Outdoor entertaining is fun, but entertaining in your own outdoor kitchen is great! Outdoor kitchens no longer belong solely to the rich and famous. With some careful planning and budgeting, virtually any homeowner can add an outdoor kitchen.
Here are some tips to help you better plan your outdoor kitchen:
Location: One of the first decisions that you have to make is where to locate your new outdoor kitchen. Two of the main issues that are often associated with this decision are budget and space. The more space (or land) you have to work with, the more options you have. Likewise, the higher your budget the more options you will have.
When you are considering space, try to be realistic. By this we mean if the kitchen components that you want to install (stove, island, refrigerator, etc) are full size, then you will, of course, need at least a minimum amount of square footage to install them.
A good idea is to first decide what amenities you want in the kitchen, get some idea of what their size is (length, width, and height) and use that information to help guide you through the location decision process. Keep in mind any cabinets or islands that you want to have in your outdoor kitchen. As well, remember your walkways and traffic areas.
Budget, as it relates to location, has to do with your electrical, gas, and plumbing needs. The farther your kitchen is from the home's source of power or water/drainage the more the installation costs will be. This is one reason many homeowners prefer to keep the outdoor kitchen close to the house.
Electrical: As mentioned above, electrical hook up will be a budget consideration for most outdoor kitchens. Very few average homes will already have in place the needed electrical outlets for a new outdoor kitchen. This will be especially true if any of your appliances need 240 volts, which some high-end stoves require. For most homeowners, bringing in a licensed electrical contractor will be needed to get the new wiring installed. All wiring must be up to code, and this one area that homeowners do not want to overlook.
Plumbing: If your new kitchen will have running water, it will also need some type of drainage system. Installing water supply lines and the needed drainage lines is a task best left to a professional plumbing contractor. These lines will almost always have to be up to local code and using a licensed plumber will help ensure that they are up to code.
Gas Lines: If your new outdoor stove will run on natural gas, you will need to have a gas line run to the kitchen area. As with electrical and plumbing, gas lines are usually required to be set within a certain local standard or code. Your plumber can assist you in getting the gas line run or you may need to contact your local gas company.
As you can see from the above information, having a good, solid plan for your outdoor kitchen is mandatory. You do not want to run supply lines only to find that they are not where you really want them.
A very good idea is to bring in an outdoor kitchen designer who can help you draw up some plans. He or she will have experience in the various aspects of outdoor kitchens and this can save you money in the long run.