by Christy Heitger-Ewing | photos by The Home Aesthetic

Nothing says, “Welcome, Spring” like spending time in your outdoor kitchen! The centerpiece to most outdoor kitchens is arguably a top-of-the-line, built-in gas grill with ample storage and counter space. Many outdoor kitchens also include a ceramic smoker like the Big Green Egg, pizza oven, refrigerator, kegerator, trash drawer and flat griddle for hibachi-style cooking, smash burgers and breakfast items like pancakes, bacon, and sausage.

The kitchen’s location is a crucial decision that is dependent on how it fits in with the overall landscape design

“We consider every aspect of the outdoor kitchen cohesively,” says J.D. Durst, partner and president of BPI Outdoor Living. “We don’t just place the outdoor kitchen anywhere in the living space. We start by asking what you would like, what times of the year you plan to cook outside and how you’ll utilize it. From there we strategically place the kitchen based on that feedback and discovery.”

For instance, would you prefer the kitchen to be right off the home or part of a detached poolscape covered structure? You also want to be cognizant of accessibility to existing utilities (gas line, electrical and water). And how many people would you like to seat at your outdoor bar? You need to consider that outdoor furniture is bigger and takes up more space. An 8-ft. long bar can easily fit four interior bar stools whereas outside, you’d likely fit just three.

Durst reminds homeowners of amenities that may not be forefront in their minds but are appreciated nonetheless such as outlet placement and charging stations for phones and other devices. And while a trash drawer isn’t sexy, it’s certainly useful in quick food prep, disposal, and containing smells. Planning for ample counter and prep space is also key because when cooking on a grill, you tend to move the food twice (from plate to grill, then replating it once done).

The other thing clients often neglect to consider is the fickle Midwestern weather. Durst and his team help their clients select durable materials like Granite for countertop surfaces that will hold up well to wide temperature swings.

“In Indiana, it can be 67 degrees one day and 32 the next,” says Durst. “When you include items like a sink or water lines, you want to make sure those can be winterized so they don’t freeze and break during the winter. We help guide our clients through these decisions and what will be involved in maintaining their investment.”

If you’re ready to begin designing your ideal outdoor kitchen today, contact the talented team at BPI Outdoor Living to get the process started.