Everyone loves to BBQ, so it’s no surprise that the next trend in outdoor cooking is the outdoor kitchen. An outdoor kitchen can improve the value of your home in every possible way – it’s great for entertaining, it’s a joy for the enthusiastic cook and, of course, it will increase the monetary value of your property. If you’re thinking about building one, be sure to keep a few things in mind throughout the process.
Don’t be Afraid to Enlist a Professional
People make entire careers of professional kitchen design, and the design of an outdoor kitchen can be very difficult to bring together. Bringing a professional designer into the project all but ensures that you’ll end up with exactly what you’ve envisioned while helping to avoid potential design and maintenance problems down the road.
That said, it doesn’t hurt to have a vision before hiring a professional. It won’t be easy to help you build the outdoor kitchen of your dreams if you haven’t yet established just what those dreams are. Here are a few things to consider as you put together plans.
What’s on the Menu?
Outdoor kitchens are becoming as well-equipped as they are trendy. While the typical space will consist of simple prep, grill and dining areas, new outdoor kitchens can match their full-size indoor counterparts in terms of size and capability. When you’re designing your outdoor kitchen, you’ll need to consider your goals.
An outdoor kitchen that’s made for fun family nights can be designed feel and function much differently from one that’s made for entertaining large groups of clients and colleagues. This is the aspect of design that will bring your budget in line with your needs, helping to define the look and feel of the end product.
Location, Location, Location
The ideal location for an outdoor kitchen is as close to the indoor kitchen as possible. Not only does this provide access to existing gas and electrical connections, but it also makes it easy to utilize additional storage space and seating areas if necessary. This proximity is especially important if you plan to grill outdoors while monitoring the food cooking inside.
There are plenty of other things to consider as well. Don’t forget that the smoke from your grill will generally blow downwind of your location. You’d do best to avoid placing it in a position that could potentially blow smoke indoors – or worse, into your neighbours’ homes.
Environment and Ambience
You’ll want to make sure that your outdoor cooking and dining areas are comfortable, so shade is another vital consideration. If you’re connecting the outdoor kitchen to your home, you can extend an eve or awning to protect your cooking and dining areas from the sun. You can also make use of the natural, cooling shade provided by trees, a shade trellis or a built-in umbrella.
When the sun finally sets, lighting is of the utmost concern. It is, of course, crucial that your cooking area have sufficient lighting to perform your grilling duties effectively. At the same time, ambient lighting in the dining area will provide you and your guests with a relaxing and comfortable atmosphere. Careful planning can help you ensure that the lighting of each area is effective and appropriate.
Pick the Proper Materials
Choosing the proper materials for your outdoor kitchen can be difficult. You want it to look its best no matter the weather, but it’s also got to stand up to spills, stains and cleaning.
Natural stone countertops look great, but they’re subject to a wide range of contaminants so you’ll need to seal them regularly. Granite countertops are another good option, but they’ll lose their colour and gloss if they don’t contain a UV stabilizer.
Tile countertops are subject to cracks if they’re used in regions that must endure frequent thawing and freezing. Wherever you live, you’ll also want to stay away from porous materials like limestone – while it may do well with the proper treatment and care indoors, it’s not an ideal material to use in your outdoor countertops.
At the end of the day, the most important thing to remember is that your outdoor kitchen is made for entertainment. Whether it’s a family BBQ or an upscale dinner, you’re building it as a place in which people can sit back, relax and enjoy the beauty of contemporary life and outdoor living. As long as you keep this in mind, you’ll love the kitchen you create.