Outdoor Kitchen Ideas
To get the most out of your patio and backyard spaces, consider adding a full-service kitchen to make outdoor entertaining easy and effortless. The plus side? You can prep meals and cook all in one place without leaving your guests unattended.
Get inspired to create your own unique space with these stunning backyard outdoor kitchen ideas:
Selecting a Space
The first step was picking a spot in the yard. I realize not everyone has a yard, and that not all yards are great candidates for having an outdoor kitchen. We basically got lucky, as we had a perfectly flat area about 20′ wide and 10′ deep. One important consideration here is: Where will your sink drainage go?
When I say “sink” here, you have to keep in mind that it’s not the same as a sink in your house that goes to a sewer. For us (and yours may be different), it’s just a very rudimentary place for running water, basically to rinse things off and/or get a drink. It’s not hooked into a sewer, and so you’d never rinse food down the drain or anything like that.
Fortunately for us, we have a garden that sits about 25 feet away and is also slightly downhill. So, it made perfect sense to run any water right into the garden. I’ll talk more about that later.
Selecting/Building a Floor or Patio
We decided we wanted fieldstone for the “floor,” which was a whole other project in and of itself, as we had to dig down several inches, lay gravel, obtain the stones, and then figure out how to lay them (not as easy at it sounds, surprisingly). Also fairly expensive, to be honest. But, we thought it’d be cool (and it is). Our stones are called “Iron Mountain” and are big, black, flat stones. (They’re dry-laid, not cemented in, which is also a tough kind of install.)
That brings me to the first lesson I’ll share: Whatever the floor area of your outdoor kitchen is, figure out first where the appliances and cabinetry will go. If you look in the photo, you’ll see that our line of cabinets/appliances spans about 15 feet. I’ll get into what all is there, below. Building a Roof
Next up for our project was to build a structure to protect the kitchen / sitting area from the elements a bit. Any kind of structure will do. As you can see in the photo, I built mine with steel piping, pressure-treated 2x4s, and standard metal corrugated roofing.
You don’t need a roof, of course, but it does protect your investment a good bet, and it also gives you a place to hang things like lighting and, as you may notice, pots & pans. Plus, it gets you out of the direct sun on the hottest days and allows you to enjoy your outdoor kitchen even during a light rain. So, I highly recommend it.
Selecting and Obtaining the Cabinetry
This part was surprisingly tough. Many options exist, including kind of home-brewing your own out of industrial metal-made components.
Installing the Cabinetry
Prior to installing the cabinets, of course, was the unpacking. I found this part really, really frustrating because, as much as I understand how these components are sold largely pre-assembled (and therefore need to be packaged), the packaging for the above set-up was obscene.
The amount of cardboard and styrofoam we had after unboxing it all presented a big problem, as we live in the city and can’t just put 75 garbage bags out to the curb on trash day.
If you go the same route, check with your retailer about this issue before you buy (if it’s a concern). The next challenge was the drainage for the sink. Like I said, above, we lucked out in having our garden located downhill from this. So, I grabbed some basic 1″ black plastic tubing and ran it along our fence line behind the appliances, and then around a few corners until I got into the garden.
I held it all down with bricks and paid attention to keep it mostly out of sight. This worked great for me (it’s barely noticeable), but it’s a consideration you’ll want to take into account when planning.
The water presented another issue because this isn’t an actual kitchen like the one in your home. For me (and for most people), it’s not something that you’ll permanently hook up to your home plumbing system. The solution is to run a hose out to it, just as you would a normal garden hose. Only, for health reasons, you’re technically not usually supposed to drink out of just any garden hose. You want one that’s okay for potable water.
Our first thought was to check with some marine or RV stores, as boats and RVs are always needing to hook up to water sources. For some reason, we purchased two different hoses that turned out to be awful. One leaked constantly, the other sprung a leak over time.
Currently, we just found one called AquaArmor at Target. It’s actually just a normal garden hose, but with the bonus of being drinking water safe (lead-free, BPA free, etc.). So far, so good with that one.
If you’re not good with plumbing, you may need some help rigging up such a system. In the end, you basically have a garden hose going to a little sink, and you’ll have to match up the connectors, usually with some obscure fitting from a hardware store. So, plan for some extra time getting that all sorted out.
Gas for Cooking, Electric for the Rest
As for the gas, we made sure to find propane-powered appliances (for the cooking). So, basically what you’re seeing are ultra-fancy versions of what you might take camping. The grill and range are run off normal large propane tanks.
For the fridge, the counter-top appliances (basically just a water kettle and food processor) and the lighting, we simply ran a heavy-duty 12-gauge extension cord out from our house, hidden fairly well along the fence line, and into the under-sink storage area where a crazy network of weather-protected power strips and additional extension cords extend all over the place.
The final step was the decorations and furniture. We opted for a large, basic wooden kitchen table (basic, but actually was a bit expensive) and some chairs that looked rugged enough to withstand being outdoors a lot. We did the same on the right side (see photo) with some outdoor seating and wooden furniture.
We then hung various ornamental items (strings with bells and beads, flags we got in Mexico, outdoor strings of lights, and some Moroccan hanging lamps). You can add some Playground Equipment in your yard for kids to have some decorative space for kids. Also, you can install Picnic shelters for safety purposes.
When winter comes, it’ll be time to protect everything a good bit. Portland is usually fairly mild, but it can snow sometimes. So, we’ll move the table in more toward the appliances, put it, and all wooden furniture up on bricks to keep the wooden legs away from any snow that might blow in and cover some items with tarps.
Diane Hemingway writes for Home Decor, Playgrounds, Lifestyle, travel-related topics additionally; he has a passion for the recreation and design industry for more than ten years, Diane has become an experienced Redesign in this industry. His goal is to help people with his vast knowledge to assist them with his best suggestions about different Carolina Recreation & Design activities: Playground at Club, Hills – Shades, Picnic Shelter, Shade Structures
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