Tips for Building your Outdoor Kitchenby Tim Sanford on 03/22/14
If you are anything like me now that the snowy winter has come and gone, you are counting the days until summer. So why not start planning your perfect outdoor space now...the warm summer days will be here before you know it!
In anticipation of the summer, I thought I would start this year off with a blog to provide some advice on how to build that perfect outdoor kitchen. Below are a few helpful tips I share with clients when we start planning their outdoor kitchens:
Start with a Design - I always say this, but that's because it is true. The best way to start any project is with a good design. Either by yourself or with your landscape designer, start by listing all the elements that you want in an outdoor kitchen - the grill, refrigerator, sink, counter space, seating area, roof structure, the floor, and most important...the view. Then lay it out like you would your indoor kitchen, ensure everything works together in your space. It is best to design your entire backyard to keep everything cohesive, even if you only plan to install groups of items at a time.
Material Selection - You can create your outdoor kitchen out of many different materials, just remember that the materials you choose must resist the outdoor elements. For the kitchen base we typically use brick and mortar, stone, paver or stucco. Then we select the counter tops - popular choices are natural stone or granite, paver or concrete. Then it is time to pick your appliances, typically stainless steel works best outside.
Plan for your Utilities - Remember when you are planning the layout and positioning of your kitchen, to plan for where your utilities will need to be run. Do you have natural gas, electrical power and water in that location? Always remember to have Miss Utility mark your yard before you start any landscape project.
Provide Adequate Lighting - Ensure you have proper lighting so that when you are cooking you can see what you are cooking. Not such a big problem in the summer months, but if overlooked it can be tough to grill in the dark winter months. You can also use light to create moods for evening cocktail parties with friends or hot dogs and hamburgers with the neighborhood kids.
Entertaining Space - Remember when you are designing your kitchen you want to create a space not just to cook, but to entertain. So think about adequate seating, music systems, and possibly an outdoor television.