Kebabs on the grill, bread in the microwave and a glass of wine in your hand with kids playing in the garden and your man at the helm of barbeque—could life get more perfect?
All of this can be yours, assuming you plan on setting up an outdoor kitchen. Even while cooking you can join your family’s conversation and not miss on any cheerfulness. You break through the restrictions of indoor kitchen and cook in a liberating environment. You can also save a lot of time and effort with an outdoor kitchen being more laidback in terms of dining etiquette and the must-haves preached to us.
In this discussion, we share some wisdom about setting up an outdoor kitchen, baring it all, ensuring you can make a better-informed decision.
Getting Started: Location of an Outdoor Kitchen Space
While considering the where and when of an outdoorsy kitchen, you should scout the possible locales. Being just outside the kitchen is almost perfect. You would also want reasonable shade and some sunlight. Too much of any weather element can upset the harmony. Also, ensure protection against rain and watch out for walls that are easily overwhelmed with moisture. You should plan beforehand taking into consideration the following:
- Consider the views: Among the many important factors, factors like privacy, utility access, wind direction, shade and proximity to the house should are of paramount importance. The livelier the settings would be, more will you enjoy your family time—this is not a thumb rule but something that most families would agree with. It makes little sense to invest in an external kitchen that seems cut-off from the greens and outside views.
- Keeping it close to the main kitchen: Make sure your backyard kitchen isn’t too far from the main kitchen, because the main kitchen space will still be your fundamental food prep area. Yes, you don’t need to cook everything from scratch in the outdoors. The initial handling can be done inside with the advantage of sufficient lighting and all electrical tools at your disposal.
Size of an Outdoor Kitchen
We agree with the notion of bigger being better but dynamics can be slightly different with a typical outdoor kitchen. Remember that the outdoor kitchen is just an extension of your house—not something to compete with! It must complement your house. You don’t want your exterior space to be overwhelmed with cooking and serving activities.
- Keep only necessary things: Consider the appliance and accessories you use in your regular life, something that gets used once in a year, is not a worth adding to the external kitchen. There is no point investing in a 54” grill if your kitchen space allows only six family members! Similarly, have a closer look at the utensils, electronics—if they aren’t used often or aren’t required in big quantities, you must think twice before bringing them to the limited space you have.
- Assess your outdoors-i-ness: If you are someone who loves cooking outdoor on any regular day or most of the days, you will need respectively a larger area. This is when you can ramp your budget too.
With the basics covered, let us get more serious!
Patios to the Rescue! Install a patio for placing your outdoor kitchen and if you already have one, just ensure that it is compatible with the weight and size parameters of the kitchen units like cabinets, grill or fire pit.
Don’t forget the utility points! If you are planning to use electrical appliances, you will definitely need separate wiring units and outlets to operate them. Also, you may need a dedicated gas line for a fully functional cooking station.
Be Fire Smart! Make necessary arrangements for fireproofing your outdoor kitchen. We recommend choosing grills and appliances wisely and checking for their specifications. Invest in ready-to-assemble stock cabinet bases to cut down costs and chalk-out a well-planned layout.
Be Weather Smart! Ensure that you choose weatherproof materials. Wood and some countertop materials are more prone to damage during the wet season. Invest in moisture-resistant supplies for your outdoor kitchen. You can opt for a commercial sealant product and coat the wooden units or laminate the surfaces. If possible, use treated lumber.
Premade Can Be Equally Good! A premade outdoor kitchen unit is the latest trend. Nowadays you can always find easy to incorporate fabricated units from major stores and lumber centers.
Choose Appliances Sensibly! Some appliances and accessories can occupy a lot of space and are often marketed as “must-haves” in outdoor kitchens. Before buying these, ensure your kitchen space can accommodate them. Typical inclusions here include steamer, fryer, plating/garnish center, rotisserie, hot plate, trash bin, storage drawers, pizza oven, garnishing center, griddle plate, wok burner and side burner.
We recommend discussing the proposed layout of your outdoor kitchen with someone who has handled the subject before, i.e. to understand the time and cost dynamics. Keep a reality-check on what you really desire. Don’t be misled by blatant advertising that tends to oversell a concept. If you aspire to have an open, minimally stocked outdoor kitchen, proceed without thinking what the kitchen stylists will say!