6 TIPS FOR DESIGNING BETTER OUTDOOR KITCHENS
Outdoor kitchens have become one of the most popular features for new home and for home renovation projects. Among the most multifunctional of outdoor entertainment spaces, outdoor kitchens are a wonderful way to relax and dine at home. They can be designed to be enjoyed regardless of weather and season. Compact or spacious, there’s sure to be an outdoor kitchen design that’s just right for your requirements.
1. Choosing Suitable Equipment and Paving
Your choice of flooring is an important decision for outdoor kitchens. Choose outdoor pavers for durability as well as design. In most cases, outdoor pavers should be sealed to ensure weather resistance.
Sandstone pavers, along with quartzite, travertine, and bluestone, are all great choices for outdoor kitchens and near deck areas. Your choice of paving can be integrated into an existing design or structure like a patio.
Choosing low-maintenance equipment will make it easier to clean and upkeep your outdoor kitchen. Stainless steel is easy to clean and weather-proof. Counters and equipment should be able to withstand extreme temperatures and installed with access to utilities, such as gas, water, and electricity in mind.
- Cook-top burners
- Wood fire ovens
- Wok burners
- Convention outdoor ovens
Other outdoor kitchen equipment to consider:
- Warming drawers
- Bar and wine fridges
- Cocktail stations
- Trolleys for transporting food
2. Set Out Functional Zones
Functional zones are used by indoor kitchen designers and they apply well to outdoor kitchens too. Functional zones simply means setting different zones for different functions, for example:
- A cold area for refrigeration, cocktails, and beer stations.
- A cold area for barbeques, ovens, and cook-tops.
- Wet and dry areas for washing up and food preparation respectively.
Each area should have sufficient room for the applicable function. It might be useful to set the preparation and washing up areas next to each other, and allocate more room for the cooking areas where extra space may be needed for ventilation and most of the work will be done.
3. Consider Additional Cooking Options
While, for some, a small and compact barbeque and cooktop area is sufficient for their outdoor cooking needs, others might find the fun in an outdoor kitchen comes from the additional cooking options they can provide.
For example, including different options such as large wood fire pizza ovens and ice stations can open up a new range of possibilities for using and enjoying your outdoor kitchen spaces.
4. Extending Functionality Throughout the Seasons
You can extend the functionality of any outdoor kitchen by adding some inexpensive features. For shade, shelter, and heating, consider the following:
- Shade and shelter – building a simple pergola over your outdoor oven provides a nice balance between coverage and outdoor living. Alternatively, awnings can provide a good degree of flexibility as they can be removed and raised as required. Use non-combustible materials.
- Heating – outdoor heating lamps can make your winter outdoor gatherings pleasant and comfortable for all guests. Fireplaces and hearths are also very popular ideas for heating up outdoor kitchens and living areas.You could also install under floor heating under the outdoor pavers in cooler areas – stone holds heat very well. Recommended especially for homes with solar cells. On hot days the stone will stay relatively cool.
5. Seamless Integration with Living Areas
An outdoor kitchen can be complemented with an adjacent living area, such as a dining, relaxation, or pool area. These can be easily set up with some furniture and by extending any shade and shelter of the kitchen area where appropriate.
6. Proximity to the Indoors
Outdoor kitchens can also be designed with indoor living in mind. If you enjoy cooking outdoors regularly, it’s a good idea to design and build your outdoor kitchen close to your indoor dining or living rooms to facilitate enjoyment on a daily basis.