More and more homeowners are updating their backyards with outdoor kitchens. Outdoor kitchens allow you to enjoy the same delight indoor dining with the serenity of the great outdoors at your side. Installing an outdoor kitchen can not only prove to be a gift to yourself, you can justify it as an investment that will yield gains in the near future.
“I have even read reports of 200% return on initial investment…either way, where else can you spend such money in your home for this kind of return… not to mention the bonus “enjoyment factor” too.”
-Time Magazine – September 24, 2009
Outdoor Kitchen Design Tips
Set your outdoor kitchen in a location that allows you to take food to and from your indoor kitchen with minimal effort. Take into consideration distance and the configuration of your kitchen. Will you have to travel all the way around to sit trays on the counter or can you move hot plates without burning your fingers. Remember to keep a clear path between your indoor kitchen and your outdoor kitchen to prevent obstructions that may become an obstacle while your serving.
Choose low maintenance materials that will make cleaning more feasible. Stainless steel and non-porous surfaces like limestone are ideal. Other materials for furniture include teak wood and High Density Polyethylene Wicker. While natural stones are preferred inside the home, you should consider cultured granite with UV inhibitors so colors don’t fade in the sun. Granite counters look great but they require regular sealing due to the conditions outside. Your outdoor kitchen will have to withstand rain, sleek, snow, and high temperatures so make sure that you don’t become emotionally attached to a material that is not suited for the outdoors.
Sealed pavers and concrete work well. Stained concrete can give your outdoor kitchen a luxury feel. Follow this theme by using some cool concrete furniture. If you’re installing on an existing deck, make sure that your patio is structurally sound and capable of supporting the additional weight. Also make sure that you don’t skimp out on equipment. Once your outdoor kitchen is installed, you don’t want to go through the headache of having to replace anything in the near future. These are permanent structures and materials should be sourced with this in mind.
3. Pre, Cooking, Serving, and Cleaning Stations
Make sure that you have all the essentials to creating an outdoor kitchen area. This means having dedicated spaces where you can prep, cook, serve, and clean dishes. This will make your outdoor kitchen plan an all in one, comprehensive dining solution. Doing half the work indoors defeats the purpose of installing an outdoor kitchen kit so make sure that you include all of the essentials. Place faucets away from the cooking area so that the cook doesn’t have to be interrupted every time somebody needs to wash their hands.
4. Outdoor Dining
Invest in a quality outdoor dining set that is stable, low-maintenance, and aesthetically pleasing. All weather-wicker and teak make a great combination being that teak is a naturally oiled wood that will not dry out like other types of wood when used outdoors. Wicker furniture can always be used indoors as well so you don’t have to let your dining set collect cob webs during the winter. Your seating area should allow everyone to have elbow room at the table. You can even consider a table that can converts into a larger one when extra space is needed.
5. Wine and Dine
Include and outdoor bar where you can wine and dine. These raised dining tables facilitate dialogue amongst guests and can help keep the party going. They also make maneuvering around easier as you don’t have to stoop down when getting out of your seat. You can find complete outdoor bar sets by clicking here.
6. Living Space
Think about how you entertain guests when you invite company over for dinner. Following your dinner, you need a place for guests to relax and let the food digest. While a bar stool may help the conversation, they are not very comfortable to sit in for extended periods especially when you have a full stomach. Create an outdoor living space that has an equal amount of seating as your bar/dining table. This will make sure that everyone one has a place to seat and that no one individual is left out of the nights activities.
7. Outdoor Heating
While the weather may be warm when you start grilling, the sun will go down and a chill will set in at some point. Make sure that you’re comfortable by strategically placing patio heaters around your backyard. Patio heaters are commonly used at upscale restaurants to allow diners to enjoy the night air without needing to stay bundled up. Create a warming focal point by building a brick fireplace that guests can gather around.
8. Planning Your Outdoor Kitchen Layout
The layout of your outdoor kitchen is one of the most important things you’ll have to decide on. It will determine how smooth the nights events go. Fashion a dining table and seating arrangements in a way that makes seating inclusive. Make sure that your eating area is in close proximity to the grill. This will make serving easy when the food is so delicious that everybody wants seconds! Start your own organic garden to harvest fresh produce straight from the backyard and onto your plate. Compliments of the chef!
One thing that homeowners often forget is the additional energy cost that will be associated with an outdoor kitchen. Save room in your budget for cleaning costs, upkeep & maintenance, and utility bills.
10. Entertainment & Accessibility
Throw in some built-in speakers around the kitchen to create a fun and social environment. Adequate lighting is necessary to keep your outdoor living area safe and accessible for all individuals. Check out this for patio lighting ideas. If you have friends or family members who are disabled, make sure that you accommodate all paths and walkways for them. Accessible outdoor furniture is allows everybody to join in the fun.
“Nearly two-thirds of architects are seeing increased demand for things like outdoor kitchens and fireplaces, according to an American Institute of Architects (AIA) Survey. There are no longer these hard divides between how folks are living inside and outside.”
-Kermit Baker Senior Research Fellow at Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies
- The Outdoor Kitchen: Make Your Patio Your Second Home
- Connecting the Interior of Your Home with the Exterior
- 7 Backyard Renovations that Boost Home Value
About this Post
This post was written by Cheryl Khan. A contributing author to the Patio Productions Blog, she believes that the outdoor kitchen is merely an extension of the home and should be designed accordingly.