1. Plan the Layout for Maximum Convenience
When it comes to layout, both designers advise treating your outdoor and indoor kitchens the same. “Think about how you work inside — we can achieve that outside.” Place your fridge close to the cooking area for easy access, and give yourself plenty of room for prepping, serving and dining.
Add more countertops than you would think, because people come with big platters and everything is more picnic-style outdoors. You can just imagine trays of grilled meats and summer fruits filling up the ultracompact-surface countertops seen here. Locate your outdoor kitchen near the indoor living room, not the interior kitchen. That way, people relaxing inside can easily flow outside for alfresco dining.
Make it easy to clean. Put in a hose bib and a center drain so you can easily wash the kitchen down.
2. Install Dazzling, Durable Countertops
Countertops are a great way to make a design statement outside. Select a countertop built to last. Try ultracompact surfaces, such as industrial-style ones. It’s stain-, chemical-, heat-, UV-, scratch- and abrasion-resistant. There are no epoxy or resins [which can break down]; it’s just compressed, baked minerals.
Extend the look–to the outdoor dining table and for outdoor flooring as well so you can just hose it down for cleaning.
3. Tailor Appliances to Your Alfresco Feasts
Whether you envision grilling up burgers, smoking brisket or baking pizza, select appliances that suit your outdoor dining preferences. Install a direct gas feed if you can to avoid having to swap out tanks. If that’s not an option, try to place the tanks away from the barbecue area and run a gas line to the grill. Underneath the cooking area is where everything drips, and it’s harder to get to.
Other things to consider? Having a refrigerator is super handy. Having something to heat up water for rice or pasta is nice too, even if it’s just a single burner.
Shine a light. Remember task lighting, whether built into your appliances or portable. The rest of the lights should be for ambiance.
4. Pop In Some Storage
Just as with an indoor kitchen, storage supports an organized cooking and dining experience outside. Stash items such as cutting boards, large platters and a set of knives to save you from running back and forth, as well as napkins and compostable plates and cups.
Use them for more than kitchenware. Store pillows, blankets and candles in your outdoor cabinets too.
5. Remember a Sink and Shade
Cooking can be a messy, hot business, so spring for a deep sink and some shelter. The sink is definitely a must–it will let you easily rinse and wash items while next to the grill.
Shade is equally important. There’s nothing that keeps a space cooler than plants that carry moisture, and it makes it feel more like an elegant restaurant. Add ceiling fans too.
Raise a glass. If you’re feeling fancy, add a beer or wine tap by your sink. Ultracompact surfaces won’t stain or etch if there’s a spill.