Kitchens are definitely one of the hottest trends in outdoor living design, and the centerpiece of any outdoor kitchen is the cooking station. Whether you have a gourmet outdoor kitchen, a modest grill island, or you’re planning to build something in the future, we have some fiery ideas for outfitting your outdoor cooking station to improve the functionality of your space.
1. Lots and Lots of Prep Space
Any home chef needs room to breathe if he or she is to succeed in making their culinary masterpieces. Regarding outdoor kitchens, this is no different. With an expansive prep space at hand, your kitchen is optimized for efficiency at any and all stages of cooking. You can never have too much countertop space, which will keep you from having to run back and forth inside during meal prep. Plus, countertops can also function as serving tables and bar-style dining areas once the meal is ready. If you’re working with a grill island, or you simply don’t have the square footage for more countertops, considering using a rolling cart that you can move when not in use.
2. A Spot for Every Cook in the Kitchen
A summer pool party can easily bring in upwards of 25+ people. The guest list always seems to grow somehow. No matter how many guests show up, it helps to have multiple cooking surfaces in addition to the standard built-in outdoor grill. Plus, although charcoal enthusiasts will swear the flavor is superior (this blogger agrees), you simply don’t always have the time to wait for the coals to be “perfect” and sometimes just need to be able to turn on the gas and get to grilling. And if you talk to anyone who has a griddle or a brick oven in their outdoor kitchen, be prepared for a lengthy conversation on how they don’t know how they ever lived without it. Other popular cooking surfaces include ceramic kamodo-style grills and gas burners for large pots or frying.
3. Throw Some Shade
Unless you live somewhere where it rarely rains and the temperature is always mild (a.k.a. California), you’re going to need your cooking station to be covered. It gets HOT standing in front of a grill. And no one wants to hold an umbrella while flipping burgers. Keep in mind that shaded areas do not have to take away from the beauty of your patio entertainment area but can become a design element in itself. This can be accomplished with an earthy pergola, a farmhouse-inspired pavilion or a colorful canopy. For a more natural aesthetic, consider integrating some flowering vines, ivies or other climbing plants. To add a festive atmosphere, you can never go wrong with edison-style string lights.
4. Be that Person with the Outdoor Brick Oven
Yes, we’ve already mentioned brick ovens, but they are so worth mentioning again. There are two prominent benefits of cooking in a wood-burning brick oven versus a traditional oven: the better dispersion of temperature and the additional level of flavor. And there are more options than you might think. Belgard offers a full line that range from mobile and countertop brick ovens to gorgeous stone-clad brick oven kits for a custom built-in look. Aside from the swagger that accompanies having one, a brick oven presents numerous cooking opportunities for amazing wood-fired meals. Even though an outdoor brick oven is often referred to as an outdoor pizza oven, it is not just for cooking pizza. Here are a few brick oven recipes to get the creative juices flowing!
5. Seating for Your Audience… (umm, guests)
Preparing dishes in the kitchen is a visually stimulating affair. With you home chefs out there putting on shows, why not give your audience a front row seat? Bar seating or built-in seating near the cooking station creates a cozy atmosphere to enhance the outdoor cooking experience. An additional bonus to constructing permanent seating is that you won’t have to fuss at your kids for leaning too far back on the chairs. With no chair legs to break, rust or unravel, the only things you’ll need to change out each season are the throw pillows.
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This post was originally written and published on Belgard.com
Belgard is excited to announce that the new Verona™ collection of Porcelain Pavers is now available nationwide! The Verona line emulates a variety of natural stones to create distinctive contemporary outdoor living designs. Each available color was specifically fashioned to closely mimic the natural qualities of a different quarried stone, including intricate color striations and a polished stone texture.
Verona – Blue Stone
Verona Porcelain Pavers are available in 24″x24″ pieces to create stunning contemporary designs. These large-scale pavers rise above and beyond traditional paver products with a lighter weight, outstanding cleanability and durability, and an extremely high compressive strength. They offer an ultra-low water absorption rate, which creates a highly impenetrable surface. This allows the pavers to fend off surface mold, moss, dirt and other types of stains found in exterior environments (including oil and red wine). These maintenance-free pavers do not require any sealers and are unaffected by efflorescence or discoloration, making them perfect for use around water features and pools.
Another huge benefit with Belgard Porcelain Pavers is the product line’s installation versatility. Porcelain Pavers can be installed over a grass, gravel or concrete base, depending upon the application. For uneven surfaces and rooftop terraces, Porcelain Pavers can also be installed using a pedestal system, which also allows future access to utilities that run underneath. With the proper installation, Porcelain Pavers can even support vehicular loads, providing spectacular curb appeal for both residential and commercial use.
For more information, visit the Verona product page or click the image below to download the data sheet.
This post was originally written and published on Belgard.com
There was a time when a simple patio or deck was the height of backyard outdoor living. Today, we have transcended to a place where our outdoor spaces rival and often surpass the look and livability of our indoor spaces. The latest trend on this design journey is to merge our outdoor and indoor living spaces in a way that allows the backyard to be a true extension of the home. Here are some ideas on how to accomplish this.
1 – Use Complementary Architecture
When designing an outdoor living space, use materials and architectural touches that mirror the interior space. For example, if the interior includes arches, transoms or large beams, similar touches can be incorporated in the exterior spaces. You can also mirror architectural materials such as light fixtures, countertops and flooring in your exterior spaces. Just remember to buy the outdoor-rated versions for durability in the harsher environment.
2 – Create Seamless Transitions
For climates that allow this as an option, collapsible doors provide the perfect opportunity to create a seamless transition between the indoor and outdoor environment. This is not realistic in some climates due to excessive temperatures, mosquitoes and other factors. For these scenarios, the look can be accomplished with large windows, sliding doors or screened enclosures. It also helps to have the initial zone of the outdoor space at the same floor height so there’s not a step up or down when going in or out.
3 – Incorporate Cohesive Design Schemes
If you’re limited by architecture or climate and want to create a sense of flow to the outdoors, continue the same decorating motif used in the adjoining room. Use similar color schemes, furniture styles, rugs, lamps, vases and other accessories.
4 – Make the Space More Functional
If you really want your outdoor space to be cohesive with your indoor space, it needs to be a place where people want to hang out. That means adding functional elements like a bar, outdoor kitchen or fire feature.
5 – Link Entertainment Zones
Adding a television is a no-brainer, which is easy enough to link with your home’s system. But you’ll also want to add WiFi extenders to improve internet connectivity. To really enhance the sense of flow from the indoors out, add audio speakers and connect them with your home’s entertainment system. That way, you can hear the same background sounds when walking from one space to the next.