Choice Pool & Spa's Guide to Outdoor Kitchen Design
For busy families, passionate cooks, and frequent hosts, the outdoor kitchen is the center of life when the weather is great. And with North Carolina's temperate climate, local homeowners stand to get the most out of a custom outdoor kitchen.
We've created this handy mini-guide that includes all the basics on what you need to know about designing a custom outdoor kitchen. It was created with homeowners like you in mind, who want to make their backyard space the best it can be. Use it whether you're planning a new back yard, renovating your current outdoor kitchen, or just looking for some inspiration for a future project.
Step One: Consider How You Will Use It
For some homeowners, the outdoor kitchen is all about entertaining. Make sure you'll have everything at your fingertips when it comes time to fire up the grill. As outdoor kitchens become increasingly elaborate, it's important to know you won't be crisscrossing the space with guests and other cooks.
It's also good to consider that, as host, you'll probably be cooking and socializing simultaneously. Is your range or barbeque situated so you're looking at guests or will your back be turned while you tend to those grilled wings?
Also, you'll need to consider safety when you design the layout. If there are going to be children running around, think about where the main pathways of traffic will be. Make sure kitchen elements that pose safety hazards are placed well away from those routes. That would include the barbeque and/or firepit, of course!
Step Two: Fit the Design to Match Your Space
Having a huge yard means you're starting out with a big blank slate, which can be overwhelming. Try and define nooks and areas of your yard, all of which you may not want to be taken up by your outdoor kitchen.
On the flipside, those with just a small patio space to work with shouldn't give up on the notion of having an outdoor kitchen. Just as it is with interior spaces, there's always a way to make things work!
No matter what size yard you have, you'll need to pay careful attention to lighting. Lighting is key once the sun goes down because it sets the mood and keeps you from having to run around with flashlights. This is truly a case where design and functionality are equally important. You don't want any harsh, default overhead lighting to wreck the ambiance you've worked so hard to achieve with your design goals.
Step Three: Set Your Appliance Goals
This is really about setting a budget but it's also about styling your new custom outdoor kitchen. Planning the appliances from the get-go allows you to control your budget and it also allows you to visualize your project early on.
Step Four: Consider the Landscape
The most impressive custom jobs are those that were designed with the existing landscape in mind. Do you have steps? Is there a retaining wall? What's the focal point of your space? How well will the architectural elements of your new outdoor kitchen mesh with the look of your home? Will there be a water feature? Will the eating area look out over a pleasing view or will you be going for a more intimate setting that's enclosed with hardscaping or landscaping? Lots to consider here.
We realize an outdoor kitchen project comes with a lot of decisions to make. If Choice Pools & Spas can help guide in any way, we're here to help. We want you to love your new custom outdoor kitchen as much as we love designing them!