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By Jenny Kennedy
An outdoor kitchen can be a wonderful addition to your home, providing a functional and stylish cooking space that's perfect for entertaining and spending time with family and friends.
However, planning an outdoor kitchen can be challenging, especially if you're unsure where to start. In this blog, we'll share tips and advice on planning and designing your outdoor kitchen to make it efficient, well-designed, and suited to your lifestyle needs.
Consider your space
The first step in planning an outdoor kitchen is considering the available space. First, evaluate your outdoor area and decide how much space you want to allocate for the kitchen. Then determine what, if any, shelter you have or will need to install.
Next, take into account the layout and accessibility of your outdoor space, and think about the surrounding landscape and how it can complement your kitchen design. It's essential to plan your kitchen to maximize how you will use the available space while ensuring it is functional and accessible.
Before installing your outdoor kitchen, the flooring must be completely level and fully installed. As well, all gas, plumbing, and electrical must be in place and ready. Finally, you must coordinate with your service providers to ensure everything is up to code and safe according to the specifications of the appliances.
Choose your appliances
Once you know the available space, the next step is to think about the appliances you want to include in your outdoor kitchen.
Consider what type of cooking you'll do and which quality appliances will be most beneficial. Popular options include:
● Grill accessories (side burners, flat top griddles, etc.)
● Wine Fridge
● Pizza ovens
Eric Goodwin of Lynx Grills says, “Pizza ovens are hugely popular these days and super versatile. They aren’t just pizza ovens, but full-blown ovens that can cook anything from prime rib, whole chicken, apple crumble, bread…anything you can cook using your inside oven.”
Also, when planning your appliances and layout, Eric says, “When selecting appliances, you need to keep the workflow in mind and don’t crowd the countertop with too many appliances. You need room to work.”
Select your cabinets
Choosing the right cabinets for your outdoor kitchen is essential to ensure they are durable and can withstand the elements. Materials such as stainless steel, stone, and tile are popular for outdoor kitchens due to their weather-resistant properties.
Consider the style and colour scheme of your home and outdoor area when selecting materials, as well as the maintenance requirements of each material to ensure they're easy to clean and maintain.
According to Holisoa Vahinison of Outdoor Refinements by Julien, you can easily clean stainless-steel cabinets and countertops. “We recommend cleaning the products regularly using a soft cloth with soap such as dish soap to avoid accumulated dirt that could be hard to remove. A non-abrasive cream, a mild polish, or a scuff-free scouring pad such as Scotch-Brite (blue colour) can be used to remove stains. It is important to rub in the direction of the metal grain and rinse with water, then dry.”
Plan for storage
Storage is an essential aspect of any kitchen, and it's no different for an outdoor kitchen. Determine how much storage you need for cooking utensils, dishes, and other kitchen supplies, and plan for cabinets, drawers, and shelves to keep everything organized.
Don’t forget additional storage space for outdoor cushions, covers, and other outdoor accessories you may need to store when not in use.
Lighting and heating
Outdoor kitchens are popular for nighttime entertaining, so it's important to incorporate lighting fixtures to ensure proper visibility when cooking and entertaining at night.
Additionally, include heating sources such as fire pits, outdoor heaters, or built-in fireplaces to make your outdoor kitchen operational year-round. It will allow you to enjoy your outdoor space even during chilly evenings or colder months.
Seating and entertainment
Finally, consider the seating and entertainment options for your outdoor kitchen. Choose the seating options that will work best for your space, whether it’s bar stools, benches, chairs, or a combination of all three.
Plan for additional entertainment options such as a television or outdoor speakers to enhance the experience and make your outdoor kitchen the perfect place to spend time with family and friends.
Enlist professionals to plan your outdoor kitchen
Planning an outdoor kitchen takes time and effort, but it can be an excellent addition to your home if done correctly. Consider the available space, choose the right appliances and materials, plan for storage and lighting, and create a comfortable and practical seating area.
With these tips in mind, you'll be able to design an outdoor kitchen that is perfect for your lifestyle and needs, and one that you'll enjoy for years to come.
Jenny Kennedy of Kennedy Literary Agency provides written copy and content for the design-build industry and is the author of “Launch Into Interior Design.”