by Megan Wild
Some of us spend more time in the kitchen than any other room in the home. Depending on how often you cook, you might spend several hours per day between preparation, cooking and cleaning. What if you could move your kitchen space outside? Not only will you have more exposure to the fresh air of the great outdoors, but you can also entertain guests without trapping them indoors.
Plan Ahead for Best Results
Designing and installing an outdoor kitchen is a daunting task. Between accessing utility lines for gas and water, selecting the construction materials, picking out appliances and working within the guidelines of any possible zoning restrictions, the process is an investment in both time and money.
It’s important to spend some time researching other outdoor kitchens and planning your own installation. Peruse your options in building materials and appliances to get an idea of prices and develop a project budget. There’s no sense in getting started if you don’t have the funds to finish the job, so it’s important to determine the feasibility of any new project before breaking ground.
Integrate the Surrounding Landscape
You can also integrate the surrounding landscape into the design of your outdoor kitchen. Privacy hedges make functional yet attractive walls and barriers from nosy neighbors. Tall trees can be used to provide cover from the sun or rain, so consider their placement when laying out your kitchen.
Building your outdoor kitchen next to your garden is a great way to increase efficiency. If you spend a lot of time bottling, canning or packaging fresh vegetables, an outdoor kitchen lets you avoid the hassle of going back and forth between the home and the garden.
Use It as an Extended Living Space
Most kitchens can be broken down into four distinct zones: prepping, cooking, plate and serve, and entertaining. Sometimes known as an outdoor lounge, your entertaining zone also serves as an extension of your living space when weather permits.
You might already have a rudimentary lounge area in your backyard. Pools, fire pits and other common landscape features make great centerpieces for the entertaining zone of your outdoor kitchen. If you have children, consider bringing in some playground equipment like slides, swings and other small rides. This lets you keep the kids entertained while still giving you the chance to relax and enjoy the company of your adult friends.
Install the Latest Outdoor Appliances
There are myriad new kitchen appliances on the consumer market today, many of which feature updated equipment, hardware and even next-gen connectivity. If you haven’t looked at new kitchen appliances in the past 10 years, you might be surprised at your current options.
Outdoor kitchens offer more options than their indoor alternatives. You probably wouldn’t install a roasting spit or meat smoker inside your home, but these appliances make awesome additions to any outdoor kitchen. Feel free to add common appliances too, including refrigerators, stovetop burners, sinks and counters. All these have outdoor counterparts that are perfect for your open-air kitchen.
Stick to Your Budget
Make sure to stick to your budget. This is where all your research and planning pays off. It can be easy to get excited about different building materials, appliances and features, but it’s crucial you don’t go overboard.
To stretch your dollar even further, consider building your kitchen in different phases. A finished cooking area gives you enough space to begin using your grill, spit roast or outdoor oven. While an outdoor preparation area will cut down on the overall time it takes to prepare and cook a meal, it’s not necessary for open-air cooking. Guests can always eat and relax indoors until your new lounge is ready in the backyard.
Adding an Outdoor Kitchen Without Breaking the Bank
While some outdoor kitchens cost thousands of dollars to design and install, it is possible to build one for much less. A large portion of the expense is tied up in buying new appliances, so it’s easy to trim some of the costs by purchasing used equipment. Basic fire pits can cook a variety of food, so you don’t even have to invest in an outdoor range or grill if you want that primitive feel for your outdoor kitchen. The options are nearly endless — the only limits are your imagination and your budget.
Don’t miss out on these posts! Get all you need to know to make your home exactly the way you want it, straight to your inbox. Subscribe to our email list here.