<span>September 2017</span>

  • 5 Quick Tips For Designing The Best Outdoor Kitchen For Your Sarasota Home

    Make the most out of your yard by bringing the inside out! An outdoor kitchen is a great way to expand your living space and add value to your home, while providing a perfect opportunity for entertaining in the fresh air. You don’t need a ton of space to have a functional kitchen outside, but there are some things you should keep in mind when designing your ideal outdoor kitchen to make it the best it can be.

    Plan for all kinds of weather.

    You don’t want to be limited on when you can use your outdoor kitchen, so make sure your design includes shelter, shade, and even heat sources. Depending on the style of your kitchen, you can incorporate trees and bushes, awnings, or patio umbrellas to provide some shade and shelter, and consider installing a fire pit or outdoor heater to stay cozy even on the chilliest nights.

    Stay safe, too – get a smoke alarm and keep a fire extinguisher within easy reach of your grill or fire pit, and use fans to ensure proper ventilation.

    Make it functional.

    Choose appliances that suit your needs – refrigerators, ice-makers, sinks, and grills and smokers. Think about the kind of cooking you do and the tools you need, and build your kitchen around that. Consider traffic flow, your view, and the other activities that are likely to take place in your backyard.

    Make sure your layout is conducive to your style of cooking and food preparation, and arrange your appliances in a way that makes sense. Keep your fridge or ice-maker away from your grill or fire pit, and make sure that anything that will generate smoke or steam is placed away from your windows.

    Choose the right materials.

    While you want your outdoor kitchen to look stylish and complement your home, keep in mind that the materials you use for your surfaces and appliances will need to withstand all kinds of weather conditions – heat, rain, wind, and possibly even ice and snow. Don’t invest a bunch of money into a beautiful outdoor kitchen that will fall apart with the first big thunderstorm of the summer.

    Materials like stainless steel and concrete are durable and can be customized to suit the style you’re looking for, but these may not be practical as flooring – if they’re wet, they’ll be slippery, making your kitchen impractical for regular use. Textured tile or stained wood can make a solid floor that will hold up against the elements.

    Include storage options.

    If your outdoor kitchen isn’t convenient to use, you’ll probably just end up cooking indoors – even on the most beautiful of summer evenings. Give yourself enough space to keep the essentials in your outdoor space so you don’t have to waste time running back to your kitchen inside. Make sure you have enough counter space to do your food preparation outside, too.

    Leave yourself sufficient space to store some of the things that can’t be left out during inclement weather, like cushions and decorative items. It should be easy and convenient to winterize your backyard.

    Keep it comfortable.

    Your outdoor kitchen should be an extension of your home – so make it feel like one! Decorate your yard with cozy chairs, sturdy tables, and decorative accents that will allow you to enjoy all the comforts of your inside space while experiencing the fresh outdoors. Lighting can play a huge role in creating the right ambiance for your outside space, but make sure your kitchen is safely well-lit. If mosquitoes and other pests are a problem, consider setting up some netting around the areas you’ll be cooking and eating, or use citronella candles to keep the bugs away with a little mood lighting.

    Now that you’ve got your perfect outdoor kitchen ready to go, think about planning a dinner party and using this new space to entertain your family and friends. After all your hard work designing and building the very best outdoor kitchen, you deserve to kick back and enjoy it with a well-earned celebration.

  • Backyard Oasis Building Tips

    If a backyard oasis is on your wish list, you don’t necessarily need to be a landscape architect or a landscape designer to make that dream a reality. What you do need is a plan, which you can form by looking a various backyard oasis pictures online, in magazines and books.

    Armed with some ideas and newly found inspiration, you should come up with a few kinds of backyard oasis designs, then either settle on the one you like best or mix and match the best elements. Even if you have limited space and are concerned about being able to cram all the elements and features you can’t do without, don’t worry, you’ll be able to get all or nearly all of what you want in a small backyard oasis. So, let’s take a look at what’s possible, and what will work best within your budget and skill set. These are important considerations because you don’t want the cost to get out of control and don’t want to labor far longer than you plan.

    Things to Consider in Planning and Building a Backyard Oasis

    The first consideration, obviously, is money. Come up with a budget you can afford, set that number, then subtract between 10 percent and 15 percent. That will give you a workable figure, plus includes a contingency, so, if there’s a problem or extra costs, you’ll have them covered. Another consideration is diversity of elements and features, because there’s future maintenance involved. You don’t want to create a backyard garden oasis that’s nearly impossible to keep-up and/or is a drain on your wallet to keep it looking great and on your utility bills.

    Patios are usually surfaced with brick or stone. If you opt for concrete, consider adding texture and color to imitate stone for a more natural look. Design the patio to be an extension of your home’s architecture, and use planting beds, container gardens, and weatherproof furniture to decorate the outdoor space. —Better Homes and Gardens

    Now, let’s talk about color, texture, and scope. All will have an impact on the final product. For instance, are you thinking minimalist or extravagant? Do you want it to resemble a beach, a desert, or a mountain valley? Is there going to be hardscaping? Will you have one or several backyard oasis pools? Lastly, think about your home’s decor and style. As the above quote suggests, you ought to extend your interior into the exterior for consistency. If the two clash, and you decide to sell in the future, you might have a challenge convincing potential buyers.

    Backyard Oasis Ideas

    Now that you’ve thought a bit more about the project, and you’re wondering how to create a backyard oasis, then here’s some great ideas you can use:

    • Start from the inside of your home and work your way out. This little tip is a great way to practically guarantee you’ll keep consistent with the design. It’s also a great way to reign in disparate ideas that don’t really blend well together.
    • Plant lush layers to create an illusion of depth. Think small to large and plan to plant in an order that makes sense for your space and to keep the work to a minimum. Plant small sized plants no more than a foot to 18 inches in height, than medium sized plants which are taller, and then large sized plants and trees.
    • Include a water feature in your design. Whether its a small pond, a bird bath, a waterfall, or something else, water is a great feature because of its very nature to sooth. Running water is best for relaxation.
    • Put down natural stone accents. These are a great way to “break up” various elements and separate features. They also provide functionality for foot traffic.
    • Make it private, using a combination of greenery and vines. Bamboo is also a good way to make your backyard oasis a bit more private.
    • Don’t forget about the wildlife. Birds and butterflies can be a welcome addition, as well as pests. Choose what you plant carefully or you might attract pests.

    If you want to design and build a backyard oasis but are having troubling with the planning and/or execution, then contact us. We are the leading landscape design and build firm in the Sarasota area and will be happy to assist you with creating a great outdoor space you can enjoy for years to come.