Save the kitchen in your home for cooler weather and rainy days. When the sun is shining and the weather is calling you, the best place to cook is in your own outdoor kitchen. With a few additions, you can transform the plain space outside into a cooking oasis the entire family will adore.
Most patios have a grill of some kind. While this is fine for cooking some chicken and a few hot dogs, you may want more in the outdoor kitchen of your dreams. Consider adding a brick pizza oven for warmth, ambience and the fresh smell of pizza. Include a wet bar to make serving drinks easy when you have company. A cooler or refrigerator is necessary for keeping the party outdoors.
Outdoor kitchens can be customized to fit any homeowner. (Photo courtesy of Robert Anderson)
By combining store-bought appliances with a few custom elements, waterproof cabinetry and the right flooring surface, an outdoor kitchen can come together quickly.
If enough space is available, an outdoor kitchen can include everything that an indoor kitchen has. Since the purpose of an outdoor kitchen is often to allow the homeowner to entertain guests while doing his or her own cooking, the most practical designs include a full range of appliances as well sinks and work surfaces that keep homeowners outside and among their guests.
The first step in designing an outdoor cooking space is to determine how much space can be devoted to it. A space that is too large can take away from the yard, seating and landscaping. Making the space too small can mean frequent trips to the main kitchen.
Once measurements are taken to determine available space, some homeowners use graph paper to plot the location of appliances, cabinets and utility connections. Some home improvement stores offer free design services to homeowners who buy materials or appliances from them. Contracting with a professional home designer is another option.
The choice of flooring for the outdoor cooking area depends on the style of the kitchen and the budget. Poured concrete foundations usually require professional installation, but homeowners can often lay pavers and put down gravel or natural stone surfaces themselves.