It’s no secret that America is moving outdoors. Seems like only a decade ago, few had even heard the term “outdoor room.” Now, most homeowners either have one or want one. This is backed by data from the American Institute of Architects. Their most recent nationwide survey on home and property design notes that upgraded outdoor living spaces continue to increase in popularity. A simple grill and patio table don’t cut it anymore. People want outdoor spaces that offer the look and functionality of indoor spaces. One of the fastest growing trends is this arena is that of the outdoor kitchen. This comes as no surprise. There’s just something appealing about cooking outdoors (especially steaks and burgers). The cooking event becomes a communal experience. And the smoke adds a layer of flavor that you just can’t recreate indoors. But as the outdoor kitchen trend continues to evolve, this desire for it to look and function like an interior kitchen most definitely drives the design trends.
Belly Up to Bar-Style Seating
Bar-style seating has become very popular in outdoor kitchen design for the same reason it’s popular in indoor kitchen design…it creates a communal atmosphere where family members and guests can all interact during the prep and cooking process. It also provides additional dining space, and with the addition of a television, becomes the perfect spot for outdoor tailgating.
Get Cooking in More Ways than One
Today’s outdoor chef isn’t happy with just a standard BBQ pit. Modern outdoor kitchen design quite often includes multiple cooking surfaces. The options continue to grow and can include any combination of gas burners, griddles, gas grills, charcoal grills, pellet grills, ceramic smokers, and wood-burning or gas brick ovens. And would you believe outdoor Japanese hibachi grills? Believe it.
Everything, Including the Kitchen Sink
A growing trend in outdoor kitchen design is to include all the “creature comforts” of an indoor kitchen. Nearly every indoor kitchen appliance now has an outdoor-rated version — including ice makers, refrigerators, dishwashers, keg coolers, roll-top bar coolers and more. With a fully functioning outdoor kitchen, there’s no need to constantly run indoors for supplies…everything you need is at your fingertips. Add a sound system, wi-fi access and a TV, and you can truly live in your outdoor living space.
Take a Built-In Seat
Built-in seating has been trending for years in outdoor living rooms, especially around fire features. Now, this trend has made its way into outdoor kitchens. A seat wall helps define the space, adds a striking aesthetic, and provides ample seating for large gatherings to supplement barstools and dining tables. Plus, permanent seating is a durable design element that won’t need to be replaced every few seasons like chairs.
Extra Countertop Real Estate
Just like with an indoor kitchen, there can never be too much counter space. This is especially true for outdoor kitchens. More often than not, when cooking outdoors, you’re feeding extra friends or family. In addition to the large quantities of food to be prepared, you’ll more than likely have platters of appetizers. Plus, you’ll need a spot for mixing cocktails.
Many homeowners simply don’t have the space or the budget for a full-service outdoor kitchen. But an upgraded look can still be achieved with a built-in grill island or cooking station. For those who intend to eventually build a full outdoor kitchen, a grill island is the perfect starting point for phasing out the construction.
Belgard, part of Oldcastle APG, offers a complete collection of paver and wall products for outdoor living spaces, walkways, driveways, parking areas and retaining walls. Available in a range of styles, premium Belgard products have been found in America’s finest homes and award-winning commercial and retail properties since 1995. For more information, visit Belgard.com or call 1-877-Belgard (235-4273). Oldcastle APG is part of CRH’s Building Products division.