Outfit Your Outdoor Kitchen

Spend more time in your yard enjoying perfect weather with an outdoor kitchen. Here are some top considerations to plan for before you start.

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Outdoor Kitchen
Think About Your Needs

    It's easy to go overboard when planning an outdoor kitchen. While lots of fancy features will make it more fun, they'll also up the price tag. So start by thinking about how much you'll actually use your kitchen. Will you want to prepare gourmet meals for friends and family where you'll need lots of counter space? Or will just a nook with a grill and a sink suffice? Set your limits before you get started.

Leave a Place to Eat

    When putting together your outdoor kitchen, it's easy to focus on making the food. So don't forget about making sure you have a comfortable place to eat it. Seating options range from patio or picnic tables to built-in benches.

Include a Kitchen Sink

    Your sink is probably one of the most-used aspects of your kitchen indoors. The same will probably go for your outdoor kitchen. Running water is great for washing fresh fruit or vegetables, doing dishes, and cleaning up messes.

Plan for Storage

    It can be a major pain having to run in and out of the house for supplies. Plan for drawers and cupboards to store utensils and other tools you'll need on a regular basis.

Leave a Light On

    While lighting may not seem like one of the more important aspects, it's a great asset to an outdoor kitchen. You'll be able to keep an eye on your food after sunset without a flashlight -- and you won't have to stand there doing dishes in the dark.

Enjoy Counter Space

    Just like indoors, it seems like you'll always wish for more counter space than you can have. Make sure there's plenty of room on your counters for what you'll need. And make sure your counters are an outdoor-friendly, easy-to-clean material.
    Tip: Don't go too dark with your counter space unless your kitchen is in the shade. Dark surfaces can really heat up if the sun blazes on them all day.

Make It Look Good

    Be sure to build a kitchen you'll want to spend time in. Think about the architectural style of your house, as well as how your outdoor kitchen will look with the rest of your yard. Because kitchens can look stark, it's fun to decorate them with planters.
    Tip: Grow containers of fresh herbs around your kitchen to make harvesting and cooking with them a snap.

Make It Easy

    Because you'll probably end up running back and forth from your indoor kitchen, make sure your outdoor kitchen is easy to get to. Keep it close and make sure it's paved with an even surface.
    Note: While flagstone is beautiful, many types can be uneven.

Think About the Details

    The little things can have just as big an impact on how much you love your kitchen. Think about things like a built-in cutting board, the pulls on cupboard doors, and a ceiling fan to move hot, heavy air.

Plan for Power

    Your kitchen runs on electricity. Provide built-in outlets so you can run additional appliances such as the blender, electric mixer, or a radio. It'll not only make your kitchen more convenient, but it will look better and be safer than running extension cords around.

Provide Shelter

    Just like your kitchen inside has a ceiling, the one outside should, too. A shelter provides shade on steamy afternoons when the sun is blazing down. And it allows you to eat outdoors even if the weather is a little rainy.

Get a Good Grill

    Your grill is a key element of your outdoor kitchen. Make sure you have the right one for you and keep in mind considerations such as if you want a built-in or portable one, if you want gas or charcoal, and how much grilling space you'll need.

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