If you love cooking and entertaining outdoors while surrounded by the sounds of nature, then a functional, custom-built outdoor kitchen is the ideal renovation. It will improve your outdoor living space, create a stylish atmosphere of relaxation, enhance your outdoor experience and increase the property value of your home. Whether you have a large backyard or limited space, an outdoor kitchen is great addition to your backyard.

Outside cooking is a wonderful alternative to the humdrum routine of preparing daily meals in the home. It can bring an uplifting feeling and festive air to family dinners or social gatherings when you prepare outdoor culinary delights during the three seasons that most Canadians enjoy. A professionally designed outdoor kitchen is not only appealing in the backyard, but it is an investment that you’ll be proud to show off to family and friends.

Outdoor cooking has come a long way from just a barbeque grill and a beer on the deck. Nowadays, most outdoor grilling centers have evolved into an extension of the living space of the home. They have become a focal point of the landscape and many homeowners incorporate the same conveniences that they have in their indoor kitchens. In addition to the grill island, which is considered the main feature, other amenities may include counters, drawers, under counter refrigerators, wet bars, side burners, wood fire ovens, roasting pits, fire-pits, patio heaters and wine chillers.

Location

When planning your outdoor kitchen you will want it strategically placed, preferably in close proximity to the main house. This allows for easy access of utility lines. The grilling center should be located for optimum views from rooms that face the yard and close to the inside kitchen. The advantage of being adjacent to the interior kitchen is that it will take less time for transporting food and other outdoor materials, like seasonings, flatware and dinnerware.

Since grilling outdoors usually occurs during the hot summer months, you should plan accordingly for sun-shade cover to provide relief from the heat for a more comfortable cooking environment. You can achieve this with shade bars, shade lattice, oversized umbrellas or natural shade from trees. You can also have a structure built that covers the entire outdoor kitchen, dining or lounging area to protect them from the elements and provide a cooler setting.

It’s wise to think about how privacy for you, and respect for your neighbors, will be incorporated into the design. You can screen the view using trees, hedges, shrubbery or privacy fencing. You will need to consider the way in which the wind will blow the smoke when the grill is in operation. You should also consider the proximity to windows, doors and balconies that are downwind from the centre since smoke generally blows downwind from the grill. This factor is most commonly found to having the most power or effect in the kitchen area. Since smoke is commonly blowing downwind, your seating and dinning arrangement should be situated away from this area whenever possible.

Lighting:

The right lighting plays an important role in enhancing your outdoor kitchen and dining experience and transforms the property at night. It sets the mood and intensifies the natural beauty of your surroundings. Consider installing task lights above the grill or cooktop. Halogen lights can stand up to higher temperatures and ensure a good visual presentation of the food that you’re preparing. A ceiling fan with a lighting fixture helps to deter mosquitoes and the extra lighting brightens up the area. Lighting under the upper cabinets, countertops and inside lower cabinets add light for ease of meal preparation and creates a stylish look. Landscape lighting surrounding the dining area, patio and walkways is essential for safety as well as visual appeal for your entertainment center.

The Overall Effect:

Outdoor kitchens areas should be seamless in their design. There should be some separation from the entertainment/dining/lounging area, but close enough for the cook to interact with guests or overview the action at the pool. In terms of the materials used in planning the outdoor area, everything needs to be durable, weatherproof, heat resistant and easy to clean. Materials that are best suited for furniture are teak, redwood or cedar. Stone and concrete is great for countertops and stainless steel is the best choice for all of the appliances. All weather, low-maintenance and durable marine grade Polymer Board cabinetry is ideal for outdoor kitchens because it can be hosed off for a clean, fresh start each time. Cost can vary, depending on whether you create a basic kitchen or a complete outdoor dream, but the possibilities are endless depending on your budget. It just takes a plan to produce the outdoor kitchen of your dreams.