Best Outdoor Kitchens – Design Ideas
Why have outdoor kitchens become so popular? Have you noticed how people always gather in your kitchen at home? Whether it’s a family moment, a casual gathering of friends, or a large party, you can count on people gathering in the kitchen. Now imagine that kitchen as big as your backyard. Outdoor kitchens allow the gathering to go outside without losing that homelike kitchen environment.
Take the oven, the sink, the stove, the fridge, the cupboards… take everything outside. No more running in and out of the grill to the fridge. You will no longer have to carry a cooler to take it out and put it back in. Now everything can be outside. The outdoors with all the conveniences of a modern kitchen.
Outdoor kitchens are more than just a big grill. Of course, the grill is a must, but that’s just the beginning. Cupboards, warming drawers, tables, bars, wood ovens… the list goes on. From the basic to the exotic, the options are limited only by your imagination. And of course, your bank account!
There are many things to consider when planning your outdoor kitchen. This is a significant step in an overall backyard layout. Make sure you use it enough to justify the expense. After all, the old-fashioned way of cooking on a portable grill and coming back into the house to meet your needs still works. But if you’re ready to take your backyard design to the next level, an outdoor kitchen may be the perfect choice for you. Barbecue islands are a very popular option if you want a luxury outdoor kitchen without paying custom prices. See the following link for more information.
Things to consider…
What things are you likely to cook? How much and how often?
Grill options are numerous and the price tags reflect them, but do you need them? If there are just two of you and no one ever comes to visit (that will change with an outdoor kitchen), do you need a huge grill? If you’re going to cook mostly burgers, steaks, and pork chops, do you need the expensive rotisserie? Would a pizza oven better suit your needs? You can get all of these, but there’s no need to spend the money if you’re not going to use them. Now, having said that, don’t go cheap on the grill. Pick the features you’ll need and spend some money on the grill. This is, after all, the part that makes all the rest worth having. The last thing you want is to install a cheap built-in grill into a beautiful stone veneer with custom granite countertops only to have to remove, repair, or replace it. So buy quality here. If you can’t afford a quality built-in, consider a portable cart style.
Is the rest of your backyard design compatible with outdoor cooking?
After getting the steaks and chops off your big, beautiful grill and doling them out to your impressed guests, do you have a place to sit? Are there covered seating areas for light rain or relief from the blazing sun? Take care to keep seating a reasonable distance from the grill. You want to cook T-Bone, not Uncle Joe. The effect of a great outdoor kitchen is lost if everyone eats inside again. The rest of your outdoor living space should support and complement the kitchen. That doesn’t mean you have to spend money on a screened-in porch or gazebo (although both are nice), but you should at least have an umbrella over a table and set of chairs.
What other activities will take place while the party is being prepared?
Cooking and eating may be the highlights of time outdoors, but they’re not the only things going on. Are your guests gathering to watch the big game? If so, consider an outdoor television. Otherwise, you may be the only one out there, getting the job done while everyone else enjoys the Carolina Panthers beating up whoever they’re playing. (Okay, I’m biased. So sue me.) Do your friends and family tend to hang out chatting while the food is being prepared? Then you’ll want to listen to music through a nice outdoor sound system. An outdoor cooler is much better than going in and out of the house looking for cold drinks or carrying a cooler full of ice. Will you be using the outdoor kitchen in cooler weather? A built-in fireplace or portable fire pit keeps things cozy for most of the year.
How much space do you have in your backyard?
If you have a small yard behind your townhome, you probably won’t have room for a full luxury outdoor kitchen. If you put it up anyway, your guests will have to stand on your neighbors’ patio.
The idea is that you should think about your needs, not just what looks good in pictures. Buy what you need, within your budget. Speaking of budget, that’s a real consideration. Outdoor kitchens can cost anywhere from $1,000 to over $100,000, depending on the options, materials, size, and how exotic you want to be. If your budget allows you to go crazy, go for it! If not, do what you can, however you can. You don’t have to do everything at once. Just remember to think about your long-term design plan as you go step by step.
Keep in mind that while an outdoor kitchen is a great and fun addition to any backyard, it’s not essential. The vast majority of backyards don’t have one, and people have a lot of fun there anyway. If it fits your needs, your space, and your budget, go for it! If you don’t fit those things, don’t despair. Many, many good times and great memories have been made on a simple patio with a small charcoal grill. The most important thing is to spend quality time with family and friends, whatever the setting. But since you’re outside anyway, you might as well make a great backyard while you’re at it!