Backyard outdoor kitchens offer plenty of flexibility in design, but there are a few elements that are beneficial to incorporate into any project. Alongside the main feature (the grill), each item will enhance the convenience of the space and help you get the most from your investment.
As you think about your design for a backyard outdoor kitchen, consider these four must-haves.
1. Ample Counter Space for Convenient Meal Prep
It’s no secret that cooking in your kitchen can be frustrating when there’s not enough room to spread out ingredients and do prep work. The same goes for a backyard outdoor kitchen. There needs to be enough counter space so meal prep is an enjoyable process versus a headache.
While larger U-shaped kitchens tend to provide the most counter space, homeowners can also take the approach of a split-level counter. The lower level provides room for the chef to perform food prep and grill, while the higher level provides an area for guests to socialize and eat.
2. A Built-in Refrigerator to Keep Food & Drinks Cold
When you’ve been to a barbecue, chances are you’ve seen the chef running between the backyard and the indoor kitchen — bringing out marinated meats in one trip, a handful of condiments in another and maybe grabbing drinks from time to time. While the food and drinks will remain fresh, this game of back-and-forth can quickly get old as the extra steps not only create more room for mishaps, but it also takes away time homeowners could spend socializing.
By including a refrigerator in your backyard outdoor kitchen, you can avoid these trips altogether. Food and drinks are made readily available for the chef and guests alike to access. You won’t have to miss out on the conversation, and your guests won’t have to worry about tip-toeing through your home after a dip in the pool.
3. Storage Drawers to Keep Utensils Handy
In some cases, chefs aren’t running back inside to grab refrigerated items. Instead, they are picking up the utensils they need to cut vegetables, flip burgers, etc. The reason for taking out these items in waves is often a question of space. Leave too many on the counter and you take up precious real estate that could otherwise be used by the chef or guests.
Storage drawers in your backyard outdoor kitchen provide a handy solution. Whether you opt for a single drawer or multiple drawer solution, these compartments offer convenient access to the utensils you need, when you need them. Paper towels, spices and other cooking-related items can also be stored in these areas.
4. A Sink to Streamline the Clean-Up Process
Typically, the clean-up after a barbecue involves shuffling all of the dirty dishes and silverware inside to the kitchen — and coming back to handle the mess after guests leave. But with a sink built into your outdoor kitchen, this process becomes significantly easier. You can wash dishes as you continue to socialize with guests, and also use the convenient water source to clean the counter space and surrounding area.
Bonus: Have a few portable plants that you need to water in your backyard? You can use this outdoor water source to easily tend to them, as well as wash your hands after gardening.