Friday, April 15, 2016

Turn Your Patio into an Outdoor Living Space

That area behind your house? No, that’s no longer the backyard. That’s an outdoor living space. It’s where you can entertain. Or staycate. Or just relax. What it is, really, is another room—only one without walls or ceilings. It’s also the perfect spot for a fireplace, a cauldron, even a pizza oven.

While the backyard has traditionally given way to swimming pools and gardens, this reconceptualization of the backyard as an outdoor living space really just means that that other part of the backyard—the back patio, the area between the back of the house and the lip of the pool or the edge of a row of flowers, that space where your grill has tended to sit lonely and neglected (even during the spring and summer), yes, that prime piece of real estate—has plenty of potential. And people have finally realized it. They’ve taken the indoors to the outside; they’ve started creating their own backyard getaways.

The centerpiece to any outdoor entertaining, of course, revolves around food. Grilled food. And grilled food requires a grill. Which we have plenty of at The Firebird—gas and charcoal grills from Napoleon, Primo’s ceramic wood grills, the infrared gas grills of Saber and TEC, and FireMagic’s BBQ gas grills. Once you’ve picked out the grill that’s right for you, that’ll help you build out the rest of your backyard from there.

In a sense, then, the grilling area of your backyard becomes your outdoor kitchen, which can range from a simple built-in grill to something more expansive—refrigeration, plumbing, audio-visual hookups, architectural lighting. And whether the grill you choose is a tote-able or a built-in, having your kitchen outside means you can prepare meals and be around your guests.

And if a grill alone isn’t enough, if you’re intent on larger seating areas, a bigger patio, installing cold-water and waste lines for a sink or an out door refrigerator, or task lighting; keep in mind that whatever money you spend on your outdoor kitchen will increase your home’s value.

But you don’t have to entirely remodel your backyard in order to entertain outside. A pergola, or an umbrella or even curtains strung up to keep the New Mexico sun off the cooks and the guests during the day; a big enough surface for food prep (stone is often the best, as it’s made to weather); and a simple picnic-style table with a bench or fold-out chairs. You don’t need much more than these basics to entertain and enjoy. 

And the ultimate outdoor-kitchen accessory, of course—a fireplace­. Or a fire pit. And just by raising the hearth around either you’ve turned it into another bench for you and your guests. Your outdoor fireplace will provide enjoyment year-round.