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.
Do you think that Spring is the only time to plant native grasses and flowers? If so, you’re not alone—that’s a common misconception. But Olathe landscapers will tell you it’s simply not true. With a little bit of planning and preparation once the calendar flips to Fall, you can start establishing warm season grasses and native wildflowers before it’s time to decorate your Christmas tree.
In fact, with native grasses in particular, dormant season seeding (Fall, in this case) imitates natural reseeding. Once frost sets in, things change a bit: frost seeding (which is the spreading of seed over frozen soil after the first killing frost) results in some natural stratification—which means that the seed and seed coat change enough to enhance germination. There’s also good seed-to-soil contact because of the moisture frost brings.
Even though this can all be done successfully in the Fall and Winter, most germination probably won’t occur until Spring; the exception to this might be some cool season species. This is when working closely with an Olathe or Johnson County landscaping company can be especially beneficial; not only can Olathe landscape architects help you understand which plants are native to the area, but they can also help you determine when and where to plant for the best results. Curious who you’ll work with if you choose us? Learn a bit about us here.
There are disadvantages to seeding during dormant seasons. Seed loss is possible, usually due to decay and consumption by wildlife. Weeds can also be an issue—in fact, the best time to start preventing weeds is when the weather is cooler, before the weeds germinate and start to take root. Smart tip: take the time to mulch well. Not only will doing so hinder weed growth, but it will help the soil retain moisture and provide protection for seeds and soil.
Curious and want to know more about native Kansas plants? The best thing to do is to talk to an Olathe landscape architect or Olathe landscaper. Another great resource is the Kansas Native Plant Society.
What else should you be doing to make the most of these cool Fall days? Prune and trim perennial plants, shrubs, and hedges. Pruning trees can be a monster of a job—and sometimes it’s best left to a professional landscaper. Not sure if you should try it on your own or bring in an Olathe landscaping company? Ask us!
Once you’ve trimmed, make sure to remove clippings, branches, fall leaves, and other debris from your lawn. Why? Anything that covers your grass impedes sunlight, and when the sun’s rays can’t reach your grass, growth can be slowed or even stopped. This all leads to a lawn that looks more lackluster than lush—and might even leave dead or spotty patches in your yard.
Speaking of Mulch…
Mulch looks good, no doubt. But it also serves as a blanket of sorts for the soil and the roots below—and happy roots mean happy plants! Different areas require different mulch strategies; you want beds to have 1-2 inches of mulch, but you don’t want to cover the trunks of shrubs or trees. Once severely cold weather is imminent, tender and early-flowering plants will need extra protection. Consider staking around the plants and covering them with burlap to keep them as protected as possible.