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9 Design Elements of the Perfect Outdoor Kitchen


Outdoor kitchens have evolved beyond the basic grill and patio table. With the right design elements, your outdoor kitchen and eating area can become just as useful as your indoor kitchen. If you enjoy spending time outside, you can add useful elements like outdoor high-tech appliances and stylish elements like the best pergola 12x16. Read on to find out more about the nine design elements for the perfect outdoor kitchen.

1. Spend Time Researching Your Ideal Outdoor Kitchen

Before you begin building your outdoor kitchen, look around to find examples that you love. Many exceptional outdoor kitchens have innovative grills, outdoor bars, and seating areas. However, you can get more creative and build a space with a functional sink, an outdoor refrigerator, smokers, and more. When you look at kitchen ideas, reflect on how they fit in with your outdoor setting and enhance the nature around you.

2. Consider Your Available Space

Even the most thoughtfully planned kitchens still need access to the inside. You’ll want to be sure your outdoor kitchen gives you easy access to the inside of your home. If you need to add plumbing and electrical wiring, consider how your contractors will hide the foundational components, especially if they have to dig to hide pipes and wires.

Measure your area to determine what you must have and how much space it will take. Once you know how much space you have, you can begin buying items to fill it. Don’t forget to leave some outdoor space for your garden and other recreational activities.

3. Will You Stay or Go?

Some homeowners decide to build their outdoor kitchens with portable appliances. If you think you’ll move, you can take those portable items with you. If you plan to stay in your forever home, then adding permanent pieces is a good choice. You’ll be able to enjoy them for many years to come. You could also mix portability and permanence by choosing a built-in grill, but using portable carts and islands to enhance it. If you choose permanent items, consider hiring a contractor who can build customized grills and add exterior elements that are built to last.

4. What is Your Budget?

As with any home renovation project, you should set a budget. Outdoor kitchen appliances and furniture items are available in a wide range of price points. As outdoor furniture styles don’t change much, you can save money by purchasing items at the end of the season.

If you hire a contractor, you’ll have to pay for labor, which can easily eat up any budget. You could also hire a designer, who can help you stay within your budget. If you need any contractor work, get bids from several sources so you can find the price that works for your budget and goals.

5. How Do You Like to Cook?

Before you visit your big box store to buy the best new grill, think about your cooking preferences. You could choose grills that cook with gas, propane, electricity, or charcoal. You could also choose a traditional grill with grates or the latest high-tech flat-top griddle. Some grills have burners so you can cook with traditional pots and pans.

You’ll also want to decide where you do your food prep. If you plan to prep inside, you won’t need counter space outside. However, if you plan to do all the work outside, you’ll want enough space to prepare your food. Having an outdoor sink will make food prep easier, and consider having a compost area to dispose of food scraps in an eco-friendly way. It’s also helpful to plan your outdoor eating area to fit your family and friends. It’s easier to install large appliances now rather than retrofit them later.

6. What’s the Weather?

Where you live should factor into your outdoor kitchen planning. If you live in an area of the world with constant warm weather, then you’ll have more options for your outdoor kitchen. You won’t have to winterize the appliances or put away the furniture when the seasons change. However, you will have to consider the heat, which is why you should consider pergolas and sunshades to stay out of the sun.

It’s also helpful to build your kitchen in an area that is protected from the wind and sun. Choose a spot that gets more shade so your kitchen items don’t get damaged by the weather. Consider buying covers or a shed if you have to put away items for the winter.

7. Maintain Your Outdoor Kitchen

An outdoor kitchen needs maintenance, just like your indoor kitchen. Keeping things covered and out of the elements can extend their lifespan. If you’re near saltwater, you’ll want to clean debris off the appliances. Trees can also do damage, especially if they drop sap, leaves, and branches. When you aren’t using your outdoor kitchen, cover as many items as possible to protect them from the elements.

8. Look for Durable Outdoor Materials

If you are building a permanent outdoor kitchen, consider using building materials that are designed to last. Your kitchen should coordinate with your home, so consider using similar brick, concrete, marble, or stucco details. The appliances and furniture items should be made for outdoor use, too. Consider putting some items on wheels, so you can store them when they aren’t in use.

9. Remain in Control

It’s easy to get carried away when building an outdoor kitchen. Some people have outdoor kitchens with more features than their indoor kitchens. Before you begin building, ask yourself a few questions and answer the questions realistically:

  • Who will use the kitchen?
  • How often will we use the kitchen?
  • What type of cooking will we use outside?

Some families build their kitchens incrementally. They might start with a grill, a built-in bar, and a table, then add appliances as they find themselves spending more time in the outdoor kitchen. Create a blueprint and build it to meet your needs. Your kitchen doesn’t have to be completed overnight, and building it over the course of several seasons can make it an enjoyable project.

partnered post • image by Midjourney