Outdoor Kitchens Focus on Entertaining

Outdoor kitchens continue to see growth as more and more homeowners seek to extend their kitchen space into the great outdoors. In fact, a recent survey by the American Society of Landscape Architects showed that outdoor kitchens are one of the hottest home improvement trends for 2014. While the grill remains the central component to the outdoor kitchen, these spaces are increasingly reflecting indoor kitchens, with full capabilities. Following are some of the hottest trends in outdoor kitchens today.

--The right grill is essential to building the outdoor kitchen, and grilling enthusiasts usually look for the ability to perform a wealth of cooking options, including grilling, searing, smoking, stir frying and more. Since people tend to use outdoor kitchens for entertaining, side burners and multi-functional grills remain in high demand.

--When it comes to BTUs, grilling enthusiasts usually believe more is better, but these high-BTU units also require powerful and well-thought-out ventilation. As with indoor ventilation, there are units designed to be subtle and unobtrusive, and others that make a powerful design statement in their own right.

--Built-in thermometers, warming drawers and other accessories help to make even the ordinary homeowner grill like a pro, while built-in lighting makes grilling easy even after dark.

--Weatherproof cabinetry continues to provide a wealth of  options, with teak, cypress, outdoor-grade laminates and man-made materials joining stainless steel to offer something for every design style. Outdoor cabinetry is also seeing more enhanced functionality and storage inside the box, with interior fittings to enhance accessibility and maximize space.

--Refrigeration units offer more flexibility in terms of size and design options, while wine units are also adding an upscale touch to outdoor kitchen spaces.