Outdoor kitchens have developed into a variety of concepts and can vary based upon your budget and your home’s location. High end outdoor kitchens can encompass everything from a gourmet grill to outdoor appliances like refrigerators, stovetops, dishwashers and icemakers. Some outdoor kitchens also have a fireplace and brick pizza oven. In addition, your location is critical to the setup. The tradition of outdoor kitchens started in the West where the weather is relatively warm and predictable. However, in less predictable environments, adding a fire pit, heaters or outdoor fireplace can extend the seasonal use of the kitchen.
Outdoor kitchens have become very popular for families and those that like to entertain. Outdoor kitchens allow families to spend quality time with each other outside while the weather is nice. They are also ideal for festive events and make throwing parties convenient. In an outdoor kitchen, guests can sit around and enjoy the outside air in the company of the cooks while the meals are prepared as opposed to having to run in and out of the house.
When planning for an outdoor kitchen, the first thing to consider is your budget, which will dictate the details and features you select along the way. Next, map out the space that you have available, preferably not too far from your home. This is not only convenient for guests but can be cost effective when establishing gas, plumbing and electrical utilities to the area. Several companies make appliances that are more heavy duty and specific for outdoor areas such as kitchens.
In addition, consider the type of cooking areas you would like, whether it’s a grill, oven or cook top. A popular choice for high end kitchens is the heavy duty grill that can be built into a stone island with granite countertops. Another popular trend is towards wood burning outdoor fireplaces as opposed to gas burning units. Finally, popular for creating a cozy feeling is outdoor pergolas or trellises that bring the entire space together for an overall cozy feel.
One final element to consider in your outdoor kitchen is lighting. Functional ambience lighting is very effective, particularly for entertaining in the evenings. It can provide a fun and functional way to extend the length of your party in a trendy way. Popular options include rope lighting, sconces around fireplaces, and overhead lighting on pergolas. Experts also recommend lighting walkways and planning for lighting before construction is complete, which allows you to consider a wider variety of options.
If piecing together all of the elements for your kitchen seem overwhelming, then consider enlisting the help of a professional to cover the details. Many professionals offer kitchen concepts that allow customers to select a specific setup or template and then add elements of personality based upon the homeowner’s preferences. Many professionals also work closely with landscape architects to complete the design of the entire outdoor environment.