Gone are the days when an outdoor kitchen consisted of a fire pit or a simple grill with a basic cabinet for storage, and maybe a picnic table. Today, professional designers create beautiful, efficient outdoor kitchens designed to be an elegant extension of the home. Many Americans now enjoy the luxury and pleasure of outdoor cooking and dining.
A successful outdoor kitchen must be designed for efficient food preparation that fits, visually, into the landscape and environment that surrounds it. Elements to consider include the landscape around the home, and basic design principles that apply to any kitchen, indoors or outdoors.
The kitchen design professionals at Atherton Appliance & Kitchens can help you develop your outdoor kitchen. This design diagram from Alfresco Grills offers an excellent depiction of “the perfect open air kitchen” for commercial use. Following similar principles, below are some things to think about as you plan your outdoor kitchen:
Blending: Design your outdoor kitchen to match the look of your home, so that it becomes a natural extension, visually, of your living and recreational spaces.
Logistics: One of the first considerations is utilities: you’ll need access to plumbing, electricity, and possibly gas. It is also important to align cold areas (refrigeration), hot areas (cooking spaces), dry areas (food prep and storage) and wet areas (sinks) so that the spaces work well together and food preparation runs smoothly. Finally, think about the connection between your indoor and outdoor kitchen. Will the spaces operate independently, or should they be connected in ways that promote convenient food preparation and storage?
Stove Options: Cooks have strong opinions about their favorite choice of stove. Different cooks and grillers prefer a wide variety of styles, sizes, and cooking methods. Atherton Appliance & Kitchens and BSC Culinary offer a wide variety of options in our showrooms.
Are you a fan of the Big Green Egg ceramic cooker, which serves as a smoker, grill, and oven? Or is a gas grill your preference, such as this 30” gas barbecue grill from the precision series offered by Capital? It features stainless steel w-shaped precision burners, an infrared-zone burner, and a13K BTU flush mounted infrared rotisserie burner. Lynx’s 27” free-standing grill features two cast brass burners (total 50,000 BTUs), a 685-sq.-in. cooking surface (470 primary, 215 secondary), a hot surface ignition system and control illumination with blue LEDs. How about an outdoor pizza oven, such as one of the coal-fired ovens offered by Wood Stone?
The choices are many, and are guaranteed to thrill any outdoor cooking enthusiast. Visit one of our showrooms and we’ll be happy to walk you through the advantages and features of the most cutting-edge outdoor stoves.
Refrigeration: There are numerous options for outdoor refrigeration, including a variety of refrigerator sizes and shapes, and refrigeration designed for beer, wine, and ice. Refrigeration products by Marvel are just one of the options we offer at Atherton Appliance & Kitchens and BSC Culinary.
Appliance and Counter Materials: Depending on the climate, it is important that materials used in outdoor kitchens can withstand varied weather conditions. Some things to consider and try:
- High-quality stainless steel, such as the steel used in many of the grills, refrigerators, and cabinets sold in our showrooms, like these Viking products, provides a sanitary surface, is easy to clean and is corrosion-resistant.
- Natural stone counters are an attractive option, but keep in mind that some require sealing on a regular basis. Dense granites, such as “absolute black,” are among the least porous stones, but may not fit into your design. To find out how countertop materials will react to the sun or other elements, leave a sample outdoors and see how it fares.
- Grease stains are a normal part of outdoor cooking. Be sure that counters and patio or decks materials are resistant to stains, especially if they are located near cooking equipment.
Entertaining: Will your outdoor kitchen be a central focus for parties, or an extension of your pool area? Consider the use of your entire outdoor landscape, so that food preparation areas, dining spaces, and relaxation spaces complement each other without interfering in outdoor activities. Make sure your cooking area leaves room for the cook to socialize with guests during backyard parties.
Beating the Elements: Specially designed heaters can extend the outdoor cooking season. Natural gas patio heaters are one option, especially under eaves and pergolas. Portable propane patio heaters are a good solution for more modest budgets, and fireplaces and hearths are always a popular option. Shady pergolas and awnings can protect diners from the sun, and rain shelters will keep guests dry.
To complete the design of your outdoor kitchen, consider a sound system for music, and lighting specifically designed for the outdoors that will complement and enhance the area. We can point you in the direction of both sound and lighting designers. We look forward to helping you create the outdoor kitchen of your dreams!
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