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The Top 5 Hottest Outdoor Kitchen Trends

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Ready to take your backyard BBQs up a notch? It’s all about turning your outdoor space into a gourmet kitchen where you can cook, chill, and entertain. The latest trends in outdoor kitchens are all about blending style, convenience, and a healthy dose of fun. 

We’ve scouted the scene to bring you the top five trends that are heating up backyards everywhere.

Smart (and Stylish) Appliances

The heart of any kitchen, outdoor or otherwise, is its appliances, and the trend is leaning towards smart, sleek, and multifunctional units. Think of gas grills with precision temperature controls, Wi-Fi-enabled smokers that you can monitor from your phone, and beverage coolers that keep your drinks chilled to the perfect temperature. (These aren’t “ideas” or prototypes – they actually exist on the market.)

Here’s the kicker: These high-tech gadgets not only give you the ability to control your cooking environment, but they also look great. That means you don’t have to choose between functionality and looks. You can have your steak and eat it too! 

Seamless Looks

Nobody wants an eye-sore of a kitchen in their backyard. You want something that feels like it fits in. In fact, the best outdoor kitchens blend seamlessly with the natural surroundings, going so far as to make the backyard even more beautiful and tranquil. This involves designing the kitchen to complement your home’s exterior and the natural landscape, using materials and styles that bridge the gap between nature and synthetic “overly-designed” structures.

Take your outdoor kitchen counter/bar for example. Unless your property is super modern and intentionally designed to be sleek with lots of straight, clean lines and minimalist features, you’re going to want something that mimics what you would find outside. This is why a lot of homeowners are designing their outdoor kitchens with ledge stone.

“When it comes to ledge stone, what we’re really talking about is the shape,” RTA Outdoor Living explains. “Ledge stone is rectangular in shape. They are set in courses and stacked. This means the ledge stone is laid one layer at a time around the perimeter of your outdoor barbeque island.”

It doesn’t have to be ledge stone – but you get the idea. As you design your backyard, incorporate elements like native plants, natural stone countertops, or even a water feature to create spaces that feel like a natural extension of your home.

Eco-Friendly Designs

Sustainability is a growing priority, and outdoor kitchens are not immune. Eco-friendly designs that minimize environmental impact are extremely desirable (for homeowners and buyers alike).

This trend includes using sustainable materials like reclaimed wood or stone for construction, energy-efficient appliances, and even solar-powered lighting. Rainwater collection systems to irrigate your garden and compost bins for food waste are also becoming popular, though you may have to check with your HOA and local city to see what is and is not permitted.

Indoor Comforts

Another hot trend in outdoor kitchens is creating spaces that feel as cozy and inviting as your living room. This includes:

  • Plush seating with weather-resistant fabrics
  • Fire pits or outdoor fireplaces for chilly evenings
  • Weatherproof televisions or sound systems for entertainment

Feel free to get creative and think outside the box. The idea is to create an outdoor living room that happens to have a fantastic kitchen built into it. When you blur the lines between indoor and outdoor living, you’ve done a good job.

Personalized Touches

Your outdoor kitchen should reflect your personality and lifestyle – and customization is key here. The more personal touches you can add, the more unique and interesting your outdoor kitchen becomes.

Personal touches are obviously going to vary from one homeowner to the next, but this might mean installing a wood-fired pizza oven. Or it could look like setting up a fully stocked bar for making custom cocktails. Or maybe you want to integrate a vertical herb garden or citrus grove for fresh ingredients. These personalized elements will not only make your outdoor kitchen more functional for your needs, but they’ll also turn it into a space that feels like it’s yours.

Putting it All Together

If you’re going to build an outdoor kitchen, don’t build just any old outdoor kitchen. Take your time and really think about the design and functionality of it. And while you never want to build something super trendy that will go out of style in a couple of years, there is something to be said for accounting for the five trends outlined above. They feel like they have long-term “staying power.” Good luck, and enjoy!

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