More and more people are choosing to create an oasis in their backyard over traveling away or to a cottage. These “Staycation” backyards can include many features including a fabulous outdoor kitchen. Outdoor kitchens are a fast growing trend because they not only become a great gathering spot for family and friends but they add incredible value to your home.
Things to consider when designing outdoor kitchens and entertaining areas:
- Work with a designer so your kitchen functions well. Cold areas (refrigeration), hot areas (grills and cooktops), wet areas (sinks) and dry areas (prep counters and storage) must all work together effectively in proper proximity, each with enough allocated space.
- Remember that indoor and outdoor kitchens are simpatico. The most significant difference between indoor and outdoor kitchen design is often the exposure to the elements (shelter and durability considerations). Other differences include more difficulty in running utilities such as water. And there is usually no outdoor wall, so the outdoor kitchen equipment typically defines the room boundaries. Outdoor rooms bring a whole world of additional cooking options, like open-wood flame or smoking.
- It’s important to consider the relationship between the indoor and outdoor versions of your kitchens and entertaining areas. How will they be used together when cooking or entertaining? What is the traffic pattern between them?
- Select low-maintenance materials and equipment designed to withstand the rigors of an outdoor kitchen. The easier the kitchen is to clean and maintain, the more you will use and enjoy your investment. High-quality stainless steel provides a sanitary surface that’s easily cleaned and corrosion-resistant. Counters and patio or decking material should be highly resistant to grease stains and able to withstand high temperatures.
- Complement the design of the home’s architecture and landscape. Use compatible materials and incorporate subtle architectural details.
- Plan the entire outdoor entertaining space as part of a single functional plan. Dining areas, cooking areas and pool areas often coexist. Think of these as outdoor rooms and consider the flow of traffic as part of the design. Don’t isolate the cook from the rest of the party.
- Plan for utilities. When planning layouts, keep in mind the best practical placement or installation of the necessary gas, water and electrical supply.
- Extend the outdoor entertaining season with heaters, shade and rain shelter. Incorporate shade trees, pergolas and awnings in cooking and dining areas, but don’t put a combustible ceiling or awning above an outdoor grill.
- Incorporate music and other entertainment so you don’t face the design challenge of adding it later. Keep in mind that televisions need to deliver a good picture in bright sunlight.
- Provide adequate task lighting as well as ambient lighting to accommodate after-dark cooking and entertaining.
- Consider your outdoor entertaining needs. How many people and how often do you entertain?
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