There are lots of benefits of adding an outdoor kitchen to your back yard. It’s a great way to enjoy your outside space and some fresh air while you prepare dinner for the family or entertain a crowd. It’s also nice when you don’t want to create cooking odors in your home or use the stove and/or oven inside during hot weather. And there are plenty of ways to customize your setup, so we wanted to offer some pointers on designing an outdoor kitchen that’s functional, aesthetic, and a pleasure to use.
Ultimately, the goal is to end up with a setup that suits your needs, cooking preferences, and taste. Work with a skilled designer to get it there. Don’t be afraid to speak up about what you want, but also remember that they have experience and expertise to guide you to practical decisions that prevent any regret with the finished product. Use the following advice about designing an outdoor kitchen to start thinking about what you’d like and important logistical factors.
Creating a Great Outdoor Kitchen Setup
- Remember when planning and budgeting that you’ll probably need to have utilities like electricity, gas, and water/drainage run to the area of your outdoor kitchen.
- It’s nice—but certainly not necessary—to have a covered outdoor kitchen (e.g., under a patio cover). You’ll have shade and protection from the rain, as will all the materials and equipment, which helps keep them looking their best.
- Think about how you operate in your kitchen, and what aspects of its layout you like and don’t like. You usually have fewer restraints when designing an outdoor kitchen than an indoor one, so there’s plenty of flexibility in how you set up its storage and workflow.
- When imagining the layout, it’s helpful to keep in mind that a fully functional kitchen has four separate zones that should all be easily accessible to each other: hot, cold, wet, and dry.
- You’ll want adequate ventilation around your grill, stovetop, smoker, etc., as well as some space between where you cook and where people are seated.
- Higher quality materials and equipment may cost more upfront, but they’re also more durable; this is a big advantage for surfaces exposed to the elements, and it’s generally less costly in the long run after considering repair and replacement expenses.
- Figure out which appliances you’ll want (and actually use). Some common options include a grill, stovetop, smoker, griddle, small refrigerator, ice maker, wine cooler, and beer keg dispenser.
- Choose materials and colors that complement your home exterior and yard. While an outdoor kitchen is an extension of your indoor space, it needs to look good in the context of its surroundings.
- Ensure adequate lighting on your food prep and cooking surfaces, as well as your eating area.
- It’s convenient to build in a little designated space for cleaning supplies.