With the trend over the last 5-10 years of bringing more usable space and function to the backyard and patio areas, homeowners are discovering that they can make great expansions to their usable square footage. Now, you need not only consider the inside of your home as space to use for entertaining, the outdoors is available too. This has greatly expanded what is available for home designs and concepts for entertaining. It isn’t that patios are new or novel concepts, they’ve been around for a half century or more. What is new is how they are being used and designed. Specifically, outdoor kitchen plans ideas call on the homeowner to make a significant enhancement to their outdoor experience.
These types of outdoor kitchen designs are really expanding on what is possible in the concept of what makes a patio a patio. In fact, this has really sparked or been sparked, either way, by the trend in creating outdoor rooms to allow for a more flowing use of a home’s square footage. Just like with any indoor room, there are walls, flooring and a ceiling or roof to consider. Outdoor kitchens have some unique features about them that need other attention too, however. Photo credit
One such feature that makes the outdoor kitchen unique is that unlike its indoor counterpart, the outdoor appliances and materials all need to be waterproof. This is especially true if you are using something like an open style of patio cover, like a pergola to act as the framework or skeleton of your outdoor room. A pergola will often have a lattice-style roof, which will allow rain and snow and other debris and intense sun to hit your kitchen area and appliances.
What types of appliances are available for an outdoor kitchen? Think of your kitchen inside. What types of appliances do you rely on? These are all available as outdoor units. Refrigerators, wine chillers or coolers, sinks, stoves, grill tops, even dishwashers can all be made for outdoor use now, too. More specifically, these appliances come in stainless steel and have appropriate wiring specifications to be able to be used outdoors. Since grilling is still one of the most popular ways to cook outdoors, there have been a number of advancements here as well. You can get a grill that just drops into a counter area and allows for convenient cooking and serving. Other unique items could include things like an outdoor pizza oven. These even come as kits. It is still best to hire a professional for installation if you don’t have the skillset or knowledge to make sure it is all set up right. They are fairly costly, so you’ll want to ensure the job is done right.
In terms of materials or features of an outdoor kitchen, the same ideas apply inside. When you think about your cabinetry, again it just needs to be waterproof. Woods can be used, but you’ll want to make sure that you use things like cedar and redwood for their excellent weathering abilities. You’ll also find that you can get the same basic counter top features. Using a material like brick or stone is going to be your best bet. Granite works well outdoors, too. However, you may want to be cautious with it as it is quite porous, so sealing it and such can be a chore. Photo credit
Other things to keep in mind are seating arrangements. The right ratio of space has been given to be about 15” of depth and 24” of width for each person. This will give you a good estimate as to how long to make your counters or bar area for seating. If you choose to have a more formal outdoor dining area, then the table and chair set will likely give you enough of a separation on its own. There are many ways that your outdoor kitchen ideas can take shape, enlisting the help of a professional designer or architect might be helpful. You can also find great ideas for outdoor kitchen plans online and in fine home magazines.