The shine of your high-end grill, the warm beauty of the stone hearth that surrounds your brick oven… it’s the outdoor kitchen of your dreams and it’s helping you get the most out of your back yard. Everyone wants an outdoor kitchen because these versatile spaces let you enjoy the outdoors in all kinds of new ways, from entertaining friends to everyday family dinners enjoyed al fresco for a refreshing change of pace.

But just like your indoor kitchen, that backyard haven needs regular cleaning and maintenance, too. Here are some tips to help you get through the cleaning faster and with less hassle so you can get back to enjoying your backyard outdoor paradise.

  1. You need more than a wire brush to keep your grill clean

By far, the most noticeable part of a dirty grill is the grill itself. It’s where the meat sears onto the grill grates, creating that thick, baked-on black, sticky mess. A quick scrub with a wire brush takes care of that so your next meal doesn’t taste like charcoal or last week’s BBQ sauce but what about the rest of the grill?

Your outdoor grill is much more than the grates your food rests upon. There are also valves to clean, burners to maintain, and hoses to check. With gas grills, you’d be crazy not to perform a quick-and-easy hose check twice a year. Leaking grill hoses lead to gas leaks which can potentially become a hazard. The cold winter air and the hot, baking sun are both detrimental to hose health, but even if your grill is in a shaded area, the seasonal temperature changes alone will cause wear and tear on the hoses as they expand and contract. Look for cracks and splits and replace if you find either one.

The flame on your gas grill should burn clean. If the flame is completely yellow with no blue parts, then you have a problem somewhere in the line and you are burning dirty fuel. Disconnect the fuel tank and have the pressure checked.

  1. Even that rustic-looking fireplace will need some TLC

Just because your stunning centerpiece of a fireplace and hearth are made of natural stone, it doesn’t mean they are maintenance-free. Keep them tidy by removing ashes regularly and sweeping the hearth so it doesn’t stain. Ashes should be placed in a metal bucket because they might still be hot and pose a fire hazard.

The chimney of your outdoor fireplace can benefit from having a cover, just like the chimney on an indoor fireplace. It helps keep water and debris from collecting in there and, since it’s not sealed to the same degree as an indoor chimney, it needs all the protection it can get.

And while we’re on the subject of your chimney, have it cleaned out with a wire brush every year. You can do it yourself or hire a pro.

  1. Outdoor countertops aren’t sidewalks: keep them wiped down!

It may be a smooth surface that’s built to withstand the elements, but the countertop in your outdoor kitchen is not built like a sidewalk. Countertops made of stone are porous, which means they can stain if you don’t wipe them down. Homeowners have various solutions for protecting their outdoor countertops, which range from building a protective roof over their outdoor kitchen (a pagoda, for example) to sealing the countertops to covering them during the cold winter months to keep off the ice and snow.

We hope you like our tips for keeping your beautiful outdoor kitchen in its best shape. It’s only a little bit longer until Spring, when you can uncover your outdoor paradise and resume outdoor living again. Until then, stay tuned for more tips and news to help you get the most out of your outdoor living spaces.

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COVIS - Hardscapes Contractor