Five Features of Fabulous Outdoor Kitchens

Summer is coming, complete with long days ending in long get-togethers around the barbecue. There’s no better place to soak up the smells and tastes of summer than your very own yard or porch. Whether you have a humble grill or a full-fledged kitchen that would put most people’s indoor kitchens to shame, it’s time to spruce up your outdoor kitchen. Transform your cooking space and get it ready for those hot and sticky moonlit parties!

Every outdoor kitchen, regardless of size and impressiveness, should have these five features:

Indoor/outdoor continuity

Your outdoor kitchen should flow with the adjoining indoor space. Ideally, the outdoor kitchen should be situated near its indoor counterpart for practical purposes (food storage, cleanup) and aesthetic reasons alike. You don’t need to have matching, uninterrupted countertops (though it would be nice) – even a simple inside/outside pass-through window will make your life so much easier, especially if outdoor cooking elements are limited..

Dining Room by K+ARchitects
Kitchen by Kim Duffin for Sublime Architectural Interiors
Porch by Danny Broe Architect
Patio by Silva Studios Architecture
Patio by Melton Design Build

Awesome seating

What good is a party with nowhere to sit? Stop parking your guests on the damp grass and a couple of rusty folding chairs; make sure you have a comfortable spot to park yourself on while you enjoy the food.

Patio by Bruce Palmer Coastal Design
Patio by Webb & Brown-Neaves
Patio by John Kraemer & Sons
Patio by Thompson Custom Homes
Patio by Axis Mundi

Harmony with the landscape

Forest? Good. Waterfront? Good. Cityscape? That’s good too. Take your surroundings – and your view – into account when you decorate your outdoor kitchen.They should complement one another, not fight for attention.

Patio by Small Batch Kitchens
Photo credit: Michael Kelley Photography
Patio by Jon Luce Builder
Patio by Chicago Green Design Inc.
Patio by Opustone

Protection from the elements

Outdoor kitchens are obviously subject to much more wear and tear than indoor kitchens. Make sure yours is protected by a sturdy stationary or retractable cover of some sort, and check it regularly to make sure it’s still adequate. If you want to keep it open (or don’t want to invest in a covered space), get covers for all costly equipment (grill, nice lawn chairs, etc.).

Patio by Norelco Cabinets Ltd
Porch by Witt Construction
Patio by AMS Landscape Design Studios, Inc.
Landscape by AMS Landscape Design Studios, Inc.

Function and convenience

This one’s the most important. Keep the outdoor kitchen near the house so that you can run in and out as needed, and make sure to keep the sink (if you have one) near the cooking stations and all tools and gadgets handy. Having everything you need nearby can mean the difference between a perfect medium-rare steak and a charcoal briquette.

Porch by Frederick + Frederick Architects

(Side note, but: outdoor dishwasher? Awesome.)

Landscape by Randy Thueme Design Inc. – Landscape Architecture
Patio by Bagnato Architects

Are you – and your kitchen – ready for the first BBQ of the summer?


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