Designing an Outdoor Kitchen

outdoor kitchen area with stainless steel cabinets and grill against stone wall

Part of making your yard your own personal oasis can be creating an outdoor kitchen where you can kick back, relax, and dish out a delicious meal. Designing the outdoor kitchen of your dreams may seem intimidating, but it’s totally doable.

Benefits of an Outdoor Kitchen

If you’re on the fence when it comes to investing in an outdoor kitchen - which can certainly be costly - you should understand the distinct benefits of doing so.

More Living Space

An outdoor kitchen in your yard becomes more living space that you can enjoy. This is also additional room for you to entertain guests.

Less Eating Out

Having an awesome outdoor cooking and dining space will likely inspire you to cook more at home, especially during the warm weather months.

Easier Grilling

Having an entire kitchen outside rather than just a grill makes cooking on this device less of a chore. You can have everything you need at your fingertips rather than having to run between the inside and out to cook a meal on the barbie. Cooking outside also keeps any strong odors associated with whatever meal you’re cooking from inside of your home.

outdoor kitchen with grill, sink, and vegetables

Increase Your Home’s Value

An outdoor kitchen will also increase the value of your home overall, which will be helpful if you decide to sell.

Outdoor Kitchen Design Tips

There are many ways to put your outdoor kitchen above the rest, and they all spur from the design of this space.

Choose the Materials

You’ll want your outdoor kitchen to be both stylish and functional, and the materials used to build it should be able to stand up to nature’s elements. This includes high winds, excessive rain, the heat of the beating sun, and snow and ice storms.

Stainless steel is commonly chosen for outdoor kitchens, since it’s both classic and sleek as well as durable. This material is also easy to clean. Alternatively, tile makes for a great material to use as it’s durable and available in many different styles.

Decide the Layout

The layout of your outdoor kitchen is important, especially considering the fact that there are no walls around it, so the layout needs to completely define the space. L-shaped designs are popular with outdoor kitchens. However you decide to lay yours out, you should consider the appliance placement and create distinct “hot and cold zones”. Put prep space between appliances like a grill and fridge.

Think About All Seasons

Of course, when you think of an outdoor kitchen, your mind probably automatically goes to the warm and sunny days of summer. However, you should design this space to also be useful as the temperatures begin to dip down, as this will allow you to get more use out of the investment.

Consider adding outdoor heat lamps so you can use the space even during the spring, fall, and winter. A fire pit is also a nice design element that will provide warmth. For the warm and sunny days, ensure adequate shade, whether via nearby trees or awning structures like umbrellas.

outdoor patio kitchen with umbrella, table, and brick oven

Pick Your Appliances

There are more appliances than you might think to consider for an outdoor kitchen. First and foremost, decide what type of cooking appliances you want out there. The most common choice is a grill. Others opt to have a smoker, and some choose both.

Another useful outdoor appliance is a refrigerator. This can be smaller than a regular fridge and will be useful for housing a few food items, as well as beverages for handy access. To go along with the fridge, also consider an ice maker that will easily allow for fresh ice as you enjoy your outdoor space.

Finally, a built-in kegerator is a popular choice for outdoor kitchens. This allows you to easily serve beer via one or two taps on the counter of your outdoor kitchen.

As you shop for outdoor appliances, be sure to verify that the models you are choosing are suitable for use outdoors. Many indoor versions will work fine outdoors, but some can be damaged easily by exposure to sun and weather.

Add the Finishing Touches

No kitchen - indoor or out - would be complete without the finishing touches. Add textiles to furniture with cushions or throw pillows. Also, don’t forget to add lighting so that you can comfortably use this space even in the dark. Finally, add landscaping around the kitchen area to really elevate the style and feel.

Outdoor kitchen design is fun and exciting once you get the ball rolling, as there are so many directions you can take this space.