Make the most out of your yard by bringing the inside out! An outdoor kitchen is a great way to expand your living space and add value to your home, while providing a perfect opportunity for entertaining in the fresh air. You don’t need a ton of space to have a functional kitchen outside, but there are some things you should keep in mind when designing your ideal outdoor kitchen to make it the best it can be.
Plan for all kinds of weather.
You don’t want to be limited on when you can use your outdoor kitchen, so make sure your design includes shelter, shade, and even heat sources. Depending on the style of your kitchen, you can incorporate trees and bushes, awnings, or patio umbrellas to provide some shade and shelter, and consider installing a fire pit or outdoor heater to stay cozy even on the chilliest nights.
Stay safe, too – get a smoke alarm and keep a fire extinguisher within easy reach of your grill or fire pit, and use fans to ensure proper ventilation.
Make it functional.
Choose appliances that suit your needs – refrigerators, ice-makers, sinks, and grills and smokers. Think about the kind of cooking you do and the tools you need, and build your kitchen around that. Consider traffic flow, your view, and the other activities that are likely to take place in your backyard.
Make sure your layout is conducive to your style of cooking and food preparation, and arrange your appliances in a way that makes sense. Keep your fridge or ice-maker away from your grill or fire pit, and make sure that anything that will generate smoke or steam is placed away from your windows.
Choose the right materials.
While you want your outdoor kitchen to look stylish and complement your home, keep in mind that the materials you use for your surfaces and appliances will need to withstand all kinds of weather conditions – heat, rain, wind, and possibly even ice and snow. Don’t invest a bunch of money into a beautiful outdoor kitchen that will fall apart with the first big thunderstorm of the summer.
Materials like stainless steel and concrete are durable and can be customized to suit the style you’re looking for, but these may not be practical as flooring – if they’re wet, they’ll be slippery, making your kitchen impractical for regular use. Textured tile or stained wood can make a solid floor that will hold up against the elements.
Include storage options.
If your outdoor kitchen isn’t convenient to use, you’ll probably just end up cooking indoors – even on the most beautiful of summer evenings. Give yourself enough space to keep the essentials in your outdoor space so you don’t have to waste time running back to your kitchen inside. Make sure you have enough counter space to do your food preparation outside, too.
Leave yourself sufficient space to store some of the things that can’t be left out during inclement weather, like cushions and decorative items. It should be easy and convenient to winterize your backyard.
Keep it comfortable.
Your outdoor kitchen should be an extension of your home – so make it feel like one! Decorate your yard with cozy chairs, sturdy tables, and decorative accents that will allow you to enjoy all the comforts of your inside space while experiencing the fresh outdoors. Lighting can play a huge role in creating the right ambiance for your outside space, but make sure your kitchen is safely well-lit. If mosquitoes and other pests are a problem, consider setting up some netting around the areas you’ll be cooking and eating, or use citronella candles to keep the bugs away with a little mood lighting.
Now that you’ve got your perfect outdoor kitchen ready to go, think about planning a dinner party and using this new space to entertain your family and friends. After all your hard work designing and building the very best outdoor kitchen, you deserve to kick back and enjoy it with a well-earned celebration.