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Planning An Outdoor Kitchen

For anyone interested in entertaining friends and loved ones, an “outdoor kitchen” can be a great addition to your open air entertaining space.


Having an outdoor kitchen can allow the host (you!) to prepare meals without ever having to break away from the party. Guests can socialize around the cooking area in comfort, instead of being forced inside where there may be limited space, and as an added bonus this will minimize or eliminate the mess that can occur indoors in a traditional setting. Equally as attractive is the added value to your home due to the rise in popularity of outdoor patio kitchens.

If you’re considering designing an outdoor kitchen, but don’t know where to start, here are some key things to think about during the planning phase!

  • What is the right place for my outdoor kitchen?
    • An outdoor kitchen can be placed in any area in your yard. If you plan to use it often, you’ll likely want to choose an area where you have (or can have) a roof above the kitchen in case of inclement weather. You may wish to choose a spot close to your door for easy access in and out of the house, or perhaps you’d prefer a special spot close to the pool or other features you already enjoy. If you want to include running water, electric, or gas to the area, closer to the home may be less costly.
  • What appliances or other features do I most want?
    • Common options for appliances may include a grill, side burner, and a counter top for preparing food, and a dining counter or table. Other possibilities are a smoker, pizza oven, or firepit, to name just a few. With the addition of utilities, you can add features such as a sink, refrigerator, and other appliances.
  • How many people do I plan to entertain, and how?
    • For larger groups, you may wish to have a larger, rather than smaller, grill. If you are interested in serving beverages to your guests, you’ll need to think about a possible wine chiller, or beverage tubs. You may choose to include lighting, a seating and / or dining area, and storage options as well. If children live in or frequent your home, you’ll need to consider safety options for them too.
  • Should I consult a professional?
    • It is a good idea to consult a professional before you begin work, even if you plan to do the work yourself. They’ll be able to offer advice about building codes in your area, such as how close you can build to your property line, what permits you might need to file for, and fire safety, as well as offer other important information about certain features and considerations you may have missed. Often, hiring a professional can save money in the long run by avoiding costly mistakes.

Once you decide to go forward, proper planning will ensure you’ll have the exciting experience of designing an area that best suits you, your home, and your guests, making this an investment in not only real property value but also the value of added enjoyment for the lifetime of your home.