6 Outdoor Kitchen Must-Haves
Summer is right around the corner! It’s time to think about creating the ultimate outdoor kitchen. There’s more to it than slapping a grill and a picnic table onto your patio, although that’s certainly one way to start. When an outdoor kitchen is well-designed, it becomes a true extension of your home. You’ll enjoy spending time there even when you aren’t entertaining guests, and of course it will quickly become the perfect place to bring friends and family together.
Here are some important considerations for your outdoor kitchen:
1. Cooking Area With Appliances
It wouldn’t be an outdoor kitchen without a cooking area! A grill is the quintessential outdoor cookery, but consider installing an outdoor oven as well. Use a conventional oven for convenience, or consider building a cob oven for rustic, slow-cooked meals and fabulous pizzas. You may be surprised at how often you use your outdoor oven in the summer, since it keeps the heat outside and doesn’t make your air conditioning system work overtime.
Other appliances may include a small fridge for storing perishable items, and fun gadgets like ice cream makers. A wet bar and sink is also a welcome addition.
2. Large Dining Area
The best outdoor dining areas will be large and airy. It should be easy for people to move around. Have you ever had to squeeze past other chairs and tables in a cramped restaurant? It’s uncomfortable for everyone. Avoid that by making the dining area larger than you think it should be. An extendable table is nice to have in order to keep the space intimate for smaller get-togethers and roomy for large parties.
3. Separate Lounge Area
While the food is being prepared, your guests might be quite happy sitting at the table and talking. But a separate lounge area is a comfortable place for everyone to relax and mingle.
Set up comfortable outdoor chairs and couches surrounded by small tables for drinks to be set on. If the space is quite large, group a few chairs together in different places for multiple conversations to go on at the same time.
A fire pit makes an excellent center piece for a lounge area. Once the sun sets after your meal, the fire can be lit to keep everyone warm and comfortable, and it’s the perfect excuse to roast marshmallows or make s’mores.
4. Protection From the Weather
Covering some or all of your outdoor kitchen is a great idea. The summer sun can easily shift from being pleasantly warm to unbearably hot, so putting at least the dining and lounge areas in the shade is an excellent idea. A roof also keeps everyone dry in the event of summer showers. If you don’t like the idea of a permanent roof, install a retractable shade or awning instead.
If the wind has a tendency to be strong where you live, consider creating a wind block for your outdoor kitchen. Try to have at least two walls surrounding the kitchen. One wall can be the exterior of your home, but you should get creative when making the second wall. Use sturdy trellises with vining plants growing on them, or install brick or stone walls. The latter can be done very affordably with concrete ready mix that is stamped and colored to replicate brick or stone down to the last detail.
5. Protection From Insects
Nothing ruins an outdoor party faster than a horde of mosquitoes, flies or wasps. There are sophisticated insect repellent systems that protect large areas and can keep your outdoor kitchen bug free. Or, you can opt for citronella candles, insect traps and other gadgets to keep everyone comfortable. Ceiling fans can also help keep bugs at bay by moving the air and making it difficult for them to land. Whatever you decide to do will be infinitely better than letting your guests get bitten by mosquitos and bothered by flies landing on their food.
6. Personalized Accents
Finally, don’t forget to add a personal touch! Use outdoor lights to line important paths after the sun sets, or string up lights as fun decorations. Wind chimes, whirligigs, potted flowers and other accents help set the tone of a festive summer party. Consider installing an outdoor music system to let your guests hear the beat without annoying your neighbors. Choose fabrics for your furniture and brightly colored plates and utensils. If it’s clear you had fun designing the space, your guests will love it too.
Have you already created a beautiful outdoor kitchen? Do you wish you did anything different? Leave a comment below to help out our readers!