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4 steps to outdoor entertaining bliss!

Are you contemplating taking the next important step in creating your own outdoor personal paradise—adding a fully functioning outdoor kitchen with all the bells and whistles? Before you do, these tips from Michael Labriola, Inc., an Armonk-based landscape design and construction business founded in 1971 by Michael Labriola Jr. and now headed by his son Michael Labriola, III, will help you make the best decisions for your lifestyle and your wallet by avoiding costly mistakes.

Step 1: Find the perfect spot

Decide on the best location for your outdoor kitchen. Location, location, location! Like any piece of real estate, location matters. Carefully consider your options, your priorities, and your lifestyle.

Option 1: Conveniently close

  • Positioning an outdoor kitchen just outside your home’s back door couldn’t be more convenient.
  • Close to your house also shortens the distance to travel back and forth between your indoor and outdoor kitchens.
  • DO: Take advantage of the opportunity to use an existing roof overhang to provide natural shade and protection from the sun, wind, rain, or snow.

Option 2: Poolside

  • A poolside standalone outdoor kitchen and bar is ideal for entertaining, allowing your guests to easily move from the pool to food and drinks.
  • Poolside provides plenty of extra space for mixing and mingling—even dancing to your own playlist!
  • DO: Be sure to factor in the distance from your outdoor kitchen to your house and plan to incorporate adequate outdoor storage to keep the essentials, including serving ware, condiments, and prep tools, nearby and make your hosting duties a breeze.
  • DO: Make sure it’s possible and not too costly to run the necessary utility lines from your house to the kitchen.


Step 2: Give me shelter

Wherever you place your kitchen, be sure to have shelter high on your list of requirements. Whether your kitchen is close to the house or a distance away, you may need to build a cover or pavilion to protect you and your guests from the heat or a sudden thunderstorm. A pergola or eyebrow off a location in the rear or side of a house for partial coverage or a full covering in a pool cabana or eating area away from the grill are most common. A fire pit and/or outdoor fireplace are generally set away from the outdoor kitchen space and for maximum safety, are always out in the open with no covering.  

Step 3: Ask yourself 4 critical questions

Before taking any action, save yourself the agony of regret or costly rework and think through your wants and needs, while also being realistic about your lifestyle and your budget. It will be time well spent. Ask yourself:

  • How often do I plan to cook outdoors?
  • Will my outdoor kitchen be used primarily for intimate family dining or large-scale entertaining? 
  • What functions are important to include in my kitchen, i.e., will I need a sink for washing dishes and utensils? 
  • Is it important for my kitchen to be close to my house?

Step 4: Plan carefully

By being careful and thorough, the vision of your ultimate outdoor sanctuary will easily move from dream to reality.

Michael Labriola, Inc. is an innovative family owned and operated business that has served Westchester and Fairfield counties 45 years. We provide commercial and residential site design and development, landscaping, and commercial maintenance. Referrals by satisfied customers including homeowners, local businesses and corporations, municipalities, institutions, and golf courses have been the key to the company’s continued growth.

Michael Labriola Inc.
84 Business Park Dr, Suite 214
(914) 273-6530