It’s almost here: Daylight Savings Time has given us more light-filled hours and the calendar says that soon it will be Spring. While it might not be quite time to toss your scarves and gloves for flip-flops and bathing suits, it is the perfect time to get your outdoor kitchen ready for Spring fun.
If you took the time to prepare your Olathe outdoor kitchen space for winter weather, you likely covered most surfaces to insulate and to keep snow and debris from accumulating on surfaces, clogging drains, and staining finishes. So when the weather starts to warm up, it’s time to strip the heavy winter coverings from your space and start from a clean slate.
Think Before You Do
Just like Spring cleaning, getting your outdoor kitchen ready for warm-weather parties, BBQs, and quiet family nights takes a little elbow grease. You’ll need to scrub away any debris, clean surfaces, and freshen the space so it’s ready to use.
Before you do—or while you’re cleaning, if you like to multi-task—take some time to think about how you want to use the space. If you’re planning many parties with neighbors, family, and friends, you might want to consider additional seating or storage. Or you might upgrade your grill, add another cooking surface, or shop for new cookware.
Work in Stages
Sadly, It’s true: it’s still cold enough outside that temperatures will dip below freezing. So you might not be hooking up your water source again, but you could be thinking ahead and breaking your summer-kitchen plan into easy steps. This is the perfect time to decide how you want to refresh or upgrade your space. Have you dreamed of a stone fire pit? How about a pergola? The best part of planning is the ability to make the space truly your own—and that’s what we love to do.
Do you have questions about how to transform your outdoor space from ho-hum to WOW? We’d love to help you, so reach out to start the conversation.
Be honest…have you ever thought of making a holiday meal in your Olathe outdoor kitchen? Picture it: a twinkling landscape of snow as your backdrop, blazing fire in your custom-built fire pit, and your family and friends in cozy coats, fuzzy hats, and super-warm gloves gathered round to toast the blessings of the holidays. All that’s missing is the food, right?
Grilling a Holiday Meal
If you have an outdoor kitchen, you can plan and execute a holiday meal made—if not entirely, then partially—outdoors. Like any other successful party, the process begins with planning. Do you want a traditional meal? Are you feeling adventuresome and want to change things up by preparing a non-traditional feast? How about timing: do you have your heart set on dinner, or would a lunch—or even a brunch—be better? Take some time now to really think about what you want; that will make pulling off an impressive gathering much easier.
Bring on the Bird!
Now it’s time to get down to details. Going traditional? You can cook a turkey on your outdoor grill, provided the grill is large enough to accommodate the bird you choose. You can prepare sides, too; roasted vegetables are easy either wrapped in foil or skewered, but you can make other things in cast iron cookware: stuffing, casseroles, and even dinner rolls. You can even make dessert on the grill! In this respect, cooking a meal in your Olathe outdoor kitchen isn’t much different than cooking indoors: you still have to make a schedule and figure out what takes longer to cook. Start there—and keep your options open, just in case you hit a snag or two.
Get a Little Crazy
Not feeling a traditional menu this year? Hosting an Olathe outdoor kitchen holiday meal gives you the perfect backdrop to change things up. Consider grilling your favorites; ribs are especially good for a crowd! Fill your table with other non-traditional holiday foods like grilled corn on the cob, roasted potatoes, and baked beans (cooked in cast iron, of course).
Other options include a chili fest, burgers and brats, or a potluck. This is your party—you get to make the rules! Just be sure to let your guests know ahead of time what to expect; you don’t want anyone disappointed because they thought “holiday meal” meant turkey or ham and the typical fixings.
Make It Cozy
Don’t forget to make sure your guests are comfortable–and in this case, details count. Have extra wraps or blankets ready, stock up on knit gloves and mittens, be sure you have plenty of warm drinks, and have a warming spot inside just in case someone needs to take a break from the cold.
Let’s Talk Logistics
You’d never throw a party without cleaning and prepping your home, would you? Same holds true for an outside holiday party. Take time now to make sure each component of your kitchen is in working order, plan for adequate—and warm—seating, and plan for Plan B: keep the inside warm and ready, too, just in case one or more of your guests needs a break from your winter wonderland. Check out our tips for prepping your Olathe outdoor kitchen for cold weather, or give us a call to discuss your needs. We’re always here to help!
Wondering how to create an outdoor kitchen or need help planning your backyard landscape? We might be based in Olathe, but we plan and create outdoor kitchens throughout the Kansas City Metro. Check out our Facebook page for photos of recent projects or reach out to learn more.
If the colder temperatures crept up and surprised you this past week or so, don’t despair! Instead, use it as a reminder that it’s time to take care of your Olathe outdoor kitchen spaces so they’re all safe once winter really hits and ready to enjoy once Spring comes again.
This is particularly true of outdoor kitchen spaces. If you want to be ready to grill burgers once the weather is more temperate, it’s imperative that you take care of your space and equipment now: make sure it’s cleaned, that water sources are turned off, and that each element is winterized. Keep reading for tips on each.
Have an outdoor sink, refrigerator, or ice maker? Make sure to shut off the water supply to each (if you’re in the planning stages of designing your outdoor kitchen space, consider an indoor shutoff), drain each line, and either unplug or turn off circuit breakers that power these pieces of equipment. Letting water sit in pipes in freezing temperatures can cause pipes to crack or burst. Drain valves should remain open.
When you clean your refrigerator and ice maker, start by removing all contents, trays, and bins. Clean and then carefully wipe the interior to remove all traces of moisture—and don’t cover these appliances. Your intentions might be good, but moisture can build up and cause damage.
Remember to remove sink faucets and store them inside.
Not sure how to properly winterize your outdoor pipes for the winter? We’re here to help! Just give us a call or send a question.
If you have stone countertops, be diligent about sealing the surfaces before winter hits to prevent stains, chips, and cracks. Remember that freezing moisture isn’t your friend and can wreak havoc on your Olathe outdoor kitchen.
If you have an outdoor grill, be sure to secure its cover securely. Same is true with sinks. Covers that fit well and are secured help prevent debris from accumulating and settling in drains and pipes; they also help extend the life of your equipment.
We know how cold temperatures can plunge in Olathe and the Johnson County area! Make like a grizzly and let your outdoor space hibernate. Moving things around can cause breakage—just think about how brittle everything gets when ice heads our way. The chance of damaging equipment is just too high, so once you have everything in place, leave it be until next Spring.
Have other equipment in your Olathe outdoor kitchen and want to be sure your space is protected well before the elements hit? Curious what an Olathe landscaper can do to improve your outdoor space? We’re here to help and love customizing our solutions to each client’s wishes. Call us at 913-782-1333.
While wintertime may not be the ideal time to build an outdoor kitchen, there’s no reason you can’t improve the one you’ve got. With that in mind, we wanted to detail a few ways our clients have been adding, improving, and updating.
At Huston Contracting, we specialize in Olathe outdoor kitchens. We know how important an outdoor gathering space can be for families and friends. We also know a few minor tweaks can take your space from a place to cook to the premier gathering spot in the neighborhood.
With that in mind, here are a few different ways you can improve your Olathe outdoor kitchen in the coming year:
One quick and simple way to add a ton of value to your outdoor kitchen? Strip lighting. Use strip lighting to highlight stairs, walkways, and so much more. You can even put lighting under fixed seating areas and storage units.
Strip lighting partially makes a space look great, but there’s another aspect to it. Strip lighting is a safety feature when it’s dark out.
One way to add huge entertainment value to your outdoor kitchen area? Add a stunning fire pit that the whole family can sit around.
These days there’s a fire pit for every size and situation. They have some that can be moved around to different areas, while others are designed to stay in one place. They even have fire pits that can double as coffee tables.
Often, a family builds an outdoor kitchen with cooking and socializing in mind. Building an outdoor bar is often an afterthought. But maybe it shouldn’t be.
Most Olathe outdoor kitchens would only need a few minor updates and additions from a professional, like our staff here at Huston Contracting, to turn your outdoor kitchen into a bar/kitchen combo space.
At Huston Contracting, we’re a little partial to outdoor kitchens with natural stone. While you can build with any style you please, we’ve found natural stone truly compliments the outdoors better than almost any other material. If you’re looking for a quick improvement, add a little stone around the area.
Ok, this is a little bit more than a quick and simple improvement. In fact, most will want to work with professionals to add a covered porch to their outdoor kitchen.
But, there’s no denying the benefits of adding covered space. Many families start to use their outdoor kitchen more and more each passing year. Instead of taking the food inside, they want to eat it in the great outdoors – where it was cooked.
That’s where a covered porch comes in. Instead of baking in the sun or worrying about the rain, you simply cook the meal outdoors and then eat it under the comforts of your covered porch. A true win-win!
Fall is right around the corner and there has never been a better time for an Olathe outdoor kitchen installation. With all the exciting events coming up, you’ll have ample opportunity to gather friends and family for some good food and great company.
When exactly would you use your new Olathe outdoor kitchen? Well, let’s take a look. As part of your unique landscape design, these spaces offer endless entertainment opportunities. Some of our favorites include:
If you’re hosting a birthday party, then an outdoor kitchen offers the ideal place for you to host family and friends. You can cook, socialize, and host in the outdoors. No need for anyone to enter the house and make a huge mess.
Since birthdays can happen all year around, your outdoor kitchen may get a lot of action in the spring, summer, and fall. Hosting outdoors in the winter is never a great idea in Olathe, but you can use the grill to cook up some fresh meat.
Nothing says America like a backyard BBQ on the Fourth of July. Talk about a great time! With your new Olathe outdoor kitchen, you’ll be able to invite over the whole neighborhood for a day of fun in the sun and delicious food.
In Olathe, we really love our summertime holidays. Labor Day is another great time to put your outdoor kitchen to use. Kick off fall by having a smorgasbord in your stunning outdoor abode. That is the perfect time to catch up with friends and show them your new home.
Who doesn’t like some grilled steak fajitas on Cinco de Mayo? Cinco de Mayo is the official start of summer when Olathe outdoor kitchens are of concern. This holiday offers the perfect time to begin the grilling season for good.
Summer is truly here when Memorial Day rolls into Olathe. Invite all your pals over for an old fashioned BBQ at your outdoor kitchen. The sun will be shining and you can whip up a delicious meal while being outside.
You can use your outdoor kitchen to cook a great meal, enjoy the company of loved ones, or just relax whenever you want. You don’t need a special event or date to grill out or have friends over to your impressive area of landscape design.
If you’re ready to install an Olathe outdoor kitchen before winter rolls in, get in touch. Here at Huston Contracting, we can help you build the ideal landscape design throughout your property – including a unique outdoor grilling and seating area.
The summer is right around the corner. The sunshine is fine, and the heat is almost here. It’s almost pool time. Boating season isn’t far off. We’ll all be breaking out the bathing suits soon.
But that doesn’t mean you can neglect your lawn and landscaping. You should pay your yard a little more attention during this time of year. There are a few fun things that are best done during the summer landscaping season.
If you’re interested in doing some summer landscaping in Olathe, Kansas – get in touch. Here at Huston Contracting, our professional landscapers and designers work year around to keep your yard looking great.
A few of our summertime specialties include:
This should come as no surprise. Lawn care and maintenance are essential to keeping your landscape looking good in the summertime. With even a few weeks of neglect, you lush lawn could go from green to brown.
At Huston Contracting, we can help you keep things green and clean. Our experts offer services like:
There’s nothing better than a good ole’ fashion Kansas City barbecue. Well, except for one that happens in your backyard outdoor kitchen. Put simply – there’s no better time to install an Olathe outdoor kitchen than the summer.
You’ll get more use out of your outdoor kitchen in the summer and fall than any other months. You’ll be able to host barbecues and gatherings with ease – all from the comfort of your home.
For veteran Olathe landscapers looking to take things to the next level, nothing says “pro” like adding a water feature or two to your yard. At Huston Contracting, we can change the focus of your landscape by offering features like:
Remember how amazing the fireplace feels inside your home during the winter months? Adding an outdoor fireplace to your landscape can offer similar benefits during the breezy summer nights in Olathe.
If you’re looking for focal point of your landscape to change, an outdoor fireplace can do just that in the backyard.
No matter what type of Olathe landscaping services you need, we can help change the look of your yard this summer. From irrigation design to natural stone installation to sod installation and drainage solutions – Huston Contracting is a full-service professional landscaping company.
Summer is nearly here. Don’t wait another day. If you’re looking to tackle some big landscaping projects before the blistering heat, get in touch today. Our team looks forward to hearing from you and helping you have the best yard in the whole neighborhood!
It’s that time of the year, again. It’s cold, but in less than two months the weather is going to take an expected turn for the better. Instead of below-freezing temperatures, we’ll be greeted with warm weather and the sunshine. If you’re anything like me, you can’t wait.
And what does warm weather bring? Cooking outdoors! There’s never a better time to get out in your Olathe outdoor kitchen and whip up some delicious eats.
Outdoor Kitchen Trends to Watch in 2017
With the excitement of the spring grilling season in mind, let’s look at some changes in cooking outside. Here are four Olathe outdoor kitchen trends to watch in 2017:
Gone are the days of prepping the food inside and then bringing it outside to grill. These days you can set up your Olathe outdoor kitchen so you can get all of your cooking done with nature. And how can you do it? By adding functional zones to your outdoor kitchen.
Add more counter space. When designing or adding on to your outdoor grilling mecca, make sure you add more counter space than you think you need. Think of a plan that seamlessly flows from the refrigerator to the counters to the grill. If socializing is on the docket, don’t forget to include a bar area around the grill, too.
Traditionally, the grill has been the focal point of the outdoor kitchen. Pretty much everyone knows this. However, things are changing in 2017. Outdoor cooking options are becoming more robust, and people want variety. Hot dogs and hamburgers are only tasty so many times in a row.
Enter open-flame barbecues and pizza ovens. Many people who love cooking outdoors have added one of these two options to their outdoor cooking areas. If you’re feeling really crazy, you could even add a wood-fired pizza oven to your outdoor kitchen to up the ante in the neighborhood.
Olathe outdoor kitchens have been steadily evolving. At first, you probably had a grill, a few chairs, and an umbrella. Then people started adding counter space and stainless steel appliances. Now, it’s time to take things up a notch.
Some of the best outdoor kitchen designs we’ve seen have been incorporating open-air patio structures to protect their outdoor cooking haven. These covered kitchens feel outside, but still protect the space from rain, sleet, and snow!
If you’re going to invest into your outdoor haven, then don’t forget about the entertainment options. Beer taps, flat-screen TVs, plush lounge chairs, and wine refrigerators have all been incorporated into modern outdoor kitchen designs.
Olathe outdoor kitchens are a bit different than the kitchens we find inside our homes. See, your indoor kitchen offers numerous options and materials for homeowners to choose from. When you go outdoors, you have a lot fewer options due to one primary factor – Mother Nature.
While grilling outside is amazing, the only way your Olathe outdoor kitchens become your grill’s best friend is through proper material selection. Selecting wrong materials for your cabinets, countertops and more will lead to an outdoor kitchen disaster.
How to Select Olathe Outdoor Kitchens Cabinets
No matter the material you select – less sunlight will always equal extra longevity. Make sure to design your outdoor kitchen with cabinets that receive as little sun as possible. Use angles and the direction of the sun to ensure your cabinets last just as long as your grill will.
The higher quality the material, the longer your cabinets will last. At Huston Contracting, we recommend stainless steel or marine-grade polymer when installing Olathe outdoor kitchen cabinets. Installing teak cabinets is also an option, but these types of cabinets will often need refinishing if exposed to a lot of sun.
One popular outdoor kitchen design is building the cabinets into the frame or skeleton of the kitchen. This saves space and reduces the amount of work during the installation. As well, many homeowners shield cabinets from too much direct sunlight by using this type of design.
One of the best parts about creating your custom Olathe outdoor kitchen is the ability to create a unique design. Many individuals add a refrigerator to the skeleton of their outdoor kitchen. Don’t be afraid to get creative when designing your space.
Your outdoor kitchen is your oasis. Get creative and design your space exactly how you want it. Just remember some basics of outdoor kitchen cabinets. High quality materials properly placed will save you money and energy in the long run.
At Huston Contracting, we strive to be the premier Olathe landscapers. If you have any outdoor kitchen design or development needs, we’d love to help you out. Get in touch today and let’s work on creating your ideal outdoor cooking mecca!
Nothing marks the summer like a good ole’ fashioned backyard BBQ, unless you’re the cook without an Olathe outdoor kitchen.
Instead of having fun, you’re stuck inside cooking and running food out to the guests. You don’t get to join in on the laughs or make memories. You just slave over the food inside while others enjoy outside.
It Doesn’t Have to Be
Cooks can enjoy backyard BBQs again by updating or adding an Olathe outdoor kitchen without it being too difficult. Here are a few great ideas to spruce up or create the ideal outdoor cooking place.
As landscapers, we’ve seen it all. One of the things we find funny is homeowners who install a lavish, yet incomplete outdoor kitchen. Focus on the basics of Olathe outdoor kitchen design before getting to lavish.
A basic outdoor kitchen will have a grill, stove or both. Then you’ll want to add in a food preparation area (countertop or all-weather table), a shelter for the cook(s), lighting to ensure you can cook and converse after nightfall, and if you’re feeling ambitious – appliances and a sink.
It’s always surprising to find an outdoor kitchen that doesn’t blend in with the home and the surrounding outdoors spaces. All too often we see an outdoor kitchen that looks like an extension of the house, but it doesn’t integrate the “outdoor” aspect of the space whatsoever.
While you want the outdoor kitchen to fit with your home, you always want to incorporate the outdoors into the space. Adding some plants to your outdoor kitchen may be the easiest way to do just that. With the variety of plants and flowers available, there’s always many options to find the perfect vibe of your kitchen.
Creating an alluring outdoor space has one unique advantage over updating indoors. Other than the ability to enjoy the great outdoors, you don’t have to worry much about walls, doors, windows, ceilings and more when focusing on an Olathe outdoor kitchen.
All you have to worry about is flooring. Don’t be afraid to invest in patio material for your outdoor kitchen. Your flooring choice will ultimately go a long way in determining the style and cost of your new kitchen outside.
If you’re looking to update your Olathe outdoor kitchen and need a helping hand, we’d love to work with you. At Huston Contracting, we take pride in designing the ideal outdoor spaces for your every need. Get in touch today!
Entertaining family and friends is one of the best aspects of home ownerships. Everyone heads over to your place for an afternoon or evening of food, drinks, and good times. The host often comes away from these gatherings feeling exhausted and left out.
It’s hard to mingle when you’re stuck cooking and cleaning all day and night. No one wants to come inside and chat with the chef while a summer barbeque is going on in the backyard. Many homeowners find themselves away from all the action when hosting get-togethers.
The outdoor kitchen solves this problem and many more. Here are 9 essential Olathe outdoor kitchen design tips:
1) Keep good kitchen design principles
An outdoor kitchen is still a kitchen. You still must keep kitchen design principles intact. The cold areas, wet areas, hot areas, and dry areas must all work in unison. Make sure you allocate enough space for each.
2) Set and store
You don’t want to be continually heading back inside when cooking outside. Your outdoor kitchen design must include enough space to place and store everything you’ll need to prepare. This means ample countertop and refrigerator space.
3) Start with the floor
When beginning your outdoor kitchen design, you’ll want to start from the ground up. Plan the layout of your kitchen with the floor in mind. Pay attention to different weather elements you may encounter and select a durable flooring type before moving forward.
4) Outdoor materials and equipment
All materials in your outdoor kitchen should be made with outdoor materials. Stainless steel is great for an outdoor kitchen. Concrete countertops are long lasting. Even if your kitchen doesn’t bare all the elements due to certain factors – you’ll want to select materials that could.
5) Build it to blend in
One of the most valuable outdoor kitchen design tips I can give you is to blend it in. Your outdoor kitchen should not stand out from the design of your home. The space should add to your home’s ambience and blend in with the inside of your house.
6) Ambiance lighting is needed
The last thing you’ll want in your outdoor kitchen is bright light when you’re trying to relax. While you’ll need decent light to cook, you’ll also wish to incorporate ambience lighting for the times when you want to relax.
7) A bar area is important
You should think about incorporating a bar area into your outdoor kitchen. One of the best aspects of cooking outside is the opportunity to interact with others. Building a bar area around your outdoor kitchen will give you time to catch up with family and friends as you do your cooking.
8) Water and beer tap need to be at the end
You won’t want people bumping into you while you’re cooking. Even if they’re just trying to grab a glass of water, beer from the fridge, or some brew from the tap – they’ll be in your way. Build the water tap, beer tap, and refrigerator into an easily accessible area of the kitchen.
9) Include entertainment
A bar area, a lounging area, music, television, and more can all be included in your outdoor kitchen. Make sure you include entertainment in your initial outdoor kitchen design plans. It can be a hassle to add entertainment options after the fact.
As always, we recommend you consult with Huston Contracting Inc. before you start any Outdoor Kitchen Design in the Olathe or Johnson Country area!