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Why do I need an Outdoor Kitchen?

Come on, it's not that far from my indoor kitchen to my patio; is it really necessary for me to have an outdoor kitchen?

Of course it isn't necessary; it's like having a dishwasher – if you've never had one, you don't miss it. But once you've used one, you wonder how you ever got along without it.

There's a reason why outdoor kitchens have become increasingly popular over the past decade – they're awesome. When you have an outdoor kitchen, the party is out there too; all of it. That means whoever is on kitchen duty indoors will miss out on half the fun. And that's just not cool.

There are other reasons why having an outdoor kitchen is a great thing;

It's convenient! Okay, so it's not so far from your indoor kitchen to your patio; but who wants to lug everything outside and then back in again when it's all over? And you have to figure out how to keep the cold stuff cold and the hot stuff hot. With an outdoor kitchen you can store cookware, dishes, supplies; you can do all your preparations; and, most importantly, you can stay engaged with your guests even while you are hard at work.

An outdoor kitchen may be super practical, but it also adds a luxurious feature to your home, increasing the perceived value in case you ever choose to sell. All those ooohhhsss and aahhhsss from potential buyers will turn into more money in your pocket.

An outdoor kitchen also increases your square footage for entertaining; you have more room for more people to hang out and be comfortable while doing it. Face it, plastic stacking chairs, a splintery picnic table and a rusty grill won't have anyone hoping for an invite. But comfortable seating, an outdoor bar (with a handy fridge), a killer gas grill, a pizza oven, outdoor lighting, a pergola or fire pit…who wouldn't want to party?

Where Do I Start?

If you have been thinking about an outdoor kitchen, here are some tips for that initial planning stage:

1. Establish your budget and determine your needs. Figure out what is most important to you so that you can be sure to include it in your costs. If you want a grill with all the bells and whistles, plan your space around that. If you want to have enough seating for a huge group of friends and family, focus on that first. If you think you will get the most use from an outdoor bar, make that your budgeting priority.

2. Consider the views, both from the house, from the outdoor kitchen and from the neighbor's yards and houses when you are choosing a spot.

3. Think about positioning your kitchen to take advantage of natural sunlight and optimum shade; will it be to your advantage to position your kitchen to the north, south, east or west?

4. Plan your kitchen so that you have easy access to existing utility lines if possible.

Need some inspiration? Here are some outdoor kitchen projects completed by Family Leisure.

This project shows how an outdoor kitchen can complement the home. This undertaking includes gorgeous granite countertops and an Angus Natural Gas Grill Head by Bull Grills. There is an outdoor sink, a stucco island and even a Bull refrigerator.

This elegant endeavor includes a classic pitch-style pergola with white columns, custom lighting and a fan. There is a generous 114" bar with underbar rope lighting and a Saber 500 BI Grill.

Outdoor kitchens can be customized to match your home, like this Jackson Grill Island Project, or provide a unique look all on its own.

The professionals at Family Leisure will be happy to work with you to customize your perfect outdoor kitchen. You will wonder how you ever did without it!

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