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Upgrade Your Backyard Grill Area

BBQ season has arrived! It is time to rethink your old grilling station? Consider some of these smoking ideas to pack more function and style into your backyard cooking zone this year.

Pull up a stool – Watching the chef at the grill is half the fun! Encourage spectators by setting up a bar-height table and stools near the grill.

Accent with steel –  Lots of outdoor kitchens use stone & wood (which can be beautiful), but modern spaces cry out for something sleeker. Stainless steel counters are a great fit, and galvanized steel Tolix stools bring a little industrial cool.

Add a prep zone – Whether you have an outdoor sink plumbed or simply add a freestanding work table, a well-positioned prep area is what will transform just a grill into a true outdoor kitchen. Be sure to include an easy-clean work surface and some storage for frequently used tools.

Stay cool – An extra-large freestanding umbrella offers more flexibility than one attached to a table. Use it to shade the prep area (keeping food out of the sun), then move it to cover the eating area when it’s time to sit down.

Create a mini destination – Take advantage of a great view, flip burgers by the pool, or hide away in a secluded garden nook. While you’ll sacrifice some convenience, locating your grill & dining area away from the house can make eating al fresco feel like a Getaway.

Cook Campfire style – Is roughing it more your style? Forgo the fancy grill entirely in favor of a stone fire pit with attached grilling grates.

Add a roof – If your grill is out in the open, consider adding a shelter for all-weather cooking. Just be sure that any structure is a safe distance from the grill to avoid fires.

Consider a mini fridge – If you cook out a lot, it may be worth it to add a small fridge to your grill area. It’s perfect for keeping meat at hand yet out of the sun and storing icy beverages for the chef.

Slim down furniture – A slender table with bench seats will fit the most guests in tight quarters. If you really need every spare inch, choose benches that can tuck under the table and push the whole thing against the wall when it’s not in use.

Accessorize – Gather ingredients on a pretty tray (great for carting items from the house), deck out the prep area with a few potted plants, and keep frequently used sauces and oils within reach.

Don’t forget lighting – Set a mood at night with lighting. A combination of landscape lighting and direct lighting over the grill area will offer the right balance of function and ambiance.