Outdoor kitchen designs

For many, Memorial Day marks the unofficial start to summer and the beginning of outdoor parties, grilling season and dining al fresco. Wouldn't it be nice to have an outdoor kitchen so that you don't have keep making trips back into to the house? While an outdoor kitchen sounds luxurious, it may actually be more within reach than you think! With careful planning, much like you did for your home's interior kitchen, you can have the outdoor kitchen you've always dreamed of!

outdoor dining

As seen on HGTV.com

Adding an outdoor kitchen to your landscape upgrades the value of your home. It's perhaps more appealing to a potential buyer than a pool. It's a great way to extend your living and entertaining space without breaking the bank! Take advantage of those nicer days and enjoy the outdoor weather while having the same comforts as your indoor space.

Via Pinterest

Via Pinterest

Be sure to plan your layout carefully. It's important to think about how you are going to use your outdoor kitchen. Does the cook want enough space for helpers? Or would they prefer to go it alone? Do you want your guests to enjoy the view, or does the cook get that perk?

outdoor dining

As seen on homedesignlover.com

outdoor kitchen view

Via Pinterest

Don't overlook the essentials. Be sure to include enough space for food prep and cooking including a grill and possibly side burners.  Add ample space to serve your guests and of course, clean up! A sink and a bar area are a nice addition. If you are including a place for drinks, it's best to position it at the end of the cooking area so that guests can come up the bar without interrupting the cook!

outdoor dining

Via Bob Vila

An outdoor kitchen doesn't need to be huge to be fabulous! Small compact kitchens are just as beautiful and functional as their fancier siblings. Consider the size and style of your home and design an outdoor kitchen that compliments both!

small outdoor kitchen

Via Pinterest

outdoor kitchen

Via The Gardening Cook

If you are looking to minimize your expenses, locate your kitchen close to the house to reduce the price of pulling electrical, water and gas lines to more remote areas of your yard.

outdoor kitchen

As seen on Bob Vila

It's easy overlook the lighting, but surely your cook will still want to see what they are doing after the sun goes down. I highly recommend that you include some form of lighting in your design. Think of it as insurance against burnt burgers and sizzled steaks!! 

outdoor lighting

As seen on The Nest

outdoor kitchen lighting

As seen on Pinterest

outdoor kitchen lighting

As seen on Pinterest

Remember that the cooking area tends to get hot. Your guests may melt if you seat them too close. Be sure that your seating area is a comfortable distance from the action.

outdoor dining

Beach style outdoor dining as seen on HGTV.com

We all know that weather can be unpredictable. Having some sort of protection from the elements is a smart idea. Coordinating market umbrellas provide good protection and can be opened or closed depending on what the weather brings.

outdoor dining

As seen on HGTV.com

Or perhaps you'd like a more permanent type of coverage. I love the idea of adding a pergola to provide a bit of protection for the cook and their guests. Depending on which region of the country you live in, you may also want to incorporate heat lamps or vice versa, overhead fans.

outdoor dining

As seen on bhg.com

This outdoor kitchen includes a heating unit! As seen on homedesignlover.com

This outdoor kitchen includes a heating unit! As seen on homedesignlover.com

outdoor kitchen fan

Via Pinterest

I love getting the most use out of my yard and the extra vitamin D always does me good! Adding an outdoor kitchen to my landscape is the perfect way to accomplish both! If you are thinking of how to extend your grilling and entertaining season check out my Pinterest board, Outdoor Kitchen Ideas, for lots of inspiration and clever ideas!