Have you always dreamed of an outdoor kitchen? How to create one at home

have you always dreamed of an outdoor kitchen? how to

The summer days are finally here, and one of our favorite warm-weather traditions is backyard hangouts with friends, family, juicy watermelon and burgers fresh from the grill. Whether you have a regular chat or just enjoy having dinner outside with the family, you might be ready for an outdoor kitchen. Outdoor kitchens come in all shapes, sizes, and budgets, and when made successfully they are so much more than just a place to grill meat. Think of the outdoor kitchen as an extension of your home, a gathering place for family and friends, and a place to make fun memories.

Outdoor kitchen with stainless steel gas grill

Outdoor kitchen with stainless steel gas grill

Eirasophie / Getty Images

Related: How to Keep Hot Food Hot and Cold Food Cold When Talking Outdoors

What is an outdoor kitchen?

An outdoor kitchen can be as simple as a place with a portable grill or as complex as a custom-made cooking area with a sink, refrigerator, cabinets, and a full set of patio furniture. There are many different ways to build and design outdoor kitchens depending on your needs, desires and budget. As a cooking and entertainment center in one, an outdoor kitchen offers many advantages. “An outdoor kitchen can offer convenience, accessibility and efficiency,” says Lowe’s trend strategist Caroline Harmon. “Outdoor cooking helps reduce the use of air conditioners that run on overdrive, eliminates indoor odors, and allows home cooks to spend more time outdoors with family and friends.”

Harmon adds that outdoor kitchens are a great way to expand the floor plan of your home. “With all of the new styles and products available for the outdoors, there is no need to compromise to get the right look for your space.”

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Some important things to find out when planning your outdoor kitchen are budget, location, and what you plan to cook. In terms of budget, freestanding grills and modular cabinets cost less than a full build out with a grill that fits into a stone counter, sink, refrigerator, etc.

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Depending on where you want to put your outdoor kitchen, there are a few items that the professionals recommend. Brian Eskew, sales and marketing director at Twin Eagles, a manufacturer of premium barbecue and outdoor kitchen equipment, points out that if your outdoor kitchen is not going to be in close proximity to your indoor kitchen, a refrigerator and sink Part of your facility is a good idea. “Is your outdoor kitchen close enough to your indoor kitchen that you can use the indoor refrigerator, or is it far enough away that you want to be sure that you can keep drinks and raw vegetables cold and safe before preparing them? ? “

A sink is another addition that you should definitely consider, especially if it’s farther from your house. “Sinks are a big deal,” says Eskew. “Anyone who does not have easy access to a sink always wishes they had one in their outdoor kitchen, not only for rinsing off a plate or a tool, but also for washing hands. Grilling and cooking in an outdoor kitchen can sometimes be a little dirtier than the indoor kitchen – it’s more fun this way – so it’s important to have a place where you can rinse things off and wash your hands. “

When planning your outdoor kitchen setup, whether you’re alone or working with a contractor or designer, Eskew offers this advice: “Think about the way you cook and how you entertain; what you cook and who is there? This will help you think about the cooking and entertainment accessories you will need. “

If you are on a budget

For a more low-key outdoor kitchen setup that doesn’t require hiring contractors, plumbers, or electricians, things like freestanding grills, modular cabinets, and humble landscaping are the way to go. “A modular outdoor kitchen is the perfect solution to transforming your cooking space into a place for prep, cooking and cleaning.” says Harmon. “When space is tight, consider adding a portable grill, burner or pizza oven and bistro set with comfortable seating.” She adds that a rolling kitchen cart is a versatile option for adding prep, storage, and serving space.

A pizza oven is indispensable for Gabriel Rucker, head chef and owner of Le Pigeon, who has built his outdoor kitchen from scratch. “A pizza oven is without a doubt the best low-maintenance outdoor kitchen addition,” he says. “With a pizza oven you’ve got all the floors covered. With the right tech, you can bake pizzas, bread, and even grills. I chose a tabletop pizza oven. No masonry required, just a cinder block table. When it’s your turn on a budget , choose outdoor cooking accessories that go together – these are your building blocks. “

You can make your outdoor kitchen more homely with some relatively inexpensive additions. “The processing of details such as cushions, carpets and colorful planters makes the room feel cozy,” says Harmon. “Adding fairy lights creates a great ambience and bistro atmosphere outdoors.” Rucker’s top tip for any outdoor space is to make it a place where people actually want to congregate. “Don’t get too functional and forget about making your outdoor kitchen and space a place where people want to gather,” he says. “It’s not just about practicality. Make it green with moderate landscaping and flower beds. Add a fire pit for all of the campfire vibes.”

When is it best to work with a professional?

If your outdoor kitchen project involves custom brickwork, installing a sink or refrigerator, or putting in a grill, you should consult a designer or contractor (and likely an electrician and plumber) to make sure it is done correctly. “When someone builds a grill, they need electricity, and full kitchen fittings generally also require gas and plumbing,” says Eskew. “These things are complex, even for a handy consumer.”

“If you want to get it right, find a designer,” says Rucker. “Find someone you enjoy working with. My wife, Hana, and I used a company called Grasstains in Portland, Oregon, and really relied on their expertise.”

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