How to Design an Outdoor Kitchen
In recent years, some of the award winning best kitchen designs across the country have included outdoor kitchens. As homeowners look to craft creative and versatile kitchen spaces, many have begun looking outside to the possibilities of what was formerly only seen as just a “backyard.” But who ever said cooking always has to take place inside?
You don’t necessarily need a kitchen designer near you to have a functional and beautiful outdoor kitchen. Here, we take a closer look at designing an outdoor kitchen and some important steps to keep in mind when starting out on this type of project.
KNOW YOUR OUTDOOR SPACE
Before you can begin selecting appliances or grill options, you need to know what kind of space you’re working with. The size and layout of your yard and outdoor space will influence every decision you make about your new outdoor kitchen. In addition to the size of your yard, you’ll also want to think about how you’ll be connecting electricity and plumbing to your proposed space. For this reason, most homeowners choose to keep the outdoor kitchen relatively close to the actual home.
In addition to the size and space, you should also consider your local climate. If you’re in a sunny and warm environment, think about options for shading so you can actually enjoy this new outdoor dining and cooking area. If you live in a region with a lot of precipitation, you’ll want specific appliances and building materials. What if you live up north? Then you’ll definitely want to think about heating options so you can enjoy this kitchen throughout the entire year.
ZONING YOUR OUTDOOR KITCHEN
Once you know what type of space you’re working with, it’s time to begin planning and zoning your outdoor kitchen. While a big yard allows for more options in terms of space, the essential design of your outdoor kitchen will be relatively similar to the one you have inside your house. Most kitchens have at least three specific spaces: the preparation space, cooking space, and social space.
The preparation and cooking space, of course, are the most vital as this is where you will prep and create your delicious meals. Outdoor spaces, generally, allow for more space so you won’t feel cramped while cooking. The social space refers to any area of your new kitchen that people can lounge, relax, or dine in and enhance the entire outdoor dining experience.
OUTDOOR KITCHEN MATERIALS
The most significant difference between an indoor and outdoor kitchen is that the one in your backyard will have to weather the elements, including rain, wind, heat, and snow. This is why you need to be careful and strategic when selecting your building materials. Stone and tile are two popular, and weather-resistant, materials that are common in many outdoor kitchen designs. Do some research early on to ensure you’re picking the right kitchen materials for your needs and local climate.
OUTDOOR KITCHEN APPLIANCES
One of the most exciting steps in designing your outdoor kitchen is selecting the perfect appliances. For many, the centerpiece of an outdoor cooking space is the grill. Whether charcoal or propane, grilling is an art form for many home cooks, and for those lucky enough to be seated around the table, there’s simply no comparison to the taste of home-cooked barbeque. But a grill isn’t your only option when turning up the heat in your outdoor kitchen.
If a grill isn’t your style, consider installing a smoker or even a pizza oven to allow even more opportunities for backyard cooking. If you have the appropriate space, many innovative designers even dig out a pit oven to tap into some of the more classical cooking methods. If you’re looking for a more sustainable approach to outdoor dining, consider a solar stove that’s powered by solar energy.
FURNISHING YOUR OUTDOOR KITCHEN
Once you’ve begun planning the bare bones of your outdoor kitchen, it’s time to complete the space with furnishing to match your personal style and what you want out of this new dining area. For many, an outdoor kitchen is more than just an opportunity to cook outdoors, but also a new space to entertain guests and spend time with family. Depending on the space available, you can incorporate a more substantial “social space” to entertain family and friends.
For your furnishings, consider lounging areas that include tables, chairs, or even couches to craft a comfortable dining space. To complement your meal, you can even install a full or partial bar to appease your inner mixologist. And to top it all off, what about s’mores for dessert? Consider installing a fire pit for a perfect way to cap off your outdoor dining experience.
No matter where you live, weather will always be the greatest hazard to your outdoor kitchen. This is why weatherproofing your materials, appliances, and overall space is an important consideration. Stainless steel is ideal for appliances and surface areas as this material holds up to most types of weather and is easy to clean and maintain. Tile and stone are also popular options for many outdoor kitchen designs.
In addition to the materials you use, you can also look into other methods for weatherproofing your outdoor space. For larger projects, consider installing an awning to shade and protect portions of the kitchen. For more versatility, you could implement a retractable awning, allowing you complete control over when you want sun or shade.
CONCLUSION – HOW TO DESIGN AN OUTDOOR KITCHEN
For any modern luxury kitchen design gallery to be complete, there must be some outdoor elements. More and more families are falling in love with the appeal of an outdoor cooking and dining space. An outdoor kitchen allows you a space for grilling, gathering with friends, and makes it easier for you and your family to enjoy your yard throughout the entire year. Outdoor kitchens designs in Denver truly allow you to rethink your cooking and dining experience.
However, like any home design project, designing and building your own outdoor kitchen requires careful planning. Know your space (and budget) before making any important decisions about this outdoor space. Then, you can begin picking out the perfect appliances, weatherproofing options, and how to furnish this exciting new space. Once you’ve designed and completed your outdoor kitchen, you may never eat indoors again.