The official start of summer is just a few days away which means it’s time to fire up the grill and prepare for backyard barbecues and parties. An outdoor kitchen is a unique home feature that allows homeowners to expand their living area beyond the indoor kitchen and family room; turning a backyard into a chef’s dream space that can be used year-round.
A simple outdoor kitchen may include a standard grill and patio furniture, while a more elaborate set-up may incorporate built-in appliances, extra storage, a fireplace or a host of other features. The one thing most functional outdoor kitchens have in common are a combination of elements from the indoor kitchen, living room and family room, making it an entertaining, comfortable place to enjoy time together.
Establishing a Layout and Selecting Materials
Establishing a layout and selecting the right materials for your outdoor kitchen can be a fun process. There are a number of considerations that have to be made. First, start by envisioning how the space will be used. How often will you use your outdoor kitchen? Will you host large parties or more intimate gatherings? How much storage will you need?
Conceptualizing how the space will be used before establishing plans will streamline the decision-making process. Appliances may be one of the largest influencing factors when determining the overall layout of the space. While a grill is generally a staple item in an outdoor kitchen, homeowners also consider including items like a sink, refrigerator, ice maker, cooktop, or inclusions like a wine refrigerator, hibachi grill or beer tap. If you have a smaller backyard, consider installing a BBQ/cooking island rather than a large outdoor kitchen. Basing your decisions on your needs and budget will allow advanced planning for the proper infrastructure including electrical, plumbing, and ventilation.
It is also important to build an outdoor space that will withstand the elements. Materials like stone, concrete, and stainless steel can give your outdoor kitchen a beautiful look while weathering well over time.
Covered vs Uncovered
One of the primary decisions you must make is determining the location of your outdoor kitchen. First, how close do you want the outdoor kitchen to be to the indoor kitchen? Then, consider if you want an outdoor space that is completely covered. A covered outdoor kitchen will allow more opportunities to enjoy your kitchen year-round. In Texas, a shaded patio area can protect you from the harsh summer sun or allow you to grill on a rainy day. Although a covered outdoor kitchen will allow you to grill rain or shine, several considerations must be made. You must account for it’s location relative to the house and the smoke put out from the grill. Ideally, this type of space is incorporated into the initial home design. Some people prefer an uncovered area so they can enjoy features like a fire pit while gazing at the Texas Hill Country night sky. The uncovered kitchen can be also be built close to the house, but may give you more flexibility in regards to size and layout.
Completing the Look
What makes the outdoor kitchen an extension of your home is the ambiance created by incorporating special touches like furniture and lighting. The space should be comfortable and inviting with plenty of seating for guests and adequate furniture and storage to make entertaining and cleanup a breeze. Other amenities like a television, fireplace or fire pit can be incorporated to make this the ultimate entertainment area for you and your family.
We Love Outdoor Spaces
At Authentic Custom Homes our theory is to design and build beautiful, functional spaces that fit the personality and lifestyle of each of our homeowners. Here are just a few of our favorite outdoor spaces: