Tips For Designing A Great Outdoor Kitchen

Dining al fresco is such an enjoyable part of outdoor living. In fact, so is cooking outdoors. Outdoor kitchens have been increasing in popularity as homeowners add this facility to their outdoor living style. While you should consult a professional designer, consider ahead of time some ideas for designing a great outdoor kitchen:

Invest in your Grill

The big distinguisher between your indoor and outdoor cooking is the grill. Indeed, the Landscaping Network goes so far as to call it the most important appliance in your outdoor kitchen. As such, you should expect to invest in a model that's durable and that provides the features you want. Grills can include not just the barbecue portion, but also warmers, a rotisserie, and possibly a searing station.

Consider Specialty Appliances

An outdoor kitchen allows you to try different types of cooking methods. The two most popular specialty appliances are pizza ovens and smokers. A pizza oven provides a wood-fired cooking area that works not just for pizzas but also vegetables, fish, and other meats. A smoker slowly cooks food while infusing it with a smoky flavor. Both can be freestanding, though some hybrid grills incorporate both appliances.

Include a Sink

Don't get so caught up in your appliances that you forget a basic necessity — a sink. A sink is essential for clean-up and even food preparation. While you may not need a sink quite as large as the one indoors, you'll need one large enough for both main task types.

Allow for Enough Counter Space

In that vein, you need enough counter space to facilitate cooking and serving. In fact, it's important to approach your outdoor kitchen design similarly to the indoor model. Food prep and serving requires adequate space for food circulation. This is especially true around the grill, where you may need even more space than around your indoor oven. Make sure you plan for surfaces suitable for placing platters of foods going onto and coming off of the grill.

Choose Proper Materials

While you may select some of your building materials for beauty, the vagaries of the weather, as well as outdoor cooking, necessitate extra consideration. You need sturdy, weatherproof materials for your flooring, countertops, and other surfaces. A high-end choice is a stone for the countertops and tile for the flooring. However, concrete can mimic either surface at a lower cost. For cabinetry, consider stainless steel. All of these materials not only stand up to the weather, they withstand staining and grease build-up.

Develop an outdoor kitchen that best facilitates your cooking al fresco tasks.