- A home in the Hamptons is the perfect setting for outside entertaining, so where better to gather your family and friends at mealtime than in an outdoor kitchen? Say good-bye to the backyard Bar-B and picnic table and say hello to a stylish kitchen where you can grill under sunny skies or throw a late-evening cookout - with a nighttime dip in the pool - and relax in style.
Decorative stone surrounding your outdoor ovens and grills completes the scene. Pavers can be ordered at Southampton Masonry located in both Southampton and East Hampton. Image courtesy of Cambridge Paving Stones.
A bare backyard can be the perfect blank slate to begin planning your entertaining masterpiece by extending your kitchen and dining area to maximize your outside space. Adding an outdoor kitchen may be one of the best home investments you will ever make, in terms of financial value, ease of lifestyle, and in creating memories. Functional, convenient, and beautiful, an outdoor kitchen can be set among a peaceful and beautiful garden, can be designed around a pool, can have a roof, or be underneath the open sky - the possibilities are endless.
Assess Your Needs
The first step in considering a backyard kitchen is to start with your wish list. Knowing how many guests you normally entertain will determine the size of the dining room table you'll need, as well as help with the decision whether or not to include an outdoor lounge area with weather-resistant couches, lounge chairs, and patio swings. Other considerations: You may want to add a bar. You'll need to decide what appliances you want. Have you always dreamed of having a brick oven to make a perfect pizza? Do you need a prep island, and if so, what types of countertop would you like? Do you want running water? Now that you've compiled your wish list, you're well on your way. (Tip: If you add outdoor cabinets, make sure they are waterproof).
What Is Your Style?
Refrigeration, cooking units and holding cabinets are all part of a perfect outdoor kitchen design. Photo courtesy of Gayler Construction, Danville, CA.
Outdoor kitchen styles are as basic, elaborate, or as individualized as each homeowner. A good place to start is to decide whether you want a formal or an informal feel. Then choose one of many popular themes: Mediterranean, rustic, English, tropical, Asian, contemporary. The list is only as limited as your imagination.
The Surrounding Area
The next step is to consider the overall design scheme. Take a look at the yard and see what is already there. Do you have trees? What about a garden? Is there a pool? Is there an existing patio? All these elements can be incorporated into your outdoor kitchen idea. When considering which direction to take, be sure to incorporate your entire yard into the overall vision of your new kitchen in order to get the most "oomph" out of your hard-earned dollars. A graceful stone walkway that winds through a beautiful flourishing garden is easy and inexpensive for do-it-yourselfers. Adding a fountain, water feature, hot tub, swimming pool or small pond - particularly with a small bridge or koi - adds personality as well as a calming influence. The lighting throughout can be varied, from overhead "party" lights to muted walkway lighting. You can add outdoor speakers for music - whether or not you want to blast Lynyrd Skynyrd is up to you.
In The Chilly Weather
After the selection of appliances the key to the perfect outdoor kitchen is ambiance. Photo courtesy of Gayler Construction, Danville, CA.
Even when the Summer is long-gone, you will get a lot of use out of your new outdoor haven. A fireplace can be built into your new kitchen or a simple chiminea or outdoor heater can add just the right ambiance (and warmth ) needed for a cozy Fall day or evening. Of course, there are the always-fun tiki torches.
Now That You're Done
An outdoor kitchen adds so much - not just in terms of value to your home but in terms, too, of value to your quality of life. Get-togethers with friends, family parties, and business gatherings will be long remembered when the setting is in an outdoor kitchen area that offers fresh-cooked food, comfortable places to sit, fresh air, and a welcoming, relaxing ambiance that exudes warmth and charm.
Frequently Asked Questions
In addition to accommodating your pool-side needs, J. Tortorella Pools of Southampton can assist you with installing your dream outdoor kitchen. Photo courtesy of Tortorella Pools
Jim Koch from Bar-Boy in Hampton Bays states that clients considering adding an outdoor kitchen frequently ask these questions:
• How much will it cost? "The cost can range anywhere from $3,000 up."
• Are the appliances weather-resistant? "They are made for outdoors."
• How much room is this going to take up? "It depends on the layout of the design."
• Do I need a cover/roof over it? "It is not necessary but I recommend it."