When you think of your ideal outdoor kitchen space, which features first come to mind? Comfort, to be sure. Ease of use, aesthetically pleasing, super simple to take care of might be other attributes that we all want in our outdoor cooking space. We think three of the most important elements are the grill, countertops and seating space, and a fire pit.
We want it all when it comes to the grill, don’t we? The best grills are those that get the job done and look good doing it—but both of those requirements mean different things to different people.
Think about the bells and whistles when it comes to outdoor grill options: different temperature zones so you can whip up a steak and a batch of hot dogs; an option to slow cook side dishes like beans; and maybe even a rotisserie option for birds that are better than the big box store’s.
All of this translates to a few key components: the size of your cooking surface, how powerful the grill itself is, and how easy it is to use overall. And let’s not kid ourselves: money is an important factor here, too. Want a rotisserie? That ups your budget. Happy to keep things simple? A grill with a burner or two as its only perks will save you cash.
The surfaces in your outdoor cooking space need just as much attention as those inside your home. Maybe even more so, since the elements can be brutal to outdoor countertops and seating areas.
For this reason, durability should be at the top of your list when selecting both. Think stone, concrete, or tile. You can still make it your own—and even jazz it up with personalized touches—but these details are best when worked out with a professional. We can tell you how the design and material you want will react to temperature fluctuations that come with the seasons.
When you think about seating, think about location: do you want to cozy up close to the grill and other cooking surfaces, or do you want to be a bit removed? Are you someone who loves to crawl onto a barstool and eat with others, or do you like the intimacy of a table? How often will you invite guests—and how many seats will you need to accommodate a typical party?
There’s nothing better than gathering around a fire once the sun goes down—and if you look, you’ll see that there are fire pits that fit every budget and every design aesthetic. It’s best, though, to think before you jump.
Consulting with a professional is important, as is checking local ordinances to make sure fire pits are allowed in your area and checking with your insurance company to make sure you’re covered. Peace of mind and safety always have to come first.
Once you’ve taken care of those logistics, think about function first: how big do you want the fire pit to be? What materials will look gorgeous in your space? Do you want seating right around your fire pit and if so, for how many people?
All of these questions—and more—are things professional landscape architects discuss with clients before and during the process of working together. If you’re curious about working with an Olathe landscaper to make your outdoor kitchen dreams a reality, give us a call.
P.S. Ready to fire up your grill and have people over? Check out a few of these recipes for great meal ideas.
April showers bring…. summer grilling? OK, that’s not quite how the saying goes, but one of the best things about the weather turning warmer is that we can double our kitchen space by adding an outdoor kitchen area. If you love gathering family and friends in your outdoor space to enjoy food, fun, and warm weather, then it’s smart to prep your outdoor space now.
It might seem nice now to hang out in your yard, but in just a few short weeks it will be hot here again in Johnson County. Those intense summer rays aren’t just uncomfortable; they can also cause sunburns and make us want to head inside. When you’re planning your outdoor living space, be sure to include ample shade, whether that’s a custom-built outdoor kitchen, a patio shade, or umbrellas secured in strategic places.
You can also add shade with the right landscaping. Talk to your landscape architect about shrubs, trees, and other installations that can create cool havens on hot summer days.
No, you don’t have to know exactly what you’ll serve every time you dine outdoors! But it’s a good idea to know what you like to cook—and what your guests like to eat! Why? Because having the right tools for the job is important, and when it comes to your outdoor kitchen that usually means a grill—or more than one, depending on your plans. Working with a pro can help you make the most of your layout and will ensure that the space isn’t just beautiful, but also efficient.
You can’t have a hot summer BBQ without cold drinks, and you can’t have cold drinks without a refrigerator and/or an ice maker! You can have both in your outdoor kitchen, which means family and friends will spend more time with you outside than they will trudging into your kitchen for a quick sip of something cold.
Ready to make your outdoor living space the best it can be? Get in touch and ask us. We’d love to help you create an outdoor kitchen that’s perfect for you!
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.