Covered patio behind new luxury home with fireplace, tv, and couch, with view of lush green grass and landscaping

7 Tips for Planning Your Outdoor Kitchen

You love to cook, and you enjoy the outdoors. You take pride in entertaining your guests and wowing your friends and family with a well-cooked steak and tasty side dishes. Or perhaps you like to pair a delicious meal with a spontaneous pool party.

But when you want to spend some time with your guests on your deck or patio, you may feel cut off from the fun while you slave away in your indoor kitchen.

To cut down the barrier between you and your guests, you might like to think about adding an outdoor kitchen, so you can be a part of the festivities while you’re cooking up a feast.

And, like any kitchen, you want your outdoor kitchen to be perfect. While you may have a general idea of what you want, you might not know what things you need to consider before you install it. Below, we’ve come up with 7 tips for planning your outdoor kitchen.

1. Create a Fluid Floor Plan

As with any workspace, you want to move smoothly through your outdoor kitchen. Think about how you move through your indoor kitchen and apply these ideas to the exterior plan. Do you prefer a sink that’s close to your cooking area? Where do you like to leave finished dishes to rest or cool? Ask yourself a few targeted questions to determine where things should be as you put together a design.

You’ll also want to consider how your kitchen fits into the backyard. If you have a pool or an established entertainment area, consider where you want the kitchen in respect to these areas.

Lastly, think about where the kitchen sits by the house. Will smoke drift in through nearby windows? Will the heat cause the paint to peel or will smoke stain the walls? Determine what cooking-related things might end up causing problems in the long run.

Wall barbecue in a modern garden without furniture - 3D Rendering

Think about the floor plan of your outdoor kitchen, so you can easily move around the space.


2. Pick Out Appliances First

Before your plan is set in stone, go shopping for outdoor appliances. The size of your appliances can determine how large your kitchen area is. If you go for larger appliances, you may need a bit more space for counters and storage. But if you opt for smaller appliances, you can easily plan for a smaller kitchen.

However, before you decide on a set of appliances, check to see where your access points are for gas and electricity. Utility accessibility may determine what kind of appliances you can use and what size will fit.

3. Think Low Maintenance

Remember that your outdoor kitchen will be exposed to the elements. When appliances and counter-tops are difficult to clean or maintain, you may be less likely to use your outdoor kitchen. Opt for stainless steel appliances and, for the counter-tops, avoid materials that are porous or need regular sealing. You may want to consider granite or stone and, for areas with consistent temperatures, tiles are probably best suited.

Cooking Salmon on the cedar plank in the barbecue at the outdoor kitchen

Think low maintenance & easy to clean.


4. Coordinate with Other Styles

You definitely don’t want an outdoor kitchen that looks out of place. Match the style of your outdoor kitchen to your home’s exterior and landscaping. Match modern with modern and rustic with rustic, otherwise your kitchen will stick out like a sore thumb, leaving your backyard with a choppy, unmatched appearance.

5. Remember the Weather

If you’d like to entertain your guests outdoors regularly, plan for the occasionally chilly evening or rainy day. Install a covering of some sort to protect you and your family and friends from the elements, but remember to install a covering that can resist the heat of the kitchen. Also, for the winter months, think about incorporating some heating into your kitchen and entertainment setup.

Don't forget to protect your outdoor kitchen & dining area from the elements.

Don’t forget to protect your outdoor kitchen & dining area from the elements.


6. Consider Lighting and Electronic Entertainment

A pleasant evening with good friends can quickly grow dim, so investing in a little lighting is a great idea. Think about whether you want mood lighting or enough illumination to be able to cook comfortably. You may want dimmers to keep your options open.

If you’d like a sound system for a little music or a TV for some entertainment while you cook, incorporate these into the design. Installing these features at a later date can be difficult, so save yourself a little money and frustration by building them into your initial plan.

Add some exterior lighting to complete your outdoor kitchen.

Add some exterior lighting to complete your outdoor kitchen.


7. Think About Unique Features

Think about some slightly unusual elements you might like in or near your kitchen. For instance, you might want a tandoor or brick oven, or you may want a fire pit for rotisserie dishes. As with electronics, it’s easier to install these features at the start rather than later, allowing for an optimal floor plan. Before you know it, and with a little planning and hard work, you’ll have the outdoor kitchen of your dreams.

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