Dining Alfresco

by Amanda Hamm Hengel | Aug 3, 2015
Dining Alfresco …From the pages of House & Home…

Bring the family together in an expertly designed outdoor kitchen.

Any home improvement company will tell you outdoor kitchens are all the rage these days. With the advent of the “staycation,” and families opting to update their homes instead of heading out of town, having a place to hang out and entertain outside has become imperative.

Because these areas have become so popular, we at House & Home began to wonder what makes a really great outdoor kitchen, and what should definitely be included in one. We called on our experts to let us know what they think makes a really great outdoor kitchen, what homeowners should consider when they’re designing theirs and what they can do to make their outdoor kitchen truly stand out.

The grill
No matter what you envision your outdoor kitchen to be, all of our experts agree a quality grill should definitely be in your plans.

When deciding which grill to purchase, Dave Busch of Greenview Designs, who says today’s grills are “incredible,” suggests homeowners consider what kind of entertaining they’re going to be doing and how much space they’re going to need for cooking.

“We always ask our clients, ‘Do you have a big family?’” he says. “Once my landscape architect and I determine how they live, how they entertain, how big their parties are, we can put together a setup that works for them. [For example], if they’re going to be entertaining a lot, they’ll need the 48-inch grill and separate 12-inch side burner.”

Grill aside, there are lots of other recommendations our experts have for making a truly great outdoor kitchen. First up are additional kitchen appliances and amenities. “Sinks are always wanted,” says Amazing Decks’ Keith Fry. “But sometimes they’re limited to the logistics of the job site [in terms of] plumbing water feeds and drainage. Refrigerators are also very popular—it’s always good to have a cold drink nearby when grilling.”

Doors or drawers for storage, trash receptacles, electrical outlets, smokers and televisions are also amenities Steven Doerler of Doerler Landscapes Inc., believes can take an outdoor kitchen from ordinary to extraordinary. “There are a myriad of amenities that our clients include beyond a grill and refrigerator so that they can enhance the enjoyment of their space,” he says.

Although not totally necessary for every outdoor kitchen, Fry notes water and other fire features, as well as a covering, such as a roof, pergola or canopy can put your kitchen over the top.

Other considerations
Adding an outdoor kitchen to your home can be something you do quickly—think adding a grill and some patio chairs at the spur of the moment for a gathering—or take some time to consider and plan.

Our experts say homeowners must plan every detail—from whether the appliances will be gas or electric to ensuring the plan stays within township requirements. Any way you build it, kitchens are always the space in the home where people congregate, and having one outdoors is no different.

“The comments that we receive most often from our clients is that they use their outdoor kitchen much more than they ever envisioned,” concludes Doerler. “It seems like a magnet to draw friends and family outside, which is always a positive sign.”


Amazing Decks
Ambler, Pa.
(215) 654-1886

CKC Landscaping Inc.
West Chester, Pa.
(610) 436-1810

Doerler Landscapes
Yardville, N.J.
(856) 234-1114

Greenview Designs
Hopewell, N.J.
(609) 466-3080

LanChester Grill & Hearth
Gap, Pa.
(717) 442-8794

Marrazzo’s North River Landscape
Wycombe, Pa.
(215) 598-1412

Plant Design Group
Yardley, Pa.
(215) 321-666

Turpin Landscaping Inc.
Coatesville, Pa.
(610) 380-1119

Published (and copyrighted) in House & Home, Volume 15, Issue 12 (June, 2015).
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Author: Amanda Hamm Hengel


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