Turning your outdoor space into an outdoor kitchen takes time and detailed planning. Many times, people don’t even know where to start. There are several factors you need to consider in order to create a fully-functional and well-designed outdoor kitchen. Here are a few tips for getting started on an outdoor kitchen project!
Choose a location
The first step in the outdoor kitchen process is to choose the location of your outdoor kitchen. The perfect location for an outdoor kitchen is based on your own personal preferences and style as well as your existing space. Most people like the idea of having their outdoor kitchen adjacent to their house.
Your house will provide shelter from wind and sun and allow you to attach a structure over your outdoor kitchen. Placing your outdoor kitchen next to your house is also convenient, especially if you have to make trips back inside. If you decide to have an outdoor kitchen away from your house, you should plan to incorporate additional storage for prep and cooking essentials.
The right location for your outdoor kitchen will be based on the environment as well. Think about the wind, sun, overhead power lines and trees, and soil. How stable is the surface? Will it need to be leveled? Consider these factors before you start building your outdoor kitchen.
Plan your setup
Think about your current outdoor setup and decide if you want to make additions or completely renovate the space. What areas would you like to improve? Consider factors such as how much time you will spend using the space, what and how often you like to cook outside, your kids and their safety, and how closely you want your outdoor kitchen to resemble your indoor kitchen.
The setup of your outdoor kitchen should work well with your lifestyle and make sense in terms of your existing landscape. Think about how you plan to use the space and set up your outdoor kitchen accordingly.
Get necessary permits
Before you install an outdoor kitchen, check with your town’s building department to see if any permits need to be filed. If you choose to bring water, gas, or electricity to your outdoor kitchen, you will most likely need a permit. Your town might also have regulations regarding where you can build your outdoor kitchen. Some towns regulate the distance it must be from the property line. Finally, be aware of any fire codes especially if you choose to locate the outdoor kitchen close to your house.
Design your layout
If you have a very limited amount of space, you would benefit from a straight-line layout, which is typically installed against a wall. It works well for those with smaller budget.
An L-shaped layout is a spatial and economical choice. It is ideal for separating grilling and food prep. It also allows for the long end to double as bar.
A U-shaped layout makes entertaining, cooking, prepping, and serving a breeze. It allows for plenty of space for appliances and accessories such as grills, pizza ovens, wine coolers, sinks, and refrigerators. If you are a big entertainer or have a large family that loves to spend time outdoors, then a U-shaped layout would be a perfect fit.
When designing your layout, you need to consider creating zones for prepping, cooking, serving, and cleanup. Make sure you have a hot zone for your grills, cooktops, and pizza ovens as well as a cold zone for your refrigerator, wine coolers, and freezer. You also need a wet zone for your sink and a dry zone for counterspace used for prepping and serving food.
A functional outdoor kitchen rests on how well it is laid out. Make sure to plan plenty of space for people and activities!