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Outdoor kitchens offer luxury


Open air or under cover; adjacent to a pool, patio or integrated as a walkout home extension with a wall of glass, sliding or bifold glass doors, outdoor kitchens are a way to celebrate warm weather in high style.

For those itching to entertain and take advantage of the great outdoors, an outdoor kitchen can make those backyard barbecues easier — and more fun — for everyone.

Consider a built-in grill — or two — a beverage refrigerator, sink or other typical kitchen amenities, said Leigh Nunno, a Realtor and associate broker at Melissa Healy Group at Keller Williams Real Estate in Doylestown.

“The best outdoor kitchens have space for lounging and dining. They may or may not be attached to a pool or they may have gorgeous landscaping or views,” Nunno said.

Restaurant-quality propane heaters or a fireplace can keep the party going well into fall’s cooler temps and colorful foliage show.

Those with a roof might have the option to incorporate electric coil heaters to help extend the season.

Reduce clutter; contain refuse

Keeping trash cans, recycling containers and other essential items stowed adds to the relaxed vibe.

Nunno recommends making covered and enclosed space for refuse and trash.

“One of the functional and important features — but not sexy aspects — is to find space for the trash. Hidden trash cans in the cabinetry are especially important outdoors away from wildlife, yard animals or the family dog,” she explained.

You also want to keep garbage and trash out of reach of curious youngsters.

Fuel source storage like propane tanks should also be secured and contained for safety, Nunno said.

And natural plantings, hedges or evergreens, appropriately spaced, create a containing area and natural privacy screen. They also provide a boundary.

Materials matter

Outdoor kitchens are meant to be used. Stick with durable materials that can easily stand up to the elements. For example, concrete can be sealed and is durable and easy to clean, Nunno said.

Natural stone is another option – just be sure it is rated for outdoor use when using as counter top or bar surface areas.

What goes for kitchen appliances, counter tops and surfaces holds true for flooring, furnishings and other outdoor area surfaces. Pick quality durable materials that are easy to clean and will stand up to the elements.

Before beginning any home construction project, contact your municipal offices for permit requirements and processes.

Value added

Did you realize you need an outdoor kitchen? If you’re in the market for a new home, consider what you’d enjoy — and use most — in new home amenities.

Jaimie Meehan, a Realtor at Melissa Healy Group at Keller Williams Real Estate in Doylestown, said while outdoor kitchens aren’t usually a specific line item on new home buyer’s wish lists; they are nevertheless “an added benefit.”

“It comes up more often if it’s an added benefit and most buyers find it delightful. It can make the property attractive,” Meehan said.

She noted a well-equipped outdoor kitchen represents added value — and an increased home purchase offer may be reflected.

“Buyers may see added value…and offer more, especially if it’s done well,” Meehan said.

An outdoor fireplace or pit fire set up — even without a pool — can take the outdoor kitchen further into the year — well to Thanksgiving and even December.

“You may begin using it in April or early May so it’s longer than a three or four month time frame,” she said.

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