More people embraced outdoor living following the global pandemic and many homeowners want to extend their outdoor space. Outdoor kitchens are often high on the list of outdoor living projects. However, as with all other home improvement projects, you need to plan your design carefully. Here are five things to consider in your outdoor kitchen design.
1. Your Layout and Budget
You need to carefully plan the space you intend to work with for your outdoor kitchen. If you have a large patio, you can design an L-shaped patio kitchen. However, smaller spaces can only take one or two cabinets with a grill.
Most kitchens have:
- A dry prep area
- A hot cooking area
- A cold area for refrigeration
- A wet area for washing
If you don’t have enough space for all four, you can consider moving your outdoor kitchen as close to your indoor kitchen as possible to use the indoor sink and refrigerator. Don’t forget to plan for utilities such as electricity, gas, and water.
Additionally, you need to plan for seating if you intend to entertain guests in your outdoor kitchen. You need a few chairs and a strong dining table big enough to take your intended crowd in the dining area. Bar seating works well for watching sports on TV over a few drinks.
Before starting your outdoor kitchen design, you need to make a budget and stick with it. It’s easy to go overboard when buying materials, paying for labor, and choosing appliances. Don’t forget to incorporate costs such as permits in your calculations.
Ideally, you should discuss your outdoor kitchen design ideas with professionals to understand the scale of the project before settling on a budget.
2. Climate Considerations
The perfect outdoor kitchen is one you can use all year, not only in the summer. You need to consider protection from the elements. An awning or pergola can provide shade from the sun’s rays and protect you from rainfall.
Screens and vegetation will offer protection against the wind. Ceiling fans will keep you cool and fend off insects (especially mosquitoes).
3. Quality of Materials
Materials in an outdoor kitchen stay exposed to the elements. It’s important to choose materials that can handle the demands of fluctuating temperatures.
For example, the ideal kitchen island, countertop, and flooring material in an outdoor kitchen can withstand exposure to UV rays. They are also nonporous and easy to clean.
You need excellent lighting in your outdoor kitchen for those late evening cookouts with your family. An outdoor kitchen without adequate lighting is only useful in daylight.
Install durable lighting around the prep, cooking, and seating areas to safely prepare and enjoy your meals. Adequate lighting also keeps out rodents and other pests attracted to food scents.
However, it’s important to avoid choosing harsh spotlights when illuminating your outdoor kitchen. Dimmable lights or embedded landscape lighting work best.
With so many fancy kitchen appliances to choose from, it’s easy to get sucked into buying items you don’t need. Focus on choosing appliances that complement your typical cooking style.
For example, you don’t need a costly oven if you intend to make broth and grill foods most of the time. You do need a stove with multiple burners if you want to grill and cook multiple foods simultaneously.
Homeowners considering an outdoor kitchen are spoilt for choice these days. There are many appliances to choose from, and design inspirations exist everywhere you look. However, your outdoor kitchen design requires meticulous planning if you want value for your money.