(Family Features) If your idea of enjoying the great outdoors is relaxing on your deck with a tasty beverage while the grill heats up, you’re in good company.
“The alfresco movement is transforming backyards across the country as homeowners create outdoor kitchens that finally live up to their name,” said backyard design expert Paul Lafrance of HGTV’s “Decked Out” series. “If you count yourself among the homeowners ready to undertake a deck upgrade, integrating interior kitchen ideas into your outdoor living space is a sure-fire way to bring fun, function and added value to your home.”
In fact, an outdoor kitchen project can provide homeowners up to a 130 percent return on their initial investment, according to the National Association of the Remodeling Industry. To help you cook up plans for an outdoor kitchen that truly sizzles, Lafrance suggests the following tips.
Start from the ground up
A show-stopping outdoor kitchen needs a quality stage that can stand up to heavy foot traffic and everyday kitchen mishaps such as dropped utensils or spilled sauces. High-performance, wood-alternative decking is durable and easy-to-maintain – just a simple soap and water cleaning can take care of any common party foul.
“If you have a Trex deck, it will resist fading, staining, scratching and mold so you never have to sand, stain or paint it,” Lafrance said. “For me, composite decking is a no-brainer. It delivers the natural aesthetic of wood without the back-breaking and time-consuming upkeep, so outdoor chefs.
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