Outdoor kitchens continue to be popular and seem to increase in popularity year after year. There are many ways to design an outdoor kitchen. You can design it so that it is similar to a man cave with a grill and a flat-screen television or you can design it so that it is perfect for the culinary enthusiast with a complete kitchen, warming drawer and more. Regardless of the way you choose to design your outdoor kitchen, the fact remains that it is the ideal way to transform an outdoor living space via beauty and function.
One reason outdoor kitchens are so popular is because people simply enjoy being outdoors more than ever before. After a long, stressful day or week, it is easy to unwind when you are outside in the fresh air. Think about this: where do you spend the majority of your time when you are on vacation? You are outside; you aren’t cooped up inside a hotel room. So, it makes sense that you would want to try to recreate a similar experience at your home, and a great place to begin is with an outdoor kitchen.
Getting Started – Defining Your Goals
The problem is that most homeowners believe it is virtually impossible to recreate such an experience. Luckily, it isn’t as hard as you may think to do it, as long as you have a bit of an imagination and some design resourcefulness. With any design, though, you must have a plan. To begin, you will need to identify your goals with your outdoor space. How do you plan to use your space primarily – grilling, smoking, entertaining? Do you want to be able to use it year-round or just in the warmer months of the year?
Location Is Key
Once you have identified your goals, it is time to determine the location of your outdoor kitchen, as this integral to the overall project. As a general rule, you will want to choose an area that isn’t far away from the back deck or patio. You may also want a space that is partially covered. In addition, the area should allow for adequate smoke ventilation, weather protection during wet and cold seasons, and proper shade during the summer.
Next, you need to define the space. For example, inside your home, your kitchen is essentially used as a gathering area. Therefore, you need to think about this when developing the space outside. When people come over, they will want to “hang out” in this same area. So, when planning the space, make sure that you have an area specifically for the following: food preparation, dining, and lounging. All three of these areas should easily flow from one to the next while also accommodating multiple individuals.
The Amount of Space
The exact amount of physical space that you need for your outdoor kitchen will greatly depend on the exact function and features of your kitchen. Most outdoor kitchens will have standard features, such as a refrigerator, sink, wet bar and a standalone or built-in grill. Generally, the space around the sink and grill areas are key and should include at least two to three feet on both sides for basic food preparation and cleanup.
Choosing Appliances and Accessories
Once you have figured out all of the logistics, it is time to pull out the red carpet for appliances and accessories. The sky is the limit here and you can do as little or as much as you like. You may want to opt for a wood-fired pizza oven or build a grill into granite countertops. You may want to consider an outdoor sound system for entertainment purposes and ceiling fans to help keep your guests cool. You may be interested in sprucing things up with weathered redwood or cedar cabinets (both of which have the ability to withstand harsh weather elements) or a see-through fireplace.
To ensure that everything comes together, it may be a good idea to work hand-in-hand with a designer that has past experience specifically with outdoor kitchens. If you’re interested in talking about an outdoor kitchen project for your home, contact us at Structure Remodeling.