A thoughtfully designed outdoor kitchen that’s made of high quality, beautiful materials will easily become the heart of your home during warmer seasons. Many homeowners find that food tends to taste better outdoors, and the right kitchen and dining setup can lead to more opportunities to gather with friends and family to share meals.
From the type of flooring to the layout of the kitchen itself, you have many options to consider. A browse of the Unilock Design Idea Catalog can help inspire you and help narrow down your choices. To begin, you’ll want to evaluate your cooking style, how you’ll use the kitchen, and how much you want it protected from various weather conditions.
Every cook, whether it’s you or a hired chef, has their own way of preparing and plating meals. You may want your outdoor kitchen to center around grilled foods, or you may want a stovetop and pizza oven. Consider these questions as you explore your many options:
- Do you want a mini-bar (or full bar) as part of your kitchen?
- If you cook with fresh herbs, would a well-placed vertical herb garden or raised-bed herb garden adjacent to the kitchen enhance your experience?
- Does your family prefer table dining or counter dining?
- If you prefer buffet-style dining, would an island suffice?
- How much storage do you need, for cutlery and pots and pans, and so on? Outdoor kitchens are typically more minimalist than indoor kitchens (you probably won’t be baking outdoors), but you want to make sure that everything you need is convenient and easily storable.
Questions like these help you identify the basics of your perfect kitchen. Based on your needs, you can start to incorporate hot areas (cooktops/grills), cold areas (refrigeration), wet areas (sinks), dry areas (prep and serving counters), seating, and storage.
A gorgeous kitchen on a Beacon Hill Flagstone patio features a grill, bar for drinking or snacking, plus a dining area.
Plan forFlow andUtility
Once you have identified what you want in your kitchen, the next step is where to place each component for maximum ease of use.
The first consideration is how far you’re willing to carry items from your indoor kitchen to your outdoor kitchen. While a leafy nook at the back of your yard may be a tempting location, consider the number of trips you will need to make back and forth for a typical meal.
Then take a holistic view of the various functional aspects of your outdoor entertaining space. Cooking and dining areas can be adjacent to each other or fully integrated. Since a main point of cooking outdoors is sharing time together, you may not want your guests hanging out by the fire pit while you’re alone in the kitchen grilling and prepping. However, some cooks may feel differently and want everyone out of the kitchen during busy prep times.
Also think about whether you need room for more than one person helping in the kitchen. It depends on your personality and entertaining style. Unilock Authorized Contractors have deep experience with creating a variety of kitchen layouts, for a variety of different personal preferences. They can help you bring your vision to life.
Plan for theOutdoors
Cooking outdoors requires some creativity for dealing with shifts in weather patterns. These considerations will help you plan out the perfect outdoor kitchen for your needs:
- Shade and protection from the elements will prevent you from being blinded by the glare of the sun and keep the party outdoors if the sky opens up. Kitchens that have something overhead, whether it’s a pergola, a roofed structure, or even the canopy of trees, feel cozier and more welcoming than kitchens that offer absolutely no protection.
- The right materials will make your kitchen blend in to the location. Use materials that complement your home’s architectural aesthetic and the landscape. Stone kitchens with stainless steel appliances will stand the test of time and require little maintenance.
- Intimacy. Since outdoor kitchens typically don’t have walls, the kitchen itself defines the boundaries of this outdoor room. You can help define the area with the addition of a seating wall, a raised-bed herb garden, or by placing the kitchen or dining area under a pergola.
This spacious outdoor kitchen connects to the dining area with Beacon Hill Flagstone patio pavers.
The ideas on this list are to help you start your kitchen project. As a partner in your landscape design and build process, Unilock can help you every step of the way. It’s what we’ve done at our family-owned and operated business since 1972. Our beautifully manufactured pavers and wall units will make all the difference in providing the base and definition for your outdoor kitchen for years to come.