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Outdoor cooking: Planning ideas for an outdoor kitchen

Create the heart of your outside space with a backyard kitchen! Here are a few easy ideas to help plan a relaxing outdoor place for your friends and family to enjoy.

Outdoor kitchen

Consider your space and budget

Not everyone has the room or the money needed to develop a full-scale entertainment space, so plan accordingly. An outdoor kitchen can be as simple as a small charcoal grill tucked into a corner of a terrace with a bistro table for two, or as elaborate as a built-in 10-burner grill and island with seating for 12. Whether you fall at one extreme or the other or— like most people — somewhere in the middle, consider your needs, space and budget when making your plan.

Decide on your appliances

Just as having an outdoor kitchen has increased in popularity, so have the number of fun accessories and appliances to outfit it with. The built-in grill helped start the trend, but that was just the beginning. With so many grill and cooking accessories available, you’ll be ready to take on any cooking challenge. Searing stations, smokers, side burners, flat grills, rotisserie systems, warming drawers and pizza ovens are all great add-ons. Keep things cool with fridges, freezer drawers and icemakers while your guests happily enjoy the benefits of a beer keg dispenser or a wine cooler. Closed shelving units for dishes, drawers for cutlery or for barbecue tools and a sink will help keep the space organized and clean.

Include extra work space

Whether you opt for a built-in cooking area or have a free-standing grill, extra work space will come in handy. With a built-in grill, consider building a counter or adding an island. Another good idea is to have a kitchen trolley nearby for quick prep work, and keep your outdoor table within easy reach of the grill for an extra work space.

Offer ample and comfortable seating

While you are busy being the perfect host, keep your guests relaxed with plenty of comfy seating. Outdoor conversation sets, dining tables and chairs, padded loungers and bar stools are all good options. Be aware of your kitchen location and the environment, as south- or west-facing backyards will really heat up in the summer months. Create protected seating areas using trees, umbrellas, or awnings, or build a pergola to offer some relief from the scorching sun. When the sun goes down, an outdoor propane heater, firepit or built-in fireplace will keep guests warm well into the night.

More on the backyard

Tips for making a backyard gazebo paradise
Your backyard: Build your own firepit
How to turn your backyard into a chill space

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