Outdoor kitchens may seem superfluous, but with beautiful tiling and awesome accessories they can look just as good as indoor kitchens. Plus, they can add major resale value to your home.
But careful planning is critical for a successful, well-functioning backyard cooking area. Here are a few things to consider: Location, Appliances, Countertops, Storage and Seating.
A backyard kitchen needs to be convenient for cooking and entertaining. Keep in mind that you’ll be transporting melamine plates, pots and pans from the kitchen to the patio for dining, so make sure your exterior kitchen is easily accessible to the indoor refrigerator. Also, don’t block the passageway with beams or bars that can obstruct your movement as you cook.
A rustic grain silo can be repurposed as an outdoor kitchen complete with cabinets and seating. This type of structure helps to define your space and adds a charming aesthetic. It also moves cooking heat and smells out of the house which prevents house fires that were common in homes before air conditioning was invented. This is a simple DIY project that requires a drill, screw driver, caulk gun, level and tape.
Your kitchen is the heart of your home, where everyone gathers to eat and enjoy each other’s company. Bring this social atmosphere outside with an outdoor kitchen for a truly open-air living experience.
The right appliances make an outdoor kitchen a cook’s dream. Look for quality grills, range tops and rotisserie cooktops, all made to withstand Arizona weather.
You’ll also want a fridge to keep drinks and food cold, and an ice maker that creates clear, clean ice for cocktails or Cokes. Don’t forget to include a fire extinguisher in the cooking area as well.
A proper outdoor kitchen includes counter space for food prep and storage. A sink is a nice addition, too, since cooking and cleanup often involve water.
Choose durable materials that can withstand the elements and frequent use. Granite is a popular option that resists heat, stains, and mildew and fits with many styles.
Another tough material is quartz, which is engineered from crushed stone and polymers that resemble natural stone. It comes in a wide range of colors and can be customized with pigments and metal flakes for added visual interest. For a more rustic look, try soapstone countertops. This hard rock is impervious to stains and is naturally resistant to mildew and mold. It also ages gracefully with time. It’s best to hire a professional to install this type of countertop.
Unless your outdoor kitchen is just steps from your home, it will need proper storage for cookware, appliances, and extra dishes. Cabinets and drawers make storing items easy and protected from rain, pollen, insects and dirt kicked up by the lawnmower. They also allow you to keep frequently used items like instant-read thermometers, long-handled tongs and serving platters nearby for cooking and entertaining.
Look for options that include reversible doors, which open left or right, and space-saving combination door-and-drawer units. Add drawer banks that can hold bags of charcoal or pellets and specialty storage like paper-towel holders and trash pull-outs. Some systems even have an insert to store a propane tank for convenient access. These features can help you spend more time cooking and entertaining outdoors.
An outdoor kitchen isn’t complete without a place to sit and enjoy a meal. Depending on the size of your backyard, this could mean anything from a cozy porch swing to an open pergola with tall chairs.
No matter what your budget, there are seating options to fit any style of outdoor kitchen. From a simple porch swing to an elaborate pergola with built-in benches, you’ll find the right fit for your home and lifestyle.
A well-lit outdoor space is essential for food prep and entertaining, especially when the sun goes down. Use targeted task lighting to illuminate cooking and seating areas, and add a statement light fixture for added drama.