Now You're Cooking! 4 Steps to Designing Your New Outdoor Kitchen

If you're thinking about adding an outdoor kitchen to your living space, you probably have a lot of questions. Not the least of these questions is, where do you start? But, there's good news. If you're struggling with the beginning of your own outdoor room project, here's a guide to get you started on the right foot.

Find the Right Spot. The best place for an outdoor kitchen is near the indoor kitchen. The entryway should be wide and inviting, and you should be able to reach the outdoor cooking or prep area with only a few steps. You'll probably also want a protected space that doesn't suffer a lot of wind and experiences at least some natural shade. Also, look for the easiest electrical and plumbing access to existing utilities. This will save money when adding features.  

Budget for Utilities. There are three basic utilities you'll need for most outdoor kitchens: electrical, water, and gas. To create a realistic budget, begin by working with a qualified contractor who can help you determine how much each utility will require. Electrical service is the most important of the three, as you will always need good lighting and at least one outlet in your cooking space. A sink with running water is the next most necessary item. A gas hookup is nice, but you may be able to work around it if your budget is tight after electrical and plumbing. Budget for these necessities before choosing building materials so that you ensure a functional work space on any budget. 

Plan a Functional Layout. Once your location is set, it's time to design the layout. If you have limited space or money, your best best will be to plan for counters and a grill or sink running along an exterior wall of your house. This limits the amount of counter top material and allows you to use existing electrical and plumbing lines easily. If you have more room to work with, try to create a layout that utilizes the "work triangle" of the kitchen -- sink, refrigerator, and stove or grill. Adding a free-standing island can help add work space or provide guests with a place to sit and relax while you entertain. 

Select Durable Materials. What materials you choose will largely depend on your budget, but you'll want to look for more durable materials than you would choose for an indoor kitchen. Stainless steel and marine-grade polymer are both low maintenance and hardy materials. For flooring, you may want to opt for a good indoor/outdoor material like natural stone and freeze-proof tile. Work with your contractor to select building materials that fit your budget but will stand up to the weather and foot traffic. 

By following these few basic steps, you can start moving forward on your new outdoor kitchen. And then, you can start wowing your guests and enjoying your yard more. To get started, contact companies like All American Air & Electric, Inc.