As Memorial Day approaches, you realize two things: it’s your first shot at the epic backyard barbeque for the season, and you don't want to go through another summer without your dream outdoor kitchen. While that thought is fresh on your mind, it’s time to start planning your outdoor space now so you can enjoy it all summer.
Here are a few ideas.
#1 Include Prep Space
The whole point of the outdoor kitchen is to use it as a kitchen rather than just a cooking space. Otherwise, you run in and out of the house many times, letting in the flies and completely defeating the air conditioning.
Include prep space in your outdoor kitchen design and make cooking outside much easier. You can even include appliances for the ultimate in outdoor cooking.
The all-inclusive kitchen doesn’t have to be much more than a well-thought-out island. It provides plenty of counter space, you can work in space for your grill and other appliances, and have 360 degree access. It can double as a bar and provide space for guests to sit and chat over hors d’oeuvres.
Cover your island with stone for a rustic look or go with some reclaimed wood plank style tile for a stylish but durable centerpiece to your outdoor space. Wood-look tile is a great solution if you want your outdoor kitchen to look great for many years and not have the maintenance that comes with real wood.
#2 Make the Most of Limited Space
Unless you have a significant amount of property, you’ll be squeezing your outdoor kitchen into a smaller than ideal space. Don’t limit your dream kitchen to the patio. Take your dining area out onto the grass and let your guests enjoy all your backyard has to offer. Set out classic picnic tables, which are space savers, and put up a canopy for some shade.
Or let your indoor and outdoor spaces blend into one. Extending the indoors out is a popular trend that lets you maximize your space and fit one or two more party guests comfortably. With the help of materials that work equally as well indoors as out, you can give your indoor/outdoor space a sense of continuity.
#3 Amp Up the Elegance Factor
Just because you’re eating outside doesn’t mean you have to feel like you’re roughing it. Create a formal dining room outside with all the comforts of an indoor formal dining room including a solid table and chairs, linens, a fan, and lighting. Just cover them or bring them in when the season is over to protect furniture from the elements and you can enjoy comfortable outdoor dining all summer long.
Increase the efficiency of your outdoor kitchen with a pizza oven, ice maker, or wine cooler. Wiring your outdoor kitchen for electricity opens up your options for functionality and elegance.
#4 Cover the Kitchen
The whole concept of extending the indoors out has brought about kitchen designs with built-in coverings so rain or shine, the party can go on. If that’s not an option, there are plenty of ways to get that coverage.
Canopies, pergolas, and sails all provide some coverage. Whether permanent or temporary, covering your outdoor space makes it more likely that you’ll spend more time outdoors.
#5 Give Extra Consideration to the Floor
All you really need to create a patio is a floor. Make it count by picking the perfect underfoot material for your outdoor kitchen. Porcelain and ceramic tile are excellent options because they are tough, waterproof, and stylish. You can have the best of both worlds with durability and almost endless patterns, colors, and designs to choose from. Be sure to check manufacturer recommendations to ensure you select a tile that is rated for outdoor use.
While you’re at it, think about the other surfaces of your outdoor kitchen, like the island. You can just as easily use tile here as well. You’ll get the same dependable robustness and style. Consider luxury materials, like stone, to take your outdoor space up a notch.
#6 Make it Portable
If the outdoor kitchen of your dreams is still in your imagination, give your patio a mini-upgrade with portable features. Build a grill cart to house some of your cooking tools and plates and to give you a little extra work space. Bring in a bar cart to give drinks a special place at your party. Both carts can be put away after the party to free up space.
#7 Get Creative
Your outdoor décor can be a bit more daring than your indoor décor. You’ll embrace unique style outside that you’d never go for indoors. So let loose a bit with colors, patterns, and materials.
Use the unexpected for your outdoor kitchen and you’ll have an outdoor space that your neighbors won’t soon forget. Always check with your HOA and the city before you start any projects so you can avoid violations.
Start planning now for the outdoor kitchen that will make all your gatherings next year hard to beat!