Functional, stylish and convenient. An outdoor kitchen is that and more. Building an outdoor kitchen doesn’t have to be a big undertaking if you have the right products. If you understand more about an outside kitchen, you’ll come up with so many ideas that you’ll want to start your project right away.
We’ve gathered the benefits of an outdoor kitchen and design considerations for you to build an entertainment oasis right outside your door. Below you’ll find outdoor kitchen design tips to help you create your dream backyard kitchen.
BENEFITS OF AN OUTDOOR KITCHEN
Designing a backyard kitchen may seem intimidating. Learning the benefits will help you overcome your worries about building an outdoor kitchen. With your new space, you can:
Maximize entertainment and living space: The most obvious perk of adding a backyard kitchen is getting more space. You’ll have more room to entertain, especially larger groups. Maybe your indoor space isn’t open or spacious enough for large parties. An outdoor kitchen gives you patio and yard space for people to relax in while you prepare a delicious meal. Even if you don’t entertain often, you or your family will still get use out of an outdoor kitchen.
Add value to your home: Since the elements you use for your outdoor kitchen will be high-quality, they’ll last for a long time. The investment adds value to your home, even if you don’t sell right away. Potential buyers will love the unique addition of a kitchen outside. If you don’t plan to sell your home, expanding your outdoor living area is still a worthwhile investment.
Make healthy and delicious meals: Grilled meals use less oil than fried food or other meals you cook inside. When you grill, you also allow more moisture to stay in the food you cook, making it taste even better. With an outdoor kitchen, you’ll always want to prepare delicious meals outside, and with the bonus of making healthy alternatives, you won’t feel guilty about what you eat.
Keep strong cooking smells outside: Cooking fish, spicy food and other meals can leave strong smells lingering inside. With an outdoor kitchen, you don’t have to worry about those smells in the open, fresh air.
Make cooking fun: You currently cook almost every meal inside. It can get repetitive and maybe even a bit boring to always cook in the same place. Building an outdoor kitchen gives you a new space to work in with new kitchen appliances. Install cooking appliances in your outdoor space that you couldn’t use indoors to mix up your routine.
Save on utility bills: When you cook inside, it heats your home. Your air conditioner has to work harder to combat the heat. When you cook outside, you don’t have to worry about heating your indoor kitchen, saving your air conditioner from working overtime.
Save money on ordering out: An outdoor kitchen makes cooking exciting again. You’ll want to use your new appliances and the new space to create memories and delicious meals. Avoid going out to eat on the weekends or ordering takeout, and use your new outdoor kitchen instead.
Make outdoor cooking easier: If you currently only have a grill outside, you know the importance of having more prep space. Outdoor kitchen designs give you counter space to work on, a sink to clean up in and a fridge to eliminate excessive trips in and out of your home. Clean up will be simple at the end of the night since you can wash and store your dishes and utensils outside without carrying everything back inside.
Spend more time outside: With an integrated kitchen and entertainment space outside your door, you’ll never want to go inside. Enjoy the fresh air with your friends and family or relish a night under the stars all to yourself in your beautiful new outdoor kitchen.
Once you have your own kitchen outside, you’ll find more and more benefits. The first step to getting the perks of an outdoor kitchen is to come up with your design.
WHAT TO CONSIDER WHEN DESIGNING AN OUTDOOR KITCHEN
You have a lot to think about as you begin your outdoor kitchen design plans. Some considerations will help you get outdoor kitchen ideas that suit your lifestyle and home, such as:
How will you use your indoor and outdoor kitchens together: Think about the distance between your indoor kitchen and where you’d like to have your outdoor kitchen. Be sure there is an accessible path between them. You may be headed in and out of your home to get different cooking utensils or ingredients that you don’t leave outside. Ensure a clear traffic pattern between the two kitchens to avoid inconveniences.
What materials will work best outside: Any low-porous material is suitable for an outside kitchen. Look for materials that are water-, corrosion- and grease-resistant. The easier your kitchen is to maintain, the more time you’ll want to spend using it.
What to choose that complements your home: Reflect your home’s architecture and style in your outdoor kitchen designs. Draw inspiration from your kitchen inside if you feel it matches your home’s overall look. If you aren’t sure what your house’s style is, see if it features more modern, clean lines or ornate details. Mirror these aspects in your outdoor kitchen for a cohesive look.
How will you integrate your outside kitchen with other outdoor areas: If you already have an outdoor entertainment space, don’t isolate the kitchen from it. Ensure a flow of traffic from your pool to outdoor seating to your outdoor kitchen. Integrate the new kitchen to make it feel cohesive with the rest of your home rather than an out of place feature.
Where will you install utilities: Remember that you’ll also have to install gas, water and electric as you plan your outdoor kitchen design. See where you can install each utility in discreet yet functional places. Since many backyard kitchen designs don’t feature a wall to have appliances against, you’ll have to get creative with utility solutions.
How will you incorporate other entertainment: Cooking and eating outside is entertaining in itself, but you might want more for your guests or yourself. Consider integrating music players or a television into your design. Plan for entertainment now so you don’t have to figure out where to put it later. Be sure that you choose a TV with a bright enough screen for outdoor use, and place it in a spot that doesn’t always get direct sunlight. Determine how you will protect these electronics from the elements.
What you will use the space for: Think about how often you entertain others or how much you want to use your outdoor space for yourself. If you plan on entertaining large groups regularly, incorporate a lot of seating. If you only plan to use the outdoor kitchen for yourself or your family, you can limit the size while still having an impressive, stylish kitchen.
How you will layout the space: Any kitchen, whether outside or inside, needs a triangular arrangement. Create a triangle with your fridge, grill and sink for an efficient setup. You won’t want to go outside and use an area with an inefficient layout, so be sure to implement this kitchen rule.
What time of day you’ll use the kitchen: If you’re going to entertain at night or cook dinners outside, integrate ample lighting. If you’d prefer to use your area for breakfasts or relax outside earlier in the day, be sure you have coverings that provide comfortable shade. You can combine these elements into one area, so don’t worry if you decide to use your outdoor kitchen throughout the day and evening.
How will you light the space: Proper lighting provides safety and ambiance everywhere, especially in a kitchen outside. You will use your entertainment space well into the night with appropriate lighting. Install useful lighting around prep and cooking spaces, and light any steps or walking paths for safety. Use soft lighting near seating areas for ambiance. Consider installing lights with dimmers so you can adjust from brighter lights for cooking to softer lights for relaxing and entertaining.
What appliances you need: Adventurous cooks can install an outdoor smoker or other cooking appliances you can’t have indoors. Remember that you still have access to your indoor kitchen, so you may not need a full-size fridge in your outside kitchen. Mini appliances are always an option for outdoor kitchens as it gives you more space for work surfaces and entertainment areas.
Will you have a lot of time for maintenance: If you don’t have a lot of time to dedicate time to maintaining it, a simple outdoor kitchen will be easier for you. A galley kitchen or other small layout creates the perfect compromise between wanting an outdoor kitchen and not having time to clean and maintain it.
Consider all of the above as you draft up outdoor kitchen design plans. Evaluating how you’ll use your space before you create it will help you make a functional outdoor kitchen. If you were unsure about any aspects of the design, thinking about the above will help you make some critical decisions.
One of the most significant decisions you’ll make for your backyard kitchen design is the layout. Your outdoor kitchen, similar to an indoor one, can come in different designs and shapes. Some common outside kitchen layouts and sizes include:
• Small to medium galley kitchen
• L-shaped, larger kitchen
• U-shaped, spacious kitchen
• An island or bar to add extra space
Answer the questions above to help pick a kitchen layout. You want to use your new outdoor space as much as possible, and careful design planning can help you do that. As you formulate a design plan, you’ll also have to think about the products you need in your outdoor kitchen.
MAINTAINING AN OUTDOOR KITCHEN
As you plan your backyard kitchen design, you should also let maintenance guide your decisions. Maintaining your outdoor kitchen will be easier if you consider how you will do it as you design the space. To care for an outdoor kitchen:
Use sliders on the bottom of furniture: Scratch-resistant decks are still susceptible to wear. If you have a dining area or other movable furniture, use sliders on the bottom to protect your decking.
Keep rubber mats inside: Many kitchens use rubber mats. They provide cushioning as you’re standing for a long time at the sink or stove. Use these mats inside because, on outdoor decking, they can trap in moisture and create marks.
Cover what you can when you’re not using it: Get covers for your counters, grill and other cooking appliances. Protect your valuable appliances and surfaces from rain, wind, sun and other environmental concerns.
Keep the countertops clean: You clean your indoor kitchen’s countertops, so why not clean the ones outside? After use, be sure to wipe counters down with the appropriate kitchen surface cleaner. Cleaning the countertops keeps your outdoor kitchen sanitary and ensures that your counters will last longer.
Clean the grill after use: A clean grill is a safe grill. Excess grease can cause flare-ups in your grill, which puts you, your guests and your outdoor kitchen in danger. After every use, brush your grill down with a grill brush or scraper, and wipe off racks once they’ve cooled. Wipe down the outside after use, as well, to keep your outdoor kitchen looking spotless. As a bonus, your food will also taste better when you cook on a clean grill.
Winterize the space: If you live in a colder climate, you should winterize your outdoor kitchen. Put your grill and other furniture in storage if you can, so that they aren’t exposed to the cold or snow. Use protective covers on anything that you cannot move inside. Choose plumbing with the right insulation to prevent frozen pipes, and shut off the water to your outdoor kitchen once it’s cold outside.
Taking care of your outdoor kitchen will help it last. Choosing high-quality elements also ensures your space will look as good as it did on the first day, but you have to know what features you need to include in the first place.
ESSENTIAL FEATURES OF AN OUTDOOR KITCHEN
For most of your outdoor kitchen, you can look at your indoor space for inspiration. You’ll need most of the appliances, work areas and products in your inside kitchen for a backyard one.
Any kitchen has four primary zones:
The straightforward kitchen zones make it easy to organize what elements you need to incorporate in your backyard kitchen design. Hot zones are cooking appliances, and cold zones are refrigerators and freezers. Your sink is the wet zone, and the dry zone is any prep surfaces. The only differences with an outdoor kitchen are the materials you use and a bit more flexibility with the hot zone. Create these zones using different elements and kitchen appliances in your outdoor kitchen, such as:
• A grill
• Wood stoves and smokers
• Counters and cabinets
• A sink
• A refrigerator
An outdoor kitchen needs similar features that you have indoors, but you have a bit more freedom outside. Grills, wood stoves and smokers all bring great flavor to food that you couldn’t get in your indoor kitchen. You can cook a greater variety outside without worrying about the smell, the heat or the smoke.
Some other elements you should incorporate, especially if you have ample space, include:
• Enough seating for you and guests
• A dining table or other eating surfaces
• A fire pit or other heating elements for cooler nights
• An entertainment system, as explained above
• A ceiling fan for covered areas
• Ventilation systems for covered areas
• A bar if you plan on entertaining a lot
Your outdoor kitchen can easily become an outdoor oasis with the right elements. You don’t have to go over the top to create a dream kitchen, though. You just need the right appliances and a few other essential elements from a high-quality provider. Contact our team at Excelsior and Kaslander Lumber Company to help guide you in the right direction.