The kitchen is often regarded as the heart of your home. It’s where you prepare, cook, and serve meals for your family. It’s also a good spot for special gatherings and celebrations that involve food and drinks. But what if you also have a second kitchen outdoors? It could be convenient, especially if your indoor kitchen is too small for a large crowd. Furthermore, having an outdoor kitchen on your property also comes with perks and benefits.
What’s An Outdoor Kitchen?
An outdoor kitchen is a spot outside your house you can use for cooking, preparing meals, and entertaining your family and guests while enjoying the open space. Often, homeowners with an outdoor kitchen use this spot as their yard’s focal point. With a larger kitchen outside, you can invite more friends, relatives, and guests to join you in your BBQ dinners and afternoon picnics without worrying about space.
Things To Consider Before Creating Your Outdoor Kitchen
An outdoor kitchen is more than a barbecue grill positioned on your lawn. Like other kitchen remodeling projects, building an outdoor kitchen also requires planning, research, and knowledge about the whole project. This particular project may also take you some time, money, and patience before you can start cooking outdoors. On a good note, having an outdoor kitchen can significantly boost your home’s value and curb appeal.
So, are you planning to have your outdoor kitchen? Here are ten things you’ll need to consider first before building your outdoor kitchen.
When you decide to have an outdoor kitchen, you must first consider your budget. Like most home projects, building an outdoor kitchen requires new materials, layouts, designs, appliances, permits, and more. Thus, defining your budget before starting anything will ensure you have all expenses covered and keep the construction going smoothly as planned.
Here are some items you shouldn’t miss out on your budget list:
- High-quality building materials: These materials may be costlier, but they’re more durable and can last longer, which is an excellent long-term investment.
- Permits: If you’re building an outdoor kitchen with a roof, electrical, and plumbing works, you’ll need to set aside enough budget for its permits. You also need to observe your state’s local requirements when you’re planning to build outdoor grills and fireplaces.
- Utilities: Undoubtedly, your outdoor kitchen will need running water, gas, and electricity to function. Furthermore, they also need to undergo proper inspection and local permitting. Thus, you should also include expenses for this aspect.
- Technology: If you want to add Wi-Fi or TV cable for the outdoor kitchen’s entertainment area, be sure to include them in your budget.
- Style and Design: This may cover the decorations and design your kitchen may need, such as painting, wall hangings, etc.
Once you’ve formulated a budget for these items, make sure you stick to it to avoid spending your money out of hand.
Location is also a crucial factor when building an outdoor kitchen. Although there’s no doubt that your outdoor kitchen will be in your front or back yard, the environment and climate of your location may significantly impact the materials and design needed for your kitchen. Remember that each climate may present different challenges to your kitchen.
For example, during the hot and summer months, you might need to have pergolas to provide shade in your kitchen appliances and outdoor seating. Meanwhile, if your location is prone to frequent rain or snow, investing in a proper roof may be the best solution. You can consult professional roofers from Smith Roofing or other roofing companies to help build your kitchen roof that can withstand extreme hot or cold weather.
Another point to consider in your location is the weather fluctuations. Some building materials may not survive or last long on extreme temperature changes. For instance, natural stone and tile countertops are at risk of cracking when exposed to irregular weather. Non-stainless steel materials could also bend and warp in fluctuating temperatures. You can consult a professional contractor and architect regarding which best building materials to use would complement the weather and environment of your outdoor kitchen.
Your outdoor kitchen layout should complement the size and area outside of your house. So, take your time to examine your yard and see how much available space you would like to set aside for the kitchen. If you have ample space, you may have enough room for a kitchen island with a sink, more kitchen cabinets, and a grilling area. Alternatively, a grilling area and one or two kitchen cabinets may suffice if you only have limited outdoor space. For homeowners who don’t have space issues, you can freely design a full-sized kitchen layout that comprises all functions you’d want to have, such as storage, cooking, refrigeration, bartending, and more.
Functions And Features
Big or small, all kitchens must have four functional zones for cold, hot, dry, and wet areas. Your outdoor kitchen must have the same available zones too. The cold area is for the fridge and ice makers. The hot area is for cooking, grilling, and baking equipment. The dry area is designated for meal preparation and serving, while the wet area is for the bartending station (if there’s one) and the sink.
So, while designing your kitchen layout, see that the four functional zones are present and could be easily accessed by one another. Another feature you shouldn’t miss is the placement of the utilities. Preferably, the gas line should be in the cooking area while the electrical wires should be in the cooking area.
Style And Design
This is perhaps one of the exciting parts when planning your outdoor kitchen’s construction. With outdoor kitchens becoming increasingly popular these days, you can easily find plenty of styles and design inspirations on the internet which you may want to have in your kitchen. Some homeowners prefer to duplicate the design of their indoor kitchen to their outdoor kitchen. Meanwhile, others would like to create an entirely different outdoor kitchen with new colors and styles. Either way, make sure you choose designs that match your kitchen appliances and cabinets.
Your kitchen countertop choice should also blend with the rest of the outdoor aesthetic. You may go for granite, glazed, stone tile, or ceramic. While they all provide durability and decorative style in your kitchen, see that your choice complements the temperature of your location.
Kitchen Equipment And Appliances
An outdoor kitchen won’t be complete without the equipment and appliances. Some appliances you shouldn’t miss on your list are:
- BBQ Grill
- Pizza Oven
- Kitchen burners
- Ice makers
When buying appliances, consider buying one that can be used for several functions, especially if you have limited space. For example, you can invest in a grill that can smoke, roast, and bake to save kitchen space.
Furthermore, the placement of your kitchen equipment and appliances should promote ventilation. Leave at least a 35mm gap between the wall and the machines. Meanwhile, you should leave at least 1 to 2 ft. space between appliances. Proper ventilation, especially with your appliances, is crucial to reducing fire risk, preventing higher energy consumption, and easier maintenance.
Designate a storage area in your outdoor kitchen. Since all the kitchen tools, utensils, and equipment are outdoors, they are more prone to dust, pollen, humidity, critters, and temperature fluctuations. Thus, you need a space to safely store your glasses, plates, utensils, and other items when they’re not used, such as kitchen cabinets.
You must also consider designing a space for your kitchen’s cleaning products. Maintain your outdoor kitchen’s cleanliness at all times to prevent rodents and house flies from invading your kitchen. Remember, proper cleanliness and regular maintenance can help extend the life of your outdoor kitchen and all its appliances.
If space and budget allow, you can also add an add-on or stand-alone bar in your outdoor kitchen. You’ll need a garnish area, sink, kegerator, glassware station, ice maker, and wine cooler for a complete and furnished bartending area. It could be an excellent addition for homeowners who wish to practice their bartending skills, and at the same time, provide more entertainment for their guests.
Lighting won’t be an issue during the daytime as your outdoor kitchen is well-exposed to natural light. However, when evening strikes, you should have an efficient lighting option to ensure the area is well-lit when you’re preparing, cooking, or eating outside. Preferably, add light fixtures over the cooking, meal prep, bar, and dining area. If you want something functional and stylish, you can add sconces to the kitchen walls. Also, you may install task lighting around the counters.
Complete your outdoor kitchen’s overall look by selecting the best outdoor seating. This way, your guests can sit and enjoy their food while relaxing outdoors. If space isn’t an issue, you can add multiple seating areas like hammocks, bench seating, plush seating, outdoor rugs with throw pillows, and so on. For areas with limited space, you may settle for one type of seating with a low table for their plates and drinks. For your bartending area, you can place bar tools in front so you can chitchat with your guests while you’re mixing their drinks.
Benefits Of Having An Outdoor Kitchen
Now you know which factors to consider when building your outdoor kitchen. So, what makes an outdoor kitchen an excellent addition to your property? Here are the perks and benefits when you have one for your yard.
Best Place For Entertainment
Perhaps the main reason some homeowners love to invest in an outdoor kitchen is to gain an additional place of entertainment for their guests and friends. While you’re busy grilling and cooking the meals for your guest, they can also gather around the kitchen with you or hang out in the seating area. This isn’t something you can’t always do in an indoor kitchen, especially if you have limited space. Meanwhile, with an outdoor kitchen, you can add music, a TV, or outdoor games to keep them entertained while waiting for the food.
Boost Property Value
An outdoor kitchen can be a worthwhile investment for your property. It can significantly increase your property value, which is crucial if you’re planning to sell your house in the future. Furthermore, since an outdoor kitchen is designed to withstand extreme weather conditions, you can ensure that this investment will provide you and your guests with a lifetime of entertainment and enjoyment.
Save Money On Dine Outs
A stylish outdoor kitchen will give you the same feeling when eating out at restaurants. The only difference is that you’re the one preparing and cooking your meals. Either way, having an outdoor kitchen will surely inspire you and your family to eat less at restaurants and eat more from your outdoor kitchen.
Lower Energy Bills
It’s not surprising to get a higher energy bill during the summer months because of your air conditioner. However, cooking inside your kitchen during the summer months will increase your energy bills. That’s because the heat coming from the kitchen will require your AC to work twice as hard to cool down the house. Meanwhile, with an outdoor kitchen, you can reduce your energy bills by cooking outdoors and saving your AC from working too hard.
Keep All Kinds Of Smells Outside
Cooking foods like fish and other deep-fried foods could leave a scent in your house that may linger for a few hours or even days. This scent could also stick to your furniture, curtains, and clothing, making it harder to regulate your home’s indoor smell. If you have an outdoor kitchen, you may opt to do your cooking and grilling when you’re about to prepare strong-scented foods. Since you’re outside, all kinds of smells will also stay out.
Spend More Time Outdoors
Whether you have a huge or tiny outdoor kitchen, having one will give you enough reason to spend more time outdoors. You can cook your meals, eat your breakfast, or enjoy your coffee in your kitchen’s outdoor seating. After all, spending more time outdoors is good for your health as it gives your body a chance to inhale fresh air and have more sun exposure.
Are You Ready For Your Outdoor Kitchen?
All in all, building an outdoor kitchen can be a valuable and worthwhile investment despite it being a costly and challenging project to take in. With the perks and benefits it offers, not only will you have extra space for cooking, but you’ll also have another place to make memories with your friends and family. You can host birthdays and other special gatherings outdoors instead of crowding indoors. So, if you’re ready to have an outdoor kitchen, consult with a professional architect and contractor to help you plan your future outdoor kitchen.
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