Cooking Out: Modern Wisconsin Style

U shaped outdoor kitchen
Photograph provided by Action Outdoor Kitchen

In a recent survey, the American Institute of Architects found that outdoor living areas are the most popular special function area for both new construction and existing home renovation. An outdoor living area, typically centered around an outdoor kitchen, greatly expands the useful space of your home while providing a fun and functional area for family and friends to congregate. Across the country, outdoor kitchens have become a backyard fixture. We hope to make the planning process clearer for you while introducing an innovative way to incorporate natural-looking cement structures into your overall plan and making your outdoor kitchen Wisconsin-winter proof.

When designing the area, you should consider the size and location of your patio, deck, or other flat space, as well as think about the following points.

-Is the proposed kitchen footprint proportional to the existing space?

-Is there ample space surrounding the kitchen so the design does not interfere with normal outdoor traffic patterns?

-If adding to an existing deck, are you considering the weight of the structure and looking at lighter-weight alternatives as opposed to traditional masonry?

-How many people will be using it under normal circumstances?

-What type of grill burner configuration makes the most sense for the number of residents and guests being fed?

-Which of the most common outdoor kitchen shapes will work best in your space: straight, L shaped, or U shaped?

Not all appliances can withstand the six months of extreme temperature, moisture, and freeze-thaw conditions of Wisconsin each year. But a lesser-known outdoor appliance brand, Coyote Outdoor Living, offers a full range of high-quality products, such as grills, smokers, side-burners, outdoor-rated refrigerators, sinks, doors, and drawers, that do. Features that make Coyote a practical and affordable luxury product choice are:

-All products are built with premium grade-304 stainless steel.

-Double-walled, stainless-steel grill hoods.

-Independent burner ignition systems.

-Continuous weld on grill boxes with seamless edges.

-Interior grill lighting.

-Heat control grids.

-Cast stainless-steel burners.

-Zinc-nickel alloy knobs.

-Lifetime warranty on burners and exteriors.

Just as important as appliances, you’ll want to ensure your whole outdoor kitchen structure will survive harsh Wisconsin winters. Many outdoor kitchens are built with subpar materials that are not designed for the outdoors, while others use construction techniques, such as stone veneers, that are highly susceptible to failure when exposed to freeze-thaw environments.

ClifRock, a material incorporating a frameless panel construction system made from a polymeric, microfiber, reinforced, high-performance concrete, is the perfect choice for Wisconsin’s climate. This unique product will not crack or chip under harsh freeze-thaw conditions, is lighter than traditional masonry, and can be formed to take on incredible natural configurations mimicking tree trunks and branches or natural stone formations that one would see in waterfalls and cliffs. It’s stronger than masonry and hand painted to achieve amazing natural effects. The possibilities are endless!

When considering an outdoor kitchen, it’s important to consider potential property or yard disruption, which makes the installation process lengthier. Many installations require heavy machinery to prepare a foundation for your kitchen, resulting in significant property disruption, with timelines that stretch for weeks or even months. The ClifRock system can be built on most stable surfaces without the need to pour a footer, and they can easily be built on a well-constructed deck. This means your outdoor kitchen installation—from start to finish—can often be completed in just two days. Less property disruption and mess means less stress, and you can begin using the kitchen immediately.

Lastly, you will want an outdoor kitchen that looks as good as it is functional. Most customers are looking for a masonry look, but they don’t want the cost, weight, construction time, and upkeep of a masonry installation. ClifRock stone panels provide the traditional look of stone without the added cost or weight of traditional methods. A variety of timeless stone profiles, such as ledge rock, random rock, as well as a barn wood option, are available and give the homeowner a fully customizable design that will be unique to their home.

Always schedule an in-person evaluation meeting with your designer/installer so they can walk you through the elements to consider and come up with the right shape and size for the finished project that will become an integral part of your outdoor lifestyle.

Cindy Weichbrod is an outdoor kitchen designer and owner of Action Outdoor Kitchen.

Photographs provided by Action Outdoor Kitchen.

View additional photographs at .

Action Outdoor Kitchen
2326 Daniels Street, Suite C
Madison, WI 53718