While cooking in the kitchen has its charms, there’s nothing like a backyard cookout session to refresh your day. Plus, when the weather outside is warm, you want to catch as much sunlight as you can. This can be done easily, by creating a backyard cooking area for you to make some delicious outdoor meals.
That being said, what features should you add in order to make that perfect family cookout? While most of it depends on your style, here are some essential features that you might want to consider.
1. Grilling Gear
You can’t have a family cookout without grilling equipment. Here, you should include the grill (obviously), the grill fork, tongs, and a spatula. Whether your grill works on gas or charcoal, make sure that you gather your resources before the family gets together.
2, A Backyard Pizza Oven
Not everyone wants to have a barbeque while lounging in the backyard. Perhaps you want something different than the usual – let’s say, some pizza. You can get a wood-burning oven or a gas one, depending on your preferences. Pizza made in an outdoor oven often tastes great, and you may use the dough to create other types of dishes as well – like a pie, for instance.
3. Outdoor Kitchen Islands
You may be cooking in an outdoor kitchen, but that doesn’t mean you won’t need prepping space and perhaps some storage options. This is why you may want to go for an outdoor kitchen island. This way, not only will you have a prepping area for you to chop your ingredients and make the preparations, but you will also get storage space beneath it.
4. Solar-Powered Floor Lighting
When the sun goes down, chances are that you’ll still want to stay outside – to enjoy the night breeze or just chill with your family. Standard lighting might be great, but if you want to go a step further, then you might want to go for solar-powered floor lighting. This way, you can watch your step and create a cozy vibe, all at the same time.
At a family cookout, you can expect the food to take a long time until finished. For those who are not joining in the actual cooking process, you might want to add a lounging area as well. A hammock would be an ideal choice here, as it allows your family to relax and bask in the sun, while the food is getting ready.
Even on a perfect day, there is a chance that the sun might be just too much for you. This is why you might want to consider installing an awning. It’s a good option to give you some shade from the overbearing sun, and it can also protect you and your family from the rain. Plus, when the harsh sun is out and you want a full view of the sky, you can easily close the awning and let the sun rays shine.
7. Chairs and Tables
You can’t really expect to have a backyard cookout without an actual area where you can enjoy your food. Sure, you may have a backyard island, but it might be difficult to sit at. Plus, if it is packed with cooking equipment and ingredients, you may not be able to sit there. This is why you may want to invest in an outdoor table, large enough for your family to fit at, as well as some backyard chairs.
8. Hanging Soft Lights
Even if you may have the lighting set on the floor, you might want to add overhead soft lighting there as well. Fairy lights around the lounging area might create a more magical mood at night, and the best part is that this type of lighting is fairly dispersed. It will be softer on your eyes, creating a more romantic and familiar environment – one where you don’t have a big overhead lamp blinding you.
This is pretty much a no-brainer, especially on hotter days. If you don’t want the ingredients to go bad in the sun while you are just prepping the meals, then you should get a larger cooler – or perhaps even a small fridge that you can install in your backyard custom kitchen. However, coolers are the most sensible solution in this case. They are more portable, allowing you to keep everything close at hand for you to prepare the backyard meal with ease.
10. Entertainment Corner
The last thing you want is for your family to get bored while they are waiting for the food to be done. The thing about cookouts is that you can’t really expect everything to revolve around food. You need to create a fun environment for them as well. Plus, since there are probably going to be kids at the barbeque, they’ll end up being bored very soon. Pick up a piñata, or organize some outdoor games; do anything to keep the atmosphere lively.
11. A Pool Area
Now, you don’t need to add an actual pool in your backyard if you do not have the possibility or the funds. An inflatable pool would work just as well here, or just install a wooden one the size of a small Jacuzzi. If the weather is warm, you might want to have a way to help your family cool down before dinner is served.
12. Patio Heater
Even if it is warm during the day, the chances are high that it can get cold during the night. If your family cookout extends throughout the night, a patio heater will keep things warm and cozy even after the grill warmth goes down.
The Bottom Line
Just like with your indoor kitchen, your outdoor area also needs to be carefully organized. If you are planning to make the perfect family cookout, the items and features mentioned above should be able to help. Other than that, it is just a matter of preferences and necessity.
About The Author: Mike Falahee, founder and CEO of Marygrove Awning Co. A serial entrepreneur his entire life, Mike has successfully grown several companies in a variety of niches around the Detroit area. Mike enjoys pouring into his team and creating a family-like effect at work. In his spare time Mike enjoys traveling, driving cars, and spending time with his family.
Photo by Eric Nopanen on Unsplash
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