Seven Outdoor Kitchen Design Considerations
Spring and Fall are ideal times to consider the construction of an outdoor kitchen, dining, and entertainment area. We all love to entertain outdoors when the weather is right. Now that people are staying at home more, it is a great time to design that perfect outdoor kitchen and dining area for your next gathering.
Before the first nail is driven, board is cut, or stone is laid, consider these 7 design considerations to make your area not only entertaining but safe and long-lasting as well.
Design Consideration #1 – Start with Accurate Measurements
The quickest way to blow the budget on a new outdoor kitchen area is to mismeasure the basic layout and major component areas. Having equipment arrive that does not fit or having to call a stone cutter to reconfigure your purchased stone tops can be financially damaging, not to mention a royal pain.
Design Consideration #2 – Vent Properly
If you plan on building a roof or top over the area, especially the cooking appliance(s), be sure to plan for and install some type of chimney, hood, or venting to take the smoke from that awesome barbecue out and away from those enjoying the space.
Design Consideration #3 – Protect Wood Surfaces
If you are building on a deck or constructing a wooden base for your outdoor kitchen area, be sure to install cooking equipment with proper clearances and possibly protective shields to keep the heat from damaging the wood or worse starting a fire.
Design Consideration #4 – Build in Sufficient Counter & Prep Space
There is always a lot of excitement about outdoor grills and other cooking equipment and all the great things you can cook. Sometimes the counter, preparation, and service spaces are short-changed in the design phase. One side of the cooking equipment is great for prep, while the other side is where the food goes when it is done. Then you may need even more space for guest preparation or self-serving.
Design Consideration #5 – Prepare for Utilities Service and Safety
There will be electricity, gas, and water lines involved, and having them tucked away is aesthetically pleasing, but you should plan for ease of access and service because stuff happens. Also, make these utility lines and piping safe from accidental damage from people using the space.
Design Consideration #6 – Outdoor Rated Appliances
Staying on a budget is important but using appliances that are not safety and performance rated for outdoor use will end up costing more over time, as they will need replacement sooner. Also, some components may deteriorate or rust if exposed to the weather when not designed for it.
Design Consideration #7 – Appliance Placement
Placement of appliances, particularly when it comes to different operating temperatures, can cause damage to them, and can also reduce their performance. Placing a gas cooking appliance right next to an outdoor refrigerator can lower its ability to cool down and can over time reduce its lifespan due to higher operating pressures.
All considered, take the time necessary to carefully plan your outdoor kitchen, dining, and entertainment area for enjoyment, durability, and safety.