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How to Make an Outdoor Kitchen

How to Make an Outdoor Kitchen

Outdoor living takes on a whole new meaning when you are able to cook, eat, and entertain alfresco. So what better plan than to make yourself an outdoor kitchen?

Outdoor Kitchen

This stylish patio features a simple counter-top barbecue and built-in oven as well as plenty of storage for outdoor entertaining. Although not shown in the picture there is a built-in sink on the right-hand side that utilizes plumbing from the adjacent kitchen.

The design and style of your outdoor kitchen will depend on numerous factors including the space you have available and the budget you are prepared to throw at the project. But there are a few essential elements that must be included to make it work, for instance you will need:

  • Cooking facilities
  • Work surfaces for preparation of food and for serving meals
  • A space to eat, relax, and socialize
  • Some kind of shelter from the elements
  • Storage for fuel and possibly other items

Cooking Facilities for Your Outdoor Kitchen

It stands to reason that if you are going to create an outdoor kitchen you will need the space and utilities to be able to cook outside. You will also need something to cook on, or in.

There are many different barbecue designs that you can build from bricks and mortar, and many more that you can buy ready made. Designs range from barbecues with and without chimneys to pizza and bread ovens. Fire pits are also a popular option.

You will need to decide whether to actually get hands-on and build your cooking facilities or rather use portable equipment to cook. Of course, using the portable version does rather detract from the idea of a genuine outdoor kitchen. But teamed with other elements, it can work.

A brick paved outdoor kitchen incorporates a fire-fueled dish fryer (or wok), brick-baking oven, ample storage for wood (used for fuel), storage for other utensils, and a built-in table with seating.

Work Surfaces for Your Outdoor Kitchen

Just as your home kitchen relies on work surfaces that you can use for preparation as well as other functions including serving, an outdoor kitchen also needs work surfaces to function well.

Work surfaces outdoors are commonly designed over storage spaces just as they are in the traditional kitchen. The difference though is that they don’t incorporate the usual kitchen cabinets. Rather, outdoor kitchen work surfaces are usually an extension of a built-in cooking unit.

An extensive brick barbecue with an adjacent work surface has generous space for wood storage under it. Built alongside a tiled, covered patio, it qualifies as an outdoor kitchen with its own dedicated dining space.

Storage Facilities for Your Outdoor Kitchen

While it certainly isn’t necessary to store everything you need for cooking in your outdoor kitchen outside, it does make sense to keep the necessary fuel and basic utensils and implements nearby. It also makes sense to store things like cushions for outdoor seating and umbrellas where they are easily accessible.

Most outdoor kitchens do have a place for fuel. Only the most sophisticated incorporate storage for other items.

Somewhere to Eat in Your Outdoor Kitchen

Cooking outdoors presumes you will eat outdoors too, except when diehards want to barbecue in really inclement weather. But mostly, an outdoor kitchen demands a patio or deck where people can eat the food they have cooked outdoors.

Incorporating an outdoor eating space as part of an outdoor kitchen makes perfect sense. In fact, for many people, the outdoor deck or patio used for alfresco meals is the starting point for an outdoor kitchen. The key is to ensure there is sufficient space for a user-friendly outdoor dining area adjacent to your outdoor kitchen.

Shelter From the Elements

While not essential, a roofed patio or deck will give you many more eating hours than one that doesn’t provide shelter from the elements, particularly sun and drizzle. When the wind blows, and the rain pelts down, even the diehards are likely to want to cook and eat inside.