The outdoor kitchen, a great place to cook-up some tasty treats and enjoy the wonderful sub-tropical weather that is quintessential Sarasota. There’s nothing like being able to entertain and spend time with family and friends near the pool or alongside a decorative landscape. Having the convenience of a fully functional kitchen means being able to cook a great meal, with plenty of sides, without having to track back and forth into your home.
Many homeowners would love to have an outdoor kitchen, but too many believe that it’s simply too expensive. The reality is, an outdoor kitchen, by-and-large, is only as expensive as you want it to be. With a few simple design ideas, a bit of DIY work, and a few tips and tricks, you can have an outdoor kitchen that accommodates your needs nicely. The real challenge is not so much about the “build out,” but mostly the planning. Like practically any other project, having a plan to follow makes the venture a lot easier and keeps you from overspending.
To get the most out of an outdoor kitchen, you really need to thing about its functionality. If you don’t put enough forethought into your project, you’ll be unpleasantly confronted with problems, which can range from annoying to outright dangerous. Layout will be the key to making the most out of your new cooking space and to getting the most enjoyment from it with as little maintenance as possible.
Top Outdoor Kitchen Mistakes to Avoid
Before you begin sketching ideas onto a sheet of paper, start with some solid numbers. Pickup a tape measure and take down the footage you have to work with. It’s best to clear the area first, if there’s furniture or anything else occupying the space. Once you have your square footage noted, you can then start to plan your new outdoor kitchen layout.
Outdoor kitchen design requires as much consideration and planning as the design of an indoor kitchen. A properly thought out and implemented outdoor kitchen is not only great for BBQ parties or family get-togethers, it provides you with a comfortable and convenient place to prepare meals when it’s nice outside. —Do It Yourself.com
What you should avoid is some common outdoor kitchen mistakes, which often include the most frustrating of problems. Chief among these is lack of working space. This includes meal preparation space, landing spaces to set plates, ingredients, and so on. Speaking of space, you ought to opt for function, that is to say, room to maneuver freely so you aren’t tripping over yourself or your guests. Speaking of guests, you’ll also have to take into consideration the sun and wind direction. Your guests, as well as you, should be well shaded and not have smoke blowing in their faces.
You also should consider how much cabinet space you’ll need. Think about what you will store and the necessary space to accommodate same. Last but certainly not least is lighting–you’ll need plenty of light when cooking during the evenings. Place lights strategically so you don’t have shadows over your work space. It’s also best to work with a professional to get the results right and stay under budget.
Best Outdoor Kitchen Design Ideas
When you have a workable layout to start your project, you’ll be ready to add an outdoor kitchen to your landscape. Here are some ideas to consider incorporating into your design:
- Built it to last a long time. The weather elements and use will take their toll on your outdoor kitchen, so build it to last. Brick is usually the material of choice because it’s durable and easy to clean with a quick pressure washing. Stone, granite, or concrete countertops are also ideal for aesthetics and because each is very sturdy.
- Plant a vegetable garden. You might have wanted to plant a vegetable garden before but just never got around to it or you weren’t sure you’d really eat what you grew. With an outdoor kitchen, you’ll have fresh ingredients right at your fingertips and guests will certainly be impressed with the freshness.
- Add a focal point. Every design needs allure and a focal point is a great way to set a scene. A fire pit is one such idea, particularly one that has “table seating” around it so family and friends can sit and enjoy their meals without having to juggle plates, utensils, and cups.
- Include cold storage. You don’t need a double sided refrigerator, just enough space to put your meat, vegetables, fruit, and drinks. If you need to keep your budget low, simply layout your design so you don’t have far to go into your home.
Finally, have a dedicated space for backup fuel. You should design your outdoor kitchen with a space to put an extra propane tank or bag of charcoal that’s right next to your grill. This will make it a cinch to keep the grill powered while you’re cooking.