Gardens and backyards provide refreshing scenery and ambiance. Families tend to spend their time in these open places to enjoy and eat. With the presence of outdoor furniture, an outdoor kitchen is ideal to complete the area.
Outdoor kitchens are built to provide you space for cooking and preparing food when you want to eat in your yard. Such a place features stoves, cabinets, utensils, and cookware, so you don’t need to cook inside the house. You can also construct one on your own by planning the budget, design, utilities, materials, and space needed for the structure.
In this article, we will discuss the things you need to know when planning an outdoor kitchen, how to design it, and the factors to consider when building outdoor kitchen on your own.
Things to Know When Building an Outdoor Kitchen
An outdoor kitchen is a perfect space to sit with your family and friends under the great weather. It’s an ideal structure that you can build in your backyard to avoid entering and exiting your house when serving meals or drinks for your guests. With the advantages you can get in establishing such a functional place, what are the things you should know if you plan to build one?
Plan where to put the outdoor kitchen
Your garden has a wide space that you can use to build the outdoor kitchen. Before you pick a spot, you should think of it strategically. If you still don’t have any chairs, tables, or outdoor furniture anywhere outside, you must plan where to put these first.
In picking the ideal place for your outdoor dining area, we recommend you establish it near the house. Remember not to put it too close to your house to prevent smoke from entering it. The kitchen should also face the sunlight.
A compact kitchen for a small space
If you have a small outdoor space, you should reduce the size of the kitchen you are planning to build. A compact kitchen can limit cooking usage. It means that you need to prioritize the most important purpose you need for cooking.
We suggest you concentrate on smaller barbeque equipment. You may buy several types of grilling and barbeques in stores that can perfectly fit your garden. Since those are moveable and portable, you will only build a fixed area for your sink and food preparation.
No need for planning permission
You don’t need to get permission to build an outdoor kitchen. This structure can be removed since it’s not permanent. But even though you are free to establish the kitchen, tell your neighbors you’re going to put up the outdoor kitchen far from their area.
Make sure you are not going to disturb them with smoke or noise when you are using it.
Gas or Charcoal?
The first thing you should prioritize for your cooking area is the type of heat source you’d like to incorporate into your kitchen. You can choose between charcoal and gas. Both types come with pros and cons when used for outdoor cooking.
A gas stove is easier to use since you just need to turn it on and you can immediately cook. As for the charcoal, you still need to fire or heat it before you cook. In terms of taste, charcoal cooking provides you with the freedom to manage the heat and flavor.
Estimate the outdoor kitchen’s construction price
The total spent on building an outdoor kitchen may vary based on the materials and equipment you’re using. A charcoal grill and cooking station can range from $250 to $9,000, including the preparation table. An expensive kitchen may include the installation, which also varies based on your home’s location.
Professional planning and design are more expensive. An estimated total amount of $13,000 is expected for the architect fees only. The size and layout of the outdoor kitchen may also affect the total cost.
Choose the ideal lighting
Lights play a crucial role in an outdoor kitchen. To coordinate the lights to your cooking spot, adjust them to a low height, like in the dining space. This is especially important if you want to have dinner outdoors. You will have lights when preparing for the food and when eating.
As we all know, the weather isn’t fair and the temperature isn’t warm all of the time. To prepare for the cold temperatures at night, we suggest you build a fire pit as it serves two purposes. It can make you and your guests warm and you can cook in it as well. Having this in your backyard can also add to the beautiful atmosphere at nighttime.
Consult a garden designer
The best thing to ensure the outstanding design and ambiance of your outdoor kitchen is to ask experts about the other materials or additional features you may want to add. From the layout of the cooking area down to the furniture, they can guarantee a beautiful mood for the garden.
How to Design an Outdoor Kitchen
In building an outdoor kitchen, make sure everything is planned. The design will give out the visual impact of the whole kitchen and dining area. That is why you need to coordinate every facility and material to use in the kitchen.
Plan the design of the outdoor kitchen
Before you decide on the design of your outdoor kitchen, you should consider the space available. Follow the features you have inside your house. No matter what kind of features you would like to associate in your kitchen, everything depends on the budget.
An indoor kitchen is generally bigger than an outdoor one. Thus, you should think about how to compress the important facilities in the outdoor kitchen. Prioritize the size of important spots in the kitchen, like the preparation and cooking areas.
Evaluate the electricity source
The lights and other kitchen equipment require power to operate. To complete the attributes for an ideal kitchen, you should hire an electrician to install electric lines that can light up the whole area. A water source is another major utility you should set up since cooking requires a lot of water.
If your outdoor kitchen has a sink, you should hire a plumber to install water lines in the area.
Choose the suitable materials for the outdoor kitchen
In choosing the best materials for your kitchen, you should consider their longevity. Cutlery, cookware, storage, floorings, and utensils made of weatherproof materials are highly recommended since they are exposed outdoors. Other materials that you can check include stainless steel, wood, stone, and bricks.
Stainless steel is a good material for cooking tools and equipment. Its physical features can coordinate with the motif of the outdoor kitchen. Wooden storages are also great combinations that harmonize the outdoor mood. The only downside of wood is its vulnerability to outdoor elements and the regular maintenance it requires.
On the other hand, bricks, stones, and cement are durable materials that can counter the heat. They will provide an outstanding look in your outdoor kitchen. However, these materials are a bit difficult to clean.
Other materials that you can utilize in the construction of your outdoor kitchen are granite, tiles, and concrete. Granite is heavy duty, while concrete can last long. A commonly used material for kitchens is tiles. When buying tiles, choose a design that will fit the outdoor atmosphere.
Set up walls for the cooking area
When cooking outdoors, wind can contaminate the food. To prevent this from happening, we advise you to put up some walls around the cooking area. This will also allow you to have a foundation where you can place your valuables, equipment, and storage.
Strong flooring is recommended
Make sure the outdoor kitchen and dining area are established on strong, non-slip flooring. The flooring will serve as the base of the whole area where you and your guests will stay while dining outdoor. You can pick tiles for the floorings to make it easy to clean the dirt.
Evaluate the needed space
Before you start the construction of your outdoor kitchen, you must estimate the space for preparation and the area for cooking. For the food prep, you can at least spare 4 feet of space on both sides of the barbeque stove or grill. The space will give you room to place the food you cook. If you prefer to put cabinets, consult your garden designer or architect so they can add those to the plan.
When it comes to cooking outdoors, grilling is still the best mode of cooking. Most grills are portable, but if you are planning on investing in a bigger and better model, there are some things that you need to take into consideration, particularly the location of your cooking equipment. Read our article to know where to place your grill in the backyard.
Can You Build Your Own Outdoor Kitchen?
Based on our discussions, you may think that the help of experts is required. However, you can build your outdoor kitchen yourself. Although, there are several factors to consider if you want to do so, such as your budget, the space available, design, materials, and more.
Estimate the budget for the construction
Since you don’t have anyone to guide you with everything, you will have to do all of the chores. The first thing you should do is estimate the budget for the construction. When creating your budget plan, take note of the materials to use, area’s size, facilities, and appliances. Add the things you think you will utilize in the middle of the building process. In this way, you can allocate a budget for the materials before buying them.
Know whether you need permits
Usually, there is no need to ask for permission in creating an outdoor kitchen. You will only need one if you are going to construct a huge structure. However, before you buy the materials, ask the state and show them your plan so you will know if you should process permits. For kitchens with roofs, water lines, and electricity, you will most likely need a permit.
In choosing the cabinets’ materials, go for something durable that can withstand the effects of weather. Powder-coated stainless steel is recommended since it is built and exposed outdoors. Other materials cannot resist the weather and temperature fluctuations, resulting in rust, fragility, and worse, damages.
Know the kitchen size
To apply the design you initially planned, you should measure the space available in your backyard. Afterward, you can start planning the cooking area, dining area, and other spaces you may want to create. You will know the shape of the kitchen once you’ve verified its size. Don’t forget the shade against the sunlight so you can continue dining and cooking outdoor even if there is striking sunlight or pouring rain.
Here are questions related to the kitchen design that can help your plan:
- How many people will use the area?
- Which direction do you want your kitchen to face?
- How much space do you have?
- Where do you plan on putting the appliances?
- Determine the temperatures in your area (cold, dry, hot, and wet).
Ventilations aren’t only needed by humans but also appliances. Make sure you leave 2 inches of space around each appliance. This can prevent the increase of heat, fire, and allows you to clean it without any hassle. We recommend you place a portable refrigerator so you can keep the kitchen seasonings and cooking condiments cool.
In conducting maintenance for stainless steel materials, use a mild cleaning substance. Wipe everything that has dirt and brush the grills to remove the burnt food. Make sure you protect your outdoor kitchen in the winter.
Dining outdoors is a unique way to spend time with family and friends. Aside from the fresh ambiance, you can also feel the atmosphere outside, unlike indoors, where the surroundings are always the same. The building of outdoor kitchens requires a lot of work, but the product is functional and brings numerous advantages.
If you are planning on upgrading your backyard, installing an outdoor kitchen is definitely a good idea, especially if you are someone who loves cooking and hosting guests. Just like building an indoor kitchen, there are a lot of things that you need to consider when building a kitchen outdoors. With proper planning and ample preparations, achieving your dream outdoor kitchen will be a piece of cake.