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Essentials for an Outdoor Kitchen



Photo: Shutterstock

Planning an outdoor kitchen in a mountain property? Here are some elements that go into the process, recommended by Lauren Ruehring, president of Kitchenscapes in Breckenridge, Colorado, and Nancy Moon of Beckony Kitchens and Baths in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

ANALYZE THE SPACE
What direction does it face, and how much wind, snow and direct sun does the site get? For the longevity of the appliances and for convenience, you’ll want some type of cover over the cooking area, whether it’s a simple shed roof or a roof that has a complete vent system installed just as you would in an indoor kitchen.

THINK ABOUT FUNCTION
Make sure there is plenty of countertop space for cooking as well as entertaining. Do you want an island with a bar and stools, as well as adjacent dining and seating areas?


Photo: Steven Paul Whitsitt Photography for Innovative Outdoor Kitchens

WHAT'S COOKING?
Decide how fancy you want the grill to be, as models now come with such features as rotisseries, sear burners, side burners and warmers. Lynx even has a voice-activated smart grill that will tell you how long to cook various types of food. Interested in a ceramic cooker or a smoker? Pizza ovens are also trending, and can be either gas- or wood-fired.

KEEPING IT COOL
A refrigerator isn’t a must in the mountains, but you might want a drop-in beverage cooler. Or if you’re a beer lover, a kegerator.

MATERIAL CONSIDERATIONS
While stainless steel is a favorite for cabinetry, manufacturers are now offering powder-coated metals that mimic the look of wood. Stone and tile are other options. Countertop materials are another thing to think about. They need to be both functional and durable to stand up to the alpine climate.


Photo: Steven Paul Whitsitt Photography for Innovative Outdoor Kitchens​

WARMING TRENDS
Using your outdoor kitchen year-round is possible if you install infrared heating in the ceiling or use propane towers when it’s cold.

POWER UP
Be sure you have enough power on the deck or patio, which could mean enlarging a gas line or adding electrical capacity to run appliances and lighting.

LIGHTING THE WAY
Be aware of local regulations regarding lighting. Many mountain communities have dark sky restrictions.

ENTERTAINING OPTIONS
You can install built-in speakers and a flat screen TV, or choose only music and let the view from your outdoor kitchen and dining area entertain you and your guests.

SEE ALSO:
If You Can't Stand the Heat... Bring the Kitchen Outside

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