Outdoor Kitchen Guide
Transform your outdoor space into an oasis.
A well-planned outdoor space isn’t just about coming up with a layout to fit the property. Truly well done design will accomplish that however, it should also be able to flawlessly integrating itself into your way of living. Much like the interior of a home, an outdoor kitchen is the entertaining hub of the backyard; it’s where family members and guests congregate. Today’s outdoor kitchens are complete with more than simply a grill. Below are the essential components of a successful outdoor kitchen.
A grill can make or break an outdoor kitchen. Your choice of grill should reflect your grilling style. If you plan to sear up steaks, your gas grill should have infrared or searing burners which sear in the juices. If rotisserie chicken is your grilling specialty, you’ll want a grill with a built in rotisserie rack. For truly multi-functional grilling capabilities, modular grilling components, such as the DCS Liberty Grill Collection, offer flexible setup options that tailor to your every grilling need. Consider adding a warming drawer to your grill station to keep freshly cooked items hot or toast buns.
Especially in Texas, outdoor refrigeration is key to a successful outdoor kitchen. Enjoying the outdoors is best accomplished with a cold drink in hand. Those in northern Texas with cold winters might lean toward refrigerator units with automatic shut-off at certain temperature points, such as the GE Monogram ZDOD240P outdoor refrigerator unit, which will help save on unnecessary electricity costs. Refrigeration drawers are a great way to organize refrigerated items. If your outdoor kitchen plan includes a bar, a beer dispenser unit will ensure your guests are always served cold, crisp brew.
To properly prepare food, your outdoor kitchen will need a sink installation. Sinks eliminate the need to hussle in and out of the house to wash your hands, dishes or clean surface areas. Be sure to investigate local city codes regarding proper plumbing and drainage requirements. Wood chopping block counter inserts add a functional contrast to traditional stainless steel workspace areas. For built-in outdoor kitchen applications, storage doors and drawers with organizing accessories such as paper towel holder and utensil compartments, will help keep your workspace in order.
The blazing Texan sun means a majority of outdoor cooking will be done after dark. Your outdoor kitchen should have bright task lighting directly above the area where you will be cooking and preparing food, such as Par-20 halogen bulbs. Ceiling fans with lighting kits are a great way to help keep the misquitoes at bay. If the outdoor kitchen is covered by a slotted arbor, the installed lighting system should be rated for a wet location. For outdoor kitchens with a solid roof overhead, lighting rated for a damp location is acceptable.
Don’t forget to install a few electrical outlets for small appliances like a margarita machine, magic bullet, phones or tablets. You may need to ramp the amount of electrical if your planning to install an entertainment system with speakers and/or a TV.
The placement of your outdoor kitchen should be adjacent to the outdoor dining area as well as the rear door of the house. The layout should offer ample room to move and work within your outdoor kitchen. In an efficient kitchen layout, the refrigerator, grill, and sink should form three points of a triangle, with no leg of the triangle measuring more than 10′ feet additionally, the legs of the triangle should be unobstructed by structures like cabinets or a kitchen island. Common outdoor kitchen layouts include:
Straight Line Kitchens
Similar to an indoor “kitchenette”, this kitchen is installed against a wall. It’s ideal for smaller, more budget-friendly spaces where only one cook will work at a time. Keep in mind that if the kitchen will be against the wall of the house, you’ll have to choose non-combustible materials to protect the siding. It’s best to consult a professional in this case.
If you’re planning a larger, freestanding kitchen with a grill, refrigerator, dishwasher, a sink and a bar area, this shape may be for you. This design mimics most indoor kitchens, becoming the ultimate backyard focal point.
Probably the most common of all built-in outdoor kitchen designs, an island layout, which clusters the grill and all appliances in one central unit. It is cost-effective and great for creating an entertaining hub. Consider raising one side of the countertop to separate the cooking and socializing areas.
Weather is an unpredictable beast, and shouldn’t determine when you can and can’t use your outdoor kitchen. You can block the sun or rain by installing a pergola or pavilion over your kitchen. Solid roofed structures will help keep heat in; installing heaters along the roofline is an efficient way to keep your outdoor kitchen comfortable during the colder winter months. However, keep in mind that smoke from a grill can be easily trapped under a roof and will require an efficient ventilation system. If you just want a place too cool off, wood arbors or thatched roofs are a less expensive solution and can be outfitted with a misting system.
When planning an outdoor kitchen, don’t forget to look down first — any stylish, long-lasting, comfortable outdoor room must start with an appropriate floor. Safety is the most important factor when choosing an floor for your outdoor kitchen. You should avoid glazed or porous tiles and stone as they are slippery when wet. Safe materials include concrete, brick and natural stone. Ceramic tile is also a popular choice, offering variety of color and finish choices and is generally slip resistant. Concrete is still the most popular outdoor flooring option because of its affordability and durability. Stamping, coloring or a rock-salt finish are common methods of improving the appearance of concrete to coincide with today’s design trends.
Find common flooring types to match your outdoor kitchen style below:
Slate or cast-concrete tiles designed to be outdoors, such as Cal-Ga-Crete or clean, washed concrete in integral colors.
Tumbled pavers, unhoned travertine, deep-washed exposed aggregate or stone-texture stamped concrete.
Brick or darker flagstones, washed concrete or stamped cobblestone concrete.
Flagstone or faux rock, texture-stamped concrete.
Repurposed brick, exposed aggregate, Windsor Cobblestone texture stamps, fleur-de-lis and grapevine borders.
Building an outdoor kitchen, like indoor kitchen remodeling, requires a great deal of planning and consideration. If you are not working with a design professional be sure to visit your local Factory Builder Stores showroom where you can discuss the best options for your outdoor kitchen with our experienced and friendly staff.