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Adding A Fantastic Outdoor Kitchen

A backyard barbecue is great, but maybe you’d love to do even more cooking outdoors  If you’re among those who want to prepare a lot more than burgers and hot dogs in your yard, an outdoor kitchen could be the answer! Nearly anything you can have inside, you can replicate outside. 

Whether it’s already on your mind or it’s a new idea that’s piqued your interest, here are some ideas for planning a fantastic outdoor kitchen!

Set A Goal

Before getting started, it’s important to know what your expectations are. When you plan your indoor kitchen, you have a lot of expectations based on how you like to cook. You can do the same outdoors, as well. 

Think about the kind of cooking and entertaining you like to do. You may choose a grill, but you can go well beyond that, too. But there are specialty barbecue grills, too, like smokers, rotisserie grills, and other variants.You may want a stovetop. Or how about a pizza oven?

YearOfGlad [CC BY-SA 3.0 ()], via Wikimedia Commons

But a spot for cooking isn’t only about the cooking surface itself. You can add other appliances and conveniences to help make it a great culinary experience. You can have everything but the kitchen sink. Actually, you can have that, too!

You may want to include a dining area or outdoor bar, too..

Think big! What would your dream kitchen have? Once you have a concept, you can decide what will work in your available space. Then, you can work on the details and layout.

Choose A Spot

Of course, you want to pick the perfect spot for your outdoor kitchen! There are a few things to keep in mind when planning.

First, you’ll have to consider the overall amount of space you have. How much of that are you willing to set apart for your cooking area? Don’t forget to think about having some dining space, too.

Next, consider the sun and shade in different parts of the yard. You don’t want to have your stove or grill right where it will get the strongest sun – cooking is hot enough as it is. On the other hand, you don’t want it directly under trees because you’ll have smoke going up that could damage them. 

keep your outdoor kitchen shaded but open

Access to the house, especially to the main kitchen, can be a big convenience. If you need utensils or food from inside, you don’t want to have to go too far. At the same time, you may not want smoke drifting into the house, so you don’t want to grill too close to bedroom windows!

Another reason to keep your outdoor kitchen relatively close to the house is access to utilities. You’ll want to have electricity, water, and maybe a natural gas. It’s more cost-effective to connect if the distance is short. You can run these over longer distances, of course, but it will cost a bit more. Be sure to have the installation done professionally and up to code!

Before starting, of course, you should check your local building requirements first to make sure your plans meet regulations.

Plan Your Structure

Once you know the space you’ll use and how you’ll power your services, it’s time to think about the structure itself. You’ll want a surface, of course. But you may also want a roof over all or part of the area. And to hold up that roof, you’ll need walls or columns.

Any surface that works well for a patio can also be great for your outdoor kitchen area. You can opt for something as simple as plain concrete. But you can make it look even better with pavers, brick, stamped concrete, or other materials. You do want something that will stay level, of course, since cooking can require a lot of movement back and forth. You don’t want to have tripping hazards!

Some homeowners like to set off the dining portion with a different design for the surface. Having a step or two between the kitchen and dining area is another option. But there are many ways you can use the roof, columns, and even plants to distinguish one section from the other. It’s not necessary to make a break between the two, but it can add some flair to your design.

If you regularly face strong winds from a particular direction, you might want to have some kind of wind break to block it. That could be a wall, but plant trees or bushes on that side can also be a big help.. Don’t want to lose the view? Use glass or plexiglass for most of it! 

If you have a roof for the area, it’s best to use columns, rather than walls, to hold it up. After all, you don’t want to lose the purpose of it being an outdoor kitchen!

Appliances for Your Outdoor Kitchen 

Once you have your structure in place, it’s time to start filling it with wonderful appliances!

The centerpiece of your outdoor kitchen is, of course, your cooking surface. You don’t have to be limited to only one, of course. There’s nothing that says you have to choose between a grill, a smoker, a stove, and a pizza oven – why not have them all?

But whatever cooking surface(s) you choose, you don’t want to stop there. An outdoor refrigerator is a major convenience. A sink is another handy addition both for food prep and cleaning afterward.

outdoor kitchen with bar and keg

Small appliances like a blender or warmer can come in handy, too.

Be sure to consider the materials and options available in outdoor kitchen appliances so that you can have the area that best serves your needs!

Of course, adding proper lighting is key to enjoying your outdoor kitchen, too. There are many options for light fixtures or styles of light. But you’ll need something for your workspace as well as for the dining area so you can get the most enjoyment out of your kitchen.

Don’t Forget Your Work Surface and Storage

Appliances may be the stars of your kitchen, but they need a strong supporting cast. You need to have great countertops for your work area. You’ll also want some storage space so you don’t always have to move supplies from inside. These are easy to forget about – until you don’t have them!

There are some supplies you might like to store in your outdoor kitchen. The bag of charcoal, cleaning supplies, and other items might not really be needed inside. You might also have pots and pans, plates and cups, and flatware reserved for this space. It’s certainly easier to store them where you’ll use them instead of lugging them back and forth. 

When choosing cabinets and closets for outdoor use, be sure that the material will stand up to the elements. Don’t forget to take the hinges and handles into account, too.

You also need space to prepare food and serve it. Even though counters seem like “empty space”, they do help you get the job done efficiently. There are a lot of great materials to choose from for your outdoor countertops.

Conclusion

An outdoor kitchen is a great way to get maximum enjoyment out of your yard. It can add a whole new level to cooking out. You’ll love preparing and serving delicious meals for yourself, your family, and your friends. No matter how simple or elaborate you’d like it, it can be a fantastic addition to your home.