Posted by Robyn Schmitz on Dec 24, 2020 4:03:31 AM

Outdoor kitchens have become popular across Kansas, creating a unique dining experience. As the winter season approaches, many Americans wonder how to winterize their outdoor kitchen to keep them from rusting or taking on damage during the cold.

At High Prairie Landscape Group, we specialize in outdoor living and have a depth of experience with outdoor kitchens. To help our clients better prepare for the snowy weather, we have created this guide on how to winterize your outdoor kitchen.

Cut the Water Flow

The first step to winterize your outdoor kitchen when the temperature drops is to turn off any water lines connected to the kitchen.

The reason for this is that any of your outdoor plumbing is likely connected to your indoor plumbing. If these pipes freeze up while thewater is still inside of them, the pipes could crack and cause leaks and flooding. It could also permanently damage water fixtures in your outdoor kitchen, which could call for some expensive repairs.

Once the water flow has been cut off, you must also drain the lines. This is for the same reason as above. Any water left in the lines will freeze. In Kansas, we have the pleasure of very mild winters, but even here we see snow and ice. If it is cold enough to find frost on the lawn in the morning, it is cold enough to worry about your plumbing.

Protect Your Fixtures

Winter weather is unpredictable and could bring wind, rain, and snow. These elements work to penetrate wood features and could cause warping if the wood is not properly maintained. Before the winter strikes, be sure to seal your wood cabinets, table, chairs, counters, and any other outdoor wood feature to weatherproof it. Similarly, your stainless steel should be protected with polish to keep from tarnishing.

Some families choose to cover their entire outdoor kitchen during the winter season, but you can pick and choose which portions you want to fully protect, and which require a bit of extra care before the bad weather comes.

Clean the Fridge and Oven

Winter weather doesn’t bode well for cooking outdoors, so most Kansas homeowners choose to disconnect power from outdoor kitchens during the cold season. As you cut power, remember to clean out any food left behind, as it will go bad once the fridge and freezer are shut off.

As you clean the refrigerator, remember to wipe out the oven, and any other area which may have food storage or debris. Any of this leftover food will invite unwanted pests during a time they are seeking warmth and something to munch on. You certainly don’t want to find a family of racoons that have made a home of your traditional brick pizza oven in the off season.

Clean and Cover your Sink

Any sinks in your outdoor kitchen will be safer with the water cut off, but it is still a good idea to clean them thoroughly and cover them for the winter season. Rain and snowfall, not to mention debris blown in by the winter wind, will settle in your sink. This could cause drain blockage and other issues, including damage.

Cover the sink with a custom cover, or a tarp, and use heavy objects, like a bag of sand, to keep the tarp snug into the curvature of the sink. This also helps keep insects and rodents from crawling into your pipes.

Turn off the Gas Line

Unless you’re a winter griller, you may want to consider cutting the gas line to your outdoor kitchen as well. Not only does this help save fuel, it also reduces the chance of an accident. You can’t leave the gas on if there’s no gas to leak.

This is also a prime time to give your grill a proper cleaning. Start by burning off any excess debris and scraping the grill clean once it has cooled. Finally, wipe it down, and if possible, cover it with a protective layer, like the tarp used in the sink.

Contact High Prairie Landscape Group

High Prairie Landscape Group is a leading outdoor décor and landscaping company in Kansas. Our experienced team specializes in unique and custom projects, including outdoor water features, retaining walls, outdoor kitchens, and even holiday lighting.

If you are interested in installing an outdoor kitchen in your yard, or you have questions about maintaining your current outdoor kitchen, we can help. We invite you to contact us at 1 (816) 398-2901.

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About The Author

Robyn Schmitz
Robyn Schmitz

Robyn is a 2009 Graduate of the Kansas State University Department of Horticulture. She grew up in South East Kansas where she graduated from Humboldt High School. She was a Kansas State University Leadership Scholar and President of the Horticulture Club. She married Bret in 2009 and they have a daughter Ellie, born in 2021. Their family is completed by three adopted dogs.