Are you bored with limiting the moments of fun and good food within your living room? Getting outdoors and dining al fresco is much more exhilarating than being stuck indoors; for which, having a functional outdoor kitchen can be a perfect addition to your house. Not only do you get more space for entertaining, but nothing can beat the feeling of cooking and eating in the open air. Depending on how frequently you entertain or cook outdoors, your outdoor kitchen can be as simple as a tabletop grill and a rolling cart or a fancy, state-of-the-art kitchen with running water.
6 Tips for Creating a Functional Outdoor Kitchen
When you’re planning to have an outdoor kitchen, there are a few important things to consider. First, make sure the barebones of your outdoor kitchen have been decided.
- Planning the Layout
- Choosing the Materials
- Selecting the Appliances
Planning the Layout
Deciding where the amenities will go within the dimensions of your outdoor kitchen is one of the most important steps in the planning process. Though there are prefabricated outdoor kitchens available in the market, there are endless options when you custom design your kitchen.
Depending on the usual party size, plan the dimensions of your outdoor kitchen so that you and your guests have enough elbow room and make sure you incorporate the position of your appliances in the layout. There should be generous space for storage and counter space for food prep.
In this stage, focusing on a few details will make your kitchen safe. For example, if you have a wood siding for your outdoor kitchen, position the grill far enough from it to prevent the fire hazard.
Choosing the Materials
From outdoor kitchen siding to cushion seats, choose materials that withstand the weather and temperature changes. For example, if you frequently cook outdoors during summer, having a stainless steel countertop may not be ideal because it absorbs heat. Go for counters made of no-fuss materials, like polished concrete, granite or faux granite, because they are easy to clean. While choosing the upholstery, ensure that it is resistant to moisture and is also made up of fabric that does not easily fade from being exposed to harsh sun.
Selecting the Appliances
Before fully blowing your money on fancy appliances, make a list of what you usually cook when you have a garden party. A specific setup and appliance are needed whether you choose to grill, make pizzas, or mix cocktails. For a well-equipped outdoor kitchen, you can consider including the following appliances:
- Grills and Smokers
- Built-In Refrigerator
- Built-In Kegerator
- Ice Maker
- Seltzer dispenser
Look for appliances designed for outdoor use as they have to withstand the seasonal variations. Stainless steel is a durable and tough option for outdoor countertops and appliances.
Determining the Ideal Location
If you are planning to set up the kitchen in the backyard, set it up in a place from where you can easily access the house. For a more functional kitchen, plan to build the outdoor kitchen near the exit of your indoor kitchen. This way, you will have easy, direct access to the indoor pantry, thus saving you time and effort from hauling supplies and equipment from the indoor pantry. This setup is not only convenient and functional but will also invite you to use your outdoor kitchen more often. Speaking of easy access, if you grow a vegetable garden make sure you can easily access it from the outdoor kitchen. Go on and amaze your guests by cooking with fresh produce.
Make it a Covered Space
You and your guests can enjoy a cookout during any time of the day or any season by making your outdoor kitchen a covered space. Install an awning to relax under during summer months. You can consider using a patio umbrella for the seating area. If possible, plant a shade tree or grow a grapevine on an arbor for shade. This not only makes for an environmentally-friendly option for shade but also aesthetically pleases the eye. For cozy cookouts during cold temperatures, incorporate a firepit or gas heaters in the design.
An outdoor kitchen, to be truly functional, should allow you to party all night long. To this end, you can install light fixtures in various areas of the kitchen.
- Bright task lighting above the grill and countertop
- Pendant lights above the island counter or bar area
- Table lamps or candles in the seating area
When there is a pergola in the seating area, you can hang lights from its roof or wind a string of lights across the rafters. If you want to create different moods for different occasions, go for dimmable lights. Most importantly, ensure all the lighting fixtures you install outdoors are rated for wet and damp conditions.
Once you decide on how you want your new outdoor kitchen to look like, you can get in touch with a local contractor. If you are in Massachusetts, you can reach out to RJM Landscaping, a professional and reliable outdoor kitchen design contractor who will not only make your job easier but also will breathe life into the vision of the fabulous outdoor kitchen you have in your mind.