We have come a long way from a charcoal grill being our only option in the backyard. Eventually, larger grills with more prep space and a side burner became available. Soon after outdoor refrigerators and tiki bars were all the rage. As we progressed into a more full-service outdoor kitchen and bar options, they were typically built with a footing and masonry. Masonry outdoor kitchens were cost prohibitive and found only in the most expensive of homes. This was still the era of vacation homes and time shares after all.
Staycation wasn't a word found in our vernacular at the time. Since then both spouses began to work at full-time careers, the time share or family cabin became too time-consuming or expensive to hold on to. While we certainly still enjoy a trip to somewhere tropical during our time off, more and more Americans are investing a would-be vacation fund right into their own backyard. Here, the expense is a real estate investment and memories are made right at home.
designs are as functional as an indoor kitchen eliminating the historical back and forth from one to the other. With modular systems like necessories outdoor living kits, the design can be as simple as a grill and table, or as elaborate as a full kitchen with an oven, prep station, refrigerator, sinks, warming drawers, fireplace, outdoor TV and more.
Depending on the complexity of your vision the completion of your outdoor kitchen can be a daunting task. Here are some tips to guide you through the process:
- Traffic flow
- Do you prefer one large open space or dividing the yard into sections such as the kitchen, living room, bar, and fire pit area?
- How will you entertain?
- How many people overall would you host? How many children or elderly guests would typically attend? This may change your flooring choices.
- If you have a small backyard, don't overdo it. Sometimes the best option is an all-inclusive grill island where the grill, prep and bar are all in the same place.
- The mechanics of where water will flow and where electric and gas run will play a role in the functional design. You don't want to spend a lot of time designing something that becomes physically impossible, not permittable, or cost prohibitive.
- What distance from the house should the kitchen be? You don't want to be too far away, but you also don't want the grill filling the house with smoke either.
- Will you hook up to water from inside the house or just a seasonal connection?
- The Working Triangle
- Just like an indoor kitchen, consider the relationship between prep, grill and storage spaces.
- Will you complete the entire project at once? Today's modular options mean you can complete the project in stages if needed. You'll want to have a solid plan in place for the finished product and ensure you don't end up spending more just to stage the process out.
- Once of the greatest expenses will be the appliances.
- While it pays to buy quality outdoor appliances, do you really need the largest available? If you don't plan on large gatherings, get smaller appliances. This will save you money on reduced counter space as well.
- Unlike indoors, you are typically entertaining while working in the kitchen outside. Be sure to include areas where guests have access to you while you cook. Don't forget about setting the mood by incorporating optional features like:
- So you are all set to have the party of a lifetime and its raining and cold outside! Be prepared by planning for the worst.
- incorporate a pergola or arbor
- patio heaters
- outdoor Fans or misters
- insect screens