The backyard is no longer merely a place to keep a bit of garden furniture or your grill. Today, outdoor living areas are often an extension of your home, complete with living, entertainment and kitchen areas. You can even incorporate zone based entertainment and sound systems. As summer approaches, you can move out into the backyard without sacrificing style, comfort or amenities.

Planning Your Outdoor Kitchen

There are a number of factors to consider when creating your outdoor living space, but just like inside your home, at its heart should be the kitchen. The costs of outdoor kitchen areas can vary from a couple of thousand dollars to upwards of $30,000. So, you will need to consider your budget to determine what you can include in your design. Outdoor kitchens almost always include a grille and possibly an integrated refrigerator, but have you thought about plumbing in a sink or adding an icemaker?

If you want to take your outdoor experience to a whole new level, you may want to consider a rotisserie or pizza oven. Even if you want to stick to just using a grill, there are so many options available that can include roasting spits, griddles, burners, smokers and warming drawers. If you plan on using your outdoor kitchen throughout the summer, you may need storage space and prep counters, but don’t forget about a bar height counter for your guests and that all important sound system, so you don’t miss out on the fun when you’re cooking.

Create a Layout

Once you’ve planned your outdoor kitchen, you’ll need to start thinking about the rest of your space. You will need to think about how you want to use this space and how your plans can fit into your yard. The best approach is to divide your yard into zones and plan out potential traffic patterns. Knowing the flow of traffic will help you to design your space, planning for seating and creating pathways for any landscape elements or containers. Remember, that your layout can be complemented by splashes of color and texture, so allow space for pots and plants.

Choose a Fire

To properly define your outdoor space, you’ll need a focal point. In most cases, the best focal point is a fire. Your options can range from an outdoor fire pit up to a built up fireplace, but some form of fire will offer an aesthetic and practical feature. The right fire will create an enjoyable spot for reading or draw the crowds at the end of a gathering with friends. There are lots of options for fires from portable to permanent features, different fuel types and a myriad of styles. You will need to check the local zoning and building laws for fire safety and placement.

Think About Seating

Of course, no outdoor living space would be complete without seating. Your choice of seating is very important and needs to be both practical and attractive. Don’t just think about everyday use, but also the what will be needed for neighborhood gatherings and parties. While stools, benches, and lounges can provide excellent seating options, you can always add instant additional seating with some throw pillows on a low wall. Try to use a variety of types and sizes of seats as your space and budget allow, but pay careful attention to how the seating positioning will affect traffic. You can also use your strategically placed seating to define different spaces.

No outdoor living area is complete without the right appliances. There is a variety of popular outdoor appliances that can be used to create a fantastic outdoor entertainment area for gatherings, parties or even just relaxing and enjoying the sunshine.
Browse this online collection of outdoor appliances for a variety of superb products, or you could speak to a home appliance specialist for further help.