It wasn’t that long ago when cooking outdoors meant that you broke out the briquettes and tossed (burned) a few burgers on the grill.
While it remains true that an outdoor kitchen is still used as a place to cook out on the patio, homeowners nowadays treat their patio as an extension of their home’s livable space. It’s not at all unusual these days for outdoor kitchens to have all of the modern conveniences of an indoor kitchen. In fact, homeowners who entertain frequently are adding specialty appliances such as wine chillers, under counter refrigerators, pizza ovens, and warming drawers.
Before you get all caught up in the “grill side-burners or not” debate, begin with the basic design and layout decisions. In order for your outdoor kitchen to function as an extension of your home, you’ll want to keep the scale and style consistent. Choose similar materials and design elements so that it flows from one space to the next.
While access to gas and electric lines will no doubt play a part in choosing the location of your outdoor kitchen, be sure to consider these other factors when deciding how to arrange your set up.
Other Things to Consider:
- In the Zone. For years kitchen designs were based upon creating a “work triangle” whereas, the sink, refrigerator and stove were placed near each other and in a triangular configuration. While this layout is typically still used today, larger outdoor kitchen spaces allow for defined prep, cooking, eating and cleaning zones to be considered.
- A Room with a View. The different views are one thing that can easily be overlooked during the planning stage. Is the cook looking at a blank wall of siding? Are the guests at the bar staring straight at the pool pump? While it may not be possible to give everyone a great view in every part of your outdoor kitchen space, it’s best to make arrangements during the layout stage to make the most of what your backyard has to offer.
- Wind. Generally, smoke will blow downwind of the grill. Be mindful of windows, doors, neighbors and the dining area. You want to smoke the meat, not your guests.
- Made in the Shade. Outdoor cooking often takes place during the day in hot summer months. Place your outdoor kitchen under existing shade or plan on adding new sources of shade to provide comfort year-round.
- Quality not Quantity. Just as with an indoor kitchen renovation, you’ll find that there are appliances for every imaginable food item. Oh sure, it may wow your guests to see a commercial hot dog roller machine on your patio, and who doesn’t like funnel cake?; but you should assess your true needs as well as the space and care that these appliances require.
Because of the complexities involved in adding an outdoor kitchen, it is recommended that you consult a professional who can help you determine your wants and needs and offer solutions that work within your budget.