The internet is filled with beautiful images of outdoor kitchens, but before having one constructed, there are many things a homeowner needs to consider.
Where to Place Your Outdoor Kitchen
Outdoor kitchens are usually placed close to the actual kitchen in the house. This makes food prep and cleanup much easier on the homeowner. In addition, the closer the outdoor kitchen is to the house, the less cost is involved in running lines for electricity, plumbing, and gas.
Here are some other things to consider:
- Wind direction. Be sure to place the grilling area where the wind will carry cooking smoke away from the seating and living areas and the inside of the house. If an outdoor kitchen is sited properly, homeowners do not need to worry about adding a ventilation hood to remove the smoke.
- The cooking surfaces do need to be at least 10 feet away from the actual house to help prevent house fires
How Big Should I Make My Outdoor Kitchen?
Now that you’ve decided on the best place for your new outdoor kitchen, you need to decide how big it should be. The size of the kitchen is influenced by the appliances you want to include.
A simple grilling station to cook for a family of four will need less than space than the homeowner who frequently entertains large parties and wants a grill, an outdoor fridge, a kegerator, and an ice-maker. Homeowners need to put thought into how they will use their new space and which features are most important to them.
The last decade has seen an explosion of interest in outdoor cooking. Today’s outdoor cooks have access to:
- charcoal grills
- gas grills (either fueled with propane tanks or a gas line)
- wood pellet grills (like Traeger) which are popular for the consistent temperature and wood smoke flavoring
- kamado style grills (like the Big Green Egg) which hold the moisture in the meat better than a gas grill
- hibachi style griddles are popular for their large flat, easy to clean surfaces
Building an Outdoor Kitchen
At the Complete Backyard, every kitchen starts with a solid foundation of 8 inch thick poured concrete footers. We then build the structure of the kitchen with concrete blocks and apply a stone veneer over it. Homeowners have a wide variety of veneer options allowing them to choose a look complementing their home style.
Outdoor kitchens are wired for electricity, with GFCI outlets near the cooking area, overhead lights and ceiling fans. Additional options include outdoor heaters to extend the season and built in outdoor music systems.
Outdoor Kitchen Countertops
A popular outdoor kitchen countertop in Texas is lueder limestone. This is quarried in Lueder, TX and comes in color variations ranging from light tan to charcoal. While this is one of the most affordable options, it is very hard to keep clean, even when treated with a sealer.
Poured concrete countertops are not a good outdoor option in Texas. The high humidity levels in the DFW area prevent all the moisture from escaping the concrete while it is drying. When sealing the poured concrete countertops, the trapped moisture will leave homeowners with a hazy looking surface.
Tiled countertops are also hard to keep clean as the grout lines collect and show the dirt.
A better option is to use granite. Granite is durable, easy to clean, and comes in a variety of colors and patterns. Granite does not fade in sunlight and is not stained by moisture. It does however, require periodic re-sealing to keep it looking fresh.
Outdoor Kitchen Flooring
There are many options available for outdoor kitchen flooring. Homeowners often choose the same flooring they use for their pool decking.Common options are poured concrete, concrete block, and travertine. Whatever you choose, you will want a flooring which is durable, resistant to stains and easy to clean.
Shade and Your Outdoor Kitchen
Outdoor kitchen are usually built under an existing covered area or a shade structure is added. The shade maximizes the use of space, allowing use in sun or rain, and is often wired to provide overhead lighting – providing nighttime visibility. In addition to this, keeping your appliances under cover helps to extend the life of the appliances.
What About a Sink?
While many homeowners request an outdoor sink, we have found the majority of the cleanup happens in the main kitchen. Consider how you will use the space. Rather installing a large sink for washing dishes, perhaps a small single bowl sink for washing hands is all you need.
Can I Build in Stages?
Once homeowners upgrade one part of their backyard, they often want to do another part. It is best to begin with a complete backyard plan, a comprehensive master proposal that takes into account what the entire finished area will look like. We like to say “the cheapest time to build is now” because we know the cost of materials will continue to increase. However, sometimes the homeowner needs to space out the projects, for example building a pool this year, a kitchen and a living space next year. When you have a master plan and work with a professional, they can be sure things like wiring or plumbing are run and stubbed out during “phase one” of a project so there is no need to go in during “phase two” and dig up newly poured concrete to run power to the new kitchen or pool. Taking time before the actual construction begins to develop a thorough plan will make future projects much smoother.
The Complete Backyard has outdoor design consultants to help you design your dream space and stay on budget. Reach out to us today, we look forward to hearing from you!