Complete the al fresco dining experience by doing the actual cooking in your own outdoor kitchen. Enjoy the open-air adventure of grilling up some burgers, prepping the toppings and serving it all up without ever having to go inside and miss out on the action. Whether you plan to do a simple grill area or a fully stocked prep-and-cook layout, check out the following outdoor kitchen ideas to make the most of your new space.
Focus on the Features
While you could just stick a grill on the patio and call it a day, the fun in creating an amazing outdoor kitchen is adding all of the special features you need (or just want) to make it a desirable experience. Similar to cooking indoors, you’ll likely want to build a spot where you aren’t separated from the rest of the party. This can easily be accomplished with a few bar stools pulled right up to a counter, or can also mean a nearby lounge area that’s within earshot of the cook. Regardless of your budget, there are plenty of common and coveted additions you can use to create a complete kitchen outside:
- Grill (built in or freestanding)
- Pizza oven
- Stove or cooktop
- Conventional oven
- Ventilation (especially in a covered area)
- Herb garden (doubles as bug repellent)
- Fire pit
- Dining spot
- Outdoor TV
- Shade cover
Prep and storage:
- Storage cabinets
- Refrigerator or cooler
Lighting and electrical:
- Overhead lighting
- Ceiling fan
- Electrical outlets
Location, Location, Location
Locate your outdoor kitchen close to the main house for multiple reasons, the most important being easy access to plumbing, gas and electrical lines. Close proximity to your home also makes bringing supplies to and from an indoor kitchen much simpler when you don’t have to maneuver a backyard obstacle course. You’ll also want to consider the view; if you’ll be manning the grill, are you staring at a wall or can you see what’s happening in the rest of the yard and be part of the conversation? Also keep in mind the sun, rain and wind — the addition of a pergola, awning or even the cover of a tree can provide much needed protection (just make sure your don’t use combustible materials, especially when open flames are involved). Think about which of these factors is important to you and plan your outdoor kitchen design accordingly.
Since your new patio kitchen will be located outdoors, it’s important that you use the correct materials to ensure it lasts long into the future. You’ll want materials that are:
- Weather Resistant: Harsh sun and rain will do a number on typical indoor materials. Ensure your new outside kitchen will last by using materials that withstand the elements, like teak, concrete, granite, engineered quartz and stainless steel to name a few.
- Rot Resistant: Moisture can quickly destroy the wrong types of wood and have you replacing your outdoor cabinets and counters sooner than you expected. Stick with outdoor-friendly woods like teak, opt for man-made materials or be prepared to apply a sealer regularly.
- Heat Resistant: You’ll likely want to place hot items, including food, dishes and cooking utensils, directly on the countertop. Use a heat-resistant counter material so you don’t have to worry about damaging them. These include engineered quartz, concrete and stainless steel, among others.
- Low Maintenance: Anything that can be hosed off and wiped down easily will make for quick cleanup. Stay away from porous stones, like marble, and unsealed wood that can absorb liquids and stains.
Whether you want inspiration for planning an outdoor kitchen renovation or are building a designer outdoor kitchen from scratch, Houzz has 42,645 images from the best designers, decorators, and architects in the country, including University Group and Swigart Home Improvement. Look through outdoor kitchen photos in different colors and styles and when you find an outdoor kitchen design that inspires you, save it to an Ideabook or contact the Pro who made it happen to see what kind of design ideas they have for your home. Explore the beautiful outdoor kitchen ideas photo gallery and find out exactly why Houzz is the best experience for home renovation and design.