart grill tech gets you closer to producing perfect cooking results every time. You’ll also have to spend a little less time out in the cold keeping an eye on your grill.

Lynx Professional Smart Series grill

Smart grills have handy high-tech features that eliminate the guesswork of cooking at the right temperatures. They also let you spend less time in front of the grill and more time in your warm house while cooking.

6. Adjust your grilling routine for the winter

Your regular summer grilling routine will need a few adjustments for the wintertime. Let’s start with heating up the appliance. Factor in some extra time to get the grill heated up to the cooking temperature you want.

Even when it’s hot outside, opening the grill lid too much will add to your cooking time. Needless to say, it’s even more important to keep the grill cover closed as much as possible in the winter so less heat will be lost.

Remember that a grill will use more propane or natural gas in the winter as it works harder to retain heat and take longer to heat up. If you have a propane grill, plan accordingly and have an extra tank on hand (which is a good idea no matter what time of the year it is).

Now let’s talk about some good winter grilling practices for handling your food. Don’t move your uncooked food outside until it’s ready to go on the grill. When the food is done cooking, put it into a heated container (preferably a type that retains heat more effectively like ceramic) and get it inside pronto. You don’t want to create any extra work by having to reheat the food.

Any grill is easier to clean when it’s still warm or hot. Once your cooked food is moved inside, scrape off your grates before they cool off and things like meat residue, grease, marinade, and barbecue sauce harden.

7. Leave the new grilling recipes for the summer

Sub-freezing weather is not the time to be experimenting with complicated new grilling recipes.

Keep the menu simple with grilling staples like steak, sausage, burgers, chicken, hot dogs, and vegetables that can be cooked in aluminum foil or a pan.

Sticking with what you know and choosing fast cooking, low-maintenance foods will help you keep the grill lid closed more and lessen your time spent outside.

steak and sausage on grill

Keep your winter grilling menu simple and leave the new recipes for warmer weather.

8. Prep for your winter grilling in the fall

The fall is the best time to give grills a thorough cleaning after their heaviest period of use during the spring and summer. Taking the time to do some grill maintenance is much more important if you plan to do some winter grilling.

Grills that aren’t cleaned often enough will build up bacteria from the leftover grease and food remnants.

Disassemble as many parts as possible to make cleaning easier, including the grill grates, warming racks, and rotisserie rod. Leave the drip trays in place until you’re done cleaning the grill interior. Let the removed parts soak in warm water and some dish detergent for a short period to loosen some of the caked-on grill gunk.

In the meantime, give the grill interior a good scrubbing with some warm water, dish detergent, and a grill brush. Make sure the flavourizer bars and burners are properly cleaned off.

Use a degreaser or grill cleaning product and a brush or scrubbing tool to clean each part that was removed. Rinse and dry them off before putting them back in the grill.

Look for a product specifically meant for use on a grill exterior to clean it and protect its finish. Finally, lightly apply a coating of vegetable, peanut, or canola oil on your cast-iron grates and run the grill on high for 30 minutes. Seasoning grill grates helps prevent them from rusting and food from sticking to them.

9. Cover up

covered grillBy the time your meal has been eaten, the grill will have cooled off enough to be covered. Spending just a few seconds to cover a grill every time after using it will protect it from corrosion and prolong its life.

Covering the grill also makes it easier to get started the next time you’re ready to cook outdoors again.

The inside of the cover must be dry before putting it over a grill. If the interior of the cover is damp, the moisture can get trapped and cause the grill to rust quicker.

If your grill needs a replacement cover, spend a little more on a high-quality cover that is made with a durable material that won’t fade and has vents with good airflow to let out moisture. Also, be sure that the cover fits your grill snugly.

With the right approach, it’s always grilling season!

Follow these winter grilling tips and you can enjoy the benefits of using your barbecue at any time of the year.

Let Outeriors help get your backyard ready for winter grilling use and a lot more functionality when the weather warms up. Our outdoor kitchen and living space designs will maximize your family’s enjoyment of your backyard. The high-quality products we use are built to withstand the Canadian winter (and look great while doing so).

Start a dialogue with Outeriors about getting your outdoor kitchen project started by scheduling a free design consultation with us.

Please share this post if you found it useful.

See also:

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.

Please share this post if you found it useful.

See also:

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.

Please share this post if you found it useful.

See also:

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.

Please share this post if you found it useful.