By Marshall Loeb
RISMEDIA, May 19, 2008-(MCT)-If your thoughts have been turning to entertaining outdoors this spring, an outdoor kitchen could be just the addition for you. Once an expensive item, you can now install an outdoor kitchen for as little as $200. Of course, the price will depend on the elaborateness of the kitchen you choose.
Before you plunk down any money, you’ll want to decide what will suit your needs.
From Consumer Reports, here are five tips to consider when planning the outdoor kitchen of your dreams:
Determine how you’ll use your space. Do you envision all-season gatherings with family and friends, or a convenient area for occasional barbecues? Costs of outdoor kitchens can range from $200 and $500–for a gas grill that can handle most of your cooking needs–to $50,000 for a space that rivals an indoor version. Before you budget for building materials and appliances, match the money you spend with the enjoyment you’ll get in the long run.
Consider location. The center of any outdoor kitchen is the grill. Keep smoke from your house and your guests by positioning the grill away from the nearest door of the house and down from prevailing winds. Enclosed patio kitchens may require that the grill has a range hood for ventilation. Further, if you don’t have a refrigerator or other storage space outdoors, keep a clear path to your house to simplify supply runs.
Be sure to weatherproof. Just as grills are built to withstand weather, so should every part of your outdoor kitchen. Use only appliances and electrical and plumbing fixtures built for outdoor use. A roof or canopy may provide shelter from rain, but some moisture still gets through. Consider building your foundation and counters at a slope to help drainage. Use weather-resistant building materials as well, such as treated hardwood for the structure, and solid surface, tile, stone or concrete for countertops.
Incorporate lighting and heat. Task lighting is important for all work surfaces. But if you’re entertaining outside, consider illuminating your yard as well.
Consider safety. All outdoor outlets must be of the ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) type. For plumbing and gas lines, it’s important that the shutoffs are easily accessible and that you can operate them.
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