After investing time and attention into your backyard patio, you’ve found the area never sees much use. Every time you host a dinner party, everyone congregates in the kitchen. You want to be with your food as it cooks, and your guests want to be with you—effectively wasting the beautiful patio space you’ve worked so hard to provide.
The solution? Bring the cooking outside!
With a kitchen on the patio, you and your guests can enjoy the outdoors together while concocting delicious dinners as a group.
Every design starts with a location.
No outdoor kitchen is complete without a grill, and grills produce smoke. You’ll need to position your appliances where smoke won’t leak into your house with every gust of wind. If your indoor kitchen opens onto the patio, you’ll want to orient your patio kitchen to accommodate your inevitable trips between the two.
Guests will likely want to eat outdoors once the meal is cooked. If you haven’t put tables or comfortable chairs out on your patio, you’ll need to pair your new kitchen with an appropriate dining area. Plan enough space for both.
The visual design of your kitchen should match your existing patio and feel natural to use. Consider your current kitchen and how you might improve its natural flow. If something throws off your cooking rhythm indoors, it’s bound to make outdoor cooking particularly frustrating.
Because your outdoor kitchen will be exposed to the elements year-round, you must choose the construction materials carefully. The durability of your cooking surfaces and appliances will be a critical factor in the longevity of the space.
Homeowners typically prefer low-maintenance options such as stone veneers, stainless steel appliances, and granite countertops. Natural stone surfaces require regular sealing. We recommend avoiding limestone and other porous materials that might soak up moisture. Tile countertops can crack when exposed to extreme temperatures.
Many homeowners shield their outdoor kitchens with overhangs or roofs to allow for cooking in all weather. If you do incorporate a grill into your kitchen, make sure to leave enough room between it and your ceiling to allow for proper ventilation.
Consider the climate in your area and plan accordingly. It’s also important that the materials match those used elsewhere in your home and backyard.
An outdoor kitchen should provide as many amenities as possible to supplement your existing kitchen. You’ll need durable, waterproof cabinets, a small refrigerator, countertops, a sink, a grill, drawers for utensils, and anything else that supports your cooking expertise.
If you have enough room, it makes sense to build both a charcoal and a gas grill to meet all your cooking needs.
First, determine how much storage you want. If you’re placing your outdoor kitchen immediately beside your original kitchen, you may not be concerned with a fridge or with storage for another set of plates and utensils. If your home design distances one kitchen from the other, you may want each kitchen to run independently.
All patios need adequate lighting, and this becomes especially true when used as a secondary kitchen. You’ll want to see the food you’re cooking, and no one should be chopping vegetables in the dark. The existing lighting on your patio may not be suitable.
Make sure to outfit your kitchen with appropriately spaced light fixtures to illuminate any areas where you and your guests may be using fire, knives, or other safety hazards.
Gas and water lines will have to be run into your outdoor kitchen to make it functional. When planning the design, make sure you take these lines into account.
In all cases, make sure you work with a professional to keep your kitchen up to code. Especially when running gas lines, mistakes can turn to disasters quickly, and most areas require specific permitting before such a line can be run.