10 Tips on Creating the Perfect Outdoor Kitchen

Outdoor rooms are one of the hottest trends in landscaping, and for good reasons. Outdoor rooms designed for a specific purpose maximize your outdoor space and increase the value of your home.  Are you ready to take meal prep and entertaining outside, but not sure where to start?  Here are handy tips on how to design the perfect outdoor kitchen. 

The number one rule for designing any outdoor room is that it has to be functional, and when designing an outdoor kitchen many of the same rules apply as an indoor kitchen. This includes considering how you will prep, cook, serve and clean within that space. It’s also important that the cook not be separated from the family or guests, yet people should not be in the way.  Not only can it be annoying to dance around others while prepping and cooking a meal, it’s also a safety hazard to have people congregating around a hot grill.  This can be avoided by creating an inviting seating space, or a convenient high countertop with stools nearby.

When the design team at Handy Andy Outdoors creates a custom outdoor kitchen, we provide a questionnaire up front designed to help our clients think through their unique needs. We walk our clients through traffic patterns, learn how many people will be using the space and whether they envision everyone sitting at the same table or more casual, conversational seating.  Going through this thoughtful exercise before we begin the design process ensures an outdoor kitchen design perfectly suited for their needs. 

Here are other helpful tips to consider when creating an outdoor kitchen:

  1. Make the space easy to use, clean and maintain.
  2. Designate cold, wet, hot and food prep areas (typically a mini fridge, sink, grill and countertop).
  3. Define the space, as it will not be defined by walls. In addition to functional areas, consider traffic patterns and where guests will naturally congregate.
  4. Outdoor storage spaces, including cabinets for grilling utensils and storage spaces for outdoor furniture cushions.
  5. Utilities, while not glamorous, are an easy way to boost the utility of your outdoor space. Well-placed electric outlets power everything from kitchen appliances (like a blender) to entertainment such as music and TV.
  6. Shelter that allows for airflow, but also shields you from the elements.
  7. Heaters, in the form of outdoor fireplaces, fire pits or space heaters to prolong use of your outdoor space throughout the year.
  8. Lighting, which is not only practical, but also provides polish to an inviting outdoor space.
  9. Durability, because everything has to be water proof and wildlife resistant.
  10. Decorative aspects, as your new kitchen should complement existing architectural and design features in the home and landscape.

Bottom line, whether you prefer to recreate an elegant French Café or a farmhouse feel, a well-designed, functional outdoor kitchen will not only increase your enjoyment, but increase your home’s value.