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Your Outdoor Kitchen: Creating the Perfect Outdoor Oasis


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Your Outdoor Kitchen: Creating the Perfect Outdoor Oasis

outdoor kitchenA report from the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) highlighted the rising popularity of outdoor kitchens. This surge in demand for outdoor kitchens is due to many reasons. Outdoor kitchens provide the perfect space for home entertainment, a connection with nature, and wellness needs. They also offer the convenience of innovative equipment that makes your space functional and stylish for cooking and hosting. Additionally, outdoor kitchens have the advantage of accommodating features that are challenging to integrate indoors, such as pizza ovens and smokers. Keep reading for a guide to creating an elevated outdoor kitchen, from layout planning and design to current outdoor kitchen trends.

Layout Planning

Planning the layout of your outdoor kitchen is crucial for your space to meet both your functional and aesthetic requirements to maximize the enjoyment of your outdoor space. When creating your layout, some important things to consider are the proximity to your indoor kitchen so you can streamline food prep and make any indoor-to-outdoor transfers easier. Before creating different zones, think about what the primary function of your outdoor kitchen will serve. Will it be centered around cooking, grilling, dining, entertaining, or lounging? This can help you establish different zones for cooking, food prep, sitting, etc. Your cooking space should incorporate cooking, cleaning, and cold storage zones. It is also essential to include shade and wind protection in your outdoor kitchen layout, such as pergolas, awnings, or built-in structures to provide sun, wind, and rain coverage. Lastly, when creating your outdoor kitchen layout, it is important to keep the flow of movement in mind to minimize congestion and create unobstructed pathways. See my article Creating a More Functional Kitchen for kitchen layout ideas.

Design Quality and Technology

Outdoor kitchens serve as an extension of your home, and because they expand the aesthetic of the interior, homeowners now expect higher design standards. Current outdoor kitchen trends show increased luxury design items and enhanced technology options, including automated shading, smart appliances, and lighting options. Design elements that enhance the space and add warmth are also popular, while features such as cozy seating options will allow guests to relax. And because it is an outdoor space, make sure to opt for durable and weather-resistant options such as teak wood or stainless steel materials.

Outdoor Kitchen Appliances

Appliances are among the most important choices to create that luxury outdoor kitchen feel. Investing in higher-quality, long-lasting appliances built to withstand exposure to the elements is worth it. The right appliances can also allow for customization to align with the distinctive style of a space. Adding built-in appliances to your outdoor kitchen can easily elevate the space and provide a focal point for your layout. Gas grills are a top choice because they are fast and uncomplicated, but in recent years, alternate fuel grills have made significant advancements.

Consider adding additional appliances such as side burners, pizza ovens, smokers, and outdoor refrigerators to expand your cooking capabilities. Even though you’re outside, adding a hood to your space can be necessary for ventilation, as grilling can cause smoke and grease.

Outdoor Kitchen Lighting

Lighting is another crucial outdoor kitchen feature. With task lighting such as under cabinet lights and down lighting for your grill proving important for nightime grilling. And for more aesthetic lighting, string lights, lanterns, and built-in LEDS can all create a relaxing ambiance. Having lighting control systems that allow for adjustability can also elevate your space. Again, make sure that all of your lighting is designed to withstand outdoor conditions. For more tips on outdoor lighting, see my article Choosing and Installing the Perfect Lighting in Your Home.

As you contemplate ways to improve your outdoor living, think beyond your outdoor kitchen. See my article Creating a Backyard Retreat for more projects that can extend your outside hours and make your time there more relaxing.