5 Design Tips for Planning the Perfect Outdoor Kitchen

Step up your entertaining game with one of these DIY outdoor kitchen plans that you can put outside on an existing patio, deck, or area of your yard.
You may find yourself barely cooking in your indoor kitchen once you have one of these fabulous outdoor kitchens. They're a great place for family and friends to gather and share a meal while enjoying the outdoors. 

1. Research Outdoor Kitchen Types
Determining the best type of outdoor cooking center for your home will depend on your budget, lifestyle, and space. At its most basic, an outdoor kitchen can include a grill and components like an outdoor bar to serve as a counter. Your setup can be as extravagant as you'd like: Like other home projects, you can get creative when choosing what to include.
First, decide if you want a fully functional kitchen or a simple setup. From there, you can determine what is essential and what's an amenity, and if your budget and taste have room for the extras. Keep in mind that it's outside—nature doesn't need to be overly complicated. 

2. Choose Between Permanent and Portable Options
If you rent or plan to move in the next few years, it's best to equip your outdoor kitchen with appliances and features that can move with you. For example, a standalone grill can be paired with portable carts to use as DIY counters or a barbecue island that rolls.
If you don't see yourself moving (or you simply love DIY projects), then an outdoor kitchen might be a satisfying project for you to design and build. Determine a convenient and safe location, then begin thinking about materials that coordinate with your home's exterior and are locally available. In some cases, it's helpful to hire a contractor who can help you meet the specifications in any blueprints you find to begin. 

3. Understand Your Preferred Cooking Styles
Determine your favorite style and method of outdoor cooking: Do you love grilled fish or a hamburger cooked over a charcoal barbecue? What about pizza cooked in an outdoor brick oven? Is a tandoor or a smoker preferable?
While designing, think about the maximum number of people you'll be cooking for. Plan several of your favorite outdoor meals and ensure that the outdoor kitchen you have in mind can handle the prep and cooking while accommodating guests. From there, make adjustments to include larger appliances or seating areas as necessary. 

4. Outdoor Serving Cart
If you're on a budget or not up for such a big project, this DIY outdoor serving cart with wooden countertops may just be what you're looking for. Sit it beside your grill and you have extra prep space, a serving area, and some much-needed storage.
This is a complete plan that includes a cut list, materials and tool list, step-by-step building instructions, and lots of photos. 

5. Commit to Proper Maintenance
An outdoor kitchen is exposed to the elements. Even if you don't use it often, the appliances and surfaces will need to be covered and maintained to withstand changing weather. In coastal regions, your appliances will also need to be cleaned regularly to remove buildups of salt from the ocean air that can deteriorate many materials quickly.
Think about the time and effort it will require to keep up a kitchen that you install. Will you have help, or will you be the lone chef and cleaner? Remember that sometimes, simple is better. Plan a kitchen with maintenance needs that are reasonable for your schedule. 

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