An outdoor kitchen is an excellent addition to your Westerville, OH, backyard. A well-made outdoor kitchen adds a whole new dimension to outdoor entertaining. Imagine the convenience of never having to leave your guests while you prep food indoors. Make your outdoor kitchen just as great as your indoor kitchen with these design tips:
Start with A Good Plan
The top design tip for any kitchen, indoors or out, is to start with a good plan. A fully functional outdoor kitchen follows many of the same design principles as an indoor kitchen. Plan for different zones including hot, cold, wet and dry. Each zone will require adequate space to perform specific tasks. The cooking area should have adjacent dry areas for easy food prep, while the sink should be accessible from both the fridge and grill.
Once you’ve settled on the ideal design for your kitchen, you need to select the right location. Things like traffic flow, wind patterns, distance from the house and access to utilities all factor into the location of your kitchen. Most importantly, your new kitchen needs to fit your lifestyle. If you have a large family or entertain a lot, you’ll want to ensure that you have enough cooking space to prepare large meals.
Installing water, electricity and natural gas in your outdoor kitchen may seem like an extravagance, but the convenience it offers is worth it. Running water will make cooking and clean up easier and safer. Electricity allows for proper lighting and will give you the option to include additional appliances. A dishwasher, or even a blender, will make outdoor clean up and food prep much more convenient. To avoid the hassle of refilling propane tanks, have natural gas lines run to your kitchen.
Prepare for Weather
The weather is also an important factor when planning an outdoor kitchen. Part of the joy of cooking outside is enjoying the warm temperatures. Since you can’t predict good weather, planning for sun, rain or cold will extend the use of your kitchen considerably.
A pergola will provide shade for hot summer days. For more protection, a cabana will give your kitchen complete overhead shelter. Adding a fireplace or heaters will keep your kitchen warm in cooler months.
Install Good Lighting
Good lighting will make your outdoor kitchen safer and more user-friendly. Optimal lighting includes task lighting for cooking areas, counters and the sink, as well as under-cabinet lighting to light appliances and cabinets. Adding lighting at foot level will increase safety and make it easier to clean up spills and locate dropped items.
Include Seating and Storage Space
For a fully functional kitchen that’s a pleasure to cook in, you need space to work. But areas for storage, prep work and serving sometimes get left out when planning an outdoor kitchen. Incorporating adequate space beside the grill for serving trays and utensils is essential.
You also want to include enough storage space for dishes, serving ware, outdoor cooking utensils and cleaning supplies. An outdoor kitchen is less convenient if you constantly have to run inside to get supplies.
Even if you have an outdoor dining room, seating in the kitchen is still desirable. A bar with comfortable bar stools will give guests a place to sit and enjoy a drink while the meal is being prepared. A low seating wall can also provide extra seating close by.