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How To Design An Outdoor Kitchen - Tips From 39 Interior Designers & Chefs (Part 2)

by Minuca Elena April 19, 2021

How To Design An Outdoor Kitchen - Tips From 39 Interior Designers & Chefs (Part 2)

Due to the pandemic and the restrictions, it's best to avoid meeting people in closed spaces. In this situation, an outdoor kitchen is a great place in which you can spend some time with your friends and family.

In the last year, many people have decided to sale their apartments so they can buy a house and own some land around. 

Even if you don't have a large backyard, you can create an outdoor kitchen that you can use and enjoy during the warm weather. 

We've received a lot of questions from our readers asking us for advice about how to organize an outdoor kitchen. 

That is why we hired Minuca Elena to reach out to 39 interior designers, home decorators and food bloggers and ask them the following question:

How to design the perfect outdoor kitchen?

We received a lot of useful tips and tricks that you can read in the post below. All of these tips can be adapted for any type of outdoor kitchen, no matter the style or the size.

If you like the ideas of any of the experts from this roundup, just click on the name of their website, (above the headshots, next to each expert's name) and you will find a link to his or her website. If there is nothing written next to their names, then click directly on their names to visit their websites.

Special thanks to our first expert, interior designer Pamela O’Brien who has designed the beautiful outdoor kitchen featured in the image above.

Pamela O’Brien - Pamela Hope Designs

Pamela O’Brien

Here are a few tips that will help you make the most of your outdoor kitchen:

First is proximity to the regular kitchen. A best practice is to ensure that the outdoor kitchen is close enough to the main kitchen so that bringing out foods and utensils is convenient.

I occasionally have clients consider putting their outdoor kitchen far from the back door. I always suggest that being closer to the home is going to increase use of the outdoor kitchen and certainly make it easier on you.

Of course, once the food is cooked and ready, it is nice to be close to the outdoor dining as well.

Often in grilling, things are ready at different times. It’s best to be able to serve dishes as they are cooked so you don’t have to walk across the yard to fill plates and let everything get cold.

Another consideration is ample counter space. I often see smaller outdoor kitchens with just a grill and maybe and sink but little to no counter space.

Since food will often be prepped inside and then brought out to be cooked, it’s important to have space to stage your platters of food and ingredients.

Once it’s ready, you may want to line up the items to be served. If you have enough room, a raised bar or a long counter at the end of the area can serve as a buffet for hot-off-the-grill food, side dishes and condiments.

Cooking and dining al fresco can be very satisfying. Making it convenient to cook and dine outside will increase your enjoyment of an outdoor kitchen.

John Starck - Showcase Kitchens

John Starck

Outdoor kitchens extend the indoor entertaining space and have become increasingly popular. Like other home projects, every homeowner has different needs.

What size gatherings do they intend to host, what are their space requirements, budget and desired functionality?

Once the basic usage and budget is determined, you can begin considering the elements.

Are they just barbequing mainly for the family or larger group, how much storage will they require for implements, do they expect to have extensive seating, fire pit, etc.?

Once you understand what the client is looking for, the design scheme begins. The same concepts apply to outdoor kitchens as they do for indoor ones.

Plan for the three zones; cooking (BBQ, oven, cooktops), cleaning-prep (sink, trash, counterspace) and refrigeration. Configure them as well as possible into that golden triangle.

If a separate beverage is desired, will they need a small set up for wine/beverage coolers, or do they want the added luxury of ice machines, keg setups and mixed drink technology?

Outdoor kitchens are fun spaces for everyone to enjoy. They should be designed as fun spaces, with quality products, personalized touches and appreciated as an investment for years to come.

Gennifer Rose

Gennifer Rose

An outdoor kitchen is the perfect opportunity to create a backyard oasis so you can really enjoy those magical summer nights.

It's also a great way to add an extension to your existing living space by capitalizing on your outdoor square footage.

You can take entertaining to a whole new level with a fully-equipped outdoor kitchen and dining space.

When you're in the beginning of the planning process it's important to think about the layout and whether the outdoor spot you've selected is logistically suitable for an open-air kitchen.

You will have to evaluate flooring options, how to power your appliances, temperature control, tables and seating, your cooking and prep surfaces, lighting and overhead coverage for sun protection.

For the design of your outdoor kitchen you should consider the following:

- Whether you want your outdoor kitchen to match the style of your indoor kitchen or if you would like to have a completely separate look and feel.

- Think about your lifestyle and how you will be using the outdoor space. Some people plan to embark on elaborate cooking and would require high-powered appliances, while others would prefer to keep it simple with a classic barbecue grill.

- Review a variety of seating options from high counter bars to lower tables with chairs. Examine which ones would best fit with your lifestyle and design layout.

- Make sure your design choices are appropriate for your allotted outdoor real estate. You want there to be a flow and plenty of open space to welcome guests.

Ben Soreff - House to Home Organizing

Ben Soreff

Typical outdoor kitchens are not vertical as that would defeat the purpose of creating and enjoying an outdoor kitchen (we don't want anything to block our view).

However, since we are losing that vertical storage space we need to maximize storage. Many outdoor kitchens focus on grills, smokers and pizza ovens.

We want to make sure the cabinets are designed to adequately store oversized BBQ items and pizza stones and turner. We don't want to install too many fixed cabinet systems instead we want to be flexible.

Ideally, the amount and size of the outdoor kitchen items we are storing dictate where they are going to live. The cabinets should not be random since an outdoor kitchen is different in a few key ways then the main inside kitchen.

Dmitri Kara - Fantastic Handyman

Dmitri Kara

The great thing about outdoor kitchens is you being able to bring together a wide range of appliances like a built-in grill, sear zone, barbeque, low-temperature smoker, helpful burner, pizza stove, or even an ice maker as long as use space efficiently.

Mind that products have to withstand excessive temperature, moisture, and the elements with stainless steel being your best bet.

If you do installation and insulations right, look into the rule of the kitchen triangle.

The fridge, cooking area, and sink all be in simple reach with little to no obstacles.

Kerrie Kelly

Kerrie Kelly

There's just something about the aromas and flavors of al fresco cuisine that has made barbecuing, smoking and firing up that outdoor pizza oven a significant part of our lifestyle.

When it comes to cooking outside, think about the following design tips that will help you cook-up the perfect outdoor kitchen suited just for you.

Begin by accessing your space. If you live on a property with lots of acreage, make sure you don't have to walk too far from the house to the outdoor kitchen to fire up the grill.

With smaller or more contained properties, decide if you have room for a fully functional kitchen or need to stick to something more simple.

This is the time to determine what is essential and what is a luxury, and if your budget has room for the extras.

If you rent or plan to move in the next few years, it might be a good idea to equip your outdoor kitchen with appliances and features that can move with you.

Next you will want to make a budget and stick to it. An outdoor kitchen can easily end up costing more than anticipated if you don't plan for specific materials, appliances, and labor.

If your outdoor kitchen will be permanent, consider materials used on the exterior of your home, such as brick, stone, wood, concrete, stucco, metal and tile. This will create visual continuity for your outdoor kitchen.

Additional costs include enlisting the services of a designer, obtaining permits, specialized tools, and professional help, such as electrical and plumbing.

While designing your outdoor kitchen, think about the maximum number of people you'll be cooking for and the method of cooking you want to employ.

Do you and your friends love grilled fish or a hamburger cooked over a charcoal barbecue? What about pizza cooked in an outdoor brick oven for the whole family? How about Sunday supper from the smoker?

Plan several of your favorite outdoor meals and make sure that the outdoor kitchen you have in mind can handle the prep and actual cooking, while also accommodating guests.

An outdoor kitchen is exposed to the elements. Even if you don't use it often, you will want to think about the location of your outdoor kitchen related to climate.

Appliances and surfaces will need to be covered and maintained depending on your region's weather. You want to avoid spots that are windy, too hot, too shady or cold.

If you live in a region that gets a lot of rain, consider locating your grill or kitchen under a covered patio or retractable awning.

Our ideal outdoor kitchen includes solid surface countertops for easy clean-up, stainless steel cabinetry for durable all-weather storage, a wet bar for guests to serve themselves, a refrigerator to hold beverages, a 30" gas grill and a smoker.

All is housed on our side patio and the smoker can be rolled around to different areas of the yard depending on the type of entertaining we are doing.

No space is the same, so make yours specific to you and your lifestyle for maximum outdoor kitchen enjoyment.

Alex Johnson - Med Munch

Alex Johnson

From the offset it is essential you have a good vision of what you want from your outdoor kitchen.

Think about what you want to use it for as this will determine the features that will be required.

For example, an outdoor kitchen that will be used for larger gatherings will require extra counter space and appliances, whereas a more minimal cooking setup will give you more budget for seating and other features.

Although a good contractor will be able to give ideas about what you can do with your outdoor kitchen, ultimately if you don’t communicate your ideas to them, you won’t be as satisfied with the end product.

Rebecca Fernandez - Restyled Homes

Rebecca Fernandez

To begin your outdoor kitchen design, first, create a list of your must-have items.

For example, if you love pizza, maybe you would benefit from installing a pizza oven.

Next, to maximize your budget and make the most out of your space, it's always best to work with your layout.

Remember to place your necessities, such as a grill and sink, in a location where playing host to your guests will still be able to be enjoyed. 

The growing popularity of outdoor living has created a market for prefab outdoor kitchen supplies that can be utilized in almost any simple DIY project.

This allows most homeowners to skip on hiring a contractor while still creating a much sought-after outdoor living space.

Liana - Liana’s Kitchen

Liana

The perfect outdoor kitchen space takes some careful planning. You want to make sure that the preparation and cooking areas aren’t too far away from your guests, yet they are not blasted with the smoke from your BBQ!

One way around this is to position your BBQ so that any potential smoke blows in the opposite direction to where they will be seated.

If you have space and are able to connect to electricity, a small fridge will take your outdoor gathering to a new level as you are able to provide your guests with cool bottles of beer or a chilled chardonnay in moments.

Consider the varying weather elements too – are you able to include a canopy to provide some shade, or a cover to shelter from any potential rainstorms?

If you think your outdoor kitchen has the potential for lots of use throughout the year, think about making it a more permanent structure with walls and storage – although check there are no planning restrictions before you build anything.

To extend your alfresco socialising on those cooler evenings, think about including a fire pit or patio heater to keep warm – and of course, some pretty lighting so you can see who you are talking to - although your guests might never want to leave!

Bansari Acharya - Food Love

Bansari Acharya

In designing the perfect outdoor kitchen, one of the most important things to ensure a successful outcome is to plan out your layout beforehand to the littlest details. When you have everything planned out, it makes it a lot easier to execute it.

However, once you start the process of building, it will become a lot harder to add in the little details.

In addition, make sure that you make adequate lighting in your outdoor kitchen. This is one of the key things that most people miss when having a kitchen outdoors. Indoors, you already have the light of the kitchen.

However, when you are outdoors, it is important to have additional light sources, especially if you are planning to cook in the evenings or nighttime (for example, when hosting a perfect summer evening dinner).

Make the decor of your outdoor kitchen fit in with your backyard theme for a beautiful look.

Devan Cameron - Braised & Deglazed

Devan Cameron

As a Chef, my take on designing an outdoor kitchen would be more focused on functionality as this is more important to me than the overall look.

The perfect outdoor kitchen would be designed so that I don't have to make too many trips back and forth into the house.

I would be sure to ask these questions when designing an outdoor kitchen:

How Easy is This to Clean?

Countertops and cooking tops need to be easy to clean to make cooking more enjoyable. This means large flat surfaces that don't have to be constantly polished. Avoid painting cabinets bright white as they will need constant cleaning.

Also, consider how your kitchen will hold up after constant rain and snow. Make sure everything is at least water repellant.

Where do I Wash my Hands?

Having an outdoor sink is vital for the perfect outdoor kitchen. This way you can wash your hands to avoid cross-contamination of foods which is especially important when cooking meat.

Have a Smart Waste System

Is it possible to hide the waste effectively so as not to attract flies? Having improper waste management could ruin the whole outdoor cooking experience if not carefully planned out. Try to find a trash can with a lid to prevent unwanted attention.

Charlotte Bailey - Typically Topical

Charlotte Bailey

Consider adding an island to your outdoor kitchen to avoid having your back turned on guests whilst preparing meals.

A cushioned area leading out to a garden space, complete with an outdoor serving cart, is perfect for entertaining guests before having to move to a dining table.

When picking materials for your outdoor kitchen, you’ll want to balance both durability and style.

Brick, stone, ceramic, concrete and quartz make for extremely durable options, especially if you live in a region that experiences sweltering hot summers and classically cold winters.

For a more rustic and natural feel, consider adding treated, hardy woods to the lower surfaces.

Now, it’s time to think about cooking appliances and fixtures. Outdoor kitchens typically have equipment not found in a traditional home kitchen. Think; stone pizza ovens, smokers, barbeques, tandoori ovens, deep fat fryers and even ice cream makers.

Whether you dare to be adventurous and crack open a few cookbooks, or keep it simple with tried and tested recipes, make sure to choose appliances you’ll actually use, clean and have room to store after use.

Most appliances run off propane cylinders, but if you plan on making this home your ‘forever home’, it might be worth the initial outlay cost to connect your gas mains, especially if you want to install a gas fire pit for a cozy look.

Wondering how to protect your equipment from the elements? It can be as simple as installing some timber pergolas or sail shades.

To shelter from those unexpected summer downpours, a framed oak barn might prove to be a better option.

Outdoor kitchens fitted with modern louvred-style pergolas can also have lighting and heating installed, a wonderful addition to keep your guests happy on those chillier nights.

Aya Bradley - The Golden

Aya Bradley

Backyards are now being turned into comfortable outdoor living spaces. There’s just a certain appeal to outdoor living spaces. This means that people are starting to put outdoor kitchens as well.

Outdoor kitchens are becoming a trend. Investing in a well-designed outdoor kitchen provides a perfect place to enjoy with your family while also adding value to your home.

Here are the three things to consider in designing the perfect outdoor kitchen:

It should be low maintenance. Remember that a kitchen needs maintenance, which means that an outdoor kitchen will need even more of it.

So the first thing to consider when it comes to your outdoor kitchen is to use low-maintenance furniture, materials, and appliances. The ones you select should be able to withstand temperature changes, as well as be resistant to grease.

It should complement your existing design. When designing your outdoor kitchen, take into consideration your home’s landscape and architecture.

The materials in your outdoor kitchen should complement your home and landscape.

This is because even though it’s outdoor, the feeling of being at home should still be present whenever you’re there because that’s exactly what an outdoor kitchen is, it is an extension of your home.

Enough lighting should be present. Just because it's outdoor doesn’t mean that you should let natural lighting do the job alone.

Always remember that you should put adequate lighting, as well as ambiance lighting to your outdoor kitchen.

This helps with night cooking and adds value to your outdoor kitchen. It helps light up the place to make it look more appealing and of course, functional.

There are many things to consider when making the perfect outdoor kitchen, but as long as you know that it will add value to your home and that it will give you and your family more time to bond and enjoy, then it will be the perfect one for you.

Sharon McCaskill - The Helpful GF

When designing the perfect outdoor kitchen, there are two primary things to consider.

First, what appliances and tools you will use the most for outdoor cooking? Don't worry about what everyone else has, think of your own practicality and what type of entertaining you will be doing.

Your outdoor kitchen should primarily be a space that you enjoy cooking and entertaining in.

Second, consider your environment. How much space do you have? What type of landscaping do you have to work with? Don't work against what you already have, work with it!

Consider how can you tie in your outdoor kitchen to your home's exterior in terms of complementary colors and texture.

Then, use both your practical requirements and environment to plan a layout that will both define a cohesive space and promote good traffic flow both for the one cooking as well as for guests. Be sure to consider appliance types and space for food prep and serving.

These tips will ensure that your outdoor kitchen is one that you will love and enjoy entertaining in.

Stephanie Mantilla - Plant Prosperous

Stephanie Mantilla

For the perfect outdoor kitchen, it's important to identify your cooking style.

Make a list of the dishes you're most excited to make in your new outdoor kitchen. Then you can design your kitchen's layout based on this.

If you want to grill outdoors with friends over, having a large grill and a bar area nearby will allow you to stay involved in the conversation while cooking.

If you love making your own pizza, having a traditional brick pizza oven is an essential feature. Plan the space so that both the chef and guests will be comfortable while food is being cooked.

The last thing you want is to have friends over but not get to talk to them all night because you were busy cooking in the corner.

Yasir Hussain - Qaleen

Yasir Hussain

Here are a few things to consider while designing your outdoor kitchen:

CLIMATE: The design and the materials for an outdoor kitchen should be chosen based on your location and its weather.

For instance, in areas with drastic weather conditions, PVC and other non-stainless steel materials should be avoided as they tend to bend in extreme temperatures.

Similarly, for coastal areas, choose materials that are resistant to corrosion. Opt-in for highly resilient and long-lasting materials so that it’s easy to clean and maintain your kitchen in the long run.

TASK LIGHTING: Appropriate lighting is necessary to utilize the kitchen properly during the evenings.

The dining area, the cabinets, and the meal prep/cooking surface should be bright and well-lit.

HIGH-PERFORMING APPLIANCES: There are a lot of options for outdoor appliances from gas, electric, or charcoal grills, to brick ovens and stoves.

Choose the appliances wisely according to your preferences. You don’t need everything but you do need high-quality products.

Go for the top class appliances that can withstand the rigors of an outdoor kitchen to get the best value for the investment.

Anna Rider - Garlic Delight

Anna Rider

Because outdoor kitchens often don't have all the equipment and infrastructure that indoor kitchens typically have, special attention is helpful for designing a functional outdoor kitchen.

Here are three major things you should consider adding to your outdoor kitchen to make it the perfect environment for cooking:

A) A preparation sink:

If you can plumb in a sink, it would be super helpful for cleaning dishware, rinsing produce, and washing your hands. This saves you from running into your indoor kitchen or the closest bathroom every time you need to wash a tomato.

B) Shelter from the outdoor elements:

It's helpful to have some kind of cover or shade near the cooking area so you can block out the blazing sun or gusty winds.

It's not only helpful for sun protection but it's also useful for blocking the dust or leaves that a wind can blow into your food as you're preparing it. Something as simple as a screen or a vinyl sheeting overhang would help.

C) Covered warming plates:

Good smelling food, especially meat, can attract bugs and other unwelcome creatures.

If you want to protect your grilled meat and other dishes, it would be helpful to have an area in the outdoor kitchen where you can store cooked food. Stainless steel serving trays with lids are helpful.

A mini-fridge might also be useful for leftovers so you can store the food at a safe temperature before it spoils.

Richard Peter - Steak Buff

Richard Peter

First and foremost, plan your cooking / kitchen devices. The grill / stovetop will most likely be the center of attention. Place that in a prominent spot, preferably so you can face the guests while cooking.

Next, keep the kitchen triangle in mind. Cooker, fridge, and sink need to be placed in a way that allows efficient work.

If you need a sink then you will need permanent plumbing, and electricity for the fridge.

Keep only non-perishable foods in this fridge, unless you are using it the same day, to avoid health risks by unnoticed power outages.

Plan for a large countertop next to your grill or stove, preferably on both sides. One for preparing raw ingredients, and the other to serve and plate food that's ready.

Never cross-contaminate your food by placing raw meat next to cooked meat.

Think about (at least partially) covering your workspace so adverse weather conditions won't affect you or your equipment, and while at it, remember that you'll want some sort of flooring. Pick something that's easy to clean.

Concrete is the most widespread, but you might want to adjust depending on your house / garden.

Storage space is self-explanatory. Make space for cookware, dishes and other stuff you regularly use while cooking outside. Couple of cupboards or shelves below the countertops should be enough for this.

Last but not least a pro tip: Don't forget about the trash! Nothing more disgusting than having to stand next to a massive outdoor trash can because you forgot to plan for it. Slide out or pull out trash units are easy to maintain and look great!

Grace Woinicz - The Brilliant Kitchen

Grace Woinicz

When designing and planning to build an outdoor kitchen, you should never overlook the fact that outdoor spaces face a lot of wear and tear.

There will be dust, debris, oil build up, excessive water during and after rain, and whatnot.

So always build a solid and durable floor with stones and concrete to make sure it withstands the harsh conditions.

Also, the floor needs to be properly angled towards the drain so that all the water is completely drained out.

Moreover, when you angle the flooring, make sure the drainage is away from the main building of your house. Otherwise, the water that pools in the outdoor kitchen and the drainage may damage your house.

Water damage is difficult to handle once it hits any building. So it is better to manage it beforehand.

Amy Riolo

Amy Riolo

I would say that the perfect outdoor kitchen must combine practical, design, and entertainment elements. It should also be electrically sound and safe.

As a chef/food blogger, my first concern with designing any kitchen space is whether or not it will work. Does the equipment match the needs of the person building the kitchen, for example.

There is a current trend for people to build outdoor wood burning ovens for pizza making, but few people consider the proper prep tables, storage space, and proper coverage for the oven – especially the high tech versions which need to be sheltered from the elements.

Protection from the weather is a big deal when choosing equipment and buying the space.

I advise people to think of what they will be cooking first, then the amount of guests they plan on having, this way they will know which type of equipment and how much space is needed.

Next, I recommend a skilled electrician to determine whether or not the power supply is properly grounded, safe, and adequate for the appliances being installed.

Instead of traditional stoves, many people opt for the modern multi-use grills which have not only grilling, but griddle and rotisserie features as well.

Roger Lee - Cozy Chew

Roger Lee

First of all, you need to know what type of outdoor kitchen you want: for a BBQ party, a place to prepare a stylish cocktail or a place for your family to hold another small party...

The next will depend on the type you chose earlier to be able to choose the right outdoor kitchenwares: BBQ island need a BBQ grill, smoker; cocktail bar need ice maker,...

After consider what outdoor kitchenwares will fit your outdoor kitchen, you will need to calculate the size of the kitchenwares with the amount of space that you have for the oudoor kitchen.

This will help you to plan the outdoor kitchen space and avoid the tools being too big or too small to fit.

At last, you will consider whether you will design and construct yourself or hire a skilled construction engineer to get the perfect design.

Hector Ruiz - BBQ Grill Academy

Hector Ruiz

Consider what's your end goal for your outdoor kitchen and the type of cooking you'll be doing.

The beauty of outdoor kitchens is that your creativity, space, and budget are the only limits.

Some people prefer large countertops to entertain, while others want space for all the outdoor gadgets like refrigerators, sinks, and storage.

My advice is to consider the type of cooking you plan to do and the primary purpose of building your outdoor.

If your main goal is to have a fantastic place to cook and enjoy the outdoors, try to get a good grill that will last and withstand the elements and provide you with years of enjoyment.

Also, consider having an outdoor refrigerator for beverages and food. However, if you are more into entraining friends and family, consider countertop space.

Lastly, if you are more into real BBQ and love to smoke food, consider adding a good outdoor range hood to handle the smoke as well as adequate space in your outdoor kitchen for your smoker or Kamado grill.

Brittany Bradshaw - KIBO Constructions

Brittany Bradshaw

If you had the chance to choose where you would spend your evenings in the summertime, would it be cooped up inside - or perhaps having a BBQ in the great outdoors with your nearest and dearest? We know what we would prefer.

Before you begin planning the design of your outdoor kitchen, consider where you are going to put your alfresco cooking space - will it be in close proximity to your existing kitchen, how big do you want to go, and how much sun exposure can it expect to have?

These finer details are crucial to the planning process, especially in relation to what facilities you’ll need to include and the relevant running costs to supply power or gas.

Consider what you actually need from your outdoor kitchen area. Are you going to be channelling MasterChef vibes in a full outdoor kitchen, or are you happy with a BBQ and a beer fridge?

You’ll need to carefully consider the purpose of your outdoor kitchen, and what facilities, appliances and equipment you’ll need - it won’t be an easy tweak if you change your mind halfway through construction.

Consider all the seasons too, as a fire pit that gets used for a quarter of the year may take up precious space that could be better utilized.

You’ll also need to consider what lighting you prefer, and avoid stark lighting if you can.

Think about heating measures if your climate requires it, which materials for the bench tops and surfaces, shelter and shade, plus how you’re going to avoid attracting bugs.

Storage is also often forgotten, so ensure you factor in cupboard space for your utensils and appliances if they are going to live outside full time.

Sean Moore - Marquis Fine Cabinetry

Sean Moore

Outdoor kitchens are always focused around the grill, which is the design focus. Pick out your grill first and the other must-haves. Whether that is a sink, additional counter space for food prep or a side burner.

The most basic of outdoor kitchen designs have 3 parts: the mini-fridge on the left, the grill in the middle, then a base on the right side for countertop space or a sink.

Since outdoor kitchens are subject to the harsher weather outside, it is important to go with a cabinet company that offers weather resistant cabinetry.

Here at Marquis, our outdoor kitchens are waterproof and made from PVC material (the same material used for nautical purposes, like boats).

We also make sure all of the cabinets are sitting on a leg leveling system to protect the boxes as much as possible from rain and flooding possibilities.

We offer a range of 3-5 color options for outdoor kitchens to fit within any design theme chosen by the homeowner.

Horia Gruia - Scavolini Toronto

Horia Gruia

When creating the perfect outdoor kitchen, it's important to keep in mind how we transition between our indoor and outdoor areas.

Function should be your first priority when designing an outdoor kitchen space, and there are a number of questions to ask yourself about how you will use the kitchen before you start designing.

For example, is the outdoor area more for entertaining purposes, or will it be primarily used for simple barbequing/cooking? Do you require a sink, prep space, storage or refrigeration outdoors?

And are you going to use the outdoor kitchen component on a consistent basis, or just seasonally?

It is important to prioritize the kind of space you have to work with, and think about how many people are using it, in order to create a functional and design forward space.

The choice of barbeque is also a major one: Does the design suit a “range top” style barbeque for a more fitted look, or a freestanding machine that allows for more flexibility?

Further, does the space require a propane tank barbeque, or a fixed connection version?

Once you've decided on the ideal form and function, it's time to select materials.

For outdoor kitchens, be sure to choose materials that can survive the seasons, such as: steel, aluminum, stone or composites like quartz or porcelain.

And to create continuity between your indoor and outdoor spaces, carry the same materials, colours, and textures throughout the two areas, which will help to make the two spaces feel as one.

Paul Mosley - Inkifi

Paul Mosley

Consider the location of the outdoor kitchen as you will need space for prep and storage.

Also, think about the climate of the region where you live. If you live in a region where it often rains, place your grill or kitchen on a covered patio.

As for the design, the outdoor kitchen should complement your home's design for a unified look.

There should be subtle references to your home's indoor design to create a seamless transition from the outside in.

In choosing materials, opt for low-maintenance materials but are tough enough to withstand the changing weather and temperatures.

Stainless steel is an excellent option as it is easy to clean and it is resistant to corrosion from weather.

It's also best to have a moveable seating area as you'll probably use your outdoor space for various things like parties or a chill barbecue night, and you would want to be able to clear the space for the event.

And lastly, include outdoor lighting to flood the area as it gets dark out.

Sascha Lafleur - West of Main

Sascha Lafleur

With spring and summer fast approaching and after being bunkered down in our homes not only because of COVID, but also because of the cooler weather, it's time for us to extend our living and dining space into the outdoors.

Here are some key elements to consider when planning your space for the warmer months ahead.

Consider your existing exterior.

You want your outdoor kitchen to be a real extension of your home so plan material selection accordingly. Think about colours and textures and existing, and additional plantings you can use to add intimacy and privacy.

Consider your layout.

Just as you would in an interior kitchen, you want your work space to be efficient and practical. Consider your prep space and then your hot and cold zones.

Where is your gas line currently for the BBQ or where is the best place to put in a new one.

Plan for the way the traffic will flow through the space and consider additional appliances, such as a grills and refrigeration.

Once you have established the structure of your space with consideration to layout, appliances and materials, you can move onto the items you want to use to create a warm and inviting space.

The furnishings, plants and don’t forget about the lighting. Use materials for your seating areas that are durable and weather resistant.

Adding planters, outdoor rugs, pillows and throws will add texture and interest.

Think about the lighting you will need for your cooking spaces and then what kind of lighting you would like to have to create a relaxing atmosphere around the dining and seating areas.

When you have pulled it all together, head outside and enjoy the additional living space you have created. Let’s hope you can plan for a few outdoor parties this summer as well!

Chris Barrett Design

Chris Barrett

To achieve the perfect full kitchen outside you need to make sure you allocate enough space.

Right now, we’re doing an outdoor kitchen with the works – barbecue, refrigerator/freezer, refreshment center which includes a sink and faucet and racks for liquor and glasses.

This kitchen also has a beer dispenser. This is specific to this clients' way of entertaining.

You have to design an outdoor kitchen based on your needs. You need to decide what is essential and what would be a luxury. After you know what you need then do your budget.

It is important to be conscious of the environment. You want to make sure your barbecue has a place to vent out the smoke, be it the open air or a built in hood. I like to keep the design choices pared down.

Keep in mind that you are outdoors. You want to compliment your house and be harmonious with the surrounding landscape.

Grace Tsao Mase - Beyrep

Grace Tsao Mase

Outdoor living spaces are best expanded by implementing an outdoor kitchen. It's one of the top renovation requests I've seen lately, particularly because of the pandemic keeping everyone inside during stay-at-home measures.

Infusing your backyard with more purpose will help you spend more time outside, and I can't think of many more ways to accomplish that than by creating an outdoor kitchen.

Of course, any renovation will always depend on your budget and the layout of your outdoor space, but there are three major options to help you design your perfect outdoor kitchen:

Portable: This is the most flexible and affordable option for small spaces, and it can transform a simple backyard into a cookout haven within a few hours.

Start with a portable electric, charcoal, or gas grill fitted with heavy cast-iron or stainless-steel grates. Make sure it has an easy-to-clean grease trap.

For storage and counter space, add a rolling cart with shelves. You can configure both the grill and the cart to fit your space.

Best of all, you can take this style of outdoor kitchen with you when you move to your next home.

Prefab: Prefab is ideal for a semi-custom modular option.

Try including an all-in-one basic setup with a stucco-clad 5-foot island, counter, drop-in gas grill, and doors to access the propane tank.

As a la carte add ons, you can add additional countertops, a refrigerator, and LED lighting to make it functional after sunset.

Custom: The most elaborate and involved option is a built-in-place kitchen. This typically requires homeowners to work with an outdoor designer in order to create a custom outdoor kitchen that can be built by an experienced contractor.

The custom option offers much more opportunity, from an integrated grill, warming drawer and smoker, to a pizza oven, large sink, ice maker, appliances, storage, wine fridge, beer tap, beverage cooler sink, coffee and tea bar and more.

Many of the advanced custom kitchens also incorporate built-in trash, recycling, and compost bins, as well as a dishwasher, ample counter space, and flexibility in terms of matching the kitchen's materials and style to its outdoor surroundings and the home itself.

A larger layout with extensive lighting, in-ground utilities, and a pergola-style roof add convenience and a feeling that your outdoor kitchen can be your oasis.

Custom outdoor kitchens are like a sanctuary that allow you to escape your home without actually going far at all.

Regardless of which outdoor kitchen best suits your needs, I always love to see an outdoor fireplace for cozy nights together.

Fireplaces are something the whole family can enjoy together while getting fresh air - all while relishing in a great meal prepared at the outdoor kitchen!

Liam Grant - Handyman Service London

Liam Grant

The perfect addition to outdoor kitchens is setting up the mini to medium-sized freezers. The advancement of smart fridges and intelligent vending machines makes these far more accessible than 5 years ago.

You can even get USB-powered units in a variety of designs, from vintage to extravagant, and customized looks.

Or also, how about dedicating space for a clay pizza oven or mini BBQ? Being also a focal point of any backyard cooking corner, the bold and elongated shape brings to the garden parties the luxury of homemade pizza!

Also known as earthen ovens, these are relevantly easy to build and maintain, making it a top idea for backyard kitchens.

The best thing is that you can combine or go with a BBQ for a toolset and island of a true outdoor cheff. Options vary from gas, charcoal, or electrical, depending on budget and goals.

The next and crucial things on my list are shades, sunlight, and comfort. They go hand in hand, and regardless of the complexity of setup, mounting a sturdy pergola is an absolute must for outdoor areas of intense activities, be it seating, cooking, or leisure.

The one best piece of advice I'd give on this is to design and mount your pergolas so you can disassemble and reassemble upon your wish.

Solid wood constructions are great, but expensive and need to withstand nature year-long, while the concept of flat-pack tents allows you to modify and tailor outdoor areas to different occasions and activities.

Antonia Korcheva - Escape Waste

Antonia Korcheva

Plan and organize a backyard kitchenette with a zero-waste mindset first.

Setup garbage chutes and dedicated composting area.

Such outdoor improvement not only helps you better hygiene and sanitation in the kitchen, but make taking the trash out way easier, allow you to organize leftovers and waste by segmenting what you can reuse as compost, recycle again, and send off to landfill as little as possible.

Setup chutes for plastics, paper, glass, organics, toxic non-recycables needing special treatment, and those safe for landfill.

Sustainable management of kitchen waste advocates byproducts from otherwise wasted resources that the average household sends to trash.

Also, it makes taking the rubbish out easier from a chute to your classic roll-off bins and recycling, as separating junk is best done as you have your hands on it.

Tariq Nasir - Chef Tariq

Tariq Nasir

Just the same way people like to congregate around an island or counter in your indoor kitchen, the same is true for a kitchen outdoors.

Plan to have a counter that you can work at and be able to entertain your guests at the same time.

Having your counter in front of you, your oven behind you and your fridge to the left - your guests are able to see what you're cooking and interact with you.

Another key aspect that you can't replicate indoors is a pizza oven.

These are a lot of fun in the summer to impress your guests with custom pizzas, and is always a show stopper when pizza comes out of the oven.

Not to mention the taste of a freshly baked pizza!

A patio is a must be attached with a spacious, outdoor dining table for the full hosting experience.

Like with entertaining indoors, you want to give your guests a journey from socialising in the kitchen when cooking, and then move to a dining table where you can talk into the night over good food and wine. (A wine chiller is also a must!)

Amala Raj Swenson - Amala Raj InteriorsAmala Raj

The perfect outdoor kitchen needs to be two things: functional and beautiful. Long gone are the days of an ugly grill in a corner of a backyard!

For me, the perfect outdoor kitchen needs to have both ample storage, counter space, and seating.

With a properly designed outdoor kitchen, appliances should fit seamlessly without looking too massive for the space. Built in grills, under counter beverage coolers, pizza ovens and a sink are all a must.

I would build the outdoor kitchen wide enough to have a decent prep area for marinating meats, assembling kabobs, and have a serving buffet style area.

For materials, I would use a very low maintenance countertop product to keep upkeep to a minimum.

My favorite products to specify for an outdoor kitchen are porcelain slabs, I find the brand SapienStone to have a beautiful variation of color choices and finishes.

Using porcelain is perfect because you can just hose down the countertops, it does not need any sealing, and is extremely heat and UV resistant.

Tushar Grover - Kitchen Ultimate

Tushar Grover

To design a perfect outdoor kitchen, first, you need to plan out the area layout in which you intend to place all kitchen accessories, once it's done make sure that it works great with your surroundings and adds aesthetic value to it.

You need to choose the right type of materials that could withstand all the external calamities like high-speed wind, snow, rain and heat without requiring too much maintenance work after every few months.

You can choose stainless steel materials and appliances with some tiles and stonework around the kitchen as they work great in the outdoor arrangement of the kitchen.

Plan out to buy some of the cool appliances and gadgets to have in your kitchen like grills, ice makers, mini-fridge along with multi stove countertop to cater to all the guests without waiting during the party time.

Add some cabinets to keep raw ingredients and other kitchen utensils along.

Add some great lights all around to enhance the ambiance and give a party vibe to the kitchen and surroundings. Your stovetop should also have some above the head direct lights for easy cooking during nighttime as well.

Once the kitchen is done get the party going with your friends and enjoy the compliments flowing towards you for making gourmet dishes easily in the outdoor kitchen

Nora Mitchell - Household Advice

Nora Mitchell

It’s all about creating the perfect seating area when designing an outdoor kitchen.

Make sure there’s plenty of seating room, that you have some sort of shade available if needed, and there are places for people to set drinks and food.

In the end, I believe that things like the BBQ (that are usually only used by 1 or 2 people) aren’t as important as the things that are used more often.

Nail the sitting area and everyone will be extremely happy while enjoying your perfect outdoor kitchen.

Shawn Hill - The Grilling Dad

Shawn Hill

The heart of any kitchen is cooking tools you have at your disposal. That’s no different for an outdoor kitchen!

When it comes to cooking up great meals outdoors, there are three main things you’ll want to ensure you have:

1. A nice gas grill or griddle
2. A pellet smoker
3. Room to prep your food

A Nice Gas Grill or Griddle

You’ll want to have your outdoor kitchen setup for all types of meals. Having a gas grill is great for burgers, hot dogs, and steaks (the trifecta of grilling in America).

If you also want the versatility of cooking breakfast (think pancakes), then you can either add a griddle or a griddle top to your existing gas grill.

These are both easy to keep clean as well!

A Pellet Smoker

Having the ability to smoke great foods is more than trendy...it’s a tradition as old as humanity.

No outdoor kitchen is complete without the ability to smoke foods and pellet smokers allow you to keep a cleaner area and avoid charcoal soot on the walls/ceiling.

Room To Prep Your Food

To avoid running back and forth between the indoor kitchen and the outdoor kitchen, make sure your outdoor kitchen has sufficient space to prep your meals and serve up your famous burgers.

Alexis RingAlexis Ring

The perfect outdoor kitchen will allow you to be able to best enjoy not only dining outdoors, but also cooking outdoors, so ideally you will have everything you need within that space from appliances to cooking utensils.

Even if you lack the storage or refrigeration space that you have indoors, ample counter space is a must for staging and prep.

In terms of functionality you want materials that can withstand the elements (so leave your beautiful carrara marble inside).

Think concrete, tile, rust-resistant fixtures. Also make sure that all furniture and upholstery is suited for outdoor use.

If the space does not have a roof, a covering to filter sunlight is a must: either some sort of awning or pergola.

That said, be sure that the space has ample ventilation for smoke and steam to escape.

Ryan Jones - Land of Rugs

Ryan Jones

One of the main things you need to do when designing an outdoor kitchen, is think about a few key points. What are you going to be cooking in your outdoor kitchen? How often are you going to be cooking outside?

And are you going to want to cook outside even the weather is not so great. With all this information in hand, you will be able to completely design your outdoor kitchen.

If you are going to mainly be making pizza with your family, then your budget may best be spent investing in a pizza oven rather than an oven or stove.

This will make cooking pizza a lot easier and quicker, and will leave you more money in your budget for other items in your kitchen.

How often are you going to be cooking outside? For some people, they may only want to cook outside a few nights in the Summer.

This means they can save some money on high-end appliances because they will not be used every day.

If you are going to be cooking outside multiple nights a week then it may be worth spending more of your budget on a high end cooker.

Are you going to be cooking outside even when the weather is not so great? If this is the case, you definitely want to consider using some of your budget to create cover. This can be done in multiple ways.

You can build with bricks an extension to your house (planning permission may be required), or you could build a garden room and have your kitchen placed in here.

The main element is to ensure you are not exposing your outdoor kitchen to the elements often.

Marcia Socas

Marcia Socas

Practicality and longevity when planning an outdoor kitchen are essential. This means that special attention should be paid to the materials used.

Utilizing materials such as marine grade cabinetry means that you’ll be able to wash off your outdoor kitchen, and that it’ll fare much better from any exposure to the elements.

One tip that I’m implementing in my summer kitchen is adding a tile accent along the wall behind the grill. Right now, that area has become dark and smoky looking due to the grill.

Adding a decorative accent wall made of tile will allow me to spray off and clean this area.

Color is also essential in my book! This is an outdoor area so feel free to express your personality.

Add in some colorful Spanish tile, or be bold with your cabinet color choice. This area is a great way to be a little more bold than you are inside, since outdoor kitchens are gathering spaces for relaxing and having fun.

Stephany Smith - My Plumber

Stephany Smith

1. Address your water supply needs

The key to a versatile outdoor kitchen set-up is to run water lines from inside the house. Remember that proper slope of supply pipes is vital to keep water flow smoothly.

Plan an isolation valve with drain plugs installed at the lowest point so you can fix leaks without having to shut the water supply to the entire house.

If water pressure is unsteady, it may reduce your outside kitchen taps to a trickle, thus hindering you to rinse veggies and fruits. For homes struggling with low water pressure, I strongly advise installing a booster pump.

Also, barbecues with natural gas open a whole nother world of cooking possibilities. It usually involves running an extra gas pipe to your outside kitchen.

Keep in mind that you’re bound by law to have a building inspector to inspect the work.

2. Consider a healthy drainage system

Outside kitchen drainage problems can infuriate, leading to foul smells, structural or water damage, not to mention bacteria thriving around your cooking area. Build a drainpipe to the sink trap and adopt a rule of not throwing sticky little bits of food, plastic and waste down the sink.

Avoid copper drainpipes, even if they are the cheapest option. No one wants metallic flavor to tap water, so your best option is to use PVC drainpipes along with an adapter that connects to the sink trap.

3. Plan for winterization

Depending on your climate and type of water pipes, you might need to winterize plumbing. There are a few ways to minimize freezing shocks and preempt preventable damages:

Use ejector pumps that work extra hard to winter-proof plumbing or use a gravity system to allow the ceaseless flow of water;

Apply foam pipe insulation to cover any exposed pipes;

Shorten pipe routes.

4. Decide on your outside sink location

With designing your outdoor kitchen, sink location is more than just an aesthetic choice, as there are both budget and plumbing considerations. If you are tired of plans for costly piping, consider full-scope plumbing.

A low-cost option is to fit a sink on the exterior wall of your house. Depending on where you locate it, you may use existing plumbing. Yet, hot water pipes may not reach your designated outdoor cooking space.

And despite your efforts to cut all pipe installation and maintenance costs, your project may still need this extra step.

5. Check building permits and design planning

Permits exist for a good reason. With the kitchen project's growing complexity, the lack of control over your actions is unsafe and illogical.

Not all outdoor kitchen installations, though, require design planning and a permit. For instance, external works on temporary and seasonal structures are a permit exception.

Contrary, if you plan to install, move, remodel or convert electrical, gas, plumbing or mechanical systems, you need to act proactively with the permit issuance at the get-go moment.

That said, every homeowner runs the risk of a “stop work” order if he does not comply with the local plumbing codes, terms of permit, or skip the submission of the outdoor kitchen building plans.


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Minuca Elena
Minuca Elena


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