Is This the Year for an Outdoor Kitchen? 7 Steps to Make It Happen

Have you been quietly coveting your neighbor’s outdoor kitchen set-up? Perhaps now is the time to make it happen in your own backyard. While it might seem like an overwhelming project to take on, you can accomplish the renovation by following these steps from Better Homes & Gardens:

1. Map things out. While planning might seem like an obvious step, the necessity can’t be overstated in this case. Try to keep your outdoor kitchen as close to your indoor kitchen as possible to shorten the distance between back-and-forth trips. Also, be sure to get your utility services lined up for the possible array of appliances you’ll include in your outdoor kitchen. Finally, make sure your plans take into consideration space for where guests will sit so that there’s a nice flow. If you want to install your outdoor kitchen on an existing deck, make sure it’s strong enough to support the structure.

2. Keep it small. Unless you’re really big on entertaining, you can probably do with small-sized appliances in your outdoor kitchen. Use a mini fridge to store the items you’ll use most often while outside, such as condiments and beverages, as this will cut back on both space and expense.

3. Choose durable materials. Since your outdoor kitchen will be exposed to the elements, consider materials that will hold up well, such as stainless steel, slate, tile or stucco. Talk to professionals and make sure all fixtures and counters are recommended for outdoor use.

4. Make sure you have all the essentials. Your outdoor kitchen needs to mirror your indoor kitchen in many respects. Be sure to plan for all the kitchen essentials you’ll need, such as trash and recycling bins, areas to house plates, utensils and paper goods, racks for glasses and quick access to cleaning supplies. You’ll want all of these items to be in covered or enclosed areas to keep them clean and protected from the elements.

5. Plan for special features. The sky’s the limit when it comes to outdoor kitchen design, so decide if you want to incorporate any special features into yours, such as an outdoor pizza oven, a fire pit, a bar, or an outdoor television center. Before making the investment in such a feature, think about what you’ll get the most use out of.

6. Choose an easy floor. Make sure your outdoor kitchen has a durable, easy-to-clean floor, such as resilient tile. This will stand up to cooking messes, as well as outdoor debris, such as dirt and cut grass.

7. Make sure outlets are handy. An outlet near the cooking area will come in handy in a variety of ways (think blenders and carving knives), while outlets near the seating area will open up options for entertainment and lighting. 

These are just some of the many ideas to get you started on your outdoor kitchen dream. The most important thing to keep in mind is that you don’t need a lot of space. You can achieve the same effect in a small area with the right products and the right design.

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