GC’s and subcontractors who are keeping up with the latest design trends know that more and more homeowners want their new homes equipped with outdoor kitchens. Unfortunately, one challenge many builders face with outdoor kitchens is that they are working with materials and conditions traditionally handled by landscapers, pool installers, and deck designers. Keeping these three tips in mind will help ensure that you’re building the very best outdoor kitchens your clients could wish for.
Good kitchen design is good kitchen design, period. Make sure that the layout of cold areas (refrigeration), dry areas (prep counters), hot areas (grill/stove/oven), and wet areas (sinks) in the outdoor kitchen is as efficient and functional as the indoor kitchen layout. Each zone should have proper space and appropriate proximity to the other areas.
Locating the grill, refrigerator, and stove to maximize their access to the home’s utilities is a no-brainer. But don’t forget that outdoor kitchens have an even greater need for adequate task lighting in the different function zones because there is no ambient lighting coming from the rest of the house, and much of the entertaining outdoors is done at night. You’ll also need to address outdoor cooling and heating needs if the homeowners wish to extend the seasonal use of their outdoor kitchen. This is doubly true if they client plans on having an outdoor dining room.
A well-designed outdoor kitchen demands two kinds of durability: design and equipment. A durable design is one that uses sturdy materials and closely matches the design elements of the rest of the house. Repeating tile patterns, brick types, colors, and exterior wall coverings ensures that the outdoor kitchen blends so seamlessly into the overall design so that the client won’t feel the need to remodel the space later on. Durability in equipment means installing countertops, sinks, and cooking gear that is specifically meant for outdoor kitchens and can weather the elements well season after season. It also means planning space for the clients to install any equipment (warming drawers, ice makers, an upgraded grill) they may choose to add later as their entertaining needs grow.