Outdoor Living

How to make your grill setup better

  • Sarah Greenman/Houzz

     (Sarah Greenman/Houzz)

  • Derviss Design/Houzz

     (Derviss Design/Houzz)

  • Solaris Inc./Houzz

     (Solaris Inc./Houzz)

Grills by themselves aren’t much to look at. They’re basically large, hulking pieces of stainless steel that stick out like sore thumbs in our backyards. So we’re always trying to slip covers over them or wheel them around to the side of the house. It doesn’t have to be this way — designers are coming up with clever ways to make grills actually something that you want to put front and center. As you fire up your grill this summer, consider some of these smoking ideas for an update.

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Follow function. A good grill setup can pack a lot of function into a small corner. A sink is a great feature that saves countless trips indoors to wash utensils and vegetables. Plus, when the owners aren’t grilling, the best grill spot likely serves as a great gardening station.

Let there be light. Did you know that improper lighting accounts for 52 tons of burned meat every year? OK, I made that up, but proper lighting is key for any grilling station, and not just so you can see what you’re cooking. Adding string bulbs can make the grill feel like part of the party.

Give it shade. Just as lighting helps facilitate good grilling at night, shade can make a world of difference on hot days. A simple shade structure can turn a small porch into a space brimming with character.

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Make it unique. Want to make your grill area more appealing? Do something different. For example, skip a grill altogether in favor of an Evo cooktop; in addition to grilling, you can use it to sear, sauté, stir-fry, steam, poach and more.

Take it inside. Who says grilling has to be done entirely outside? Add it to a screened-in porch, complete with a built-in grill, concrete counters, a full-size refrigerator, a dishwasher and even an ice maker.

Have a seat. A lot of the grilling process is just sitting around and waiting for things to cook. For that an inviting lounge area nearby is a must. Cushioned furniture would do the job nicely, but swing chairs would really keep you on the edge of your seat.

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Make it easier. Grilling can also involve a lot of back-and-forth between the kitchen and grill to pick up utensils and ingredients and then deliver the cooked food. A pass-through makes a great addition to any grill setup if you can swing it.