Ideas & Resources

 

Designing Your Outdoor Kitchen

You want it, you need it, you gotta have it - Now What? 

...and for once its a good decision, not like those shake weights you bought a few years ago. An outdoor kitchen is a great investment in your life; it will up your entertainment value, give you a great place to gather with friends and family, open up a whole new world of outdoor cooking and will even add value to your property. But where do you start?

Figure out how much space you have, envision how you will use this outdoor room and settle on a budget. All of your other decisions will flow from this and it will make it much easier for you to zero in on the best choices for your particular needs. Once you've got that figured out, the fun can begin.

THE GRILL

An outdoor kitchen can accommodate any type of grill; natural gas, LP gas, charcoal; you can opt for a grill that performs a variety of functions or go for the basics. What will you be cooking? For how many? What have you enjoyed cooking with in the past? Are you interested in smoking meats, making wood fired pizzas, grilling veggies or are you a hot dog and burger kind of guy or gal? You'll want to take all of this into consideration when you are shopping; look for the features you want and don't be distracted by options you will never use. You can even build your project using a combination of different cooking styles, like a smoker and a grill, installed side by side. View All Grills 



STORAGE SPACE

Your outdoor kitchen can be designed so you never need to step back into the house for anything; ideally what you will be using most often will be close to hand. Utensils, hot mitts, foil, cooking spray, seasonings; those can all be stored in your outdoor kitchen which will make the entire cooking process that much easier. You can also plan for storage for plates, napkins, cutlery, glassware, and condiments. How much room do you have in your outdoor kitchen? How far from the indoor kitchen will it be located? How much storage do you need to keep your necessary items easily accessible?

Although not exactly storage, its not exactly not storage - consider an outdoor fridge. Imagine how nice it will be to keep cold drinks, ice, ice cream, popsicles, and cooking ingredients right where you want them and safely stored at a prime temperature. You can opt for a full sized fridge or get one that fits nicely under a counter top. If this is something your budget will afford, you should seriously consider it.

SINK

I've had plumbers at my house for three days now; I guarantee you what every kitchen needs, indoors or out, is a sink! You don't realize how much hand-washing and washing-up you do until your water is not working. It may sound like a luxury, but if you can get it into the budget you are going to be glad you did. There are various options for outdoor sinks; one of the experts at Family Leisure can talk to you about what including a sink in your outdoor kitchen would entail. Featured 30" Bar Caddy by Bull


 

COUNTER TOPS

You want something non-porous that can be easily cleaned; and just like an indoor kitchen, granite counter tops are ideal for outdoors. They weather well (they're essentially rocks!), they clean up nicely, they last and last and last. And, of course, they look good. There are other options as well, but make sure this is not a category you skimp on; you don't want to have to replace the counter tops in just a few short seasons. And while you have counter tops on your mind; remember this is an ideal opportunity to add some seating to your outdoor kitchen. A nice counter can do double duty by adding a few counter height chairs or stools. It takes up minimal space and its friendly; people can talk to you, share a drink or two while you are cooking.


 
SEATING

Speaking of counter height stools, think about what seating you want included in your outdoor kitchen. Maybe a few stools at the counter will be all you need; you might also want to plan for a table and chairs (just like inside). Of course the beauty of being outdoors is that the seating can be scattered about; chairs and benches can be placed where needed, as needed. If your guest list will vary quite a bit, from your family of 4 to a celebration of 50, consider investing in some stackable tables and chairs. You can buy the same furniture they use at restaurants and hotels and its generally very reasonably priced. If you go this route, consider getting square tables rather than round; you can push them together and dine banquet style if you want. Featured Stools by Hanamint Grand Tuscany Bar Stools 



LIGHTING

I know, there's a sun. And it does a pretty good job of lighting up the outdoors. But what about those evening gatherings? The moon is an underachiever when it comes to lighting. Plus adding lighting to the area will allow you to hang out, play cards, and munch on leftovers late into the night if you want. So plan for some kind of lighting for the counter and cooking area. It doesn't have to be expensive, but it should be suitable for outside. Some grills actually come with built-in lights, which can be very helpful. No bug zappers by the grill, btw. Those really aren't lights. Do they still make those things? Featured Light Castillo

 

Do yourself a favor and start planning that outdoor kitchen. Spending more time outdoors is always a good idea; spending it relaxing and sharing a meal with family and friends is even better. Overwhelmed? Family Leisure has all kinds of ideas and suggestions to help you get that party started. 



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