Considerations When Designing an Outdoor Kitchen

For nine months out of the year, most of us are cooped up indoors to share meals with family and friends. When summer rolls around, it’s time to take advantage of the warm weather and bring the party outdoors – enter a summer kitchen design. Creating an outdoor kitchen space in your backyard keeps the house from overheating and puts the cook right in the middle of the action all summer long. Here are four ideas to consider when approaching your own summer kitchen project.

Plans and Permits

The best way to start any new building project is to sketch a plan that includes the size, shape and location of your new building and the electrical and plumbing requirements. Be careful to consider how and where you’ll be bringing in water and electric and inspect the site to make sure there are no hidden obstacles before you proceed. Take your plan to a local building department before you invest time and material in your project so they can make sure you’re following all building codes, ordinances and safety rules. Don’t forget to arrange for required inspections during the project to keep you on track and in compliance.

Easy, Simple, and Budget-Friendly BBQ Kitchens

Start with a gas unit for grilling and baking with a burner on both sides. These units run on portable tanks of refillable propane and don’t require a permit to install. Pair one with outdoor cabinets that give you plenty of prep surfaces. You can even slide your BBQ unit next to a long table and install grommet top curtains to shelter storage below. A garden potting table works perfectly for this project. At the far end of the table, place a large spigot-flow drink dispenser on a tall stand with a stainless steel bowl below for flowing water and a wash basin. Stash a roomy, ice-filled cooler below and you’ve got a place to ice down drinks or keep foods temperature-controlled until it’s time to cook or eat.

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Under Roof Kitchens with Adjacent Entertaining Spaces

Build an under roof summer kitchen in your backyard that beckons you to eat, drink, and be merry. Make sure your plan includes a row of cabinets under roof to house generous prep areas with built-in cooking units, cold storage, and sinks. Then add an adjacent open-air patio complete with dining and lounging furniture and a fireplace on the side for toasting marshmallows.

Outbuilding Summer Kitchens

Creating an outbuilding for your summer kitchen can be costly, but it gives you everything you need in an enclosed space far from the chores in your home. Build a large structure to house your cooking units, refrigerators, wine cooler, sinks, fireplace – as well as a full dining area safe from the elements. Place it poolside and you can enjoy summer as it’s meant to be – carefree and relaxing.

Screen Porch Summer Kitchen Conversions

If you already have a screen porch or other covered area attached to the house, you’ve got the perfect place for an instant summer kitchen conversion. Line up the cabinets and cooking spaces along a solid wall – but, don’t forget to install a vent hood to disperse heat. Close proximity to the house makes it easy to retrieve items from the main kitchen; but, the outdoor ambience will allow you to soak up the summer sun.

Whether you install a DIY or full-blown summer kitchen, you’ll love the freedom it gives you to enjoy the sunshine and outdoor air with every meal.