If you’re looking to truly expand your living space into your backyard, then an outdoor kitchen is the way to go. The perfect outdoor kitchen can take your yard to the next level, elevating everything from your next big party to next Tuesday’s dinner.
But in our years of experience helping Arizonans design their dream backyards, including outdoor kitchens, we’ve learned that not everyone knows what’s most important when it comes to creating an outdoor kitchen that’s beautiful, functional, and comfortable.
Here are 5 must-haves we recommend adding to every outdoor kitchen.
A quality grill
Most people know that a good outdoor kitchen needs to include a grill, but we’ve seen too many people sell themselves (and their outdoor kitchens) short by getting a cheap or basic grill. A quality grill will improve every aspect of your outdoor kitchen, from the appearance, to the functionality, to the ease of use, to the taste of your food (the most important part!).
Make sure you choose a grill that is, at the very least, big enough to accommodate the amount of food you usually cook. From there, look for features that could make your cooking experience more enjoyable, like smoker boxes, rotisserie burners, side burners, griddles, and more.
An outdoor sink
If your outdoor kitchen has “everything but the kitchen sink,” then you’re missing out on one of the best features you can add to your outdoor kitchen. A sink makes outdoor cooking much more enjoyable and convenient, allowing you to wash your hands, scrub vegetables, clean up messes, do dishes, and more, with ease.
We find that most people are surprised at how often they use their outdoor sink. It’s a key part of an outdoor kitchen, so don’t skip it!
Plenty of counter space
Cooking indoors with limited counter space is frustrating—and outdoor cooking is no different. Counter space is crucial to an incredible outdoor kitchen, as it gives you plenty of room to prep and serve food.
Getting smart with your outdoor kitchen design can help you make good use of the space you have and maximize your counter space. It’s just one of the many advantages to working with a professional company when you’re designing your outdoor kitchen.
A cluttered kitchen is a chaotic kitchen, so you want to make sure your outdoor kitchen includes a good amount of storage space (just like you’d want in your indoor kitchen). This includes cabinets and drawers for keeping cooking and grilling utensils, cleaning materials, dinnerware, silverware, and anything else you need regularly.
It’s especially convenient to have items that are specifically dedicated to your outdoor kitchen (e.g. outdoor plates and cups, outdoor mixing bowls, etc.) so you don’t have to keep running inside to grab something when you’re trying to cook in the backyard.
Well-planned dining space
What good is an outdoor kitchen if there’s nowhere to sit and eat? Make sure you take this into account when you’re planning your outdoor kitchen.
Some things to think about are:
- A table and chairs (or counter space with barstools): enough to seat at least your family, plus a few guests
- Cooling: fans and misters can help keep your dining space cool and comfortable (bonus: fans can help keep bugs away, too)
- Shade: no one wants to eat with the sun shining in their eyes. Use umbrellas or a pergola to create a shaded space for eating
- Lights: for those after dark get togethers, make sure there’s enough lighting to create a pleasant, welcoming environment
With these 5 must-haves, you’ll have the foundation of a stellar outdoor kitchen that you’ll actually love to use. Let’s get cooking!