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Must-Have Elements of Your Outdoor Kitchen

beautiful outdoor seating with a chandelier and outdoor kitchen

After years of being stuck at home, homeowners are putting more thought into the design and function of all of their spaces — to include their outdoor areas. Sunlight and fresh air contribute to health and wellbeing in unexpected ways, and most homeowners are eager to spend more of their time in their yards to enjoy the energizing effects of being outside. Outdoor living spaces with sumptuous seating have been essential for ages, but in the post-pandemic period, a new variety of outdoor room is rising in popularity: the outdoor kitchen.

Beautiful outdoor kitchen with stainless steel appliances.

If you are considering integrating a kitchen into your landscaping designs, here are a few essential components that you cannot ignore:

A Grill

Outdoor kitchen featuring a beautiful grill

A grill has been a popular outdoor cooking appliance for decades — arguably for millennia. Your grill should be the heart of your outdoor kitchen, as it is on your grill that you will produce so many of your outdoor meals. A gas grill is a good choice for beginners, but if you are more interested in capitalizing on the outdoor nature of your cooking space, you should opt for a charcoal grill, as charcoal imbues the food with more flavor. Building the grill into the rest of your kitchen is a good way to make the space feel cohesive and permanent.

An Oven

Ovens allow you to cook in a different way to grilling, which makes your outdoor kitchen more versatile. Having a second method of cooking is a good idea to help diversify your outdoor feasts, but you might consider what type of outdoor baking you might be doing to ensure that your kitchen is functional. For example, many homeowners opt to install a pizza oven in their outdoor kitchen, as pizza is a quick and delightful option for outdoor dining.

Counters

Instead of trying to shuttle your uncooked food between your indoor and outdoor kitchens, you should equip your outdoor cooking space with sufficient counter space to allow you to prepare the food directly next to your grill or oven. You should choose a countertop that will withstand the hard wear of the outdoors; direct sunlight, high humidity and freeze-thaw cycles can all cause damage to different types of counters. Most experts recommend concrete or granite for outdoor kitchen counters, but you should evaluate your aesthetics, climate and needs before making a decision.

Cabinets or Shelves

Another common pitfall of cooking outside is a lack of storage space, which means that home chefs must carry their cooking tools and tableware from their indoor kitchen. If you expect to use your outdoor kitchen often — at least once per week — it might be worthwhile to invest in cabinets or shelves where you can keep an extra set of cookware, utensils and other cooking and eating essentials.

A Sink

You might not realize how handy it is to have a sink while you are cooking until you don’t have a sink nearby. You might invest in an outdoor sink, where you can wash food, your hands and dishes while you are enjoying your outdoor living space. Typically, the outdoor sink does not need to be as large as your indoor kitchen sink, but you should consider what you will use your outdoor sink for before you make a decision about size and features.

A Fridge

Many families have more than one refrigerator and freezer on their property, so it often isn’t a stretch to move one of them into the outdoor kitchen space, where they can store beverages and any perishable food they might want to grill. If you do not already have a refrigerator to relocate, you might consider investing in a mini fridge, which can fit underneath the counter and allow you greater aesthetic control over your outdoor cooking space.

Seating

beautiful outdoor seating with a chandelier and outdoor kitchen

Usually, an outdoor living space is not designed to accommodate eating. As an extension of your outdoor kitchen, you might create a dedicated outdoor dining space, with a table and chairs at the appropriate height for consuming food and drink. Alternatively, you might add a bar counter to your outdoor kitchen, where family members and guests can sit on barstools and interact with you as you prepare a meal.

If you love spending time outside, you need to build spaces in your yard that allow you to escape your interior more often. An outdoor kitchen is a valuable addition to your home, and you will almost certainly make good use of your outdoor cooking space during the warm-weather months.

xo

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