8 Outdoor Kitchen Design Mistakes to Avoid
Expert Advice

So, you’re planning to build the outdoor kitchen of your dreams! A project of this magnitude requires plenty of intense planning and budgeting upfront. Instead of waiting until everything is finished, then realizing something is not quite right or missing altogether, consider these outdoor kitchen design mistakes and avoid major headaches later!


1. Not Enough Budget

Outdoor kitchens are extensive projects with costs that creep up in unexpected places. Materials, labor, permits — it all adds up quickly, and it’s easy to go over your budget. Research how much outdoor kitchens cost and gather several estimates. Be sure to plan budgeting for an overrun proportional to the project’s price. There are outdoor kitchen options for almost any budget, just make sure you determine how to make what you want to fit in the design before you get started.


2. Not Enough Space

After the outdoor kitchen project is complete, is not the time to discover inadequate space. Nobody wants to make do with cramped cooking quarters or fork out more cash for any upgrades. Look at outdoor kitchen options based on your available space.

Consider the kinds of events you plan on hosting, along with the max number of people who might attend. If you don’t have the square footage for a grand outdoor kitchen, make it as efficient and comfortable as possible.

You need room for outdoor furniture, clearance for people to walk around comfortably and standing space for larger gatherings. Plan at least three feet of walking space between the furniture, kitchen or around the edge of the patio.


3. Making Cutouts Before Products Arrive

There’s an old saying about measuring twice and cutting once. It sure is hard to measure something you don’t have! An improperly sized BBQ island openings isn’t worth any amount of time saved if you are trying to get ahead of the game. Redoing cutouts will only cost more time and money. Just wait for the products to be delivered.


4. Not Enough Counter Space

Counter space is a precious resource for the indoor kitchen and is equally important for the outdoor kitchen. Think about how much counter space you use to prep and cook food indoors, and that will give you a better idea of what you need outside. You need to have enough counter space for all the food prep along with plating and serving. Plan the layout of your outdoor kitchen zones well in advance to ensure the project stays within your budget.


5. Not Enough Electrical Outlets

Think of everything that will need an electrical supply: outdoor refrigeration units, rotisserie kits, blenders, electric carving knives or string lights. Don’t forget about charging mobile devices! Post installation electrical costs could skyrocket, especially with the possibility of deconstruction needed to install new outlets. So be sure to configure necessary outlets before construction begins. A few of the charging stations should have USB ports for charging devices, and all outdoor outlets must be GFCI outlets.


6. Not Enough Seating

Planning to host friends and family with backyard barbecue parties? Don’t overlook having enough patio furniture  around your outdoor entertaining space. Whether you think outdoor patio dining sets, or a deep seating set will work best, the outdoor kitchen is not complete until your guests have a plenty of places to sit and relax.

Consider counter seating, which allows you to engage with guests while keeping the outdoor kitchen clear of foot traffic. Since people tend to gravitate toward the kitchen during indoor entertaining, the scent of food cooking on a grill will also lead them there when cooking outdoors. A solid set of outdoor bar stools bring friends and family close to the action. Create a seamless space whether you’re showing off what’s on the grill or serving drinks from your outdoor bar center.


7. Not Enough Shade

Mother Nature doesn’t always cooperate with our joy of outdoor living. So, you must provide everyone a safe haven from the heat, rain, and other elements that threaten to ruin the outdoor barbecue party. Shaded structures like pergolas, awnings, and roofs are perfect for your backyard guests. These coverings also protect your outdoor kitchen equipment from adverse effects of weather and improve the efficiency of outdoor refrigeration units.


8. Neglecting Drainage Needs

Outdoor ice makers, refrigerators, sinks, and beverage coolers are incredible outdoor kitchen additions. Without proper drainage in place, you could ruin your refrigeration, and no one wants an outdoor space that does not drain. Once you decide on the location of floor drains, you will need to group appliances that need drainage in a single “wet zone”. Appliances will need to connect to required plumbing.

Let’s prevent some key elements from slipping through the cracks. It’s easy to lose sight of the finer points when all you see is the big picture. Learn from these outdoor kitchen design mistakes. Soon you will enjoy a luxurious, oversite-free outdoor kitchen entertainment area!