YOUR GUIDE TO OUTDOOR KITCHEN PLANNING

A family standing in an outdoor kitchen.

THE DRIFT

When it comes to building an outdoor kitchen, “the rules of an indoor kitchen don’t necessarily apply,” says Director of Business Development at AuthenTEAK Alison Weidner. Here, Weidner dives into the basics of outdoor kitchen planning:

  • • Think about how you use your backyard and how you plan to use your outdoor kitchen.
  • • Consider the size of your space and what kind of kitchen layout you’ll need.
  • • Your outdoor kitchen does not function the same as an indoor one.
  • • Remember you need form and function; everything in your outdoor kitchen is pulling double-duty.
An outdoor kitchen by a pool.

WHERE TO START

When beginning the process of outdoor kitchen planning, “think about what you want to do there, what you want to store there, and what are the auxiliary things about your kitchen,” notes Weidner. “Is it a service station? Will you be grilling? Do you want people to stay away from it? Do you need drawers for utensils?

WORK WITH THE SIZE OF YOUR SPACE

Building an outdoor kitchen will look very different for a spacious backyard versus a smaller patio. “It all comes down to space, and you h ave to work with what you’ve got,” says Weidner. “I always want people to think of their outdoor kitchen as a hosting area. You want to position things so that you can use your outdoor kitchen—like food prep and beverage centers—but it can also be an area where you’re putting out plates, napkins and utensils.”

A kitchen sink with an ice box and some vegetables.

INDOOR VS OUTDOOR KITCHEN PLANNING

The most important part of outdoor kitchen planning—particularly spatial planning—is recognizing that an outdoor kitchen functions differently than an indoor one. “You’re not going to use your outdoor sink the same way you’d use your indoor sink,” Weidner says. “You’re probably not doing dishes in it; you’re getting water, you’re rinsing things out, or you plug it up and put a bag of ice in there. It’s not a major appliance.”

For an outdoor kitchen, you can probably get away with a bar sink, Weidner says, and you likely won’t need to place it in the center of the work triangle like you would in an indoor kitchen. “If you place an outdoor sink at the end of the run, that gives more space for the buffet area, where you’re going to be mixing cocktails or putting out appetizers,” Weidner advises.

An outdoor kitchen with some built-in cabinets and drawers.

MULTITASKING IS KEY

“Everything in an outdoor kitchen is doing double duty,” says Weidner. “It is it is a buffet station and you’re also cooking there. You have kitchen storage solutions, but you're probably not putting dishes and food in them; you might be putting stuff in like your tiki torches or maybe some small cushions.”

If you’d like expert help building an outdoor kitchen, AuthenTEAK’s Design Services team is here to help with complimentary design advice.