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Bring functional cooking outside with the right outdoor kitchen layout. If you’re still planning how your outdoor space is going to look, consider these kitchen layout lessons before making any final decisions.

Work triangle

The work triangle is a kitchen layout that places the fridge, stove top and sink at three points of a triangle. For the best flow possible, each leg of the triangle should be no longer than 10 feet, and the path between them should be unobstructed.

Straight line layout

For a smaller, budget-friendly outdoor kitchen, the straight line layout may be best. In an outdoor setting, this layout is installed against the house. If you choose the straight line, make sure you select non-combustible siding to protect your home.

U-shaped layout

A larger freestanding kitchen with the works – refrigerator, dishwasher, grill, sink and bar – may be best in a U-shaped layout. It mimics the look of many indoor kitchens and becomes eye candy for your outdoor living space.

Island layout

This is the most common outdoor kitchen layout. It’s affordable, freestanding and attractive, a cluster of all your kitchen necessities in one rectangular unit. This layout quickly becomes the central hub of your outdoor living space. For entertaining purposes, you might raise one countertop section to separate the cooking space from the socializing area.

Measurements to keep in mind

No matter which outdoor kitchen layout you decide on, keep the following in mind:

• A grill or oven should have 12 inches of workspace on one side and 24 inches on the other.
• A stove top should have 12 inches of workspace on both sides.
• The sink should have 18 inches of workspace on both sides.
• The minimum food preparation area should be 36 inches wide and 24 inches deep.
• A 10-foot kitchen needs at least 21 inches of linear storage.

With these outdoor kitchen layout ideas in mind, you’re ready to build the ultimate space for cooking, storing and serving outdoor grub to your friends and family. For more information about bringing your ideal outdoor kitchen to life, please contact Associated Construction Products (ACP.)

Whether you’re hoping for extra space to entertain, to cook for guests or unwind with your family, there are many benefits to adding an outdoor living space to your Central Florida home. Consider these seven steps for building a sumptuous outdoor oasis, the perfect remedy to a hectic day.

1. Make a plan: What do you envision for your new patio or deck? A space for outdoor dining, entertainment and relaxation is best with shade, the proper seating and some means of creating privacy from your neighbors. Write down these big-picture goals to help sketch out a plan.
2. Match architecture: Make the outdoor living space an extension of your home by matching materials, colors and styles.
3. Invest in quality hardscaping: Stone walls, fire pits, stairs, and pathways serve as the backdrop to the outdoor living space. The same way you would invest in quality flooring for your home, don’t skimp on hardscaping for your outdoor space.
4. Create elegant entrances: Use pergolas and gates as doorways to the outdoor oasis. Then, line the path with cobblestones or irregular stepping-stones. Complete the romantic garden look with a myriad of plants surrounding the path.
5. Blend existing structures into the design: For many, this means fixing up the home’s exterior to complement the newly finished outdoor living space. For others, it might be a garden shed, gazebo or workshop that needs some revamping in order to fit in. Add plants, window boxes and pathways to make the structure look like it belongs.
6. Add water elements: Water is intrinsically soothing. Include it in your outdoor living space as a waterfall, fountain, pond, bubbler or swimming pool.
7. Don’t forget greenery: Plants are often the final installation, but you can’t neglect them. From evergreens and holly to roses and lilac, there’s no end to the foliage you can add to your outdoor living space.

You’re more likely to use and enjoy your outdoor living space if you incorporate things that are most important to you, and with these tips, your sumptuous outdoor living space will become your favorite place to relax and entertain. Learn more by contacting Associated Construction Products (ACP) today.

Central Florida’s year-round moderate climate is great for extending your living space outdoors. Even if your home has a small backyard, you can create an outdoor living design that will become the perfect setting for entertaining or relaxing. With the right planning, you can have design features such as an outdoor kitchen, dining area and hot tub or spa, adding in a walkway, fountain or fireplace for aesthetic value.

The secret is to maximize the design while minimizing the clutter. The following techniques are essential for creating an outdoor living design that fits your tiny space:

  • Using your property’s strengths, create a smooth flow by extending the visual lines from your home’s windows, doors and corners. An existing patio can become a covered dining area. A curved walkway can wind from the door throughout each area to add dimension and continuity.
  • The view from inside your home is just as important. Consider what you want visible from inside, such as the outdoor kitchen or dining areas, and where a more private sitting area can be tucked away.
  • Color, tone and texture are key to the illusion of space. Blend the color of your fence into the background to eliminate a boxed-in look. Walkways made up of several lighter tones appear larger, and even certain patterns can make an area look wider. Limit the different types of hardscaping materials, though, to maintain a consistent repetition and a less cluttered look.
  • When it comes to landscaping, less is more. Boulders can be used to soften lines and create dimension. Provide touches of color and natural beauty without overwhelming the space.
  • Remember to build in a mingle room. You’ll want your guests to move throughout the space freely. To avoid crowding, angle each area to provide sufficient standing or strolling room.

You can add comfort, functionality and harmony to your home by expanding your living space outdoors. If you’d like more outdoor living design ideas, contact the professionals at Associated Construction Products, Inc. We’ve been turning Central Florida homeowners’ outdoor dreams into reality since 1986.

Home improvement isn’t always an inside job. With Florida’s moderate year-round climate, home improvements are often geared to creating more enjoyable outdoor living spaces. Patios and decks, aesthetic walkways and driveways, and decorative retaining walls fashioned of concrete or brick pavers can all have a huge impact on curbside appeal and property value.

There are many ways to enhance your outdoor living spaces using concrete or interlocking brick pavers. If you want to go green, brick is made of natural clay. Subdued shades of cream, red, tan, gray and brown all have a serene and natural look that’s elegant yet understated. What’s more, because clay is fired at high temperatures, the colors are virtually fade-resistant.

Permeable pavers are a green alternative to traditional paving. Traditional pavement slabs are impermeable, meaning that water can only run off. Permeable paving allows rainwater to pass through, eliminating runoff and filtering rainfall as it passes through. This prevents standing water on driveways and other outdoor spaces and is a blessing in warm regions prone to frequent tropical downpours.

Besides having more visual appeal than traditional paving, permeable pavers are slip resistant, strong and durable. They are also cooler for outdoor living spaces because they reflect heat instead of absorbing it, thereby providing a cooler surface.

Fortunately, pavers in Greater Tampa FL aren’t subject to ice and snow, and they require little maintenance. After proper sealing, you can easily clean and care for them yourself. Regular sweeping will remove dead leaves and debris. After sweeping, pull up any weeds, then rinse the surface thoroughly using a garden hose with moderate pressure.

Next, check for stains, cracks and holes. Loosen any stains with a mild, nonabrasive detergent, scrub with a brush, and flush with a clean rinse. Mold stains can be removed by adding bleach to the water, while paint stains should be treated with a paint stripper. A liquid degreasing product will remove oil stains.

Washing is best done on a warm, sunny day to assist with drying. After washing and drying, treat any cracks or holes with a filler to prevent them from worsening. Allow the filler to dry completely. To keep surfaces looking fresh and new, apply a masonry sealer every few years. If, when you washed it, the water on the surface did not bead, then it’s time to apply a sealer.

There’s no shortage of pavers in Greater Tampa FL, but if you want high-quality work, be sure to research any prospective company carefully before you sign on for a project. Reputable design companies like ACP have online portfolios of projects they’ve completed for other homeowners including concrete pavers. Be cautious about any company that’s unwilling to provide samples and/or references.

A paving project that takes into account not only the beauty and value of your property but also the overall effect on the ecosystem is a wise investment. It will look beautiful while having a positive impact on the environment for years to come.

References

http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/the-benefits-of-permeable-pavi-118431
http://www.bae.ncsu.edu/stormwater/PublicationFiles/BMPs4LID.pdf
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permeable_paving
http://www.ehow.com/info_8657647_should-seal-pavers.html

The Greater Tampa Florida climate allows us to enjoy outdoor living almost year-round. Although it gets a bit nippy during the cool season, an outdoor fireplace or fire pit can provide just enough warmth to keep everyone cozy and comfortable. Gathering around an open hearth with friends and family under the stars on a chilly evening can be a wonderful alternative to being cooped up indoors.

Just as an indoor hearth provides a natural focal point in any room, the outdoor fireplace becomes a centerpiece wherever it’s placed. Surround it with comfortable seating, add a few tables, and you’ve got an outdoor living room. Consider installing a roof over the area for protection from sun and rain. With an overhead covering, your outdoor living room will get maximum use.

If you have a small house with an ample yard, it makes sense to invest in an outdoor living area. It will give your property a more spacious feeling, and you can entertain larger groups if indoor space is cramped.

Gas-burning fireplaces are very popular because they don’t generate smoke or sparks. Gas systems are safer, there’s no soot or ash, and you don’t have to gather wood. Unlike wood-burning designs, gas systems are easy to fire up, turn off, and they furnish consistent heat. The only disadvantages are that you can’t use them for cooking and you’ll need to have a gas line installed.

Do you enjoy outdoor cooking and grilling? A fire pit may be more to your liking. With a fire pit, you won’t have to install a gas line or pay for gas to fuel the unit. If you live in a rural area, you might even have access to free or cheap firewood. With a fire pit, you’ll get the full effect of an open campfire, and you can cook over it too. An added benefit is that you can use a fire pit to burn junk mail, correspondence and documents you would otherwise shred. This is an eco-friendly way to eliminate excess paper.

There are many designs to choose from; you can even custom-design your own. They may be made of brick, stone, stucco, marble, tile or concrete. When you choose a design that compliments and extends the architectural style of your home, it will add to the aesthetic appeal of your property and give your outdoor area extra pizzazz.

Be sure to check the local codes in your area before installing a fire pit or a gas-burning hearth. There may be installation, size and location restrictions in your area. Although you can build it yourself, installation by a professional is always your safest bet, especially when gas line installation is involved.

To learn more about fire pits and fire place designs, or to discover other creative ways to expand your living space, contact ACP. They will visit your home for a no-cost consultation, suggest ideas, and provide a free estimate. You can also receive a quick quote online.

Links

http://www.landscapeeast.com/blog/the-benefits-of-an-outdoor-fireplace-or-fire-pit-in-landscaping-designs-2011-04
http://www.ehow.com/facts_7612917_benefits-outdoor-fire-pit.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outdoor_fireplace

There’s something about the gentle movement of water that creates a sense of peace, harmony and well-being. Studies have shown that being outside in a serene natural setting has a positive effect on emotions and health. An aesthetic and well-designed outdoor living area that includes water can relieve stress and reduce blood pressure.

A water feature in your outdoor living area can be both beautiful and therapeutic, a gorgeous focal point that doesn’t take up much space. Most water features are safe for kids and pets, easy to install and don’t require a lot of maintenance. Given the balmy Greater Tampa Florida climate, ponds and waterfalls can be enjoyed year-round.

Water features can be added to patios, courtyards, gardens, beside pools or along walkways. Goldfish ponds, Koi ponds, fountains and waterfalls are very popular for their relaxing properties, visual appeal, and the refreshing sensation of moving water. You can add lighting to any water feature to give it more artistry, stronger impact and the option to enjoy it after dark.

Waterfalls and ponds are usually made of concrete or stone. They can be accented with rocks, urns, statues, pillars and columns. You can enhance their sensory appeal by adding wind chimes or an incense burner. Birdhouses and hummingbird feeders can be placed nearby, while plants add freshness and greenery. Borders can be placed around ponds using stones of different colors, shapes and sizes. Place an iron garden bench near the water feature for cozy and intimate seating.

You can hire a professional to install the features you envision, or consult with a landscaper to get suggestions. It’s best to have a solid plan before you start. The goal is to create an overall balance that harmonizes with the rest of your property. It’s important not to overdo. Water features that are too cluttered or fussy will have a busy, nervous look that’s neither peaceful nor harmonious. Less is always more. If the feature you want includes electrical components, have them installed by a professional.

Of course you’ll want to get the best possible price on your investment, but don’t skimp on quality. Cutting corners will only cost you money down the road. If you’d like to explore the idea of what water features can do for your Tampa, FL outdoor living area, contact ACP for a no-obligation consultation and a free estimate.

Links

http://www.healinglandscapes.org/resources/water/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Therapeutic_garden
http://www.wsnla.org/easylandscapewaterfeatures.htm
http://fountains.lifetips.com/cat/64934/landscaping-water-features/index.html
http://web.stonemakers.net/bid/54071/7-Benefits-To-Backyard-Water-Features

Landscaping walls are a wonderful way to add beauty, structure and definition your outdoor spaces. Stone and brick have a timeless quality, a permanence that will never wear out or look dated. Unlike wood, stone and brick improve with age, they don’t rot, and they’re not at the mercy of the elements. They won’t burn down, aren’t damaged by water, don’t blow away and suffer minimal storm and sun damage. This is an important consideration in Greater Tampa Florida where extremes of heat and tropical storms are a regular part of life.

There are many ways to define outdoor areas with landscaping borders. If your property is large, you can divide the grounds into smaller spaces that look and feel more intimate. You can create borders around flower beds to keep soil in place, design a waterfall or goldfish pond, add a stone bench for picturesque seating. You can define a patio area, encircle a tree or add a garden terrace, walkway and staircase. Taller borders can be used for privacy around pools, spas and outdoor living rooms or to conceal unpleasant views. Walls can be designed to furnish shade or to protect against the wind.

Give your entire home an upscale look with a classic stone or brick border that completely surrounds your property. Whereas fencing requires maintenance, stone and brick are virtually maintenance-free and don’t need sealing or paint. They can discourage trespassers, vandals and burglars and create a sheltered environment for children and pets.

One of the most appealing features of landscape walls is that they can be constructed in many different ways and composed of various textures and colors. Walls can be curved, straight, graduated or constructed on sloping ground. They can include interesting colors, unique shapes or be designed to incorporate and extend the unique features of your home. To discover the possibilities of what you can do on your own property, visit Houzz.com for 239 images and ideas.

The best part of using stone or brick borders as part of your outdoor landscaping scheme is that they’re sustainable. They can last for centuries. However, another option for outdoor landscaping is the veneer stone offered by ACP. Veneer stone is a very affordable alternative to real stone. It’s made of natural materials, is available in a wider variety of colors and textures, and it’s easy to care for.

Links

http://www.houzz.com/photos/pool/paint-decorative-wall

http://www.ehow.com/facts_4966994_benefits-stone-walls.html

http://ezinearticles.com/?Why-You-Need-Concrete-Landscaping-And-Stone-Walls&id=5041605

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stone_veneer