Amazing Modern Outdoor Kitchen Area Examples and Designs
Planning an Outdoor Kitchen
Outdoor living has grown in popularity as home owners seek ways to extend their home and create a more functional space. Outdoor kitchens are one of the luxuries on the list for creating a more family friendly environment to enjoy in the backyard. Here are 10 tips to planning your outdoor kitchen.
1. Perform a Site Assessment
The first step to planning your outdoor kitchen is to perform a site assessment such as location, shelter from outside elements, and the ability to hook up to home utilities. Your outdoor kitchen should also be built on a leveled area.
2. Plan Utilities
Depending on the location of your kitchen, the installation of gas, water, and electricity may be impacted. For electricity, ample GCFI outlets should be installed to include task, ambient, and safety lighting for outside. Plumbing needs to account for both hot and cold water as well as winterized plumbing. Ideas for disposing of wastewater are access to a dry well, French drain, existing water waste lines, or recycling in your local garden. If you have gas, confirm the gas pressure for bulk connections and plan for the right pipe diameter required. One of the top three outdoor kitchen design mistakes is insufficient light.
3. Plan Your Functional Zones
A total of 4 functional zones exist in an outdoor kitchen as outlined below. Be sure to dedicate plenty of space for each zone.
• Hot Zone – Your area for the grill, cooktop, pizza over, and others.
• Dry Zone – Prep areas and counters to include cabinets and storage for your kitchen necessities.
• Wet Zone – This is for the sink, ice reservoir, beverage tub, and other wet related items.
• Cold Zone – This can be next to the wet zone and include wine chillers, freezers, and refrigerators.
4. Choose the Right Equipment
The equipment you purchase is dependent upon what you want to prepare outdoors. Some ideas are a grill, pizza maker, wok cooker and tandoor, and wine storage and beer dispensing appliance.
5. Landing Area Recommendations
The landing area is the space next to your main zones. Be sure to include adequate counter space and prep room besides each appliance. The second most common design mistake made is not accounting for adequate space.
The below is recommended for outdoor kitchens.
• 15” of open counter space above or adjacent to an under counter refrigerator or other similar appliance.
• If you plan a beer tap, have 12” of open counter space on each side.
• 18” of open counter space for each side of the sink.
• 24” of open space on one side of the grill or pizza over and 12” on the other side.
6. Cabinet and Storage Space Recommendations
Storage space is typically less with an outdoor kitchen that you would have with an indoor kitchen. With less items to store outside follow these bare minimum measurements for your storage space.
Small Kitchen – 21” storage cabinet space.
Essentials Kitchen – 36” storage cabinet space.
Medium Kitchen – 72” storage cabinet space.
Large Kitchen – 96” storage cabinet space.
7. Seating Recommendations
If you are considering adding a bar area to your outdoor kitchen, take into account the total width of each seat, knee space below the counter or table and traffic space between seats. Normal seating width is 24” while accessible seating is typically 36”. Traffic clearance includes 32” for no traffic, 36” for tight traffic, and 48” for unobstructed traffic.
Common knee space considered is outlined below:
Table Height Seating – 30” high with 18” knee space.
Counter Height Seating – 36” high with 15” knee space.
Bar Height Seating – 42” high with 12” knee space.
Accessible Height Seating – 30-34” high with 19” knee space.
8. Extend Outdoor Entertaining
To ensure you can enjoy your outdoor living space year round, make considerations for the natural elements. Look at pergolas and awnings to provide shade to your area. If you need rain shelter, use a non-combustible ceiling above the grill. Heat your area with fireplaces, hearths, radiant heat beneath the patio, natural gas, or propane patio heaters. Keep cool by using a fan or misting system. You can also consider installing a very hood or wind baffle to keep smoke from blowing into your area of entertainment.
9. 5 Safety Tips
• Make sure your area is slip resistant when wet or greasy.
• Store a fire extinguisher in n easily accessible area.
• Install a gas safety shutoff valve that is easy to reach but not too close to the grill.
• Round off corners and countertops.
• Provide safety lighting for major walk ways, steps, and entertaining area.
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