Modern manufacturing techniques and materials have made it easier than ever for homeowners to turn the dream of an outdoor kitchen into a reality. Constructing one is usually part of the new construction process. However, landscaping outdoor remodeling projects can also be a great opportunity to install an outdoor kitchen near your home.
Key Features Of An Outdoor Kitchen
The size, shape, and availability of things like power and gas lines can all influence the features that go into your kitchen. Yet for most people, there are some basics.
Plentiful countertop space is a priority feature in many outdoor kitchens. You need to ask yourself just how many square inches or even square feet you need. If you plan to use your outdoor kitchen for entertaining, then you will want to have enough space for your guests to sit down and eat without having to cram their plates near prep or serving platters.
Garbage bag or waste receptacles are also a key feature to consider. You are going to need a place to throw away packaging, or discretely get rid of that hot dog that accidentally rolls off the grate. While you’re considering your options, you might want to also look for one with some kind of secure lid.
A sink station is also a very popular feature you find in a well-designed outdoor kitchen. This gives you the ability to wash your hands, rinse off plates, and wet sponges to wipe things down.
Refrigeration is also something that might be on your radar. This might be in the form of a refrigerator that’s designed for outdoor use or just a lower cabinet area where you can tuck away a cooler.
Choosing The Right Grill For Your Outdoor Kitchen
Of course, the grill is the beating heart of any tastefully designed outdoor kitchen. This conjures up some important questions.
Which Is Better A Drop-In Or Standalone Grill?
The benefit of a built-in or “Drop-In” grill is that it can fit seamlessly into the surrounding countertop for a sleek professional look. Though there are some drawbacks to this configuration.
Once you select the grill, you are locked into those dimensions. If the grill head breaks down ten years later, you might have quite a hunt to find a replacement with the same exact dimensions. You also need to take into account that most drop-in grill heads burn propane or natural gas. With propane, you can connect a hose to a tank to power the flames. If you want a grill that burns natural gas, you’ll need to have a municipal supply line run to the grill station.
With a standalone grill, you can move it around wherever you want it. If you decide five years later that you want to change from gas to charcoal, it’s as simple as wheeling the old grill out and wheeling the new grill into place.
The complaint is that a standalone grill doesn’t necessarily “Feel” like it’s an outdoor kitchen. Also, depending on where you set it up, a standalone grill tends to take up more space, than a drop-in. Though there are some manufacturers who offer All-in-one units which include counters, cabinets and a high-quality grill.
Best Drop In Grills For An Outdoor Kitchen
Best Standalone Grills For An Outdoor Kitchen
Fire Pits For An Outdoor Kitchen
If you live in a rural area, or you want to install an outdoor kitchen at a vacation property like a cabin, you might also be in the market for a fire pit that can also double as a cooking surface. In the past your options were limited. Though new revolutions in grill materials now make it easier than ever to install a sleek looking firepit that doubles as a grill.
Pizza Ovens For An Outdoor Kitchen
These days authentic pizza is incredibly popular. Of course, the average indoor kitchen simply can’t produce the kind of heat you need to make a perfectly blistered, golden delicious pizza. Even if you could, you probably don’t want that much heat inside your home!
Fortunately, grill manufacturers are aware of this need, and they have made quick work of offering a wide range of high-quality outdoor pizza ovens. There are even some homeowners who forgo having a traditional grill in their outdoor kitchen to leave room for a built-in outdoor pizza oven. Of course, there are also portable pizza ovens that you can keep safely stowed in the garage when you aren’t using it. Then you can wheel it out when it’s time to make a delicious pie.
Best Outdoor Pizza Ovens
Do I Need A Contractor To Install An Outdoor Kitchen?
If you are an experienced Do-it-yourselfer, you might be contemplating whether or not to bring in a contractor to install your outdoor kitchen. Depending on where you live the local building codes might require you to get a building permit and file for inspection. Especially if you will be pouring footings to support your outdoor kitchen or some part of it will be attached to your home.
At the same time, things like electrical wiring for lights and other features often need to be installed by a professional or certified that they have been installed correctly. If you wire in lights and outlets on your own and a short circuit starts a fire, your homeowner’s insurance might not cover it.
Of course, most gas lines need to be professionally installed. Even something like a small fault in a propane or natural gas line could lead to a major disaster.
All this is not to say that you can’t take part in the process. If you want to be a little more hands-on, you can have the contractor and other professionals handle the critical installs. Once they are don’t with the critical components, you can install the finishing touches. If you aren’t a hands-on person, there are always contractors who can take the outdoor kitchen concept all the way to completion.