Outdoor kitchens are one of the most popular outdoor living additions all across the country. And for good reason. An outdoor kitchen expands your culinary horizons as well as your entertaining capabilities.
Below, we’ve pulled together some outdoor kitchen images from our portfolio to give you an idea of the possibilities. Enjoy!
… and scroll down to see the questions you should ask yourself as you begin planning your dream outdoor kitchen!
Click on the images to enlarge.
Questions to Ask Yourself: What Do You Want in an Outdoor Kitchen?
Now that you’re drooling over the idea of your own beautiful outdoor kitchen, it’s time to ask yourself some questions so that you can refine your wants and needs. This will help you when selecting an outdoor kitchen contractor as well as with setting a budget.
1. How Much Space Do I Have (or Do I Need)?
Size matters. While you can still have an outdoor kitchen in a smaller backyard space, having a larger patio and yard can give you more options. For an idea of what the average size is, according to the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), 66% of outdoor kitchens are between 100 and 400 square feet.
Think about your indoor kitchen and the space you have to move around and the counter space you have. While your outdoor kitchen may be smaller, you should still have plenty of room. Figure out how many people might be in your outdoor kitchen at one time and plan accordingly.
And remember, you’re not limited to your existing patio space. If you have room to expand, now’s the time. A couple of other things to consider:
- Will you have seating around a kitchen island and an outdoor dining room next to the kitchen?
- How many people you’ll be entertaining?
2. What Amenities Do I Want or Need in My Outdoor Kitchen?
The amount of space you have to work with will help dictate what amenities you have space for. Your budget will also help determine what you include.
Some of the most popular necessities and options include:
- One or more grills
- A cooktop
- An outdoor fireplace
- Countertop and kitchen island
- Outdoor sink
- Refrigerator, wine cooler, kegerator
- An outdoor bar
- Built-in trash can
- A pavilion to protect your outdoor kitchen
- Ceiling fan
- And more
Determine what your must-haves are, as well as your “that would be nice” options. This will give you a good starting point.
3. What Should the Layout Be?
Typically, you will want your outdoor kitchen close to your patio doors to your house. Think about what you want the view from your grill to be. Do you want it facing towards the yard or pool so you can see your kids playing or talk to your guests?
Your grill, refrigerator, and sink should all be easy to move between. An L-shaped kitchen counter and grill station makes this relatively simple and gives you more counter space. Or you might want a linear layout with the grill in the middle and the other components on each side.
4. What Kind of Grill(s) Should I Get?
Some of this is a personal preference. We know people who swear by a charcoal grill and others who prefer a gas grill. Still, others want a cooktop, a smoker, AND a gas grill. Think about what you will actually use, and how you like to grill.
Invest in a high-quality grill that will last for years to come. Be sure to check out next week’s blog on how to choose the best grill for your outdoor kitchen.
5. What Materials Should I Use?
At LiveWell Outdoors, we feel that if you are going to invest in an outdoor kitchen, you should use high-quality, beautiful materials. These can include natural stone, pavers, high-end grills, granite countertops, and quality cabinets. We can recommend certain brands and manufacturers that we use.
RELATED READING: Outdoor Kitchen Ideas to Soothe Your Inner Chef
Dream It. Build It. Live It.
To ensure you get the outdoor kitchen of your dreams, it’s important to select an experienced outdoor living contractor like LiveWell Outdoors. We work closely with you throughout the process, from the initial consultation to the design phase to the finished product and beyond.
We work with discerning homeowners in Maryland, DC, and northern Virginia. Visit our Process page to learn more about working with us.