It can be difficult in summer months, or even in places where the sun shines all year round, to have a relaxing barbecue with friends. If you’re the guest, all you need to do is sit there and enjoy a fruity drink, but as the cook or host you might find yourself running back and forth from your kitchen to the barbecue and missing out on all the fun. One way to solve this problem is by turning your outdoor barbecue area into a much more useful outdoor kitchen. This can be as simple as adding a prep counter and some covered storage space so you can stay outside, or as complex as adding refrigeration, running water (sink), and a permanent storage island complete with a countertop.
The first thing to consider is location. If you have an existing patio there should be no problem in creating your outdoor kitchen on top of it. If you have a deck however, there could be structural work in your future so that the deck is capable of supporting the weight of outdoor cement cabinet bases, countertops, and appliances.
If you want your outdoor kitchen to be separated from your home, perhaps in the area of the yard that has the best view, you will need to look into local guidelines for the burying of the electrical and gas lines you will need to run from your home to the outdoor kitchen.
If you’re happy to have your outdoor kitchen close to the house you may want to consider positioning it to the side of the home or in an area not directly visible from inside. A messy outdoor kitchen area from the night before may not be your favorite view from the dinning room the next morning.
When placing the outdoor eating area/dining table make sure that it is not in the direction that will receive smoke from the cooking area. If you live in a cool climate you may also want to invest in an outdoor portable gas patio heater, consider moving your refrigeration unit indoors during winter months and think about what types of shelter you can add to the design.
When planning an outdoor kitchen the materials you choose are paramount. You need materials that look great, countertops that are food safe, flooring that is easy to clean in case of spills, and all of it capable of standing up to the elements. Durable outdoor materials include: stainless steel, stone, slate, tile, stucco, solid surface countertop materials, and treated wood products. When adding extra electrical outlets to an outdoor space always insure that they have GCI’s (Ground-fault Circuit Interrupters). Outdoor lights should be included for safe nighttime grilling but these also must be guaranteed for outdoor use.
Outdoor refrigeration is typically taken care of with a miniature refrigerator, as it only needs to hold the fixings for one meal at a time. When choosing a barbecue there are many portable and built in models available and which one you choose depends on the amount of cooking that you’re doing and how powerful you need the range to be. Even gas grills on the low end (around $200) will offer more BTUs of cooking power than you typical indoor cooktop. You can also add an outdoor pizza oven or other cooking area. In general you want to design this space around the cooking area, making sure that there is storage and prep-counter space on either side of it and that the cook will have easy access to everything they need in the process. Creating a galley kitchen, either with two counters in a narrow area or with the use of an island, will create a barrier that helps to keep children from running though. Extra counter space is also great for serving and the extra storage underneath is great for hiding dirty dishes until they can be cleaned indoors. Sink areas will generally need 18” to 24” of space on either side, for food prep and cleanup. You will only need to run a cold water line outdoors if you don’t intend to do the dishes outside, but make sure that it has a shutoff valve indoors so that you can drain the line in winter months.
Enjoy the gallery below and don’t forget to share your ideas!
You don’t need a full-fledged barbecue to enjoy cooking outdoors. Image Source
This kitchen is designed around a property dividing wall. Image Source
This design is mostly covered but still allows for a great view and bar seating.Image Source
This pergola provides protection for the elements and supports an outdoor ceiling fan.
This kitchen was created under a large covered patio area. Image Source
This kitchen was created on a second story deck, the amount of prep-area could be improved but the view is great.
You may want to consider having your outdoor kitchen poolside. Refrigeration drawers are another alternative to a minifridge. Image Source
This pergola shelters both the cooking and serving area. In this photo it is easy to see how the galley kitchen design prevents children from running through the kitchen. Image Source
This kitchen was created away from the main house in its own covered area.Image Source
You could also create an off building for your outdoor kitchen with a gazebo style roof. Image Source
This design makes use of an outdoor fireplace, which would be the perfect place to roast marshmallows for dessert.
A more modern kitchen with enough storage to allow for everyday grilling. Image Source
This second level balcony outdoor kitchen takes advantage of the properties best view point. Image Source