Stumped about how to start designing an outdoor kitchen? Follow our simple tips below to build your Dream outdoor kitchen.
Choose Resilient Materials
Outdoor kitchen surfaces must be able to withstand your climate’s weather conditions. Select durable materials such as stainless steel, stone, slate, tile, or stucco, Make sure all counter top surfaces and hardware are recommended for exterior use. If you want to install a kitchen on an existing deck, verify that it structurally can support the kitchen’s additional weight before you build.
Don’t Miss the Basics
An outdoor kitchen is as important to plan as an interior one. Along with picking the right grill and countertop, plan for storage and organizational necessities, such as pullout trash and recycling bins, and baskets to hold napkins, glasses, and cleaning supplies.
Plan for Light & Air
To maximize the hours you can spend using — and enjoying — your outdoor kitchen, you’ll need to plan for varying levels of light. Overhead lights, such as recessed cans or a trio of pendants, are key to making the most of your grilling and eating spaces. They are also UL-rated Wet, 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.
Embrace Mini Appliances
Most outdoor kitchens don’t have to hold enough food and beverages to feed a crowd for a week — just a meal. That makes it easy to select affordable, small-space appliances that use less energy and take up a fraction of the square footage.
Make Flooring Easy to Clean
Meal cleanup outside shouldn’t require more work than inside. In an outdoor kitchen, choose an easy-to-clean floor, such as this resilient tile, that is easy to sweep up and withstands outdoor messes such as cut grass and garden debris.
Furnish Overhead Shelter
Rain, wind, even extra-sunny days can hamper your use — and enjoyment — of an outdoor kitchen. Make the most of your grilling-and-dining area by covering your kitchen space overhead. A full roof is one option; other ideas include a partial roof, a pergola, or an outdoor umbrella.
Working in an outdoor kitchen can be a challenge if you lack spots to stash everyday necessities. Think through what you want to have on hand to determine what kind of storage you need. If you’re not close to your interior kitchen, make sure to include cabinets or a cart to store grilling tools, utensils, plates, and serving pieces. Will you have a fire pit? Then including a place to keep your woodpile dry is key. The handier it is to cook and entertain in your outdoor kitchen, the more you will take advantage of it.
Go for Built-Ins
Even the smallest of outdoor kitchens benefit from amenities to accommodate prep and cleanup. Next to a built-in compact and dishwasher, a cabinet under the sink is the perfect dry place to store fire logs, charcoal, and cleaning supplies.
Supply a Water Source
There are few things more tiresome than having to traipse back inside from an outdoor kitchen in order to wash your hands or meal items. Try to include even a small bar-size sink, next to the grill.