Outdoor Kitchen Design Plans and Tips
Expert Advice

Courtesy of BBQ Guys, bbqguys.com

Building an outdoor kitchen, are we? Envisioning parties to prepare, cookouts to come, and excitement to ignite? Truly, it’s an experience that can run the full gamut from exhilarating to daunting. Do you go with a modular outdoor kitchen or a custom-design? Does it include room for an outdoor television and a dining area? Regardless of what you decide, here are eight basics to bear in mind while planning any outdoor kitchen.

1. Building with Combustible Materials? Get an Insulated Grill Jacket

Every outdoor kitchen design built with combustible materials (treated or not) outright requires an insulated grill jacket installed around the grill. But what does that glamorous metal sheath do for you (and your investment)? For starters, grills love them — they protect their undercarriages from weathering and corrosion, helping them last longer. They halt burning or warping damage to your surrounding BBQ island because of those piping-hot temperatures. An insulated grill jacket is insurance that lasts many years of cookouts.

2. Vent Panels Properly Ventilate Your Outdoor Kitchen Investment

Choosing gas? Great! Use a licensed contractor to ensure that your outdoor kitchen has proper grill vents and outdoor kitchen ventilation. Sure, you may save a few bucks hitting up the black market of noncertified plumbers, but the dangers aren’t worth it — you really don’t want to mess around with avoidable gas leaks and build-ups. When it comes to venting, placement is everything. Install those vent panels every 4–6 feet away to dampen build-up. Since natural gas rises, place vent panels as high as possible for those installations; the opposite is true for propane gas, which sinks.

3. Enclosed Storage Components May Not Work Under a Sink or Grill

While it’s convenient to install cabinets, doors and drawers throughout your grilling getaway, first account for the placement of your outdoor kitchen cabinets and storage when deciding whether or not to purchase enclosed cabinets. Many proud outdoor kitchen owners bought enclosed cabinets to install beneath their sink or under a gas grill, only to realize all that pesky plumbing is right in the way.

4. Outdoor-Rated Kitchen Appliances Are Your Best Choice

Outdoor rated appliances are built to weather hardier climates, sudden swings in temperature, and the elements. Learning how to buy outdoor refrigeration guarantees you purchase models rated by the manufacturer for outdoor use; this ensures higher appliance safety and longevity.

5. Never Install Cooking and Cooling Appliances Next to One Another

Did you know you should plan your zones when designing your outdoor kitchen to separate your cooking and cooling appliances? Cooling and cooking units put off a lot of heat; if installed adjacently, keeping their internal mechanisms cool may spiral into premature failure. Leave at least 1 foot between your refrigeration unit and any grills or side burners, keeping them apart within the island structure. This keeps your appliances happy, ensuring that they can properly ventilate and last longer.

6. Learn Those Cutout Dimensions Before You Cut

The last thing you want is to prepare for those outdoor kitchen appliances by cutting out the space, only to realize later that they’re off the mark. Double-check, even triple-check them.  It’s best to have appliances on hand. It helps if you know how to measure the cutout dimensions.

7. You Can Never Have Too Much Counter Space.

In all the excitement of designing a dream outdoor kitchen, many clients forget the importance of empty counter space. Where else will you prepare and serve food, store overflow trays for grilled grub, or keep favored utensils within reach? While planning that patio paradise, ensure you leave ample counter space for easy and convenient outdoor cooking.

8. Do Your Research.

Planning a kitchen is thrilling, but we cannot overstate how much simpler it is to change things before you start unboxing that outdoor kitchen. Wanting great-looking and functional appliances is natural but being selective is crucial. Choose the perfect ones for your needs by researching your use case. How often will you use them? How many will you entertain at a time? How are they built; will their materials last?

The ultimate goal here is to make this your outdoor oasis and by following the tips outlined above, you can enjoy the end result for years to come.

Tailgater Magazine