How to Create the Perfect Outdoor Kitchen

Have you ever dreamt of a beautiful outdoor kitchen? If you’re a homeowner, you can leverage your home’s interior design and exterior space to create a beautiful and highly functional outdoor kitchen. Some families love cooking pizza in a brick oven, and others love grilling wings while watching the game on an outdoor TV, and some prefer having dinner outside nearly every night.

Outdoor Kitchen

(AndyG / pixabay)

Whatever your family’s preference, below are six tips to make your outdoor kitchen the kitchen of your family’s dreams.

Designing the Zone Layout

The same way you would think through designing the layout of a traditional indoor kitchen, you’ll also need to think through the layout of your outdoor kitchen. This plan is great to discuss with those who will be helping you build it.

The layout of the outdoor kitchen will require what’s called zone planning. When you plan for a zone, you’re looking at how you can increase both the flow and productivity in an area. Thinking this through and planning it out will help you ensure food prep is pleasant, that there’s enough seating space, and so on.

Zoning Areas to Plan for:

Prep Zone: The prep zone usually includes a sink, an area to cut, and possibly a refrigerator to store cold items. It should be located next to the cooking zone, allowing for food to go back and forth between the two areas with ease.

Cooking Zone: This is where your grill and burners will be. Or, if you prefer, it could house your brick, tandoori (clay or metal) oven. If the area is big enough, it can include a couple of options for cooking food.

Plating & Serving Zone: You’ll also need an area in-between the cooking zone and the area where your family or guests are. Usually, this zone includes warming trays, drawers for utensils, and a place for garnishes. This space is where you put the final touches on the burgers or pizza that you just pulled off the grill.

Entertaining Zone: This is where you truly have all the fun. Ideally, it has some separation from the mess of food prep and cooking areas. It usually includes a small refrigerator and a bar area.

Planning for Utilities

Like your indoor kitchen, your outdoor kitchen will need access to some utilities if you plan to prepare and cook meals there.

Using Your Home’s Utilities

It’s key when designing your outdoor kitchen to ensure that you can access your home’s utilities such as electricity, plumbing, and gas. It’s important to think about utilities as the key items they are, as they will ensure that your outdoor kitchen is fully functional. You’ll need electricity for your lights to cook at dusk, freshwater and wastewater lines for a sink, and gas if you select a gas grill. It’s also important to check local codes for the area and any HOA requirements. You may need to get a permit to build your outdoor kitchen.

Picking Out the Right Appliances

Outdoor appliances will vary greatly from the indoor choices. Many would be considered too dangerous or complicated for an indoor space. You have some intriguing options that can make selecting the perfect appliances for an outdoor kitchen area a lot of fun.

Most people use their outdoor kitchen to entertain guests, so outdoor appliances can include a beer fridge, wine cooler, as well as wood-burning pizza ovens, tandoori ovens mentioned above, and gas or charcoal grills. Although gas is the most popular choice, some homeowners prefer cooking over hot coals. Depending on your personal preferences, your outdoor kitchen can be your place to finally let loose and enjoy all the appliances you can’t safely use indoors.

Furnishing Your Outdoor Space

Furniture can allow you to pull out all the stops on creativity. Since your outdoor kitchen will be where you prep, serve and entertain, it can be a great location for a second living room, an outdoor dining area with benches or seat wall seating, a stand-up bar, a custom fireplace, or it can even be a minimalist area. It can be whatever you dream up.

Some people prefer outdoor benches with fluffy indoor/outdoor pillows, while others prefer taller stools and wooden chairs. Whether you prefer a warm, inviting wooden look or a more traditional cushioned lounge area, the options are endless. You can also have a space dedicated to outdoor decor such as plants and designer landscape lighting.

Enjoying the Outdoor Kitchen Year-Round

The last major thing to consider is our weather here. We can help you create a custom solution for our various weather conditions in this area. While some people prefer the open-air kitchen look, with a simple roof cover, other people ask for a pergola. A pergola can be built with a retractable canopy which can keep both your appliances and furniture safe, as well as provide protection from the sun, rain, and snow. Want to use your outdoor kitchen in the winter? Have a Wheaton hardscape contractor install a fire pit to keep everyone toasty warm.

Whether you want to cook wings on a gas grill under a pergola while watching the Superbowl or enjoy a wood-baked pizza dinner with your family on a warm summer evening, the space can be designed to be used year-round. No matter your preferences, the key is designing the space to fit your personality, incorporating the best functionality to accommodate and the dreams you have for entertaining.