How to Design the Perfect Outdoor Kitchen

There’s just something about the aromas and flavors of outdoor cooking that has made grilling, smoking, and lighting this outdoor pizza oven an important part of our lifestyle. When cooking outdoors, keep these design tips in mind that will help you prepare the perfect outdoor kitchen that is just for you.

Start by accessing your space. If you live on a lot with lots of acreage, you don’t have to walk too far from the house to the outdoor kitchen to light the grill. For smaller or more closed properties, decide whether you have space for a fully functional kitchen or if you need to stick to something simpler. This is the time to determine what is important and what is a luxury and if your budget has room for the extras. If you plan to rent or move in the next few years, it might be a good idea to equip your outdoor kitchen with appliances and features that you can take with you.

Next, you want to create a budget and stick to it. An outdoor kitchen can easily cost more than expected if you don’t budget for certain materials, equipment, and manpower. If you want your outdoor kitchen to be permanent, consider materials that will be used on the outside of your home, such as brick, stone, wood, concrete, stucco, metal, and tile. This creates visual continuity for your outdoor kitchen. Additional costs include using a design engineer, obtaining permits, special tools, and professional help such as electrical and plumbing.

This urban roof has an outdoor kitchen and ample seating from Laguna Furniture.

When designing an outdoor kitchen, keep in mind the maximum number of people you will be cooking for and the cooking method you will be using. Do you and your friends love grilled fish or a hamburger cooked over a charcoal grill? What about pizza cooked in an outdoor stone oven for the whole family? How about a Sunday lunch from the smoker? Plan out several of your favorite dishes outdoors and make sure the outdoor kitchen you think of does the prep and actual cooking while hosting guests.

An outdoor kitchen is exposed to the elements. Even if you don’t use it often, consider where your outdoor kitchen is in terms of climate. Equipment and surfaces must be covered and serviced depending on the weather in your area. You want to avoid places that are windy, too hot, too shady, or too cold. If you live in an area where it rains a lot, consider placing your barbecue or kitchen under a covered patio or retractable awning.

Our ideal outdoor kitchen includes hard-surface countertops for easy cleaning, stainless steel cabinets for permanent storage in all weathers, a wet bar for guests to help themselves to, a refrigerator for drinks, a 30-inch gas grill and a smoker. Everything is housed on our side terrace and the smoker can be wheeled to different areas of the courtyard depending on the type of entertainment we are having. No room is the same, so make yours specific to you and your lifestyle for maximum enjoyment in the outdoor kitchen.

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