Design Tips How-To

Design Considerations for Outdoor Living Spaces – Part 4

custom brick oven fireplace combo

Outdoor living space is a great home feature that will increase your home’s value.  It creates an outdoor focal point that will draw you outdoors and provides entertainment and recreation space throughout the year.  Whether you choose to relax with family or entertain with friends, an outdoor living space will add value and years of outdoor enjoyment to your home.  Adding an outdoor kitchen or fireplace to your backyard is a project that requires proper planning for successful results. This is the last of a four-part series of blogs detailing these factors to help you design the best outcome for your outdoor living space. 

Outdoor Kitchen Design

Make sure your outdoor kitchen has all the essential spaces:  prep, cook, serve, and clean.  Cold areas (refrigeration), hot areas (grills and cooktops), wet areas (sinks) and dry areas (prep counters and storage) must all work together effectively in proper proximity, each with enough allocated space.  Just like your indoor kitchen, you will need places to put items on and plenty of storage. The difference is they must all be waterproof and durable to temperature changes.

Including a bar top in your kitchen allows guests to sit and talk while you prepare and cook. This brings the party to the cook.  Many guests enjoy being close to the cook, and with a bar top, they can watch all the action while still staying out of the main kitchen space.

No outdoor kitchen is complete without a sink. This provides a convenient place to wash hands or dishes without having to run indoors.  Outdoor sinks are either fed with a hose or connected to the home’s water supply. Also, include a place to toss your trash so you can keep that beautiful outdoor kitchen looking clean!

Expert Tips!

  • For a customized look, coordinate your flooring, countertops, and cabinets just like you would with your indoor kitchen.
  • Locating your outdoor kitchen adjacent to your indoor kitchen will help you move food back and forth quickly.

Outdoor Fireplace and Kitchen Finishes

For either a built-in or freestanding style of outdoor living space, you can choose from a wide variety of finishes.  There are abundant options for fireplace materials such as brick, stacked stone, river rock, flagstone, fieldstone, limestone, concrete, marble, and even fire-resistant glass. 

Expert Tips!

  • Brick gives timeless appeal and traditional character to any fireplace. Brick veneer is affordable, available in various colors and textures, and easy to work with. 
  • Stone is an expensive material for an entire fireplace.  Stone cladding looks and feels like real stone, but it’s much less expensive.
  • Rock materials like river rock and flagstone offer interesting color variation, texture and an earthy appeal to your outdoor fireplace.
  • Concrete offers a modern or contemporary look that blends well with natural landscapes. 
  • Stucco is the least expensive material and comes in a variety of color and texture options. A stucco fireplace is great for a classic southwestern look.

Entertainment Features and Lighting

Incorporating music, lighting, and entertainment elements in the design eliminates the challenge of adding it later. There are many wireless system and speaker options available for ambient audio.  Televisions require special surfaces for exterior conditions, especially light-infiltration and water-infiltration.  

Expert Tip!

  • Plan for adequate task lighting as well as ambient lighting to accommodate after-dark cooking and entertaining.

Outdoor living space with an outdoor focal point will draw you outdoors and provide entertainment and recreation space throughout the year.  Whether you choose to relax with family or entertain with friends, an outdoor living space will add years of outdoor enjoyment to your home. Before you decide to build your outdoor living space, take time to consider these factors and choose the best ones for your home.  Round Grove Products is uniquely qualified to build the hard-scaping components to make your outdoor entertainment an affordable reality!!

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