What Are Outdoor Kitchens For Landscaping
An outdoor kitchen is a place outside of the home in your yard or landscape where you can entertain and cook while enjoying the open air. It extends your living room to the outdoor space. Your outdoor kitchen becomes the centerpiece of your landscape or yard, which lets you have a good time outdoors with family, friends, or guests. Outdoor kitchens can be small areas consisting of an inbuilt barbeque grill or large, fully equipped kitchens with one or more grills, sinks, countertops, bars, and storage cabinets.
When planning an outdoor kitchen, you will need to consider how many people you aim to accommodate, budget and entertaining needs. Next, you need to determine the best location for your kitchen, design layout, functionality, design options and the appliances you will need. Finally, you must select the best equipment and materials for building a beautiful outdoor kitchen. In this article, we are going to explore the factors to consider when planning your outdoor kitchen and the benefits of having one.
Starting with your outdoor kitchen, it is essential to first determine an affordable budget and plan according to it. Otherwise, you will end up spending more than you thought. Make sure there is a line item for each component of the kitchen – countertops, cabinets, seating, utilities, lighting, appliances, etc.
Budget items to keep in mind:
- Material Quality: Higher quality materials and finishes may come costlier, however, they tend to last longer.
- Utilities: Utilities like gas, electricity, and running water will need to be included in the area. Planning for this additional expense is important as it will add extra trades, materials and may depend on local permitting/inspections.
- Technology: If internet or cable is in demand for your new space, be sure to add network and WiFi installation line items.
Consider the environment and climate where your house is located. Both will greatly impact the materials, design, and the period of open-season for your kitchen outdoors. Each climate offers its own challenges and solutions comprising:
- Temperature changes are there in every climate, some may experience extreme changes all year round. Locations with this possibility should avoid natural stone or tile countertops and building materials as they have the risk of cracking. Extremes of weather may also cause harm to your outdoor kitchen cabinets depending on the materials used. This consists of PVC and other non-stainless steel materials as they tend to twist and bend in extreme temperatures.
- Including outdoor pergolas, heaters, fans, or a roof to your kitchen will increase the usable amount of space usage. These inclusions also expand the usable amount of time for the outdoor space.
- Creating an exterior room in the middle, also called a California or Florida room, will offer shade and shelter from bad weather, although allowing access to an outdoor kitchen or grilling area.
- Besides providing awesome views, sea air and salt water can be destructive to a few kitchen cabinet materials. In coastal regions, 316 marine grade stainless is the best for cabinet construction as it is more resistant to corrosion as compared to 304 stainless steel.
- Powder coat finishes act as a layer of protection to cabinets, no matter what is the stainless steel grade.
Most indoor kitchen layouts can be constructed outdoors as well. Be it a galley style or L-shaped kitchen design, there is a layout that looks good in many areas outside of the home including the landscape, rooftop, patio, backyard, or deck.
Check the available space and accordingly design a layout. If there is less space, one or more cabinets with a grill is enough. With a little more space, you can accommodate a few cabinets, a sink, and an inbuilt grill can be included. If you have ample space, a full-sized kitchen that provides a range of options for bartending, preparation, cooking, and refrigeration will upgrade the available space.
Next, plan the functionality of your backyard kitchen. A complete kitchen consists of four different functional zones, and an outdoor kitchen should have it too. Each of the hot, cold, dry and wet zones should be easily available to each other. The hot area is for cooking appliances while the cold area is designated for ice makers and refrigeration. The dry area serves for meal preparation and additional counter space. Lastly, the wet area contains a sink and bartending station. Don’t forget to consider utilities when planning zone placement. Make sure gas, water, and electricity is easily accessible.
5. Design Options
As outdoor living spaces are becoming increasingly popular, many homeowners create one looking similar to their indoor kitchen in style, color, and design. At the same time, others want to create a different living space not connected to the indoors. No matter what you choose, you have a lot of options available.
Completely functional stainless-steel cabinets, which are used to keep appliances and provide storage, have become the attraction of the outdoor living area. These cabinets serve a dual purpose as they are built with powder coating that lessens staining and corrosion. They allow for more opportunities to encompass design through finishes and colors, while also adding up to the lifespan of your investment. Select from various styles of outdoor cabinet pulls available to complement your stainless steel cabinet.
Outdoor kitchen countertops are even essential for food preparation and more. Subject to the climate, some materials work better in an outdoor setting and include concrete, granite, stone tile and glazed ceramic tile. While appearing decorative, these options provide durability and strength. Although, it is important to note these materials require maintenance and are prone to damage by extreme temperatures.
Appliances add further value to outdoor kitchens. Electric, Gas, Teppanyaki, charcoal, infrared grills, pizza ovens, burners, and smokers are appreciated by any chef – beginner or pro. Depending on the preference of entertainment and cooking styles, consider buying all-rounder appliances. For example, a grill that can be used to roast, smoke, grill, and bake will save space.
Ice makers and refrigerators also deserve equal attention at the time of selection process as the heating components are given. Climate and geography influence the efficiency of refrigerated appliances. For this reason, selecting high-performing models for your location ensures it is worth your investment.
Add-on or stand-alone bars can be included to create a completely functional kitchen. A garnish area, sink, glassware station, ice maker, kegerator and wine cooler creates a bartending center, elevating the wow-factor.
Lighting options is another important factor to consider to transition the outdoor kitchen from day to evening. Cooking, cleaning, meal preparation, and dining areas should be well lit. Adding a light over the sconces and dining area and over the bar enhances the functionality and provides an element of design. If you are planning to build a ceiling, overhead lights with fans make an excellent dual-purpose choice. Additionally, consider lighting specific sections such as including a task lighting around or under counters. Many grills are available with LED lights that turn on when the lid is lifted.
Seating is an essential part of your outdoor kitchen and will look incomplete without it. It provides a place to enjoy your delicious meals while having a good time with friends and family. Today, low seating design has become popular that is away from the outdoor cooking areas. A large, low table for guests is the best option to serve drinks and plates while socializing. Consider placing a counter with bar stools beside the bartending and cooking areas for a casual gathering. You can create multiple areas to drink and eat utilizing your outdoor space completely.
Consider the items that will require storage in the outdoor kitchen area. Most outdoor kitchens are affected by pollen and dust, also humidity, temperature fluctuations, and precipitation. For this reason, utensils or crockery and other non-food items are best stored in plastic containers inside the cabinetry.
Food safety needs air-tight storage bins and outdoor refrigerators. Air-tight bins are available in various sizes and help to keep pests away while providing accessibility.
You can also consider having a designated cleaning space for products, ensuring clean up happens regularly. Proper maintenance expands the lifespan of stainless steel kitchens so cleaning surfaces of food stuffs and other debris are strongly recommended.
Benefits of an outdoor kitchen
Now let’s see what benefits an outdoor kitchen brings with it.
1. Lower Energy Bills
When we use an indoor kitchen in the hot summer months, the air conditioner has to work harder to cool down the home from the extra heat generated. This increases the electricity bill. Preparing and cooking meals outdoors will help to reduce the energy bills by keeping the air cooler inside.
2. Great Way to Entertain
Outdoor kitchens become the center of attraction of your landscape and are a perfect space to entertain people. Guests can socialize around the grill while the meal is being prepared.
It can get crowded being around with the cook because there is limited space in an indoor kitchen than being outside. In your outdoor space, you can have lighting, music playing, and outdoor furniture to have your guests be comfortable, creating a pleasant atmosphere. Homeowners with outdoor kitchens have more fun in the open area as it becomes an entire social gathering area.
3. Keep Smells Outside
Preparing meals outside also keeps all smells outside. Some foods release smells that are not pleasant and rather than bringing it inside the home and sticking to clothing and furniture it will all stay outdoors. Foods, for example fish or deep-fried items leave a smell that at times stay for days.
During summer, smells seem to be stronger because of the heat. In addition, the smells might completely disappear into the air from your garden or yard.
4. Enrich Your Home
Including an outdoor kitchen in your landscape will prove to be an investment in your home. Outdoor kitchens have a higher rate of return on investment than other outdoor home improvement projects.
This is true if your outdoor kitchen is built with high-quality appliances and materials. It can offer a lifetime of entertainment and enjoyment as most outdoor appliances are made to bear tough weather conditions.
5. Save Money on Restaurant Meals
Having an attractive outdoor space with your own cooking and dining area makes the best ambience and will make you feel like you are already having a meal in a restaurant. Enjoying in your outdoor area will save your money from spending on restaurant bills and outings.
6. Eating Healthy and Improving Food Taste
Grilling is a healthier cooking technique that also improves food taste significantly in all foods from fish to onions. The reason is that fat separates from meat when it is grilled.
This leads to fewer calories which is always an advantage for the waistline. The high heat from the grill helps food hold its moisture, creating unique flavors other than the indoor kitchens.
7. Expand Entertaining and Living Space
Adding an outdoor kitchen to your landscape will provide more space to gather guests with a peaceful outdoor atmosphere. It will benefit you to add this space if you already require more space to gather family and friends. You can even consider adding an outdoor kitchen when designing your backyard oasis.
Extending an outdoor kitchen further by adding patio dining sets or outdoor lounge furniture and preparing food outside becomes a group activity and no one is left alone indoors. If you like throwing lively parties or having warm get togethers, an outdoor kitchen will make this easier.
Another addition you can make to your outdoor kitchen to make it usable even in rain or bad weather is adding a roof. Furthermore, including an island around a grill will also add extra living space for everyone to have a good time.
8. Makes cooking fun and easier
With an outdoor kitchen, you can cook while enjoying it with your family and friends. As mentioned earlier, cooking in the outside space will prevent your home from filling up with smoke and will keep the indoor temperatures cool.
Everything you need to serve your guests will be conveniently available outside, such as refrigerators, ice makers, saving your time with trips in and out of the house with a full-service outdoor kitchen.
9. Adds up to Resale Value
Outdoor kitchens are regarded as a luxury feature that makes a house more marketable when it is up for sale. If your backyard is not big enough, think about building an outdoor kitchen as anticipated home buyers also enjoy having an open outdoor space.
10. Chance To Spend More Time Outdoors
Having an outdoor kitchen will give you the chance of enjoying the fresh air and the outdoors more often, irrespective of where you live. People cherish their time outdoors in states where winters are longer. Staying outdoors is beneficial for your health too.
How much does it cost to build an outdoor kitchen?
The national average to build an outdoor kitchen is $13,176, and average prices range between $5,057 – $17,276. The least you can anticipate to spend is $2,875, while on the higher end expect to pay around $40,750. The average cost per square foot ranges between $32.50 – $100 per square foot. Your wallet and imagination are the only limits on how much you would like to save or spend.
Thinking of expanding your living space? Make the most of your landscape by adding an outdoor kitchen. Contact Edenapp to get our certified contractors to design and construct everything, from simple grills with counter space to a full-facility providing an outdoor kitchen with gas and plumbing lines.