Few things in life are better than entertaining friends and family outdoors in nice weather. An outdoor kitchen lets you focus on the outdoors, instead of running back and forth from the kitchen to your outdoor patio. Entertain a crowd or plan an intimate family meal, as space allows. When planning your outdoor kitchen from scratch, consider these elements to ensure success.
When planning an outdoor kitchen, ensure that you choose a location close enough to the house that you can tap into existing utility lines. To run a fully stocked outdoor kitchen, you’ll want to tap into the water line so you can do dishes and into the gas line to run a grill and stove for cooking. At the same time, you don’t want to be so close to the house that smoke from the cooking blows in. A contractor can help you plan the ideal location for this kitchen, while still keeping aesthetics in mind.
Cabinets are necessary in any kitchen space; outside is no different. An outdoor kitchen requires its own storage space for cooking equipment, flatware, stemware and other necessaries. When designing the kitchen, integrate the cabinets near appliances for ease of access when whipping up meals outside. If your kitchen is exposed to the air, a waterproof cabinet keeps the items inside safe. Aluminum or other metal cabinets with a weather-resistant powder coating can ensure your storage space stays dry no matter what rain may come.
An outdoor grill is the starting point for a simple outdoor kitchen, but it does not need to be the only cooking appliance that you showcase. Consider adding in a brick or clay oven for firing up roasted chicken or pork loin, wood-fired pizzas and hearth-baked breads. A drop-in stove makes a great addition to any cooking area, and allows you to prepare complete meals outside. Adding in a counter ensures that you can chop, dice and slice as needed, as well as clean up after meals.
A fireplace helps make the outdoor kitchen an ideal spot for entertaining after the meal. Relax over a fire with the whole family, or make the fireplace a pre-dinner location for wine, cheese and appetizers. If you’re handy, you may even be able to build a brick fireplace yourself.
If space allows, incorporate a bistro table and chairs near the kitchen, so you don’t have to travel far to eat. You can store napkins, tablecloths, placemats, stemware and utensils in your cabinets. Lighting, candles or fresh flowers set the tone and can change to reflect the seasons. Comfortable chairs allow guests to recline around the fire pit, relax with a cocktail or sit and talk while you prepare the meal. Look for chairs and lounges in weatherproof fabric to create an all-weather environment.
To really make your outdoor kitchen the perfect place for entertaining, try adding a wet bar. Again, waterproof cabinets work well to hold liquor, mixers, cocktail napkins and glasses. Place the bar near a sink so that you can clean up after your cocktails. If space is cramped, try a long bar that allows guests to pull up bar stools, yet leaves you plenty of room to shake cocktails.
Before you build your dream kitchen, make a budget and prioritize items so you don’t overspend. It can be easy to go overboard creating this fabulous space, but there are ways to save. You may be able to craft some elements yourself, or pick up chairs and a fire pit at an end of the season sale, to extend your budget.