If you have a beautiful garden perfect for outdoor parties and love to feed your guests, consider installing an outdoor kitchen right next to it. Hauling pots, pans, and supplies to your outdoor grill and a fire pit can cause accidents and waste time.
Top 10 Outdoor Kitchen Ideas That Can Take It to the Next Level
Here are some of the best tips that can help you build and maintain a practical and gorgeous outdoor kitchen:
1. Add Exterior Lighting
Appropriate exterior lighting can elevate your outdoor kitchen by giving it a unique aesthetic. Use these to highlight hardscape elements like your countertop and stairs under the coping. You can also use them to illuminate surrounding vegetation and trees and give your guests a real show.
2. Add a Trellis
Don't go for a boring old roof when you can get a gorgeous trellis for your outdoor kitchen. It will create fun patterns over it, improving its aesthetic. Install a dining set underneath and watch your guests ooh and aah in appreciation.
3. Add Storage Solutions
Without storage solutions, your outdoor kitchen will get cluttered fast, and you will waste time getting pots, pans, matches, and other cooking essentials from inside. Install cabinets and other storage options to save time and space.
Make sure it is leak- and waterproof so it can withstand the elements. Plus, make sure there is a space where you can store seats, bar stools, and cushions. Mould and mildew can ruin the fabric and spread to other furniture.
4. Install Shades
While an outdoor kitchen is open to the elements, it should be protected from them as well. The last thing you need is a contaminated cooking space and dining area! A large parasol or patio cover can do the trick without getting in the way. Or use a large garden shade and add side panels to block strong breezes and cold draughts.
5. Maintain Simple Serving and Prep Solutions
An outdoor kitchen can become impractical quickly if you don't plan for space. For example, instead of installing a fixed island, opt for a portable one you can wheel to the table or your guests while serving drinks. You can easily move it from the shade into the sunshine when needed and cover it when the weather turns.
6. Make the Design Cohesive
Most outdoor kitchens you see online have designs that embrace the elements – you will see a lot of stonework, stucco, tile, and other elements that pay homage to nature. The textured surfaces add a rustic and comforting touch. But if you want to maintain a modern aesthetic, smooth tiles with a sleek finish may be better.
The point is that the materials the outdoor kitchen is made of should respond naturally to others in your existing landscape. Otherwise, it will look out of place and an eyesore. Since this is a visible element in your home, you must get the aesthetics right. So make sure the materials you use are complimentary with the broader design.
7. Choose Weatherproof Elements
An outdoor kitchen is exposed to the elements, so if you live in an area with frequent showers or storms, it must be hardy. Make sure it survives year-round by opting for weatherproof and rust-resistant materials.
For example, make sure the countertops and seats are all waterproof. As mentioned before, mould and mildew can do extensive and irreversible damage with time. Choose materials that repel water, such as concrete and stainless steel. Wood may look great, but it can soak up water like a sponge with time and warp.
8. Add an Outdoor Bar
Since you will be cooking live for your guests, you will also need to ensure they don't get in your way as you work. So what can you do to ensure they remain comfortable and not interfere? Install an outdoor bar right next to the kitchen. It can be installed like an island separating your guests from the cooking area while allowing you to socialize. It's the best way to make both spaces work together.
9. Establish a Cooking Zone
You can also add a screen in its place if you don’t want an outdoor bar or don't want the smells from the kitchen to permeate your garden. It can be as solid as a wall or as soft as a thin covering that separates and maintains solid boundaries around the cooking zone.
Consider adding a vegetable garden behind the kitchen, which you can use for fresh ingredients. Your guests won't see you sweat as you prepare a delicious meal for them.
10. Maintain Your Outdoor Kitchen
Last, but not least, maintain your outdoor kitchen to ensure it doesn’t need costly repairs. Since it is exposed, it will need more maintenance than an indoor kitchen. Make your job easier by covering everything when the space isn’t in use.
This includes appliances, seats, tables, sofas, cushions, etc. If you live in a coastal region, you must regularly wipe salt build-up, which can otherwise corrode your outdoor kitchen. A simple kitchen will be faster and easier to maintain than an extensive one. If you don't have anyone to help you, consider downsizing the design. It will help you save time, money, and effort down the line.
An outdoor kitchen can do wonders for your social life if you are an introvert or love to cook for others. Use the tips mentioned in this guide to make the most of the space and make a memorable impression on guests simultaneously. Depending on the elements and materials you use, the space can also increase your home's resale value.
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