Compared to the rest of our country, Norfolk County is lucky to enjoy some extended summers. Which is the reason behind the growing trend to expand our living space outdoors. A backyard oasis isn’t complete without an outdoor kitchenthough; a place where you can gather with family and make the most out of our beautiful weather.

 

This guide will help you create the ultimate outdoor kitchen.

 

WHAT IS AN OUTDOOR KITCHEN

Really, an outdoor kitchen is what you want it to be… but it should fill a need. For some families, it’s as simple as building a counter around the BBQ, with a mini fridge for keeping cool drinks nearby. Others entertain outdoors on a regular basis and need a larger fridge with an ice machine, a sink, even an oven built-in next to the BBQ.

 

KNOW WHAT YOU WANT IN YOUR OUTDOOR KITCHEN

For many, the answer to this question comes down to budget. However, while an outdoor kitchen used to be seen as a bonus to the homeowner with no added value, things have changed. Quicken Loans shows us that the average outdoorkitchen sees an R.O.I. (Return on Investment) of approximately 127%… it should be noted that the R.O.I. does reflect on and depend on the climate of the area in question. So, while budget may be a deciding factor, it shouldn’t be the only factor.

 

Knowing what you need in your outdoor kitchen will help you stay on budget. Just like inside, counter space provides room for food prep and of course allows for storage in cupboards below. Do you smoke meat often? Or would you if you had a smoker? Is a refrigerator sufficient, or would you like to store ice, popsicles, or even vodka in the freezer? Speaking of which, if you like to kick off the weekend with a cool drink, an outdoor kitchen is a great spot for a margarita maker!

 

The point here, is that anything is possible in your outdoor kitchen, so start dreaming and see what the budget allows for.

 

HIRE THE RIGHT TEAM

A professional contractor can help you plan and design your outdoor kitchen so that it has the proper flow and function you’re looking for. They can also help ensure the plumbing lines and electrical are properly installed. Permits are sometimes needed for the ideal outdoor kitchen, so be sure to talk to your contractor about obtaining them. Don’t forget to check before you start digging for any major project like this, to be sure there are no gas lines or similar, in the area.

 

SELECTING THE FLOORING

Your outdoor kitchen will be up against nature, the weather and some extra hard wear and tear. Its flooring needs to be comfortable to walk on, slip-proof, strong and durable enough to stand up against the elements, as well as breaking a glass or spilling oil, wine, etc. On top of that, you want to ensure the floor is angled towards a drain and away from your home or any other structures such as a pool house.

 

THE RIGHT APPLIANCES

As with the flooring, you want to ensure the appliances will stand their own against the elements.

 

Take your time when deciding what features to add to your outdoor kitchen, you want to be sure you’ll use every aspect of it. Is a pizza oven the kind of thing you’ll only use once? (We see that happen a lot to outdoor pizza ovens).

 

One thing many people don’t think about is including a vent hood over cooking stations. Just because you’re outdoors, doesn’t mean the smoke will disappear quickly. When a roof such as a patio cover or pavilion is installed, a ventilation system is usually required.

 

LIGHTING YOUR OUTDOOR KITCHEN

Strategically placed LED lights are often recommended to create a safe, shadow-less setting. Keep in mind it’s important to light walkways, and entrances around your outdoor kitchen, not just the food prep area.

 

If bugs are a concern too in your area, especially mosquitos, you’ll want to plan your lighting around that…. Bonus tip: ceiling fans are another great way to eliminate bugs.