In many ways, planning an outdoor kitchen is similar to planning any kitchen: you need space for food prep, cooking, clean up and storage. But, with an outdoor kitchen, you’ll most likely be using a different cooking surface (open fire and/or BBQ) and the outdoor kitchen will need to be able to stand up to exposure to the weather as well. When planning an outdoor kitchen, here are a few things to consider:
Cabinetry: Traditional wood cabinetry will not hold up well when exposed to snow, rain and wind. Natural stone and stone veneers are a better option for an outdoor kitchen. Not only will this hold up better against the natural elements but it will blend beautifully into your existing landscaping!
Faucets: Having running water in your outdoor kitchen will make cooking, cleaning and entertaining much easier. To ensure your faucet will be able to stand up to outdoor conditions, look for a faucet that is sturdy with minimal moving parts made from heavy-duty, non-corrosive materials like stainless steel.
Lighting: Lighting is a very important factor to consider with an outdoor kitchen. Warm summer evenings often lead to late nights spent outside, enjoying company. A well-lit outdoor kitchen will make it easy to prepare snacks and refreshments all evening long. Plan your lighting just like you would indoors by creating zones that allow you to control the level of light in different areas including the sitting area, pathways, the food prep area, etc. Today’s outdoor lighting spans everything from chandeliers to spot lights and a lighting professional can help you find the perfect lighting solutions for every spot in your outdoor kitchen!
Storage: While you may not store food items in the outdoor kitchen all the time, having some storage space is important. A small bar fridge will keep drinks cold all evening long for example. You may also want to plan storage space for dishware, cutlery and cookware that will be used specifically for entertaining outside. If space is limited, consider investing in custom cabinetry inserts and sliding shelves to make better use of your outdoor kitchen area.
Cooking Surfaces: The types of cooking surfaces you choose for your outdoor kitchen should be based on the types of meals you plan to cook. For most outdoor kitchens, a BBQ is the cooking-surface of choice but wood-burning ovens, a fire pit, single element cooktops and stone ovens are all great choices for an outdoor kitchen. (And yes, you can have more then one cooking surface if you wish!)