Basics of an Outdoor Kitchen

Basics of an Outdoor Kitchen

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Having an outdoor kitchen provides you a great way to spend more time with your family while also enjoying everything your garden has to offer. It helps to first understand the basic elements of what an outdoor kitchen includes, to how you cook items, to where things are stored.

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Cooking and Grilling Surfaces

The first thing you need to consider is where you will cook your food. Most outdoor kitchens have a built-in or portable barbecue grill. This allows you to cook a lot of different foods, from vegetable kabobs to chicken, steak, and fish. Some other cooking appliances to consider for the outdoor kitchen including having a smoker, deep fryer, and pizza oven.

Countertops and Prep Stations

You will also need an area to prepare your meals. This is where the countertops come into play. If you are going with a pre-fabricated outdoor kitchen, it should already include some countertop space. However, if you are getting it custom-made, you will need to choose the countertops on your own. Since it is outdoors, go with materials that are weather-friendly, such as those made from steel or concrete. It is also a good idea to have a sink connected to the outdoor kitchen so you aren’t constantly running into the house.


Many outdoor kitchens have at the least a mini-fridge. You should also have cabinets for storing. Such as cutting boards, skewer sticks, pots and pans, cups and plates, napkins, and other accessories you will need.

Accessories and Dining Area

And a very crucial part of setting the ambiance of your area is the dining furniture, and decorative elements. Get a good dining table and chairs or benches for your family to enjoy their meal outdoors. Set up the dining area as you would inside, with proper lighting, decorative features, and area rugs.

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Choosing the Right Location For an Outdoor Kitchen

Next, decide where to put your kitchen. Start by choosing the right location in your backyard for the kitchen so that it is well protected from the elements. For example, if you have an area of your patio where it can be protected from an existing retractable awning, that can be an excellent location. You might also have an area of your background that is shaded due to tree coverage or doesn’t tend to experience the brunt of the rain or snowfall. These are good places to consider building an outdoor kitchen.

Things to consider in finding a good location

  • distance from living spaces
  • desired views
  • where you will have adequate space for storage and dining
  • provide ample shade
  • protected from the elements

#1. Keep the Kitchen Close to the House

Make sure the outdoor kitchen isn’t too far from your house. If you have sliding glass doors that go from the indoor kitchen or dining room, try to place the outdoor kitchen just outside those doors. This makes it easy to go back and forth if you don’t keep a second set of dishes, cookware, and appliances in the outdoor kitchens. Some of these kitchens don’t have everything you have inside, so it makes it convenient to place them as close to the house entrance as possible.

#2. Consider Your Desired Views

Think about the type of view you want to have. For example, if you wanted a kitchen outdoors so you can watch the kids in the pool while you cook or enjoy the view of your beautiful rose garden while dining outdoors, choose a location on the patio where you can easily see these areas. Aside from the preferred view, also think about a view that isn’t favorable. For example, you know to adjust the location or layout if you would rather have a private kitchen and a dining area that is away from the neighbor’s view.

#3. Space

Where will you have adequate space to have a nice dining and storage areas as well as your cooking space?

#4. Shade

A good way to start finding the ideal location in your backyard for the outdoor kitchen is to find an area with good shade. You don’t want it directly underneath tall trees since the leaves, branches, and flowers might fall down frequently on top of your kitchen appliances. However, you do want to have good shade to keep yourself from being overheated, and to protect the outdoor space. Choosing a location on your patio where you have an awning or pergola is a great option.

#5. Protection from elements

Wind can be a real annoyance with an outdoor kitchen. If there are trees or bushes nearby, a lot of wind picks up the flower petals, pollen, branches, and leaves and sends them flying. You might be right in the middle of cooking delicious burgers on your grill, then end up with dirty leaves right on the grill. It requires removing the debris and sometimes replacing the meat with something cleaner. Try to find an area that is away from the direction of the wind or have the proper protection in the area, such as with an awning or large patio umbrella.

Think about any other elements that might affect your space.

More in this series:

Outdoor Kitchen Grills

Outdoor kitchen grilling

Outdoor Kitchen Countertops and Flooring

outdoor kitchen countertops and flooring

Prefab vs custom outdoor kitchens

Prefab vs custom outdoor kitchen

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