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Eating out
Design your perfect outdoor kitchen


Outdoor kitchens can be as grand or as minimal as a homeownerís inclination and budget. Whether you simply want a defined grill and gathering area or a full-blown room with fireplace, roof and comfy seating, here are some pointers for designing your space from B&E General Contractors architectural designer Jeff Brady and Brian Mours, vice president of operations; and Kyle Kohlmann, landscape architect, with Brett Achtenhagen Seasonal Services.

1. Engage it to Your Dwelling

Make a connection between house and landscape by using materials that complement house or patio selections and incorporate architectural details such as a pergola to define the space and connect it to the house, Brady says. Make sure you have enough space for the outdoor kitchen. "You donít want to build a kitchen that is too large or too small for the patio space," Mours says.

2. Choose Your Appliances

First, Mours says, determine how much entertaining you will do and how large the gatherings will be. "This will help determine the grill size and counter space needed," he says. If you will be entertaining large groups, consider installing an oven and additional burners to keep food warm. Determine if you want a built-in grill or one that can be easily rolled in and out. Mours prefers grills that use natural gas so you donít have to change propane tanks frequently.


3. Other Tips

Make sure the exhaust or smoke from the grill wonít blow into the house or onto your party guests. Choose a countertop surface that will withstand the elements and spills. Natural stone or concrete will require a sealant; granite would not. Brady advises setting up a winterization program with your plumber so appliances arenít damaged when temperatures drop.


This story ran in the July 2009 issue of: