Outdoor kitchen design requires as much consideration and planning as the design of an indoor kitchen. A properly thought out and implemented outdoor kitchen is not only great for BBQ parties or family get-togethers, it provides you with a comfortable and convenient place to prepare meals when it's nice outside. However, when planning your outdoor kitchen, there are some common design mistakes you'll want to avoid.
Lack of Functional Zones or Work Areas
When designing your outdoor kitchen, you should remember that you will need the same types of functional zones or work areas as in your indoor kitchen. Your outdoor kitchen will most likely include much more than barbecue grill, so plan for the installation of refrigerators, freezers, sinks and prep areas as well. Small outdoor kitchens may not require space for a refrigerator or sink. However, you should always allocate enough usable space for all of the equipment and work areas that you will require. Also, make sure not to crowd the area between the traffic lanes and work areas. When designing your outdoor kitchen always allow for a minimum of 48 inches to 54 inches of clearance between cooking equipment and other counters or food prep areas.
Lack of Counter Space and Landing Zones
One of the most common mistakes associated with outdoor kitchen design is a lack of counter space or poor landing zone design. Just as in your indoor kitchen, you will need enough usable counter space to set plates, needed ingredients or other items or utensils that will be used when preparing food. Also, sinks and prep areas will require landing zones for temporary placement of items that are used when working in those areas. As a general rule, you should try to include at least 48 inches of usable countertop space in your design. For outdoor kitchen designs that are larger or more complex, even more countertop and landing zone space will be required.
Lack of Cabinet Space
Storage space is usually not as much a concern with an outdoor kitchen as it is with an indoor kitchen. However, you should make sure that you design and plan enough cabinet space so that you will have adequate room to store needed utensils, pots and pans that will be used in your outdoor kitchen. Also, you should consider that you may need space for charcoal, LPG tanks and wood chips as well.
Lighting your outdoor kitchen can prove to be a challenge. Therefore, you'll need to make sure that you plan for the installation of sufficient task lighting that will allow your outdoor kitchen to be used at night. You may want to consider including raised posts in the design of your outdoor kitchen for the mounting of outdoor task lights or an overhead ceiling for the placement of lighting fixtures.