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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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