5 Essential Tips on Planning Your Outdoor Kitchen

A woman uses a grill at an outdoor kitchen.

If you have a large patio area on your home and you're not sure what to do with it, consider making it an outdoor kitchen. Outdoor kitchens are not only beautiful, but they make a great way to entertain your guests where you can still be with them while you cook. Better yet, you can even get some of them to pitch in and julienne the vegetables. If the thought of an outdoor kitchen entices you, then here are five tips you simply must consider when planning your outdoor kitchen design.

1. Design

Practice good kitchen design. This means having all of the necessary kitchen components in relatively close proximity, yet spaced out far enough so that the hot appliances don't interfere with the cold ones. Plus, remember to give some space between the dry food prep area and the wet locations like the sink.

2. Consider the Elements

If you live on the east coast, avoid using ceramic tile on your countertops as they will freeze and crack during the cold winter. Likewise, granite and other natural stones will require constant sealing when outside, so think first before you go that route. When considering your outside kitchen, low-maintenance is the key to happiness. Stainless steel is a good choice as it is resistant to corrosion, grease, and varying temperature changes.

3. The Utilities

Keep in mind that wherever you are planning to place your appliances, you will need to get the utilities there first. Electric, water, and gas supply should be considered when planning your outdoor kitchen. Additionally, this needs to be considered if you are planning on adding any entertainment equipment like a television or stereo outside or for any alternative lighting sources for when the sun goes down and you're still cooking! And don't forget to check your area's zoning requirements for outdoor kitchen additions.

4. Plan for Rain

In the summer months, a thunderstorm can roll through and vanish ten minutes later. You don't want your outdoor party to be ruined by an unforeseen flash rain, so plan your design to include some type of weather-protected seating area. Just be sure that if it is close to the cooking area that it is made of a non-combustible material. You may also want to look into area heaters for nights when it turns cooler so your guests can remain comfortable.

5. Kitchen Extension

Look at your outside kitchen as an extension of your inside kitchen. Use your inside cooking habits to help dictate what kind of design you will most appreciate outside. Since you may have to travel back and forth between the two during a get-together, make sure that you have a clear path from your outside kitchen to the inside one.

By keeping these essential tips on your mind while you plan your dream outdoor kitchen, you will guarantee many years worth of entertaining and delicious outside cooking.