Are you looking to become the host with the most? An outdoor kitchen can set your backyard apart and transform your outdoor space from a typical barbecue spot to the must-be place for parties. In addition to entertainment, an outdoor kitchen can increase both your home’s value and living space. And, not to mention, any concerns of smoke or food odor lingering inside your home becomes a thing of the past when you move cooking outside.
However, designing your dream outdoor kitchen does take plenty of planning. Here are a few things to consider.
Determine your budget
Setting up a budget can make some of your decisions easier. Figure out what is most important to you. You need to consider several aspects: appliances, lighting, cabinets, seating, and counter space. Before getting started, consider how much you want to spend on each area to make the process move easier.
Consider your climate and location
If you live in a mild climate, you can use your outdoor kitchen throughout the year. If not, you’ll need to consider how extreme cold or heat could affect your outdoor kitchen. Items such as fans, heaters, and roofs can help you battle the elements and enjoy your outdoor kitchen for a longer period of the year.
Your home’s location should also have an impact on your planning. For example, while a coastal view might sound amazing, you’ll want to use materials that can stand up to the sea air.
Location in your yard
The site of your outdoor kitchen is an important consideration. A lot of people choose to build their outdoor kitchen in the backyard near a pool or on an existing deck or patio. No matter where you choose, you’ll need to make sure you have access to an electrical source for the appliances.
Consider where your outdoor kitchen will be in relation to your home. You don’t want to have smoke or food odors go through an open window into your house. Be cautious of where you place your grill as you don’t want open flames near your home. It can also be beneficial to have your outdoor kitchen within easy access of your indoor kitchen for transferring food.
A grill will be the centerpiece for your outdoor kitchen. You have the option of using a standard portable grill or going all in and installing a built-in grill. There are plenty of grills to choose from, including electric, charcoal, and natural gas/propane grills. Many models come with additional options, such as numerous additional options, including warming burners, rotisserie attachments, and convection ovens, so you’re sure to find an option that meets your needs.
You may also require a refrigerator to store snacks, meats, and drinks. But you can’t just add an indoor fridge to your outdoor space. Outdoor refrigerators are specially designed with weatherproof electrical components and an ambient temperature range.
A sink with running water is a must for food preparation and cleanup. If you have the space, a dishwasher will help cut cleanup time and allow more time to mingle with your guests.
When it comes to appliances, your options end where you want them to. Do you want to slow cook ribs and brisket? Add a smoker—just make sure it is not in an area where your house could fill with smoke. Installing a pizza oven allows you to make your own delicious pizzas, along with meats, veggies, and desserts. A warming drawer could be a good addition if you plan to feed larger groups of people; it will also keep foods made indoors warm while you prepare the rest of the meal and can act as a slow cooker for meats.
No matter what appliances you choose, make sure they’re made of the right material, such as stainless steel, to make sure they will stand up to the weather. Also, try to keep some distance between your heating and cooling appliances. Keeping at least a one-foot buffer between these devices will allow them to properly ventilate.
Don’t let the sunset determine how long to enjoy your outdoor kitchen—make sure you add the right lighting. You’ll want to make sure the cooking, prep, and eating areas are well lit. If you add a ceiling to your outdoor kitchen, overhead lights are a great choice. Pendant lighting over the cooking areas or bar can also help these areas stand out. Consider ground-level lighting around counters to avoid any trips or spills.
You’ll want to make sure your kitchen isn’t cluttered. More counter space provides room to easily prep your meals, keep utensils handy, and an area to serve the food. Countertops should be weatherproof and waterproof to stand up to the elements. Popular outdoor counter material includes granite, soapstone, concrete, and stainless steel. And don’t forget cabinets. A lack of storage space can lead to frustration in any kitchen—indoors or out.
Once the food is made, you’ll need somewhere to enjoy it. Furnish the outdoor kitchen to your taste with tables, chairs, and stools. Creating multiple areas for guests to wine and dine in can be a good option. If space allows, add items like throw pillows to bring the comforts of the indoors to your outdoor space.
Protection from the elements
Yes, it is an outdoor kitchen. But depending on where you live, you’ll want to make sure this space is protected from rain or intense sun. Pergolas, gazebos, shade trees, awnings, and tables with umbrellas are all good options to protect you from the elements. Patio drapes are another solid choice for additional sun protection and added privacy.
If you live in an area with a cool spring and fall, add patio heaters to extend the use of your outdoor kitchen beyond the summer. And in warmer months, consider adding a fan to cool your outdoor kitchen down as the grill heats up.
An outdoor kitchen can take your outdoor space to a new level. Friends and family will be making reservations to hang out in your new outdoor addition.