If you’re like many modern homeowners, you may be thinking about adding a kitchen to your outdoor living space. Not very long ago, this concept was little more than a dream. After all, how could you possibly set up a fully functional kitchen outside your house? For many people, the very thought of it conjured up images of a run-down refrigerator standing idly on the back porch accompanied by a bulky shop sink and a grill.
These days, though, that mental picture is far from reality. Outdoor kitchens have evolved to become elegant and incredible setups that are just as beautiful as they are functional.
Getting Your Outdoor Kitchen off the Ground
So many possibilities for an outdoor kitchen are available that naming them all in a single sitting would be impossible. This makes for an endless list of inclusions and customization options for homeowners like you. Unfortunately, it also makes designing an outdoor kitchen all the more complex and uncertain. After all, simple drawings and sketched-out plans just can’t do justice for a project like this.
It doesn’t have to be a confusing and precarious process, though. You can use kitchen design software to make matters simpler and take a great deal of the guesswork out of the mix. In the meantime, it’s important to consider some of the essential variables that factor into the equation when creating an outdoor kitchen.
How Much Space Do You Have to Work With?
Space is a crucial factor to consider before designing an outdoor kitchen. If you have a small deck or porch where the kitchen will be installed, you’ll probably want to take a minimalist approach.
On the other hand, if you have a larger space or massive back yard to work with, you could certainly design a sprawling outdoor kitchen and entertainment area that covers every possible base. If you’re planning to extend an existing patio or other type of outdoor space to accommodate the kitchen, you can factor in the extra space you’ll ultimately have as well.
Keep in mind that every element of your outdoor kitchen will take up its own space, including everything from the countertops to the appliances and decorative features. Imagining them all perfectly laid out and dovetailed with one another is one thing. Actually, having them all together in a single space is another.
You might find that your imagination is much larger than your actual square footage if you don’t use technology to help you with the design process. It’s better to be certain all your inclusions will fit well before getting started than to be cramped and disappointed after the fact.
What Is the Best Layout for an Outdoor Kitchen?
There’s no direct answer to this question. The best layout for your kitchen partially depends on the size and shape of the space you have. A linear kitchen would probably work best if you have a space that’s longer than it is wide. That way, you can stretch out rather than trying to get creative with the layout and ending up with no room to move around.
If you have a much larger space, you could go with a square or rectangular layout with an open end for easier entry and exit. Some spaces work well with a conventional layout and an island.
Keep convenience and functionality in mind as well. You’ll want to choose a layout that melds well with your normal kitchen routines. Be sure you have enough counter space at just the right places for food preparation and serving. Don’t place your storage space so far away from the prep surfaces and cooking appliances that you’ll have to run yourself ragged to get a meal ready.
When using design software, you can try different layouts to determine which would work best for you. You can also play around with various appliance arrangements and other elements to find the perfect setup for your outdoor kitchen. This will take a great deal of hassle and frustration out of the mix and help ensure your outdoor kitchen is suited to your needs and expectations right from the start. You won’t have to live with ongoing design-related regrets or spend extra money on rearrangements later on, either.
Which Features Can I Include in My Outdoor Kitchen?
When it comes to features, the potential lies in the amount of space you have. While there’s no end to the appliances and features at your disposal, you’ll want to base your choices on which ones you need the most and will fit in your space. No doubt, some type of nice grill should be part of the mix. Sinks are nice to have for making cleanup and food preparation simpler. You may want a refrigerator to keep drinks and food cold for outdoor feasts. Adding a stove and oven would be a good idea if you’re planning to mix and match your cooking methods.
Those are some of the basics. Having a comfortable dining area nearby would also be great. After all, if you’re going to cook outdoors, being able to eat there as well would certainly maximize the experience. If you have plenty of space, you could even add a fire pit, television, and lounging area.
Don’t hesitate to browse ideas and add your own flair to the lineup. Consider your family’s interests and how they enjoy spending time outdoors to help you get a clearer picture of what needs to be added to your outdoor kitchen and entertainment space. Again, design software can help you determine what fits well and what doesn’t.
Bringing Your Outdoor Kitchen to Life
It’s important to decide just what you want to include in your outdoor kitchen and which features will make cooking outdoors simpler and more enjoyable. Of course, understanding just what you can fit into the space you have is equally critical. Failing to size up all those elements could ultimately result in disaster. Be sure to plan ahead when you’re thinking of building an outdoor kitchen and use design software to help ensure your project will be a success.