As the summer months quickly approach, many people are heading outside to grill. Many grilling enthusiasts decide to take things one step further and create their very own outdoor kitchen. Having an outdoor kitchen makes grilling out more convenient and can add lots of value to your home if you create a thoughtful layout that follows the rules of FFCC – Function, Flow, Convenience and Comfort.
The first thing you must do when planning the layout of your outdoor kitchen is to find the perfect location. Since outdoor kitchens are often used for large outdoor gatherings, it is best to choose a location that is private, has lots of shade, and is far enough from the house to prevent the spread of smoke, fire or strong odors into your home. The placement of your outdoor kitchen should take other nearby features into consideration. For example, if you have a pool or outdoor dining area you may want your outdoor kitchen to be a certain distance from these features, depending on how you plan to use them together.
It may help to plan your outdoor kitchen if you separate the area into zones. There should be an Entertainment Zone, Serving Zone, Prep Zone and Cooking Zone. Each zone should be in an order and proximity to one another that makes sense for the space. Keeping FFCC in mind will help you figure out where to place each zone. You want the area to flow well, function efficiently, be convenient for both the cook and the guests and be a comfortable place for everyone to hang out.
It is also important to consider how you will use the kitchen. If all you need is a simple kitchen for occasional summertime grilling, then you will want to choose a design that makes sense for the intended function. More elaborate kitchens can include specialty cooking equipment or appliances depending on your needs and intended use of the space. Place all of the elements of your outdoor kitchen in a layout that makes sense to the person who will be cooking in it most often. Everything should be easy to get to in the order that they will be used. Avoid placing elements of the kitchen in a haphazard layout that will require the cook to zigzag back and forth to accomplish basic tasks.
Every outdoor kitchen is subjected to the weather. Choose your location, appliances, cabinetry and other kitchen features based on the weather your outdoor kitchen will need to endure. If you live in a hot and sunny climate, choose a shady location or install a canopy or roof over the area. Outdoor kitchens in climates that encounter harsh winters with lots of snow will need some sort of protection from freezing temperatures and water damage. Be sure to properly protect your outdoor kitchen during all seasons. Having a storage shed or garage can give you a safe place to put outdoor kitchen appliances during seasons when they are not in use. If you live in a milder climate, you may be able to get away with placing a waterproof tarp or covering over your outdoor kitchen.