With this glorious weather at the moment it is the perfect time to be outside enjoying it and what better way than having friends and family over. Here are a few Tips For Setting Up An Outdoor Kitchen, now I know it is a big job but the hours of fun and the memories you will create in that area will be worth every single minute of hard work. So lets get the party started but planning your Outdoor Kitchen.
Quick Links To Info On This Page
- Choosing the Right Location For an Outdoor Kitchen
- Basic Elements of Setting Up An Outdoor Kitchen
- Prefab VS Custom: Which is the Better Outdoor Kitchen?
- How to Get Protection From the Elements
- Choose the Right Location
- Choosing the Best Kitchen Flooring
- Countertop Options For Your Outdoor Kitchen
- Ways to Add Storage to Your Outdoor Kitchen
- Outdoor Kitchens
Choosing the Right Location For an Outdoor Kitchen
One of the first decisions to make when you decide to build an outdoor kitchen is where exactly to put it. This makes a big difference because it needs to be a certain distance from living spaces, have adequate space for storage and dining, but also be protected from the elements.
Provide Ample Shade
A good way to start finding the ideal location in your backyard for the outdoor kitchen is to find an area with good shade. You don’t want it directly underneath tall trees since the leaves, branches, and flowers might fall down frequently on top of your kitchen appliances.
However, you do want to have good shade to keep yourself from being overheated, and to protect the outdoor space. Choosing a location on your patio where you have an awning or pergola is a great option.
Keep the Kitchen Close to the House
The next thing you should do when choosing the right location is make sure the outdoor kitchen isn’t too far from your house. If you have sliding glass doors that go from the indoor kitchen or dining room, try to place the outdoor kitchen just outside those doors.
This makes it easy to go back and forth if you don’t keep a second set of dishes, cookware, and appliances in the outdoor kitchens. Some of these kitchens don’t have everything you have inside, so it makes it convenient to place them as close to the house entrance as possible.
Consider Your Desired Views
Think about the type of view you want to have and you want others to have when choosing the location of your outdoor kitchen.
For example, if you wanted a kitchen outdoors so you can watch the kids in the pool while you cook or enjoy the view of your beautiful rose garden while dining outdoors, choose a location on the patio where you can easily see these areas.
Aside from the preferred view, also think about a view that isn’t favorable. For example, you know to adjust the location or layout if you would rather have a private kitchen and a dining area that is away from the neighbor’s view.
This can change where in your backyard you should install the kitchen.
Avoid Areas With a Lot of Wind
Wind can be a real annoyance with an outdoor kitchen. If there are trees or bushes nearby, a lot of wind picks up the flower petals, pollen, branches, and leaves and sends them flying. You might be right in the middle of cooking delicious burgers on your grill, then end up with dirty leaves right on the grill.
It requires removing the debris and sometimes replacing the meat with something cleaner. Try to find an area that is away from the direction of the wind or have proper protection in the area, such as with an awning or large patio umbrella.
Basic Elements of Setting Up An Outdoor Kitchen
Having an outdoor kitchen provides you a great way to spend more time with your family while also enjoying everything your garden has to offer. It helps to first understand the basic elements of what an outdoor kitchen includes, to how you cook items, to where things are stored.
Cooking and Grilling Surfaces
The first you need for an outdoor kitchen is somewhere to cook your food. While you may have some type of burners for traditional stove-top cooking, most outdoor kitchens have a built-in or portable barbecue grill.
This allows you to cook a lot of different foods, from vegetable kababs to chicken, steak, and fish. If you are going to use the outdoor kitchen for parties, you can get an over sized grill so you are able to get a lot of cooking done at one time.
Some other cooking appliances to consider for the outdoor kitchen including having a smoker, deep fryer, and pizza oven.
Countertops and Prep Stations
You also need an area to prepare your meals, such as chopping vegetables and marinating meat. This is where the counter tops come into play.
If you are going with a pre-fabricated outdoor kitchen, it should already include some counter top space.
However, if you are getting it custom-made, you will need to choose the counter tops on your own.
Since it is outdoors, go with materials that are weather-friendly, such as those made from steel or concrete. It is also a good idea to have a sink connected to the outdoor kitchen so you aren’t constantly running in the house.
An outdoor kitchen also contains storage for food ingredients and leftovers, cookware, kitchen accessories, and dishes to eat with. Many outdoor kitchens have either a mini-fridge or full-size refrigerator.
This keeps outdoor eating separate from indoor eating. You should also have cabinets for storing your different utensils, cutting tools, and serve-ware. Also have a place for storing cutting boards, skewer sticks, pots and pans, cups and plates, napkins, and other accessories you will need.
Accessories and Dining Area
Lastly, don’t forget about other accessories, dining furniture, and decorative elements for the outdoor kitchen. Get a good dining table and chairs or benches for your family to enjoy their meal outdoors.
Set up the dining area like you would inside, with proper lighting, decorative features, lighting, and area rugs. Also include some accessories for the kitchen, such as measuring cups and spoons, serving dishes, storage containers, tongs, and various utensils.
You might also want baskets to grill vegetables and different bottles of marinade and sauces for your meats.
Prefab VS Custom: Which is the Better Outdoor Kitchen?
As you begin looking at options for outdoor kitchens, you will discover there are two main options: a prefab kitchen and a custom kitchen. The prefab kitchen comes with everything you need to assemble and set up the kitchen in your outdoor space.
A custom-made kitchen is built for you with all the details you want included. Here are some things to consider when choosing between these two options.
Prefab Kitchens Provide a Quick and Easy Setup
An obvious benefit to going with a prefab kitchen is that it is basically built for you, you just need to have it delivered and set it up. Some prefab outdoor kitchens require minimal assembly, while others do require you building it.
However, it comes with everything you will need, aside from some appliances if you choose to add them. There are different prefab kitchens to choose from, depending on the size and types of materials you want to go with.
Custom Kitchens Work With Any Outdoor Space
Regardless of the size or shape of your outdoor space, a custom kitchen can be built there. A great thing about ones that are custom-built is if you only have a U-shaped area of your patio that would make a good location, you aren’t struggling to find a prefab kitchen with this unique design.
The builder can customize the size and shape of it to fit in this space perfectly.
Prefab Kitchens Help You Save Money
You can save money with your outdoor kitchen by going with a prefab kitchen. These are not flimsy or cheap-looking by any means!
They are beautiful and made of high-quality materials. There are different sizes and layouts, so you can pick the one that is the best fit for your space.
Some also give the option to have room for a grill or refrigerator if you decide to add them, or let you choose different colors and material types of the counter tops.
Custom Kitchens Give You More Personalization Options
When you have the budget for it, a custom outdoor kitchen is often the preferred option. You are creating your dream kitchen right in your backyard, from being able to choose the counter tops and flooring, to deciding on the layout, choosing what lighting and accessories to have, and even choosing what storage to include with the space.
If you want to use a refrigerator and outdoor oven, you can also add room for those with the entire kitchen setup. Be as specific as possible with the contractor when you decide to go with a custom outdoor kitchen so that you truly get everything you want.
How to Get Protection From the Elements
While there are many advantages to having an outdoor kitchen, one of the biggest disadvantages is the fact that it is vulnerable to the elements.
If it rains or snows, you have extreme heat, or you end up with a major disaster in your area, the kitchen is vulnerable to damage. Here are some ways to protect the outdoor kitchen from your local climate conditions.
Choose the Right Location
Start by choosing the right location in your backyard for the kitchen so that it is well protected from the elements. For example, if you have an area of your patio where it can be protected from an existing retractable awning, that can be an excellent location.
You might also have an area of your background that is shaded due to tree coverage or doesn’t tend to experience the brunt of the rain or snowfall. These are good places to consider building the outdoor kitchen.
Install a Patio Awning
If you don’t already have a patio awning, now is the perfect time to consider one. You can either go with an awning that is always open to provide adequate shade and rain-cover for your patio and the outdoor kitchen area, or a retractable one that is only open during inclement weather.
While retractable awnings are great, there are some definite disadvantages. Among them include the fact that you might not be home when it starts to rain and can’t open up the awning to protect the outdoor kitchen area. This is something to consider when choosing which awning will work best for you.
Build a Pergola For the Outdoor Kitchen
A pergola is a type of outdoor structure that includes framework often of wood that provide shelter and shade. You can have one custom-built so that it fits on your patio and provides excellent shade and protection from the elements.
Either have one to cover your entire patio, or just large enough to cover the outdoor kitchen and dining area. You can even decorate it with twinkle lights or climbing plants.
Go the Easy Route With Umbrellas
If you aren’t able to have a pergola built or installed, and don’t have the funds for an awning, an umbrella works just fine. They have large patio umbrellas that provide more shade coverage than just at your outdoor patio table.
There are large ones you can place in the ground and angle them just right to protect the kitchen area from rain, heavy winds, and heat. These are also great for getting good shade in the dining area when enjoying your meal.
Choosing the Best Kitchen Flooring
As you begin planning your outdoor kitchen, you will need to choose a good flooring option. If you are simply installing it on your concrete patio, that will work fine. However, there are also some other flooring options you want to consider.
Concrete is an excellent outdoor kitchen flooring option, not just because it is durable, but because there are actually many design benefits. Concrete is naturally in a neutral off-white color, but you can have it stained, colored, or have other textures and designs printed into it before it dries completely.
This allows you to have a traditional concrete patio for the kitchen or a unique design based on your aesthetic preferences. It can also withstand heavy winds, rain, snow, hail, and extreme heat without major damage.
The next option is to have more of a high-end look in your backyard where you have your kitchen by using natural stone. However, you need to be careful with the type of stone you choose.
You don’t want to go with granite or marble, since they can be prone to damage. Instead, choose a stone that is more durable and easily available for your region.
This might be soapstone, flagstone, field-stone, or slate. Make sure you find out if maintenance or sealing is required when you have it installed.
For a warm appearance on your patio in the dining area of your outdoor kitchen, you can also use wood flooring. Not just any wood flooring though, since it could be vulnerable to damage from rain or high humidity.
You want to go with pressure-treated wood as this will be able to handle more of the outdoor elements.
While you can get other types of wood, it might not last as long in its current condition due to the heat of the cooking area or the moisture from the outdoor refrigerator. Also make sure it is sealed properly to avoid any fire hazards.
The final option to choose from with your kitchen flooring is tile. This is good when you want a beautiful, high-end style, but don’t want to deal with all the sealing and high maintenance involved in using natural stone.
Tile also has a tendency to handle not just outdoor climate conditions, but also the heat and humidity in the cooking area of your outdoor kitchen.
Porcelain tile is fine to use, as well as ceramic, however make sure it is not glazed and is frost-proof. Tile may crack over time, so be careful not to slam heavy appliances or furniture on top of it.
Countertop Options For Your Outdoor Kitchen
If you want to create an outdoor kitchen that goes beyond a grill and dining area, you will need to choose the proper counter tops.
You are not only going with durable counter tops for the cooking and preparing, but considering materials that work with the outdoor climate. Consider these counter top options and the benefits and drawbacks of each one.
Many people believe that you can’t use materials like granite outside, but quite the contrary! While granite isn’t quite as durable to the elements as concrete and tile, you can still use it for your upscale outdoor kitchen.
However, you do need to be aware of the advantages and disadvantages. Granite is obviously beautiful and provides a high-end look to the counter tops.
However, it must be sealed if you want to avoid damage from water, such as rain or snow. It is also vulnerable to moisture from humidity, so keep that in mind.
One of the best counter top options for your outdoor kitchen is concrete, so that is something to consider. Concrete provides a counter top that can handle a lot of different elements, is easy to clean and doesn’t stain easily.
However, it is still prone to cracking over time if you don’t have it sealed properly. Concrete can be stained with other colors during installation, so you are not forced to have a boring, cement-color for the counter tops.
Tile is an excellent option for the counter tops in your outdoor kitchen, offering an aesthetic appeal and longevity at the same time. Some benefits to using tile include the fact that it is very easy to clean and take care of, has lots of color and style options, and is affordable.
On the downside, tile may stain if you’re not careful and there is an issue with some of the paler tile colors turning yellow when it is used outdoors.
Natural stone is a good option for your outdoor counter tops, aside from just using granite. Other types of stone are more durable and easier to take care of, without requiring excessive sealing. For example, soapstone is a beautiful stone that can lend a unique appeal to your outdoor kitchen counter tops.
This is also very durable and often easier to take care of than granite. You might also want to choose a multi-colored stone like flagstone, which also happens to be used as flooring for many outdoor kitchens as well due to how well it holds up.
Speak to your contractor to get more ideas for choosing the right counter top materials. You may also want to go based on appearance so that your entire patio décor blends well together.
Ways to Add Storage to Your Outdoor Kitchen
Having an outdoor kitchen is a great way to enjoy more time with your family and enjoy the fresh air as well, but a common issue is having enough storage. Here are some tips to make sure you have plenty of storage for all your cooking utensils, dishes, and accessories needed for the outdoor kitchen.
Think About It Like an Indoor Kitchen
For storage in your outdoor kitchen, a good way to think about it is that it should resemble a traditional indoor kitchen.
This means a setup with the cooking area, such as a grill or outdoor oven, plus countertops and proper flooring, then the typical storage an indoor kitchen has. For example, you might have cabinets above and beneath the countertops that provide storage, along with utility drawers, and stand-alone storage options.
Have Custom Storage Built
The next option is to have custom storage built in your outdoor kitchen. If you are already having the kitchen itself custom-built, this gives you a lot more options. You can configure exactly what will need to be stored and inform the builder of that so they can make sure you have adequate storage.
This might include certain sizes of cabinets and shelves for cookware, utensils, barbecue tools, dishes, cups, and spices.
Even if the entire kitchen isn’t custom-built, you can still hire a cabinet company to build the cabinets around your grill and other kitchen appliances to provide ample storage.
Go the Budget-Friendly Route
Don’t forget about the budget-friendly route of adding in storage without it being part of your built-in kitchen. If you feel that there aren’t enough cabinets or built-in storage options, you don’t need to call in a builder to create them for you.
A less expensive alternative is to bring in some alternative methods of storing what you need. For example, you can add a tall shelving unit right next to the outdoor kitchen setup, putting in some different boxes and bins where you can store additional items.
This is easy and cheap to do, while you don’t struggle to find a way to organize everything.
Store Some Items Indoors
Keep in mind that while it is convenient to have all your kitchen items stored in the outdoor kitchen, it isn’t always the best idea. Unless you want to buy two of everything, you might want to keep some things inside in your regular kitchen, then bring them out as needed.
This is good when you don’t necessarily use the outdoor kitchen every day, so don’t always have a need to have dishes and cookware items in the outdoor kitchen at all times.
As long as your kitchen is close enough to the house, it shouldn’t be difficult going back and forth.
Enjoy your new Outdoor Kitchen and create some amazing memories with your family and friends. Life is about living and not always about working! So go outside have fun enjoy the sunshine and spend time with loved ones.
From the appliances to decoration, browse these inspiring photos and videos at HGTV to create the perfect outdoor kitchen.
Find ideas and inspiration for designing your outdoor kitchen including ideas, plans and pictures from DIYNetwork.com.
Get design ideas for your outdoor kitchen from the DIY Network .