Cooking outside can be a wonderful alternative to the daily routine of preparing meals in the home. The openness of the outdoors can bring a refreshing feel to the everyday family dinner adding a festive air to the mundane. Not much space is needed to incorporate outdoor kitchen renovations, the space just needs to be functional.
Something to consider when planning your outdoor kitchen is the proximity to the indoor one. The more convenient this kitchen is to your indoor one, the less travel for items such as seasonings, utensils, dinnerware and food items. Also, having an attached, covered outdoor kitchen can extend the length of time you are able to use this new food preparation and serving area.
Next to consider is the equipment and appliances. You can obtain an outdoor version of every type of indoor appliance, but do you really need it all? Take some time to consider what you will be preparing in your outdoor kitchen and then decide what appliances/equipment to invest in. The most common outdoor appliances are grills, mini refrigerators, sinks and icemakers. Some of these items can be freestanding so they can be moved as needed or they can be installed into your cabinet/counter space. Also, a vent hood is a good option to consider for an outdoor kitchen that is located on an attached or covered patio or deck where good air circulation can be an issue. Stainless steel is the most popular material for outdoor equipment because of its resistance to the weather. When deciding on the appliances you wish to incorporate in your outdoor kitchen keep in mind mini appliances, such as, a mini refrigerator because in most cases you will only need to store one meal or a few beverages.
Keep in mind the need for storage. Built-ins are very helpful for storing items in a dry place. A cabinet under the sink is perfect for storing fire logs, charcoal or cleaning supplies. Drawers next to the grill can house utensils needed for cooking including; hot pads and matches. Built-ins such as, pull out trash cans and recycling bins, as well as, baskets to hold napkins, glasses, silverware and other necessities are essential. When deciding what type of cabinets & countertops to install, keep in mind your climate’s weather conditions and select durable materials, such as, stone, slate or tile. If you are considering installing this kitchen on an existing deck insure that it is structurally sound to support all the extra weight.
Above all, you will want space to actually dine. Consider cooking and dining spaces that will work best for your family. For space-challenged outdoor kitchens, clever inclusion of bar stool seating can increase countertop space and encourage social gathering
Lastly, plan for varying levels of light so that you can maximize the hours you spend enjoying your outdoor kitchen. Overhead lights, such as recessed cans and pendants, are key to making the most of your grilling and eating spaces. Use UL-rated Wet fixtures, to withstand the weather. An outdoor ceiling fan helps to keep air moving and increase the comfort level in a semi-enclosed outdoor kitchen space. If your outdoor kitchen will be freestanding, electricity is essential to power items such as lights and appliances. Placing an outlet near the main cooking area will expand the ways you can use the space into the night.
Your home can be a wonderful place for gathering with family and friends, why keep to the inside? Enjoy the beauty of nature and the expansiveness of the open air outdoor kitchen to bring variety to yours and your family’s life. Variety is the spice of life!
Examples of Our Outdoor Kitchen Projects