Q: My new house is on a small hillside lot with a really steep backyard. I love to cook outside, but the only usable place in my new space is near the front door. I have never seen a grill placed nicely in somebody's front yard. Do you have any ideas about how to hide it?
A: Outdoor living spaces can make your house feel bigger and flow well, no matter where they are. Putting things like grills in places that work for you, even though the placement may not be traditional, is a great way to personalize those spaces. Cooking in your front yard might not be the best if you want privacy, but it is a great way to get to know your neighbors better. Grilling is a social activity, and it invites everyone close enough to smell the smoke to come over and say hi.
If you do place your grill outdoors, you will need to think about securing it so that it won't be stolen, or storing it in a place from which you can easily roll it out. You might bolt the grill down or use strong, theft-resistant cables like the kind that bicycle shops carry.
Think of how inviting a front porch is, and imagine that feeling in your yard. Can you define an alcove convenient to the door, but off to one side? Consider outlining an L or U shape with an attractive fence, hedge, or trellis and vines. It is fine not to enclose your entire front yard. Just make sure to keep all plants trimmed far away from the grill.
Depending on the view from inside your house, you might consider building a mirror image alcove on the opposite side of your front door for symmetry. You can also make a path from your door to the grill with some stone pavers or gravel so that your cooking space won't get muddy.
Add a bench or a cute bistro table with a couple of chairs near the grill if you have space, and welcome the neighbors.