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Choice Pool & Spa's Guide to Outdoor Kitchen Design

9 months ago 450 Views

For busy families, passionate cooks, and frequent hosts, the outdoor kitchen is the center of life when the weather is great. And with North Carolina's temperate climate, local homeowners stand to get the most out of a custom outdoor kitchen.

We've created this handy mini-guide that includes all the basics on what you need to know about designing a custom outdoor kitchen. It was created with homeowners like you in mind, who want to make their backyard space the best it can be. Use it whether you're planning a new back yard, renovating your current outdoor kitchen, or just looking for some inspiration for a future project.

Step One: Consider How You Will Use It

For some homeowners, the outdoor kitchen is all about entertaining. Make sure you'll have everything at your fingertips when it comes time to fire up the grill. As outdoor kitchens become increasingly elaborate, it's important to know you won't be crisscrossing the space with guests and other cooks.

It's also good to consider that, as host, you'll probably be cooking and socializing simultaneously. Is your range or barbeque situated so you're looking at guests or will your back be turned while you tend to those grilled wings?

Also, you'll need to consider safety when you design the layout. If there are going to be children running around, think about where the main pathways of traffic will be. Make sure kitchen elements that pose safety hazards are placed well away from those routes. That would include the barbeque and/or firepit, of course!

Step Two: Fit the Design to Match Your Space

Having a huge yard means you're starting out with a big blank slate, which can be overwhelming. Try and define nooks and areas of your yard, all of which you may not want to be taken up by your outdoor kitchen.

On the flipside, those with just a small patio space to work with shouldn't give up on the notion of having an outdoor kitchen. Just as it is with interior spaces, there's always a way to make things work!

No matter what size yard you have, you'll need to pay careful attention to lighting. Lighting is key once the sun goes down because it sets the mood and keeps you from having to run around with flashlights. This is truly a case where design and functionality are equally important. You don't want any harsh, default overhead lighting to wreck the ambiance you've worked so hard to achieve with your design goals.

Step Three: Set Your Appliance Goals

This is really about setting a budget but it's also about styling your new custom outdoor kitchen. Planning the appliances from the get-go allows you to control your budget and it also allows you to visualize your project early on.

Step Four: Consider the Landscape

The most impressive custom jobs are those that were designed with the existing landscape in mind. Do you have steps? Is there a retaining wall? What's the focal point of your space? How well will the architectural elements of your new outdoor kitchen mesh with the look of your home? Will there be a water feature? Will the eating area look out over a pleasing view or will you be going for a more intimate setting that's enclosed with hardscaping or landscaping? Lots to consider here.

We realize an outdoor kitchen project comes with a lot of decisions to make. If Choice Pools & Spas can help guide in any way, we're here to help. We want you to love your new custom outdoor kitchen as much as we love designing them!


Choice Customer Review

1 years ago 646 Views

My husband has always loved cooking and grilling out. I will be the first to admit that he has always been the one who handles all of the cooking for our family. A few years ago, we moved into a new home here in Raleigh. After moving I realized that we didn’t have much of a budget to spend towards upgrading our backyard. A fully functioning outdoor kitchen had always been a dream of his, however, it would have to wait. I could tell he was a little bummed by the fact that we had a brand-new house but he would still have to cook on our old grill my parents bought us as a wedding gift. I told him that we would eventually look at installing an outdoor kitchen, but needed to wait until we had more money saved up. He agreed.

Another year of grilling on the old grill went by until the day finally came. After attempting to start the grill for dinner, I could hear him clicking the starter over and over again, my husband came inside to inform me that we weren’t going to be grilling for dinner that night. As we finished preparing the meal in the kitchen, he mentioned that he wanted to start looking at getting a new grill. He didn’t know that I was thinking more than just a grill, it was time to get a new outdoor kitchen!

Some friends of ours had recently purchased a spa from Choice Pool and Spa and told us about the pleasant experience they had. They mentioned how the entire team was very helpful and how they also installed outdoor kitchens. I immediately made a note in my phone so I wouldn’t forget – Choice Pool and Spa.

As my husband started searching for a new grill, I began meeting with the professionals at Choice to start designing a new outdoor kitchen. His 40th birthday was coming up and I wanted to make sure it would be one he wouldn’t forget. After weeks of stalling and telling him that I didn’t like any of the grills he had picked out, I finally had everything ready for the big surprise.

On the night of is his birthday, after he had finished opening all of his gifts, I handed him a manila folder with a bow on top. He began to chuckle realizing why I had been so picky about all of the grills he kept showing me. What he didn’t realize was that in the folder wasn’t a picture of a new grill but a rendering of our backyard with a new outdoor kitchen. As he opened the folder I could tell he was shocked. He immediately asked how in the world did I design an outdoor kitchen. I told him how I had met with Choice Pool and Spa and that we had an upcoming appointment to finalize the design. The installation process began the following week and we were on our way to having a backyard worth showing off!

A few months have passed and we are so pleased with how our new outdoor kitchen turned out. My husband still talks about how surprised he was when opened that folder to see the design for our outdoor kitchen from Choice Pool and Spa. We have been grilling out nonstop and loving it! To step out into our backyard and sit around the bar with family and friends while my husband grills dinner makes me feel like I’m the one who got the gift.

We love helping our customers create the perfect backyard. Call us and schedule your complimentary consultation TODAY at (919) 562-6611 OR visit us at 10016 Capital Blvd. Wake Forest, NC 27587

​Increase Your Home Value with an Outdoor Kitchen

1 years ago 657 Views

Increase Your Home Value with an Outdoor Kitchen

Outdoor dining areas of some kind are fairly common, considering most homeowners with any type of backyard patio usually have a table and chairs to enjoy their morning coffee or an outdoor family dinner. But what about an outdoor kitchen? This particular home addition project is not necessarily an inexpensive one but can add tremendous value to your home, while also providing a space to make lasting memories. As the housing market continues to explode in and around Raleigh, now is a great time to start thinking about investing in your home. Below are a few reasons why outdoor kitchens make a great investment, one in which you will enjoy for years to come.

Increases Resale Value

Outdoor kitchens are becoming a popular and trending addition to outdoor spaces that can help increase your home’s value. If your home is in a price range where potential buyers expect luxury perks, such as swimming pools, fire pits and outdoor fireplaces, an outdoor kitchen is a particularly good way to set your home apart from other homes. When compared to other outdoor features, such as building an additional garage or fire pit, outdoor kitchens have a high rate of return on your investment because of their functionality in comparison to other outdoor features.

Today's outdoor kitchens are fully customizable and much more elaborate than ever before. It is not unusual to see gourmet appliances, high quality grills, wood-fire pizza ovens, smokers and tile or granite countertops. Plumbing and electrical lines allow for conveniences such as sinks, lighting, ceiling fans and plenty of outlets for appliances.

If you do not have a large backyard, be sure to consider the size of your outdoor kitchen. Most prospective home buyers appreciate having some open outdoor space that is not used up by permanent structures. No matter the scale of your outdoor kitchen, you can be certain that it will impress potential buyers and ensure they remember your home as they look at different properties.

Makes Cooking Even More Enjoyable

Not only do outdoor kitchens allow the flexibility of not always cooking indoors, they also allow you to be more adventurous in what you prepare. Grills, smokers and outdoor ovens perfect for fun recipes and unique techniques that are not as conducive to indoor cooking. When looking at what grill to incorporate in your outdoor kitchen, we recommend buying the best grill you can get within your budget. Try to get an option that has at least one impressive feature, such as the ability to use either gas or charcoal or a rotisserie, which will help to ensure it appeals to a larger variety of potential buyers. To make your outdoor kitchen even more enjoyable, you can go beyond the basics and add additional features such as a sound system, refrigerator or even a garbage disposal.

One of the best advantages is that an outdoor kitchen keeps cooking grease, odors, smoke, and heat outside, while also adding a level of convenience. Forget about having to haul your grilling tools, utensils and dishes back and forth to the house. With an outdoor sink and storage space it’s all conveniently at your disposal. Also, keeping the heat out of your indoor kitchen is a huge plus during the warm summer months we experience here in Raleigh.

When your outdoor lounge furniture or patio dining set is combined with an outdoor kitchen, food preparation becomes a group activity and nobody is stuck inside cooking while everyone else is visiting outdoors. Whether you like to host intimate dinners or lively parties, an outdoor kitchen makes it much more relaxing and enjoyable.

Extends Living and Entertaining Spaces

It seems like we are always trying to make more room for gathering with friends and family. Spilling over into the outdoors is the easiest way to host large groups. An outdoor kitchen extends your living spaceso you have ample room for gathering your friends and family, making wonderful memories in the heart of your backyard. Perfect for birthdays, romantic dinners, family get-togethers and holidays.

Exterior spaces for dining, cooking or entertaining are generally more affordable than adding interior space to your home. When adding an outdoor kitchen, be sure that it complements the existing exterior of your home. If you live in a Mediterranean villa style home, a modern kitchen with stainless steel appliances is probably not the way to go. If you live in a more contemporary home, a rustic kitchen will look out of place.

Use similar materials and colors to those on existing structures to make sure your outdoor kitchen truly looks like an extension of your home. Think of it as bringing the interior of your home to the outdoors. This does not mean that you need to use the same countertops or tile as your indoor kitchen, but it does mean that you need to make sure your colors and textures harmonize with the interior of your home. This will help potential buyers see this outdoor living area as additional square footage.


Whether or not you plan to sell your home now or in the future, adding an outdoor kitchen to your backyard will provide you and your family with the perfect place to prepare family meals, entertain guests and enjoy spending more time outdoors. Call us to schedule an appointment OR visit us at 10016 Capital Blvd. Wake Forest, NC 27587 to begin designing your outdoor kitchen today!

Memorial Day Grill Recipes

1 years ago 584 Views

As Memorial Day weekend fast approaches, we can’t help but get excited about grilling out! With outdoor kitchens being such a large part of our business, we always love spending time by the grill and sharing recipes! Here are our top 5 grill recipes for this upcoming holiday weekend!


Grilled Salmon Skewers with Garlic and Dijon

Ingredients:

1.5 lbs salmon fillets, cut into 1-inch squares

2 large lemons thinly sliced

16 (10-inch) bamboo skewers

Ingredients for Marinade:

2 Tbsp parsley, freshly chopped

2 large or 3 small garlic cloves, pressed

1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard (we used grey poupon)

1/2 tsp salt

1/8 tsp ground black pepper

2 Tbsp light olive oil (not extra virgin, pick something with a higher smoke point)

2 Tbsp of fresh lemon juice from 1/2 large lemon or 1 small lemon


Directions:

Prep: Soak bamboo skewers at least 1 hour to keep them from catching fire. Preheat Grill to medium heat (about 375˚F).

1. In a medium bowl, stir together all of the marinade ingredients: 2 Tbsp chopped parsley, 2 pressed garlic cloves, 1/2 Tbsp dijon, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp pepper, 2 Tbsp olive oil, 2 Tbsp lemon juice.

2. Skewer the salmon and lemon slices folded in half intermittently onto two skewers at a time (The double skewer aids in turning the salmon kebobs on the grill). Brush both sides of skewers with marinade.

3. Oil the grates then carefully place salmon skewers onto the hot BBQ. Grill kebobs for 3-4 minutes per side or until salmon is cooked through and opaque.


Grilled Pineapple with Cinnamon Honey Drizzle

The perfect and delicious summertime dessert!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup honey

1 tsp cinnamon

1 pineapple


Directions:

1. Grill pineapple slices over medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes

2. While the pineapple is grilling, mix together the honey (soften in the microwave for about 30 seconds) and the cinnamon.

3. Drizzle the grilled pineapple with the honey and serve.



Taco Lime Grilled Chicken

Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 15 minutes Servings: 4

A quick and easy taco lime grilled chicken that's just packed with flavor!

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons taco seasoning

1/4 cup lime juice (2 limes)

1 pound boneless & skinless chicken breasts


Directions:

1. Mix the taco seasoning and lime juice, cover the chicken in the mixture and marinate for 30 minutes to overnight.

2. Grill over medium to high heat until cooked through, about 3-5 minutes per side, let sit for 5 minutes and slice before enjoying!


Shrimp Boil Foil Packets

Prep Time: 10 Minutes Cook Time: 15 Minutes Total Time: 25 Minutes Servings: 4

Easy, make-ahead foil packets packed with shrimp, sausage, corn and potatoes. It’s a full meal with zero clean-up!


Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 (12.8 ounce) package smoked andouille sausage, thinly sliced

2 ears corn, each cut in half making 4 pieces

1 pound baby red potatoes, halved

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 teaspoons cajun seasoning

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves


Directions:

Preheat a gas or charcoal grill over high heat.

1. Cut four sheets of foil, about 12-inches long. Divide shrimp, sausage, corn and potatoes into 4 equal portions and add to the center of each foil in the a single layer.

2. Fold up all 4 sides of each foil packet. Add olive oil, cajun seasoning, salt and pepper, to taste. Gently toss to combine. Fold the sides of the foil over the shrimp, covering completely and sealing the packets closed.

3. Place foil packets on the grill and cook until just cooked through, about 12-15 minutes. Serve immediately, garnish with parsley, if desired.


Grilled Potato Salad with Bacon Vinaigrette

The two-step process of cooking the potatoes transforms this summer salad from same-old to sublime!


Ingredients:

3 lb. baby Yukon gold potatoes (about the size of a walnut halved)

Kosher salt

black pepper

6 tbsp. olive oil, divided

6 slices center-cut bacon cut into 1/2 in. pieces

2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped

1/4 c. apple cider vinegar

2 tsp. firmly packed brown sugar

8 scallions

2 tbsp. fresh marjoram, plus more for garnish

Directions:

1. Heat grill to medium-high. Line a plate with paper towels.

2. Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with cold salted water by 2 inches. Cover and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until easily pierced with a knife, 14 to 16 minutes. Drain and let cool. Transfer to a bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of oil.

3. Meanwhile, cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove to prepared plate with a slotted spoon.

4. Discard all but 1 tablespoon of bacon drippings from skillet. Off the heat, add garlic, vinegar, and brown sugar to the drippings in the skillet, scraping up any browned bits. Whisk in remaining 4 tablespoons oil. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl.

5. Grill potatoes cut-side down until lightly charred, 2 to 3 minutes. Grill scallions, turning occasionally, until charred, 4 to 6 minutes. Chop scallions into 1-inch pieces.

6. Add potatoes, scallions, and marjoram to bowl with dressing, and toss to coat. Let stand for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with bacon, and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with marjoram. Serve immediately.

We hope you enjoy grilling out and trying these recipes! Also, have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. To all who have served this great country – THANK YOU!


Call us today to schedule an appointment OR visit us at 10016 Capital Blvd. Wake Forest, NC 27587 to begin designing your new outdoor kitchen today!