The weather is fantastic, the scenery is beautiful, and you want to spend as much time outside enjoying yourself with the ones you love as possible. Many landscape features are well suited for this scenario, and one of the most popular and versatile is the outdoor kitchen.
When designed and executed correctly, an outdoor kitchen can provide an area for entertaining guests that is hard to beat. They may provide an area for the preparation of food and refreshments, staging and storage areas for entertaining, and in some cases spaces for seating and socializing. When considering an outdoor kitchen, it’s helpful to consider what features you’d value in the space. Here are some of the common features to consider.
Grills, Griddles, Smokers, and Cooking Areas
Grills are the most requested and installed feature in outdoor kitchens. They are typically gas, but charcoal, electric, and even wood-fired grills are available. Grills offer the “Backyard BBQ” feel to entertaining with your outdoor kitchen.
Griddles, similarly to grills are typically gas but have similar alternative options to grills. Griddles offer the versatility of cooking options you usually cannot realize with just a grill. Those who opt for a griddle find they use it as frequently as they do the grill. It’s worth noting that many grill manufacturers offer griddle attachments or grill/griddle combination appliances.
Smokers are relatively new to the outdoor kitchen marketplace in New England. If you like traditional slow-cooked barbecue, a smoker cannot be beaten!
It’s important to not overlook the usefulness of other cooking areas. The addition of burners will allow you to cook nearly anything in your outdoor kitchen (like lobster for example) that you would on your indoor stovetop. Warming trays or drawers can also be a useful addition if you entertain frequently.
Pizza ovens are a feature that works better outdoors than indoors in most cases. The best ovens allow the internal temperature to reach around 800 degrees, with wood being the most popular type of heating source, but charcoal and other heat sources are available.
Pizza ovens can also be designed for a dual-use as an outdoor fireplace. This makes them popular for utilitarian and social functions.
There’s virtually no limit to what you can add to a drink station. Traditionally drink stations include a refrigerator to begin, but we’ve seen ice makers, beer taps, wine refrigerators, soda fountains, and even full bar setups.
Often the unsung hero of an outdoor kitchen, clients who install sinks are surprised just how handy they found them! A sink makes an outdoor kitchen truly independent from your indoor kitchen, and will often save you from making trips back indoors.
Counter space is the most overlooked, and most frequently missed feature of an outdoor kitchen. It gives you places to prepare meals, stage, or display food and is one of the easiest features to include and install. Just like an indoor kitchen, counter space should be a top consideration in your design. If you neglect it, you’ll miss it.
Cabinets and Storage
There’s no such thing as too much storage. Fortunately, many outdoor kitchen features like grills, griddles, counter space, and more require a base for installation. In the bases, cabinets can be installed to help facilitate storage items. Be cautious about storing food of any kind in your outdoor kitchen. It will likely attract pests like ants, mice, or even bears!
Seating at your indoor kitchen allows for comfort while cooking, or the ability to utilize the kitchen as an entertaining space. Seating can be accomplished in many ways very similar to that of eat-in kitchens in homes. This is especially important if you add features like a bar, or if you have limited space to have adjacent entertaining spaces.
Adjacent Entertaining Spaces
Having an outdoor kitchen is a wonderful addition to any property, but as a stand-alone, they are less functional without some manner of entertaining space. Some kitchens can include an entertaining space like a bar or seating area, but otherwise, it’s practical to consider the addition of a patio, deck, or seating area. This will allow you and your guests another space to enjoy the products of your kitchen while enjoying each other and your outdoor space.
Check out photos of some of our outdoor kitchen projects here.