Start Designing Your Outdoor Kitchen Now and Be Ready For Summer
Tips on Creating An Outdoor Kitchen Design For Your Dallas Home
A modern outdoor kitchen can be so much more than just a barbecue and a cooler. While most still feature the grill as the main focal point, a truly functional outdoor kitchen is an extension of your living space. It can have the same conveniences as your indoor kitchen, with even more functionality! Custom outdoor kitchens today can include brick pizza ovens, wet bars, fire or water features, side burners, smokers, warming drawers and even roasting spits.
Advances in manufacturing elements like cabinets, refrigerators, warming drawers and more have made creating the outdoor kitchen even more exciting. Whatever your creative vision, with a little planning and research you can create a fabulous outdoor entertaining space that is the perfect environment for entertaining family and friends.
When planning your outdoor kitchen you’ll need to consider some important factors. Your space will not only need to be functional, you’ll need to consider location, and delineate entertaining, living and cooking areas.
To that end, here are some tips for designing your perfect outdoor kitchen and entertaining space.
Outdoor Kitchen Planning: Start at the Beginning!
While having a good idea of your end goal is important, the process starts with planning. Spend some time hanging out in your backyard and observe your surroundings. It might seem obvious, but walking around your space and asking some questions is the first step. Ask yourself:
- How much space do you really have to work with?
- Is there a pool or other existing structure you’ll need to work around?
- Do you have easy access to power, or will you need to rewire the area?
- Do you have structures already in place like decks, patios, gardens, etc?
Open your eyes to your space like you are looking at it for the first time. Gaining perspective can inspire you to do something new and exciting! Look for large shade trees, consider the amount of sun you get. Do you need a covered area? Think about colors and materials that would work with your home and existing landscape.
After looking around, and determining if there are any space restrictions, consider how far you want your outdoor kitchen to be from the main house. Does your home have a “natural” place to locate your outdoor space? For example, are there French doors leading from the living room out to a patio or deck? If you’re planning on having the cooking space close to the doorway, you’ll need to consider ventilation options. If there a little room between the cooking area and the house, it will be easier to add features like a smoker, or wood burning cooking stove. However, you’ll need to consider other infrastructure like electrical and plumbing issues if you’re including a wet bar.
Try to strike a balance of distance for the best of both worlds. This can also help you determine what amenities are necessary. If the cooking area is close enough to the house, you might not need to include a refrigerator or outdoor sink. This can free up money to splurge elsewhere and it can also make potential issues like plumbing less of a problem.
Consider Space Needs
Is your outdoor space going to be used to host large gatherings of family and friends, or smaller more intimate dinners? If you have a smaller space, you’ll want to focus on making it an intimate family area for relaxing where you can feel close. If you have a large space, but still want a cozy feel, consider making the cooking area smaller and creating a larger lounging area with a fireplace, or water feature.
Whatever your entertaining needs, always make sure to plan for sufficient space to place cooked food, and a large prep area. Think about what your indoor kitchen may be missing. This is the time to add those amenities you lack to your outdoor space. This can also play a role in determining the size of your area.
Think About The View
If your backyard space has a natural view, consider it when designing your space. If not, consider ways you can add character to the area, for example planting a butterfly garden to give your summertime guests a beautiful outdoor experience watching nature. Adding a water feature can create soothing natural sounds your guests can enjoy while dining.
Consider Your Materials Carefully
While stainless steel appliances are fairly standard, easy to clean and durable, countertops, surrounds, and cabinet materials should be carefully considered. It’s important to avoid porous surfaces or be prepared to periodically seal and maintain them. Granite or natural stone offers a beautiful classic look but you need to make sure that any slabs you choose are UV-stabilized.
Flooring is another area to carefully consider. While natural wood or brick can offer a stunning look, spills can be problematic unless several coats of sealer are applied. Flooring will be subject to not only spills and splatters, but to the elements as well. Consider putting down inexpensive, easy to replace outdoor rugs in areas that a splash prone. It can not only protect flooring, it can add an exciting design element to an otherwise rustic space.
Let yourself go when planning your space. The design possibilities are practically endless but don’t rush in and box yourself into a design. One of the best benefits of adding an outdoor living space is having the ability to let it evolve over time. Take the changes in seasons into account, speak with your guests and family about future features.
With proper planning, your outdoor entertaining space can evolve over time. Start with a fabulous outdoor kitchen, then add a fire feature like a large free-standing fireplace and seating for those wonderful fall evenings. Or a gazebo with a cedar hot tub. You’re only limited by your space, creative vision and budget. Dream big!