Get Your Patio or Deck
Ready for spring!
Spring is here, and unless you live in an area where the weather is perfect nearly year-round, it’s time to get your outdoor cooking and entertaining space in shape for the grilling season.
Lucky for you, the team here at All Things Barbecue has you covered.
We’re going to run down the list of what you need to do to make this your best grilling season yet, from getting your grill (or grills) clean and ready to cook and setting up an outdoor area for food prep and serving.
And while we’re at it, we’re going to give you some tips on making the most of your space by helping you transform your patio or deck into an outdoor living room you can enjoy into the fall.
First up, let’s get your grill cleaned up and ready to go.
Bucket or Tub
that will Fit Grates
(We Like Simple Green)
Stainless Steel Cleaner
If you are
Cleaning a Gas Grill
(A Brush to Clean Straws will also Work)
A New Foil Liner
for the Drip Tray
Note: If you are cleaning a gas grill, you will have a few extra steps. We’ve created a simple
PDF checklist to download
that walks you through the step-by-step process of cleaning a gas grill after it’s been in winter storage.
Steps for a
The first thing you need to do is take all of the interior parts, such as grill grates, deflector plates, heat plates, etc. out of your grill. Check all parts for rust and holes and replace parts that are too worn to last another year.
Take all of your grill's interior parts and soak them in a mixture of warm water and dish soap to help loosen build-up. If your grill has a grease tray, pull it out and wipe it clean, built-up grease can cause fires if not cleaned properly.
While your grill grates and deflector plates soak, use your wire brush to clean any loose debris in both the lid and bottom of your grill. You can use a small Shop-Vac to get the debris out of the bottom of the unit.
Pull your grates and deflector plates from the soap and water mixture and scrub them clean, then let them dry. Once dry, reinstall them and then move to the exterior of the grill.
Using a good all-purpose cleaner such as simple green, wipe down the exterior of the grill and clean all water spots, grease, and dirt, and grime from the front and back of the unit. Once everything has been cleaned well, you will want to do a quick burn to make sure everything is running well. Do this for 30 minutes before shutting the grill down.
Clean Up Your
Patio or Deck
This is a step that can be easy to skip, but it’s important to clean your patio or deck well each year. Especially underneath the grill and around your cooking area. Spills and stains can build up and cause a big headache over time.
We recommend taking a good power washer to your space after cleaning your grill. You’ve likely made a mess while cleaning your grill, so wait to do this until after or you’ll be doing it all over again later in the day.
If you have stubborn stains you can pick up deck and concrete cleaners that will help with problem areas, just make sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions and you’ll have a clean surface in no time.
Set Up Your
If you don’t have the room or budget, for an outdoor kitchen you can still make a few changes to your outdoor cooking space to make the most of food prep and serving.
Repurpose an old table or sideboard, preferably one that is long but not too deep, and place it next to your grill to form an “L” shape. If the table has a lower shelf, that’s even better. Now you have a place to use a cutting board, prep dishes, store utensils and serve from. Simply having a small table that keeps your food and tools in reach will make outdoor cooking much more enjoyable.
*If you’re handy, or know someone who is, we recommend building this grill table we found on Ana White’s website as it is a perfect size and shape for outdoor cooking, has ample storage space, and even includes a bottle opener in the plans which will keep you from constantly tracking down the opener from the kitchen that no one can ever seem to put back after using it.
Grilling table made from
1X4 and 1X6 Cedar boards
The entire purpose of this grill table is to limit trips back and forth to the kitchen and to bring the prep outside where you can spread out and enjoy the weather while cooking. And by creating an “L” shape for your space you have created a nice triangle that make sure you aren’t walking across your patio or deck to grab what you need, or worse, yelling for a loved one through a shut patio door to bring you the tongs you forgot after your eighth trip back inside.
When you are cooking a large meal, you end up with a lot of trash. From food packaging to scraps, they all need a place to go. Often overlooked, but possibly the most important accessory you can have in your space is a good trash can.
But you can’t just grab any old plastic trash can from a big box store and call it good. This can is going to live outside, so unless you want to drag it back and forth from your garage, you need to get one that has the heft to stand up to inclement weather, and make sure it has a lid to keep animals out.
If you opt to build a small grill table, we suggest building a small insert that will hold the trash can underneath the work surface. A few pieces of 1x4 scrap will keep it in place, just make sure to get a can small enough that you can lift it in and out of your table with ease.
Sure, you have a fridge in the house - and probably one in the garage, but no one wants to have to walk in and out of the house to get a cold drink. So having a cooler filled with ice and assorted beverages will make it easy for everyone to grab what they need without guests digging through your beer fridge that’s stocked with the expensive beer you don’t want to share. ;)
YETI Coolers are known around the world for their ability to hold ice for days, and for their large capacities that make it easy to have drinks available for a crowd of 20 plus without needing to reload the ice halfway through the evening or continually reload warm drinks from their boxes next to the cooler you have that’s just too small for more than a few people.
Cooking and entertaining just isn’t the same without some music. But that little Bluetooth speaker you got in your stocking last Christmas just doesn’t have the power to fill up the backyard. It’s time to upgrade your outdoor music setup.
We have been really impressed with Sonance outdoor speaker setups, from their surface mount all-weather speakers to their in-ground landscape systems, Sonance has everything you need to put a great system outdoors that is designed to work in all kinds of weather without worry.
Just like your grill, your patio furniture is going to need a little cleaning after being stored for the winter. If you have invested in furniture covers, it’s time to pull them off. If not, grab your cushions out of storage (you aren’t leaving your cushions exposed year-round, are you?) and get the Shop-Vac out.
Take some time and vacuum your furniture to remove all the dust and debris that has settled in the cracks and crevices during the winter. If there are still dirty spots remaining after vacuuming, you can use a gentle cleanser, such as dishwashing liquid, to get out most stains.
If you have furniture that features Sunbrella or Obravia fabrics, you can use a bleach cleaner since they are 100% solution-dyed acrylic. If you run into any tough stains, mix some bleach into your dishwashing liquid mixture.
Always be sure to test a small spot that isn’t visible if you aren’t sure what fabric you have.
For furniture frames that are looking a bit dull, we stock cleaner that will help shine up and protect your furniture frames. This will help you bring life back to your furniture with a few easy swipes!
Tired of the look of your patio? You can make it new again with a few accessories and new colors for a new year.
Pops of color always help refresh a space, whether that is indoors or out. We have a wide selection of throw pillows and outdoor rugs that will help add those pops of color.
Another simple way to add color is with new flowers and greenery in colorful pots and planters. We have a wide selection of planters that have flowering plants already in them, making it easy to add some color to your space without multiple trips to the local nursery.
Laying Out Dining
& Gathering Spaces
It’s important to remember scale whenever furniture is involved. Be sure to match the scale of the furniture to the scale of your space. More space may mean bigger furniture, but smaller spaces can still be fantastic gathering areas, you just need to make sure you buy scaled-down pieces so you can have the seating you want without it overtaking your entire space.
For dining areas, you need to remember to leave room for circulation, and we don’t mean air. Typically, you want at least 36 inches of space from the edge of your dining table to the edge of your patio or any other obstructions. This allows you to function around the table without feeling like it is overwhelming your patio or deck.
To figure out how many you can sit at a table, just remember that you want to leave around 24” width per “seat” for each person. This will help you decide which size table is best for you, and don’t forget, we have tons of tables in stock in various sizes to fit your needs.
When thinking of lounge areas, you want to take into consideration what you want to accomplish and the and ease of use. Cushions are cozier but will require some light care to maintain. If you don’t want to worry about maintaining cushioned furniture, we have plenty of furniture covers in stock. These will help take the worry out of maintaining your furniture for years to come. Beyond cushioned furniture, we have plenty of sling and non-cushioned options to help create gathering spaces that fit your lifestyle.
Finally, add some lighting to your space. Whether you are looking for patio string lights or small accent lights, we have what you need to get your space lit up for those late-night gatherings.
We know this is a lot to unpack, but if you take it step by step and focus on what works for you and your outdoor space we can promise that you’ll have an incredible spring, and summer, full of great meals and even better memories that will last a lifetime.