I can't afford to do everything at once while building my house, so I am delaying some of the work, including the backyard landscaping I envision having one day. I would like a complete outdoor kitchen to entertain my family and friends. Though an outdoor kitchen is in my future home improvement plans, is there anything I can or should do now to make that project easier?
Absolutely. Even if your outdoor kitchen plans are in the "dream" stage, it is always smart to think ahead. The most important thing you can do now is to determine where you want to position the kitchen when the time comes for it to be built. By doing a bit of preliminary planning, such as measuring or evaluating the best layout for your space, you can get the site ready for future building. You will want to run electric and gas lines from the house to the spot where you plan to put the kitchen. You might also want to run water and drain lines. Running electric, gas, and water lines from the house to your future outdoor kitchen area now will cost fraction of the price to do the same job once the house is built, particularly if any concrete will be poured over the area.
As you plan, it is best to keep the outside kitchen reasonably close to an entrance to the inside kitchen. This will simplify preparing meals for large gatherings, which often require many trips between the two kitchens during cooking and cleanup.
Because outdoor kitchens have become so popular, the choices in appliances for outside use has been expanding in recent years. Assume that you will want a full line of appliances installed once you build. Align your utility services accordingly.
It is also important to plan seating and elements of your outdoor entertainment area at this time. Will your outdoor kitchen have stairs or different levels? Do you need to make extra accommodations for children or persons needing assistance with stairs? Determine placement of a deck, shelter, fire ring or fireplace, audio speakers, and maybe even an outdoor television center for late-night summer movies. Give yourself plenty of space to work, serve, and accommodate guests. Maybe you can even figure out how to build part now and expand later.