No backyard landscape idea has evolved more than the outdoor kitchen. In the 19th century, outdoor summer kitchens were fixtures of stately Southern homes. The summer kitchen, situated in a separate building behind the house, was a solution for preparing meals while keeping the main house from growing unbearably hot.
Fast forward to the 20th century and when the GI’s returned home from overseas after World War II. It was then that the barbecue grill began drawing families outdoors for informal gatherings that celebrated companionship, mild weather, and the unbeatable taste of food hot off the grill. Patios became part of the home and picnic tables, which were mainly used and seen in parks, began sprouting up in backyards.
Much has changed since then. Today’s outdoor kitchen is much more sophisticated than the outdoor kitchens of the 19th and early to mid 20th centuries. Here in the 21st century, the take on outdoor kitchens includes a well stocked, fully serviced facility with space for food prepping, cooking, cleanup, and with plenty of storage space.
While not fully enclosed, they are often tucked under an overhang or patio cover where there is some protection from the elements. For outdoor kitchens, every situation, home, and their homeowners needs and wants vary greatly.
Countertop materials range from slate, granite, or ceramic tile, to a one-of-a-kind broken tile mosaic design. Hardy woods such as teak and redwood can withstand rain and snow and are often used as protective covers.
There are many ways to showcase the outdoor kitchen, from a pool side tropical cabana, that is protected on three of the sides, to a large open-air Tuscan style pergola with a pizza oven. For more of a southwestern feel, home owners often times will use colored stucco structures with terra cotta roof tiles.
Just like indoor kitchens, outdoor kitchens often times come with a dishwasher, refrigerator, sink, and ample counter space. Over-sized gas burning grills are perfect for steaks, ribs, chicken, etc. and are now offered with side burners, for the beans and sauces. Stainless steel carts on wheels can serve as storage space as well as providing temporary work space.
Typically, these kitchens can’t provide a lot of seating, so adding tall stools around the bar, lounge seating by the pool or fire pit, and of course comfortable seating around the outdoor tables are ideal areas for seating.
Through the years, the outdoor kitchen has evolved and has been one of the best backyard landscape ideas every created.