Is your backyard ready for outdoor entertaining?
How better to entertain outside than by setting up your patio as an outdoor kitchen. Grilling is great, but what’s even greater is not having to run back and forth between the kitchen and patio! By creating an outdoor kitchen, you will make entertaining friends and family easier and more enjoyable.
Here are some things to consider when planning your outdoor kitchen.
What Will Work Best for Your Patio?
Outdoor kitchens vary greatly: they can be large or small, elaborate or simple, or anything in between. To make the most of your kitchen, you’ve got to think of how you will use the space. Will you want your guests to eat outside nearby, or just mingle while you cook? What features are already in your backyard (like landscaping and pool) that you will have to work around?
You will also want to have a professional check your patio or deck to be certain it can support the additional weight.
Can Your Outdoor Kitchen Be Used All Year Round?
How often you will get to use your outdoor kitchen will determine the kind of equipment you will purchase. If you live in a part of the country where your kitchen can only be used in summer months, then a grill with wheels, that can be moved into a garage come fall, makes the most sense. These grills are common and come in a large variety of sizes and prices with numerous features to choose from.
If, however, you will want to use your outdoor kitchen year-round, you may want to consider a built-in grill. Ones that come with side burners in the base unit allow for cooking at different temperatures at the same time. You’ll have an easier time cooking meat and veggies, plus guests will be impressed. The base can also provide extra countertop and storage space.
A final thought on built-in grills, obviously, if you move, you won’t be able to take it with you, so don’t invest unless you know you will be staying put for many years.
Other Equipment and Electrical Outlets
Besides buying grill accessories like griddles, thermometers and tongs, your outdoor kitchen will need other appliances like a refrigerator with ice maker, a microwave, blender, and even a stereo. And all of these appliances will need to be plugged in, so be sure to have GFCI outlets professionally installed by a licensed electrician.
Also consider having a sink available, which will help you prep and clean veggies and rinse plates and utensils. If you’d like to be able to wash dishes, you’ll need a cold and hot water hookup installed.
Plan for Inclement Weather
Even Central Oregon can have inclement weather, so always take wetness into account when choosing your outdoor kitchen materials. You’ll want a cover for your grill and waterproof materials for your cabinets, countertops and other kitchen elements. Materials that work well are slate, tile, stone and stucco.
An outdoor umbrella over the eating area will be appreciated by guests when it starts to drizzle. And, for cooler evenings, consider purchasing patio heaters or an outdoor fireplace.
Will it Need to Be Wheelchair Accessible?
Do you have a friend or loved one who is in a wheelchair? If you plan on aging in your home, you or your spouse may one day be in a wheelchair but will still want to be able to use your outdoor space. So, be sure to include ramps where necessary, make some of your countertops wheel-chair accessible, and select flooring surfaces that will be safe for those using walkers and wheelchairs.
Thanks to modern technology, most high-tech gadgets can be located outdoors just as easily as indoors. There are special sound systems and televisions that have been created to withstand temperature variations and weather conditions for outdoor use.
Of course you’ll want to make sure you have internet access outside as your indoor signal most likely won’t be strong enough. And no, your smart phone’s signal won’t give you the wireless access you need.
Don’t Forget Lighting
If you plan to entertain at night you will definitely have to light your kitchen. Install bright, clear lighting in the cooking area so you can safely chop, slice, and dice. In the seating and dining area you will want softer, more ambient lighting.
Adding an outdoor kitchen is the perfect way to enhance the functionality of your patio, enjoy your backyard with friends and family even more, and raise the value of your home. That’s a win/win/win.