Getting the Most Value From Your Outdoor Kitchen

Outdoor kitchens are not only functional and make great places to enjoy the view or gorgeous landscaping, they also add value to the property. However, in order to fulfill all the hopes and dreams of the homeowner, outdoor kitchens need to have certain features that make the difference between a great outdoor kitchen and a sorry excuse for one.

According to the landscaping architecture experts, planning is the single most important step when building an outdoor kitchen. It should look like an intricate part of the home and not an obvious addition. There are many different designs of outdoor kitchens and to get the best for your home, it is worth taking time to plan. Here are five things you must consider before building an outdoor kitchen.

1. What Are Your Outdoor Kitchen Goals?

Is your main aim to invite friends and entertain outdoors or for small family gatherings? Are you a grilling aficionado who dreams of grilling or smoking all sorts of meats, fish and veggies? Do you want to avoid using your indoor kitchen during the summer months because it heats up your house?

The unique reasons you want an outdoor kitchen will influence its design. If you plan to entertain, you may want to include other landscaping to enhance the beauty of your outdoor kitchen. Adding pergolas is a great way to create shade and a beautiful hideaway to enchant guests with.  Including details such as low stone walls or a water feature is a subtle way to influence the mood of your social events.

2. Which Hardscape Complements Your Home Best?

The transition from the indoors to the outdoor kitchen should be harmonious.  You don’t want the size of the kitchen to overwhelm the backyard or to look so tiny it appears to be just an afterthought. Designers can incorporate several structural elements such as cabinets, screens and pergolas to make the kitchen effortlessly fit into its surroundings.

A designer will want to know the size of appliances you plan to install and how many. The appliances you choose such as a cooktop, refrigerator and sink will also have a bearing on the size of the kitchen. For example, if you plan on hiring caters, you may need more working surfaces.

3. Which Appliances Will Enhance Your Experience?

Sofas with cushions, a TV, fireplace, bar and dining area are all possibilities according to how elaborate you want the area to be. You can enjoy the outdoor weather with all the comforts of sitting inside. Your landscape designer will know tricks for the best use of the space available such as a large table that can be used for counter space, a buffet and for dining. A waterfall or pond are popular water features that add to the atmosphere. Make sure a TV is installed out of the elements and away from the cooking heat. For a small space, a barbecue island that has all the essentials including countertops and storage cabinets may be the best option.

4. Should You Add A Roof, Pergolas, Or Trellises & Arbors?

Depending on where you live and when you plan to use your outdoor kitchen, you should consider whether to have a roof or not. There are other options such as a pergola, which is great for reducing heat from sunlight. However, you may need a roof and heat lamps or a fire pit if you want to use your outdoor kitchen from spring through fall. Before finalizing the position of cooking surfaces and furniture, consider the climate, wind direction and rain. It is also essential to have flooring that is not slippery when it is wet. If you want a grill, a designer will not install it under eves or a roof unless it has a professionally installed ventilation hood. You need plenty of clearance space between the heat source and the ceiling.

5. What’s The Perfect Location For Your Outdoor Kitchen?

Some of the factors to consider for location include ventilation. The smoke from the grill should not blow back into the house. The location of your cooking surface is another consideration because if you plan to entertain, you do not want to be carrying heavy pots or platters for long distances. In addition, the location of the grill should not be right next to the place where children and adults are playing on the grass. Furthermore, you do not want to block the spectacular view that is the main reason you wanted an outdoor kitchen.

Work with your landscaping design team to figure out the best location for your outdoor kitchen. It should be somewhere that allows the kitchen to be aesthetically pleasing, functional, easily assessable and safe.