Outdoor kitchens and grills have grown to be an essential part of a home’s living and entertaining space, and what better time of year to take full advantage of alfresco cooking and dining than the fall?

“Outdoor kitchens offer year-round entertaining spaces,” says Jim Ginocchi, president and founder of Coyote Outdoor Living, a market leader in outdoor kitchens and grills. “From California to Georgia, people are using them far more than just during the summer months.”

If you’re planning to install an outdoor kitchen this fall, Ginocchi identifies several key considerations. “Research before you buy,” he insists.

“Dedicate as much time to planning your outdoor space as you would your interior, and decide what you’re going to use the outdoor space for. Is it for cooking, dining, entertaining or all of the above?”

Next, consider the practical details as well as current trends. “Decide what kind of cooking you’ll do outdoors: charcoal, gas or a hybrid? Do you want refrigeration and side burners? How about a bar cooler, sink, warming drawers, a wok or teppanyaki grill?” adds Ginocchi.

“Depending on what you choose, you may need to run electricity. Obtain permits if you’re going to run water; consider ventilation for your island; install a gas line,” he notes.

Other important considerations that affect outdoor kitchen design are countertops and storage spaces.

Once you have an overall idea of what you want, Ginocchi advises consulting with a designer and also a landscape or hardscape architect.

“A good designer will be able to give you a 3-D drawing of the layout of your property. It will give you more of a feel of how the space will flow, and then you can make changes and decisions from that point,” he says.

A landscape or hardscape architect will also be able to help with the more practical aspects, such as logistics, outdoor lighting, pavers and how to tie them all together.

“I’d recommend sourcing at least two or three quotes, and not just for price, since the lowest price isn’t always the best,” says Ginocchi. “Let them come up with some ideas and then weigh what’s best for you and your family.”

For more information, visit coyoteoutdoor.com.

Image Credits: Photo courtesy of Coyote Outdoor Living.