Expanding your living space to the outdoors helps your home to feel open and inviting. An outdoor kitchen is a great way to pull friends and family outside for fresh air and great food. Make your outdoor kitchen an experience everyone will want to enjoy all year long with these 7 tips for designing the best outdoor kitchen.
1. Start from the ground up
Establishing the floor layout and material of your outdoor kitchen is key to building the foundation of your space. Be conscious of different weather climates that may occur as well as the overall weight of the appliances you are installing. Flooring such as tile or marble will be slick and slippery when wet and may not hold up to grease or food stains. If your outdoor space is on a deck consider re-staining or painting it to match the new renovations and ensure that the deck is in top condition. (See tips on staining your deck to ensure lasting quality.) Proper flooring will not only complete the overall look, but add durability and value to the end product. Take into consideration the types of entertaining you will be doing in your outdoor kitchen. Will there be small children running around? Older guests who need smooth surfaces? The floor of your outdoor kitchen is not an element to be forgotten. Pro tip: When building a project of this scale, keep in mind safety first. Very often the outdoor kitchen is located near wet surfaces like swimming pools and spa tubs. Choose materials that meet safety criteria, stay away from flooring that may be too slick or rugged, and select a material that can endure food spills and grease.
2. Location, location, location
Where you decide to place your outdoor kitchen depends upon several factors. Firstly, you’ll want to make sure that smoke from the grill doesn’t waft back into the home. So have a good idea of the general wind pattern in your yard and orient the grill appropriately. Secondly, if you frequently entertain, and don’t want to travel a long distance from the indoor kitchen to the outside, consider placing your grill and outdoor kitchen relatively near the entrance to the inside kitchen. Remember that outdoor cooking and entertaining frequently means carrying heavy platters from one place to another. Thirdly, if you want to maintain the view you currently have from inside the house to the outside, you’ll want to place the outdoor kitchen to the side or at an angle so that the view isn’t blocked. Lastly, consider the overall traffic flow of your yard and the safety of your family. A hot, outdoor grill shouldn’t be located right next to the area where the Frisbee is thrown around, or near where you ride bikes or play. Just like an indoor kitchen, the outdoor kitchen is full of hazards so place it accordingly. Good planning will help ensure that your outdoor kitchen is in the right location for your yard. Pro tip: If you are considering doing a lot of landscaping changes to your yard such as adding retaining walls or a swimming pool, include the outdoor kitchen as part of the overall design. A professional outdoor kitchen designer will not only design the right kitchen for you, they can offer valuable advice about the ideal location of the kitchen and how it will work with the other elements of the yard.
3. Your appliances will determine the kitchen size
The first question a professional outdoor kitchen designer will ask is what size appliances will you need and how many. A homeowner may want utilize several cooking and refrigeration appliances, and may have specific entertaining needs in mind. Consider how all of these appliances will fit within the design plan, how much room to allow for each, and how they will work with each other. Leave enough space on either side of the grill to accommodate platters and tools, and don’t place appliances too close together. The same working triangle used in the kitchen should be applied to the outdoor kitchen as well, especially if you plan on hiring caterers or have more than one cook. Having various counter heights and work surfaces can allow for different functions within the outdoor kitchen. Traditional 36” high counters are prefect for standing pre work and cooking, 30” high surfaces are ideal for sitting and eating, and 42” high bar tables are great for standing or resting food and beverages. Combining all three heights into your outdoor kitchen design will really allow this space to be both functional and flexible. Pro tip: The ideal working triangle places the sink, cooktop and food storage (like the refrigerator) in a triangle setting. Keep the legs of the triangle no less than 4 feet and no longer than 9 feet. A good rule of thumb for distances around appliances is 36” for every person in the kitchen.
4. Have a place to set and store
Just like your indoor kitchen, you will need places to put items on and plenty of storage. The difference is they must all be waterproof and durable to temperature changes. Countertops and cabinets are designed to provide space and keep away clutter. For a customized look, coordinate your flooring, countertops and cabinets, just like you would with your indoor kitchen. One option is to have stone and steel counters and cabinets; this provides a sleek and modern look as seen in the picture above. Keep in mind how much storage you will need for your kitchen. Will you be using this kitchen only in the summer months or year round? Are you planning on hosting dozens of guests in your outdoor entertainment space? Visualizing how your outdoor kitchen will be used once it’s complete will help with your decision-making process. Pro tip: Countertops combining stone and stainless steel give a contemporary look that is both stylish and functional. Choosing easy to clean and waterproof counters and cabinets will be beneficial in the long run. Concrete counters are resilient, smooth and easy to maintain.
5. Choose reliable appliances
Many outdoor kitchens include a grill (both gas or charcoal), a sink, and a small refrigerator. Some kitchens even include specialty appliances like a beer tap, smokers, hibachi grills and warming drawers. Purchase appliances that will make it through both rain and sun. Stainless steel or ceramic appliances work great for all weather conditions, are very durable, and require low maintenance. Some sinks offer limited use for quick hand rinses while others may be used for washing large quantities of food. Depending on your projects designed sink use, remember an outdoor sink must be either hooked up to a yard hose or connected to the home’s water supply. Calling a plumber to connect your outdoor sink to a water supply is an easy way to let a pro handle the hard work. Some outdoor kitchens are also fitted with other appliances to make the outdoor kitchen feel custom. Be sure a licensed electrician installs your electrical connections so you can be assured your outdoor kitchen is up to code. Pro tip: Gas powered grills are a popular feature in the outdoor kitchen. If you want a plumbed gas line for your gas grill, you’ll need to hire a licensed professional and most likely file a permit with the city. Be sure you consult an expert for this project.
If you are looking to buy a home already equipped with an outdoor kitchen, Stonebridge Mortgage Group can help you. Our goal is to find you your perfect home or office while steering you away from overextending your finances. Learn more about our Mortgage Broker services today!
SRC: Find an outdoor kitchen that inspires you and the final 2 tips for the best outdoor kitchen at: http://porch.com/advice/7-tips-best-outdoor-kitchen/