The variety of amenities you can include in your backyard kitchen abound. Discover the patio kitchen must-haves that will make entertaining a breeze—from a smoker and a refrigerator to a sink, comfy seating, and more.
The Hot Zone: Where You Cook
The primary reason for an outdoor kitchen is to cook outside as you gather with family and friends for unforgettable moments. We’ll begin our favorite features with the variety of cooking options you have for your backyard kitchen.
The center of your outdoor kitchen is your grill. A built-in barbecue grill is a great place to start with the priority list for your must-have design features. Decide what size grill you want, your preferred fuel type, and the ideal spot for it in your patio kitchen.
One step further: Add a griddle to your outdoor kitchen, and now you can make pancakes and sausages for breakfast gatherings or grilled sandwiches for lunch.
An adventurous cooking method that adds savory smells and tastes to every gathering, a smoker will transform your outdoor cooking into an unforgettable experience. While meats and fish take center stage when you have a smoker, you can also smoke tomatoes, peaches, cheese, potatoes, nuts, and olives!
You can add a bit of zest to your space with a wood-fired pizza oven. It can be used for everything from tasty pizzas to a baked calzone, adding delicious variety to the meals you share while entertaining.
Having a range in your outdoor kitchen is trending as it gives you options that make outdoor entertaining even more convenient. Imagine the convenience of cooking all the sides outdoors while your meat is grilling! Not only that, but you can bake cookies and cakes outdoors without heating up your home.
Consider side burners if a range isn’t in the outdoor kitchen budget or space allotment. This will give you the ability to make a variety of dishes without the need to run back and forth between your indoor and outdoor kitchen.
Roasting marshmallows is fun for kids and makes a fire pit an excellent addition to your outdoor kitchen area. Gather around and sip hot cider in the fall as you warm up by the crackling fire pit, and you’ll make memories that last a lifetime.
The Cold Zone: Refrigeration and Ice Makers
Standard in patio kitchens, this outdoor kitchen must-have appliance comes in all sizes, so you can choose what fits your space and budget best. Don’t skip a refrigerator, or you’ll regret it when you want to reach for a cool drink while entertaining.
Having cold beverages within reach is paramount on a hot summer day as you grill. Keeping condiments, salads, and side dishes chilled and at your fingertips will make serving your guests even more convenient.
This little luxury makes serving your guests at your patio parties even handier. The quantity of ice you need for an outdoor gathering is greater than the amount you need indoors, where everyone is relaxed in the air conditioning, so an ice maker is a great asset.
The Wet Zone: Running Water
When you design your kitchen, there are negotiables and non-negotiables. A sink may not be the first item you envision when planning your space, but it is definitely non-negotiable. You may be tempted not to add the inconvenience of running plumbing outdoors, but if you skip the sink, you’ll lack the convenience and function it takes to do meal prep outdoors, wash hands, rinse dishes, and more.
One step further: Have a garbage disposal installed in your outdoor sink to simplify cleanup.
The Dry Zone: Meal Prep and Counter Space
You’ll need somewhere to do your meal prep, so why not include some counter space in your outdoor kitchen? You’ll enjoy visiting with your family and friends while preparing savory dishes. Stone tile, granite, glazed ceramic tile, and concrete are great material options because they add strength, durability, and a design element to your space. These materials need to be maintained. Before deciding which to use, determine how extreme temperatures will impact them.
The practical need for storage space in your outdoor kitchen makes adding some cabinets a must. Keep your cooking utensils, kitchen towels, and your kitchen essentials at your fingertips with ample storage under your outdoor meal prep countertops.
Stainless-steel cabinets that house appliances and offer storage are a focal point of outdoor living areas. They come with a powder coating that reduces corrosion and staining. And they add design and function to your space.
When sunset becomes part of your entertaining backdrop, the right lighting in your outdoor patio space is essential. Meal prep, grilling, cleaning, and eating areas should have ample light. Overhead fans with lights are a great choice if a ceiling is included in your space.
Seating away from your cooking area is best. Consider comfortable outdoor seating around a table as a central eating spot. A counter with bar stools near the cooking area is an excellent addition. If multiple spaces for eating is an option, build them into the design so you’re not limited in how many you can host.
Final Details on Your Outdoor Kitchen
When considering your placement for each of the four zones, remember to plan for utilities—there should be ample access to gas, electricity, and water.
At Lakeside Renovation and Design, we aim to connect with you, understand your dreams and desires, and offer you multiple solutions within your budget so your greater St. Louis area home can get the outdoor kitchen you’ve always wanted!
Learn more about our outdoor living remodeling services.