Where Kitchen Design & Landscape Design Meet
A successful outdoor kitchen follows the same design principles as an indoor kitchen, but combines those with a landscape design sensibility. If you are considering adding an outdoor kitchen to jazz up the entertainment potential in your backyard patio, here are a few things to think about that may help you choose the right landscape designer to guide you through the project successfully.
Do consider these outdoor kitchen design basics
1 Task Areas
You need designated areas for food preparation, food and beverage storage, cooking, serving/plating and clean up. All of these areas must relate well to each other in terms of proximity and ease of movement from one task area to the next.
2 Accessibility & Traffic Patterns
Where will the outdoor kitchen be located in relationship to the house? You will need to bring supplies to the kitchen from indoors and remove trash when the meal is over. Also, thinking in terms of entertaining, which room of the house would naturally provide access to the outdoor kitchen and dining area with natural traffic flow back and forth from home interior to patio?
3 Simple or Deluxe
There are a lot of tempting accessories available for tricking out your kitchen. You could spend a lot of money installing them in your deluxe outdoor kitchen, but think about what you will actually need and use on a regular basis. Take care that you don’t over design and over build when a simple approach might be all that is necessary. If you don’t need a refrigerator and sink, then don’t make the investment. Go with a simple built-in grill and bar counter seating.
On summer afternoons, a little shade from a pergola or simply an umbrella can make your kitchen and dining area a lot more comfortable. If you really want to defy the elements, an open air pavilion will keep you and your guests dry if a surprise rain shower threatens to break up the party.
Indoor kitchen lighting breaks down into three types: task lighting, ambient lighting and decorative lighting. You will have the same needs to think about for your outdoor kitchen. You will most definitely need task lighting on your countertops. You may also ask your landscape designer to suggest overhead spot lighting or accent lighting around the grill and countertop to create a festive ambiance in the evening.
Don’t’ make these outdoor kitchen design mistakes
1 Not Enough Food Preparation Area
This is the most common oversight. Be sure to plan enough counter space for prepping, cooking, serving and clean up. In particular, the grill and the sink areas always need counter space to the left and the right.
2 Not Enough Light
Without ceilings or walls to affix light fixtures, lighting an outdoor kitchen properly can be tricky. A good landscape designer will think it through and make sure there is enough task lighting for evening entertaining.
Creating an outdoor cooking and dining environment can be as simple as a built-in grill station, or as deluxe as a fully equipped outdoor kitchen with dining pavilion. Often your outdoor kitchen and dining area will share the stage with other activity areas and there needs to be a logical connection between them. Your landscape designer will make sure that there is balance and flow between those separate but connected areas of your outdoor living space.
If you’d like to talk about possibilities for creating cooking, dining and entertaining spaces in your back yard, feel free to contact one of our landscape designers to schedule an appointment.