It is essential to consider the components of an outdoor kitchen and dining space that will make you want to use it before you get started. Maybe you want a fire pit where you can sit and chat with a glass of wine, cook hot dogs or roast marshmallows. Maybe you want to be able to cook out on the grill or maybe you want to have a full-scale outdoor kitchen for preparing meals for family and friends. One of the best ways to ensure you spend more time outside and enjoy your investment is to create an inviting outdoor space that fits your needs. Start by asking yourself these questions!
- What are your outdoor kitchen must-haves?
- How often will you use it?
- How many people are you likely to invite over at one time?
- How involved a meal do you plan to prepare in that space?
The point of having an outdoor kitchen is often being able to prepare food while visiting with your guests. If you’re going to be preparing food, you need the space to do it properly. You should have enough counter space to prepare food and to set your platters. You should also have room to place things on either side of your grill so that you can take raw foods off one platter and put cooked foods on the other. You don’t want to carry food across your kitchen.
Where should I place my outdoor kitchen?
Finding the right location—near the house or farther away—is one of the first steps in planning. Outdoor kitchens near the house can usually get by with fewer appliances. The sides of the house provide these kitchens with a wind barrier, and an overhanging roof can be added. The proximity to the house usually makes it fairly simple to run utilities to the outdoor kitchen.
However, being close to the house can often limit the kitchen’s design. Placing the outdoor kitchen away from the house gives you complete freedom in the design, size, and layout. The distance will also create a distinct entertaining area in your yard. Keep in mind that you’ll likely need to add more appliances to have a fully functioning kitchen. Any roof coverings will have to be built from the ground up. It can also be trickier to get utilities to the outdoor kitchen. In order to keep smoke out of the home, proper ventilation is a must.
As you can see, there are benefits and drawbacks to where you place the kitchen in relation to the house. In the end, it all comes down to what you are looking for in this space.
A grill is an absolute outdoor kitchen must have even if you don’t have a full outdoor kitchen. It’s the heart of outdoor entertaining. In your outdoor kitchen, your grill can be built into the counter and should be professional grade. You can choose from gas, charcoal or pellet-fueled grills. There are grills that are self-igniting and have built-in burners for keeping foods warm.
What will I cook in my outdoor kitchen?
Another important step in planning your outdoor kitchen is deciding what you intend to cook in it. There is no need to invest space and resources in an appliance you’ll rarely use. For example, a wood-fired pizza oven is a very popular choice for outdoor kitchens. But if you’re not into pizza, it might make sense for you to invest in a larger grill top or add a side burner.
A grill is not the only necessity for your outdoor kitchen. There is a wide range of appliances you can put in your kitchen:
- Oven. A grill is great for steaks, but if you want a pizza you will need an oven. Imagine, pulling a piping hot pizza from the oven and enjoying it with friends beneath the stars. A variant on this is a warming drawer where you can keep foods warm until you are ready to serve them.
- Refrigerator. If you plan to do the serious cooking in your outdoor kitchen, you’ll need a refrigerator to keep cool items cold. You’ll need to keep meat cold while you’re waiting for the grill to warm up. Drinks are another item that needs to be kept cold. If you plan to host large gatherings and serve wine, consider a wine fridge.
- Side Burner. You can get a grill with a built-in burner, but if you plan to use it for more than keeping your grilled foods warm until serving them, you may be better off getting a separate burner set. You can use it to heat sauces or boil water.
Another outdoor kitchen must have is a sink. Having a deep outdoor sink will allow you to clean up after yourself at the source of the action rather than dragging your cooking mess into the house for cleanup.
How much prep work will I do outside?
Every outdoor kitchen needs counter space. Exactly how much depends on whether you plan to prep in your current kitchen or if you want to be able to prep outside as well. In order to prep outside, you’ll need additional counter space and an outdoor sink. You might even want to put in a dishwasher so that you don’t have to carry dirty dishes into the house.
You might want storage in your outdoor kitchen to store non-perishable items as well as cookware, dishes, and silverware. It should be easily accessible and there should be plenty of it.
How many people will use the outdoor kitchen and what will they need?
When determining the amount of storage and function of your outdoor kitchen, it is important to consider how many people will be using it, what you might need and where you will be dining. If you’ll be preparing the food outside and taking it inside to enjoy, a smaller outdoor kitchen with minimal storage where everything is within easy reach might be a good option for you. But if cooking and entertaining is an experience or you want to dine outside, you’ll probably want more space to store non-perishable items, move around, serve and seat guests.
Designing an outdoor kitchen requires expertise in many areas such as proper layout and knowing what materials will withstand the test of weather and time. Circle D Construction is ready to help you create the outdoor kitchen of your dreams. Here are just a few more details you may want to consider including in your outdoor kitchen.
The kitchen has long been considered the “heart” of the home, perhaps because this is where people tend to gather. Whether it’s just your family or you’re hosting a party, the kitchen is the place where you’re most likely to find people congregating. It should come as no surprise then, as summer sets in and entertaining is in full swing, that you might be looking to build or update an outdoor kitchen.
If you’re still looking for a little guidance in designing for your outdoor kitchen must-haves, here are a few more tips on how you can create a welcoming and useful outdoor space.
Use Sturdy Materials
Your outdoor kitchen is not only going to endure wear from use but also bear the brunt of the elements. To accommodate this, it’s a good idea to carefully select what sturdy materials will be used for the outdoor kitchen’s build and equipment. You should have flooring that is not only durable but slip resistant in case of grease spills, water, and rain. For cooking and storage equipment, stainless steel will help you avoid rust.
Include A Shelter
Have you ever encountered a summer storm? They don’t last long but they sure can force an outdoor party indoors quickly. Following the storm, things can remain wet for a while. Besides giving protection from the rain, patio covers also provide shade when the weather is hot, keeping you and your guests out of the scorching summer sun. On those warm summer days, patio coverings with high-volume outdoor ceiling fans can pay off tremendously.
Installing electrical outlets seems like a trivial thing until you need one and it’s nowhere to be found. Outlets become especially useful if you plan to incorporate appliances such as a small refrigerator into your design or lighting. You’re likely to find more uses than you could imagine for this little convenience that’s so often taken for granted.
When planning what to put in your outdoor kitchen take careful inventory of your needs and wants. Make sure to consider where the best location for everything would be, when you’ll be using it, and what sorts of things you want to do in your outdoor kitchen. Careful planning will make the design easier and will ensure you have the best outdoor kitchen for your needs.