How to Create the Perfect Outdoor Kitchen

Ah, the summer evening cookout. It sounds great in theory, but sometimes firing up the grill and running in and out of the kitchen multiple times throughout the night can become a real drag. People who enjoy grilling outside frequently during the warmer months are opting to invest in an outdoor kitchen to remedy this issue.

Not only does an outdoor kitchen look great in a landscaped backyard, but it’s also a fabulous conversation piece that’s sure to keep the dialogue flowing among partygoers on many a hot evening night. Most outdoor kitchens have a few key features in common.

Fridge

A refrigerator… outside?! Yes, this is not an uncommon feature. Many modern outdoor kitchens include a fridge, and it’s a great appliance to have if you want to “nix” the mad dash to and from your regular indoor kitchen. Plus, you can stash cold drinks for your guests within arm’s reach. One caveat, however – when it gets cold outside and your outdoor kitchen has hunkered down for the winter, consider unplugging your fridge until spring reappears. It’ll be safer during non-use and cut down on your energy bill.

Ceiling

Cooking outdoors is great, but if you design your space in an uncovered area, you’ll become a slave to the elements. Rainstorms will limit your fun quite severely, so fight back by including a ceiling feature in your design. Many people choose a removable pavilion-type covering, although others choose to build a more permanent cover that resembles an extension of their existing deck space.

Grill

The infamous grill—no outdoor kitchen would be complete without it. This feature should be a given, but the new outdoor kitchen emerging in landscaping magazines is boasting bigger, better, more breathtaking grills for your space. There are models with marvelous stonework, dramatic tiling, or gorgeous brick columns – the design choices are endless.

Sink

The complete outdoor kitchen needs a sink to really sing. Imagine making drinks then spinning around and washing your hands, all without leaving your backyard. A sink will round out the outdoor kitchen area and bring completeness to the space. Some opt for deep basin-style sinks made from weatherproof materials. Others choose stainless steel hand sinks, which are great for braving the elements as well.

Electricity

You can’t blend pina coladas without a plug, right? What if you’re outdoors all evening and you need to charge your phone? Electrical outlets are necessary for an outdoor kitchen. Install outlets in easily accessible, safe places and install protective hinged coverings for the outlets when they’re not in use. This will shield them from harsh winds and rain during a storm.

Your outdoor kitchen is an extension of your landscaping and your home, which is why you should plan and design carefully before breaking ground. The size of the kitchen, the existing landscaping, and your family’s needs are important things to ponder prior to the project. Considering which of the above features are important to you is the next step.