Outdoor kitchens aren’t just for Hollywood chefs or celebrities anymore. They’re actually becoming a popular upgrade to the average patio and deck. And although they no longer reserved for the rich and famous, the features of these kitchens are rather luxurious, including built-in grills, sinks plumbed to accommodate subzero temperatures, and under counter refrigerators.
The design considerations for an outdoor kitchen are similar to that of an indoor kitchen – you need a separate space for preparation, cooking, and dining. However, space can often be consolidated to keep costs down.
For instance, a bar built between the cooking space and the rest of the patio can serve both as an eating space and a food prep space. As a designer, I like to create spaces articulated as kitchen, dining and entertaining areas within a deck or patio. Outdoor entertaining is best done when your patio has a good flow, one that avoids routing guests through the kitchen, but also doesn’t leave the chef isolated from the party.
The counters, cabinets, and the appliances must be weather proof. Cabinets that are block faced with stone or brick are an excellent choice. Manufactured stone and decorative concrete block also provide cost effective but elegant options. Freestanding weatherproof cabinet options, including teak, cypress or composite finishes in a variety of colors and stain finishes, are also available.
Historically, only high-end appliance manufactures like Lynx have made built-in grills and outdoor appliances. Now there are some more affordable options on the market from brands like Cal Flame.
Often a fireplace or fire pit will be included in the design of the patio as an architectural accent, to provide warmth, and ambiance. They can be used for rustic cooking, and, with a little effort, a brick oven can be incorporated into a more traditional fireplace.
How much should you expect to budget for a patio with kitchen? I tell my clients that it is just like buying a car. You just have to decide whether you need a minivan, a luxury car or just something to drive around the block.
Whether you’re looking for a space to relax with that special someone, or want to host that annual block party, an outdoor kitchen opens up big possibilities. You’ll have a space that makes almost every season an enjoyable time to lounge and cook outside.