Designing an outdoor kitchen involves planning things a little differently than when making plans for a typical indoor kitchen. An outdoor kitchen will not be protected from the elements by being completely enclosed, so the design process must include accounting for factors like constant exposure to outdoor temperatures and various types of weather. Understanding the outdoor kitchen design process more fully will make it possible to plan an outdoor cooking area that will be fully functional while providing a wonderful and practical enhancement to any outdoor living area. A well-designed outdoor kitchen can provide family enjoyment and entertainment for years to come.
Good outdoor kitchen design begins with a budget. No one wants to realize they have run out of funds before their project is completed. Once the budget is set, decide what elements are absolute necessities. These will become a permanent part of the overall design plan. Things like cooking appliances, hearths, cabinetry, counters, and lighting belong on this list. As the design reveals certain fixed elements, it will be easier to determine what sort of budget is available for extras like decorations, outdoor rugs, and greenery.
Envision the Finished Project
Because the design possibilities are endless, it is important to begin with a general vision of what the finished project should look like. Consider all the placement possibilities of all the different elements that will comprise the finished kitchen. The grill is likely to be the focal point, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Perhaps a new fireplace will be the center of attention, or maybe a wet bar. A modern outdoor kitchen design is ripe with possibility. Once those ideas are on paper, the next step will be choosing materials.
Outdoor Kitchen Materials
Deciding which materials to use can seem like a challenge. There are so many choices that it is important to understand the different options in order to design a space properly. The ideal outdoor kitchen will not only be fully functional, but also aesthetically pleasing. Deciding on materials early on in the process makes it easier to create a cohesive, complementary design. The following materials represent just a few excellent, weather-resistant choices for modern outdoor kitchen design.
Extira is a treated wood composite panel that resists moisture, rot, and termites. It is a better choice than MDF, wood, or plywood because of its superior resistance properties. It is exterior grade, which makes it a great choice for outdoor kitchen designs. Implementing complex geometric designs can affect the properties of wood composite panels, so check with the manufacturer before planning to use this material in visually complicated design projects.
Seaboard is a high density polyethylene sheet that is specifically formulated to stand up to the adverse conditions of an outdoor living space. It is food safe, which makes it excellent for outdoor kitchens. Seaboard can be used in cabinetry and doors.
Naturekast makes cabinets that are 100% waterproof. High-density resin technology makes it possible to get visually stunning cabinets, including some that have the look of real weathered cypress without the warping you can eventually expect from real wood.
Stainless Steel Cabinets
Stainless steel cabinets can handle outdoor environments well. There are many different brands that offer outdoor steel cabinets. This material is an excellent choice for its durability and general weather resistance, but too much of it can work against a relaxed outdoor look. Mixed with a variety of other textures, however, stainless steel can be the foundation for a sleek, pulled together look.
Challenger creates custom outdoor cabinets in a variety of colors and textures. It also offers a variety of standard models in classic stainless steel. The company specializes in creating elegant products that inspire entertainment while being durable and very weather-resistant.
Creating a Cohesive Design
Once the materials have been chosen, it is important to look at all the different materials together to ensure cohesion. Good design involves using a variety of colors and textures that work well together to create a unified look. It is not necessary to make everything match. Using several different material types that complement one another is a good indication of well-planned design.
Choosing a Contractor
Many homeowners choose to create their outdoor kitchen on their own as a do-it-yourself project. However, for permanent installations, and especially when structural changes are being made to a home’s exterior layout, it is important to hire a licensed contractor to make sure the chosen design will work without interfering with building codes. When talking with different contractors, asking about their experience with similar projects may help in choosing on the perfect one to work with.
Implementing the Design
As the design begins to take shape in reality, it may become obvious that certain changes are needed. Early on, it is still possible to tweak designs. Paying close attention during this phase of the process can render it possible to change individual elements of the plan as necessary. Before any structural work has begun, it is important to be absolutely certain about the related design choices. Changing the plan after structural work has gotten started can be extremely costly.
Good outdoor kitchen design involves a great deal of planning and a good eye for design. The end result of a successful design is having a highly functional outdoor cooking area that can accommodate the needs of even the most inventive chef. Having a place to grill is no longer the standard for an outdoor kitchen. The bar has been raised in the last few decades, and the best outdoor kitchens provide places not only to grill, but also to braise, fry, and even bake. A well-designed outdoor kitchen can not only add value to a home, but can also provide years worth of entertainment for family and friends who enjoy spending time outdoors together while bonding over good food.