Backyard Tailgates: Outdoor Kitchens and Bars

Stone backyardIn recent years, backyard spaces have been transformed. Instead of big lawns and little patios of decades ago, homeowners are drawn to properties with functional, usable outdoor spaces. Homeowners are installing outdoor kitchens and bars, filling their green space with beautiful gathering spaces where family and friends come together to eat, drink and be merry.

Why An Outdoor Living Space?

There are many reasons to install an outdoor living space in your home. Whether you’re planning to sell your home in a few years or you hope to live in your house for the next several decades, you can enjoy the many benefits of an outdoor living area.

  • Property value. Homebuyers love outdoor living spaces, and will pay extra for nice features like an outdoor kitchen, bar, dining room or living room.
  • Entertainment. Do you love hosting parties or inviting guests to your home? If you’re the king of the outdoor barbecue, then you’re almost certainly going to love having an outdoor kitchen or bar, where guests and family members alike can spend time lounging, watching you cook, and enjoying time together.
  • Functionality. With an outdoor kitchen and bar, you can have as many guests as you want without making a mess in your house.

How to Make Your Outdoor Kitchen or Bar Standout

Once you’ve made the decision to install a living space in your yard, it’s important to choose a design that is functional as well as attractive. Below are some suggestions for making the most of your exterior upgrade.

Install Lighting

Outdoor lighting is important after the sun goes down. To facilitate parties that go on into the night, install exterior lighting that is warm, cheerful and strategically positioned.

Garden lighting that’s low to the ground will prevent accidents like trips and falls, while strings of cafe lights or Chinese lanterns can make the space feel festive. Your contractor can help you choose a variety of lighting options to make your outdoor space feel comfortable and safe for your guests.

Provide Shelter

We get regular rain here in Ohio! You’ll get a lot more mileage out of your outdoor kitchen or bar if you can provide shelter over your outdoor living space. Some homeowners do this by placing their outdoor bar or kitchen under a deck that provides shelter from wind and rain.

Other homeowners shelter their space by positioning it under an overhang attached to their house. Even if your outdoor living space is positioned in the middle of your yard, you can still provide a shelter separate from your house. Work with your contractor to build a roof over your outdoor living space that will provide shade, shelter, a place to hang a ceiling fan on hot days, and a place to position your outdoor heaters on cooler days.

Landscape the Area

Landscaping creates a beautiful frame for your outdoor living space. Work with a landscaping contractor with a style and sensibility that matches your own, and with an understanding of the best landscaping flowers, shrubs and trees for an Ohio property.

With proper landscaping positioned around your outdoor kitchen or bar, you can create an environment that is both natural and comforting. Tropical plants make your outdoor space feel exotic, while easy to maintain perennials provide a great return on investment with annual blooms and beauty.

Plan Ahead

Work closely with other members of your family to decide what your goals are for your outdoor space. Before meeting with a contractor to discuss your exterior upgrade, have a plan in place for what you’d like to accomplish with your home improvement.

Think about your use of the space year-round, including the size of the parties you hope to have, whether you plan to use the space in the summer only or throughout the year, and what kind of activities you’d like to do in that space.

Maybe you hope to cook and serve drinks to friends – or maybe you only really want a place where you can prepare food. Knowing ahead of time what you hope to do with your living space can help ensure you’ll accomplish what you hope to accomplish.

Hire the Right Contractor

Hiring the right contractor is so important for a big home improvement like the construction of an outdoor kitchen. Hire a contractor who has experience performing hardscaping and landscaping installation.

The contractor should be able to discuss similar projects they’ve worked on, and should be able to show you pictures of their previous projects, so you can see for yourself how they work and the quality they produce. Some more tips:

  • Check references. Talk to homeowners who have worked with that landscape contractor to finish similar projects.
  • Interview multiple contractors. Meeting with multiple contractors can help you decide which qualities are most important in a contractor, which makes the decision-making process easier.
  • Read the contract. Read the contract thoroughly to ensure that you’re comfortable with the details of your agreement with your contractor. Pay close attention to the payment schedule, scope of work and time frame.
  • Meet in person. Never work with a landscape contractor that would work with you sight-unseen.

Contact Hidden Creek Landscaping

Are you hoping to install an outdoor bar or kitchen on your property? Hidden Creek Landscaping can help you with the planning, design and installation of this home improvement project. With over 20 years in the landscaping business, we know what Ohio homeowners expect from their landscaping and hardscaping projects. Call today to make an appointment for your free consultation to discuss your plans for your outdoor space.

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Tips For Cooking In The Outdoor Kitchen of Your Dreams

2419_Onandaga-6Outdoor kitchens can add an entirely new dimension to any backyard. They are also great for adding tremendous value to a property. These gems can range from simple to extremely elaborate. Some of these kitchens are complete with amenities like grill, oven, island, countertops, sink and a bar area.

Your dream outdoor kitchen will be largely determined by your budget and design preferences. However, regardless of the kitchen you decide on, it is important to think about the relationship between the outdoor and indoor kitchens. You should consider things like the traffic pattern between the two spaces and how they will be used when entertaining. A great flow between both kitchens will make using them more seamless.

In addition, the design of your dream outdoor kitchen should complement the architecture and landscape of your property. This can be done by using compatible materials and incorporating understated architectural details.

Ideally, low-maintenance equipment and materials should be used in your outdoor kitchen. They should also be able to endure the rigors of the elements. If your kitchen is easy to clean and maintain, you will be more likely to use it on a regular basis. High-quality stainless steel can provide a sanitary, easily-cleaned and corrosion-resistant surface. This makes it a popular choice among homeowners. Countertop materials should also have the capacity to withstand high temperatures and be extremely resistant to grease stains.

A reputable landscaping professional will assist you in designing the outdoor kitchen of your dreams. With help from the above-mentioned outdoor tips, you can tell the designer your ideas and collaborate in creating the perfect outdoor kitchen for you.

Having the outdoor kitchen of your dreams will open up a world of possibilities where cooking and entertaining is concerned. It could also create a highly-functional and visually-appealing centerpiece for your landscape.

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Patio Design Ideas For The Cooler Season

Tips To Creating A Landscape DesignThe weather has turned colder so it’s time to cocoon inside the house around the fire. That’s not necessarily true for many Ohio homeowners who are increasingly using the their backyard entertainment areas during three out of four seasons. As long as there isn’t a foot of snow on the ground, there’s no reason that you can’t have a cookout and enjoy your gorgeous outdoor space in the colder months. All it takes are some creative patio design tips to keep you and you guests warm and toasty.

Create a Windbreak. One of the most useful backyard tips for creating a usable patio design in colder months is to make sure that you have a windbreak to prevent cold winds from chasing everyone indoors. Work with your landscaping architect to determine from which direction prevalent winds blow during colder months and set up a berm or a decorative wall in that area to block breezes. Another option is to place your patio in a naturally sheltered area of your yard.

Add an Outdoor Fireplace or Fire pit. A source of heat is essential for outdoor entertaining during colder weather. From small portable firepits for informal spaces to gorgeous masonry fireplaces, the addition of heat to your outdoor entertaining area is a must. These features not only add atmosphere to your parties, but will also add value to your property.

Patio Heaters. Even with an outdoor fireplace or firepit, it’s a good idea to add patio heaters, particularly if your entertainment area is large. The further away you go from the heat source, the colder it will get. Patio heaters are available in electric or propane types and come in stand-alone, tabletop or wall-mounted models. If possible, make sure you place heaters under overhangs or awning to trap as much heat as possible as warm air rises.

Outdoor Kitchen. This is a feature that you will use all year, but make sure you have plenty of storage space as well as a food preparation area. After all, who wants to go walking back and forth to the house in cold weather.

Outdoor Seating. Use furniture that retains warmth, but not moisture. Pick furniture with insulated padding and a water-proof protective surface that will retain body heat during cooler weather.

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Cooking In The Outdoor Kitchen Of Your Dreams

An outdoor kitchen is one of the most desirable features for homeowners today. During the winter, begin planning the layout for the ultimate cook’s entertaining area. Once the warmer weather hits, you will be able to host family and friends in a unique, comfortable setting. Take full advantage of yard spaces by transforming a bland patio into a fully equipped kitchen that you’ll love using.

What to Include

When designing your outdoor kitchen, you have to select the appliances that you need and want. Options include a refrigerator, wine cooler, gas range top, grill, and even a dishwasher. If you love barbecue, then you’ll likely want a gas or charcoal grill, and perhaps even a smoker. Storage space below the counters will make it easy to store dishes and utensils. You can make your outdoor kitchen as luxurious or low key as you want.

Prep & Dining

Low counters are ideal for prepping up food before tossing it on the grill. Even if you are working with a small space, you will want to have at least one area of the counter that is installed at a lower height. If space allows, add bar height counters where guests can sit and relax. This makes it easy to chat and spend time together as you cook. The ability to entertain and prepare food at the same time is what makes an outdoor kitchen so great.

Having an outdoor entertaining area that you truly love to use will make parties and casual gatherings much more enjoyable. You can prepare all of your favorite dishes for friends and family, without feeling like you’re spending all of your time alone in the kitchen. There are no limits to the features that can be included, so get creative and design the kitchen of your dreams right in your back yard.

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