Outdoor kitchens combine the luxury and comfort of a well-appointed indoor kitchen with the freedom of the great outdoors. Of course, there’s more to laying out the perfect outdoor kitchen than setting up a grill and plugging in the mini-fridge. To really get the most out of your future outdoor space, there are some important things to consider.
As with designing an indoor kitchen, considering the function of each section—or zone—of your outdoor kitchen is important. Consider strategically grouping areas of a similar use together and areas with opposite uses further apart. For instance, equipment such as grills, smokers, and pizza ovens should be kept away from cooling equipment such as refrigerators and wine coolers. Wet areas, including wet bars, sinks and ice machines, should be situated close to the cooling zones. You should also remember to include sections to be used for comfort and entertainment. Keeping the social spaces and cooking spaces separate will only mean cooking some lonely meals while your guests have fun without you. Take this into account and integrate the cooking zones close to some of the gathering areas
To ensure enjoyment and efficiency in your outdoor kitchen, the countertop surfaces should be easy to clean and durable. You’ll also want to make sure you have a lot of them. Counter space is a prized possession in the kitchen whether indoors or out, and you’ll find these counters clutter up quickly when entertaining large groups of guests. Quality countertop surfaces are the central point of your kitchen’s aesthetics, and richly detailed natural surfaces can be used as accents to highlight elements of the design or the architecture of your home.
Electricity, Gas and Plumbing
Essential to the performance of any outdoor kitchen design is proper installation of utilities. Electricity is a must for many of your appliances so be sure to include enough outlets for essentials such as your fridge and margarita mixer, but also consider adding a few extras for entertainment systems, speakers, or just to be able to charge your phone while you cook.
Unless you’re a charcoal purist, you’ll need a gas line run from your home to your outdoor kitchen. This will save you money and the hassle of having to haul in refill tanks throughout the summer.
Including a sink with hot water makes entertaining a breeze, saving trips back and forth between the outdoor guests and the indoor facilities.
You’re going to want your outdoor kitchen and indoor kitchen to be closely connected. Unless you’re planning on minimizing use of one of them entirely, your outdoor kitchen will still be somewhat dependent on its indoor counterpart, even if it is only for the odd condiment or two. Ideally, a sliding door or pass-through window should be all that separates the two, but if your outdoor space is detached from the house, make sure that paved walkways make for an easy commute.