You Go, Grill 
As spring feeds into summer, homeowners’ thoughts turn to the outdoors.
by Leigh Stuart

Late spring in the Northeast means a return to all things outdoors. Be it hiking, fishing, camping, picnicking, or a trip to the lake or shore, there’s no wrong way to enjoy life en plein air
The backyard barbecue also deserves its own special “moment in the sun,” of course. The smell of grilled meats and vegetables wafting through the air, the flowing of iced tea or other frosty libations, and friends and family gathered together set the stage for memories that may last a lifetime. 
That said, some backyards are better prepared for get-togethers than others. A stainless-steel outdoor kitchen unit set in granite, featuring a refrigerator and sink, is a definite step up from a portable gas grill surrounded by tired lawn chairs. With the addition of amenities such as a fire pit, gazebo, or pergola, along with some exquisite outdoor furniture to make guests comfortable, a space can be transformed into one worth enjoying right until the snow starts to fall. 
Trend-watchers suggest the growing interest in outdoor living will continue to gain steam. Outdoor rooms designed to mimic indoor living are of particular note, as are decorative outdoor tile floors. Charcoal, gas, and flat-top grills remain popular, but smokers and pellet grills have been sparking a great deal of homeowner interest, too. 
Likewise, the growing population of work-from-home professionals that boomed at the start of 2020 has prompted some homeowners to add outdoor workspaces that complement their indoor set-ups, according to a recent report from Better Homes & Gardens. As more people spend more time at home all around, a push to personalize spaces has taken over. For lovers of bold patterns and colors, this summer is the time to shine. 
No matter the style—homeowners have abundant options in terms of stone, finish, cabinetry, and lighting—home improvements are always a wise investment. Capable and skilled home improvement professionals can lead the way, with homeowners limited only by budget and imagination.
With the right equipment, design, and planning, any backyard can become “the place to be” this summer or, really, any time of year.
Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Life magazine, May 2022.