Outdoor Kitchens are an extension of our indoor kitchens just as patio furnishings have become an extension of our living rooms.
Not so long ago outdoor kitchens were only for the wealthy. Not the case, anymore – The outdoor kitchen industry is booming. And why? More and more families are staying at home for vacation time electing to spend their money where they will enjoy their ‘stay-cation’ year round – their back yards. If you are planning a backyard outdoor kitchen there are a few things you should keep in mind. Picking out your appliances begins with laying out your outdoor kitchen plan. You may want to include a refrigerator, a sink, a gas grill, and now is the time to consider the outdoor patio furniture that would go with it all. Your space and budget are the only limitations when planning your outdoor kitchen.
“The best way to size your grill properly is to speak with a pro.”
Gas grill options are an industry of their own and to pick the one you’ll enjoy using for the next several years is very important. The size of the grill is the most important thing to consider. To figure that out you need to consider how many people do you normally entertain. What type of cooking do you do? The best way to size your grill properly is to speak with a pro. Most of the time a gas grill is the best option, however; charcoal grills and smokers have made a big comeback in recent years. It just depends on your style of cooking and what you want in a grill. Another popular feature to consider is a pizza oven. Pizza ovens are all the rage, from DIY backyard ovens to full blown oven installations complete in every detail. There are small highly rated units and then there are the elaborate pizza ovens. And they aren’t just for pizzas! Steaks are amazing in a pizza oven, and in fact, the list of recipes is exhaustive, but the point is, sometimes a pizza oven can do things a standard gas grill just isn’t so great at doing.
“It makes a lot of sense to have the outdoor kitchen set up so you aren’t going in and out of the house while you are entertaining.”
Every kitchen needs a refrigerator. Sizing the fridge is important. You need a fridge with room to stock an entire evening of beverages, and then some. You don’t need to go too large but you need to have enough room. Tip: Glass door fridges look great but the glass is harder to keep clean than the stainless steel door. The size of the sink and fixture is often overlooked. Do not put in a small sink when you’ll be using it for meal preparation and washing a dish or two. The sink needs to be the right size to service the kitchen properly. Another area that is often overlooked is the storage space. A properly equipped outdoor kitchen requires kitchen storage space. Outdoor kitchen storage space has been overlooked for years. Having a place to keep plates and silverware as well as the cooking utensils and pots and pans is an essential element in the well equipped outdoor kitchen. It makes a lot of sense to have the outdoor kitchen set up so you aren’t going in and out of the house while you are entertaining.
“We all know that cooking is a process that goes much better when the kitchen is laid out properly.”
As for planning the outdoor kitchen, the main thing to consider is the service area layout. We all know that cooking is a process that goes much better when the kitchen is laid out properly. For instance, the grill and the pizza oven shouldn’t be too close to the dining area. In other words, you do not want guests to sit next to the grill while cooking for all the obvious reasons. Likewise, the sink shouldn’t be too close to the grill. It can be uncomfortable preparing food while standing next to a hot grill. Another point is to keep the fridge and any beverage serving area as far away from the heat as your area will afford. Not only that but, the fridge should be in a convenient place to make it easy for guests to perhaps help themselves without getting into the actual cooking area. Then there are those afternoon shade issues where you may consider a patio umbrella. If you have a covered outdoor kitchen be sure to consider a ceiling fan to circulate the air. Outdoor kitchens have come a long way and the features available today is extensive. Planning and creating the space where you will entertain is an important step because your patio outdoor kitchen will become an extension of your home. It should reflect you and your idea of vacationing in your own backyard. It’s where you’ll enjoy all your family gatherings. For planning and product selection visit our friends at Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet for more information. Photos from: Smitty Smit Home Design Outdoor Designs and Plans: Kalamazoo Outdoor Kitchen Designs