Before you renovate your family’s outdoor kitchen, sit down with all the members of your family and make a list. This should be a list of things your family needs to have a functional outdoor kitchen space, such as a grill and food prep area, or seating arrangements. You might have a particular type of grill in mind, or specific cushions for the new patio furniture you want to buy.
Right now, the list should focus more on needs and less on wants or style options. Here is a list of a few basic things that you should ask yourself and other members of your family who will use the area once it is renovated. Take time to ask the questions before your family delves too far into your plans for your outdoor kitchen renovation project.
- Do I want to change the location of my family’s current outdoor kitchen area?
- How often do I use my outdoor kitchen now as opposed to the indoor one?
- What kinds of meals does my family enjoy eating in our outdoor kitchen space?
- Do my current grill options meet my family’s needs, or is another option needed?
- How often does my family entertain guests in our outdoor kitchen area?
- If we do not have a sink in our outdoor kitchen, then could we benefit from one?
Once you have answered these questions, then it is time to sit down and contemplate your current outdoor kitchen. Take the list and sit in the space. Imagine the basics that you have on your list, and take time to cross off, add, or adjust anything as necessary while allowing the essence of the outdoor kitchen help you create the perfect image in your mind.
Next you should think about the layout of your outdoor kitchen. As you plan to renovate, think about the popular outdoor kitchen triangle layout plan. Imagine a triangle with equal sides, with the cooking area at one point, the refrigeration or food storage area at the next point, and the sink at the third point. The legs of the triangle, at best, should measure no more than 10 feet apart. This gives you easy access to everything in your outdoor kitchen quickly and efficiently.
Now it is time to add style choices to the list. With that popular triangle in mind as the layout of your family’s outdoor kitchen, make a list of style choices that you want as part of the outdoor kitchen renovation project. For example, do you want a granite countertop to sit atop steel, weatherproof cabinets that are impervious to harsh weather? Maybe you want to take out the picnic table and add a built-in seating area.
Another popular change homeowners make when renovating their family’s outdoor kitchen is to either add or update the outdoor kitchen island. The outdoor kitchen islands available today come in just about any material you choose, and there are prefab options that you can customize with tile, stone, or faux wood treatments. When it comes to outdoor kitchen islands, custom ones fit as seamlessly into your budget as a higher end prefab model.
What utilities you choose will determine what utility lines you will need to make your outdoor kitchen a truly functional space. Obviously you will need access to electricity. This is especially true if you plan to have a working refrigerator in which to store temperature sensitive food ingredients, want outdoor lights for nighttime use of the outdoor kitchen, or plan to put a mini-fridge in your outdoor kitchen’s island bar space. There are other utilities to consider besides the electricity, however.
For example, you may find it handy to run gas lines to the grill if your family’s indoor kitchen has a stove powered by gas as well. A lot of contractors recommend adding a sink to an outdoor kitchen when renovating the space, and in all honesty it is a fabulous idea. It not only saves you time that it takes to run back and forth into the indoor kitchen to use the sink, but it is also a safety feature. For instance, the sink can provide cold water for burns acquired on the grill, and can provide warm water to clean food prep surfaces to help prevent viruses from food borne bacteria.
By now you should have a fairly decent list of things you need and want in your outdoor kitchen space. Organize your list of jumbled notes and take it to the contractor who you plan to do the work. Be sure you figure out your budget before you have this conversation and tell your contractor, so you know exactly what you have to spend.