Assistant Home Editor Todd Childs shares his tips and ideas for creating a useful and beautiful outdoor kitchen.
<p>Hi. I'm Todd Childs, assistant homes editor for Southern Living. You know, for the serious alfresco chef, there are a lot more options these days for outdoor cooking than a grill and a bag of charcoal. Outdoor kitchens come in a wide range of sizes. And styles. Have a taste of these sweet spaces. [MUSIC] Outdoor kitchens are not just for patios. Tucked in to the corner of this raised logia, the chrome of the gas grill gleams against the rustic tones of brick and wood. Movable cabinets flank the grill for storage. The rich dark blue tile and warming drawers of this ultra mod kitchen. Is the grill masters dream. And comes equipped with every amenity imaginable for the ultimate barbecue. This space opens to a patio by way of a pass through. That is sheltered by a shed roof of corrugated tin. Wooden barn doors flank the opening and can be closed to protect the kitchen when not in use. But when it's time to cook, lower cabinetry has everything needed close at hand. Proper storage in an outdoor storage is key to function. It's no fun hauling everything you need out from the indoor kitchen. [MUSIC] In this grand vaulted space the grill is situated near a conversation area that tucks neatly up to a fireplace. A ventahood helps keep the area smoke free. [MUSIC] Not all outdoor kitchens are large. This cosy cooking niche is just outside the door of the main kitchen and fits nicely next to an outdoor fireplace. An integrated vented hood is a necessary touch that is not visually obtrusive. This coastal roof top kitchen offers sweeping views of the gulf. Fully equipped with its own storage for dishes. There's no worry about bringing them down to wash. A built in dishwasher sits right next to the sink. Tucked back in its own alcove. This grilling area takes on a rustic coastal look. Surrounded by wood shake. And tabby stucco walls. Integrating an outdoor kitchen into the style of the house is important. You always want it to look. As good as it works. A hacienda style kitchen boasts adobe walls and a long clean work surface covered in Mexican tile. When planning your own outdoor kitchen, don't forget to consider adequate space for prep. This open air galley, built into a porch, is open on either end, and windowed above the workspace, allowing breezes to pass through, but keeping the fully appointed kitchen, with commercial appliances, safe from the elements. The beautiful stone flagging visually bridges the indoors to the outdoors. Stainless steel and chrome always work well for open air spaces. An elevated table and stools provide surface area for prep and a place to enjoy the fruits of your labour. In a space that is as well-protected from the elements as this one, decorations more typical of the indoors are a wonderful way to make it seem just a touch more comfortable. From the assortment of plates above the windows to the clock, these familiar touches make the great outdoors even greater. For more ways to find your outdoor style, pick up a copy of Southern Living magazine and be sure to visit southernliving.com.</p>