Designing the perfect outdoor kitchen comes with its own unique set of challenges. Unlike indoor kitchen renovation, you need to be prepared for everything mother nature has to throw at you. That can be a little intimidating to some people.
But the rewards you get for owning a comfortable and functional outdoor kitchen are numerous. More time in the fresh air, more opportunities to gather friends and family together, more cooking methods available, and a beautifully landscaped and designed extension of your home.
Outdoor kitchens can be as simple or as grandiose as you’d like (or as your budget permits), but there are a few general rules to follow no matter what.
An Outdoor kitchen
Get Smart About Flooring
The foundation of your kitchen is arguably the most important part. Whatever material you choose, you need to be absolutely certain that it can stand up to the unique climate in your particular area. For example, a marble surface with a bit of freezing rain on it can quickly become a dangerous skating rink. Likewise, a very dark-colored material would not be ideal for the scorching sun of the Southwest.
Also remember that whether they are indoors or outdoors, kitchens are highly susceptible to spilled food, and therefore staining. A material that is easy to care for will make your life much easier.
Decide on Appliances before Marking Out a Space
The size and shape of your outdoor appliances will inform a lot of your design, especially the layout or “footprint” of your kitchen. Just like with an indoor kitchen, you want to keep the “work triangle” in mind. This means that there should be roughly a triangular walking path between the refrigerator, the oven, and the sink.
Remember to allow enough counterspace for large platters if you tend to do a lot of barbecuing and make sure you are comfortable with the counter height.
Choose the Proper Location
Do you enjoy the view you currently have through your back windows? If so, be sure that you are not obstructing the view by installing this new outdoor kitchen. Another important consideration: when placing your grill outside, pay attention to typical wind patterns to make sure that you are not blowing grill smoke into your home.
If you plan to do most of the pre-preparation for cooking inside the house, try not to put a huge walking distance between your indoor and outdoor kitchens. When carrying out heavy platters or pitchers, even short walks can become cumbersome.
Your Appliances Must be Up to the Challenge
The most common appliances for an outdoor kitchen are a grill, a sink, and a refrigerator. Some other specialty items may be present as well such as wine coolers, beer taps, or smokers.
No matter how you choose to equip your kitchen, you must select appliances that can handle the extreme temperatures and weather conditions they will face outdoors. Even if you live in a relatively mild climate, sunlight can still do significant damage to certain materials. Make sure that you speak with a kitchen remodeling expert about the best products for your outdoor environment
Plan to Entertain in All Weather
With a little planning, you may never have to cancel an outdoor party due to rain. You can add a roof to your outdoor kitchen to help keep your guests and your outdoor furniture safe from the elements. Space heaters are another great option for entertaining into the late autumn or winter months, and ceiling fans can make a lot of difference during the summer.
Taking a little extra time before your project begins to research and make appropriate choices can guarantee years of comfort and enjoyment in your new outdoor kitchen.
Niv Orlian is an online marketer and the Co-Founder of DO Online Marketing, a Chicago based company that helps local businesses such as Planet Cabinets, acquire, manage, and retain local customers online.