Let’s get cooking: Outdoor kitchen design

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Updated Jan 31, 2023
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Are your clients looking to spend more time outside? An outdoor kitchen might be just the answer.

Most people consider the kitchen to be the heart of the home, and your customer’s outdoor kitchen can serve as the heart of their landscape. Once considered a possible luxury addition to a backyard, outdoor kitchens have become a staple in many homes, as well as the quintessential gathering space.

Homeowners want to make the most of their outdoor space. and they achieve this by making an investment in that space.

Whether you have customers desiring an upgrade to their current outdoor kitchen or some wanting to create one from the ground up, take a look at a few design ideas you can take into the planning process that will give clients the ideal gathering place they crave.

Location, planning, and appliances

One of the most important aspects of an outdoor kitchen is the location. When choosing where to install, consider keeping the outdoor kitchen in close proximity to the indoor kitchen. This may seem redundant, but in many cases, it can prove beneficial, as an outdoor kitchen won’t have every necessary cooking and preparation element that an indoor kitchen will.

Once it’s been established where the building will take place, talk to your clients about their expectations for the space and how they plan to use it. First, begin by talking them through how they plan to use the space for themselves and then move on to talking about how the space will be used to accommodate guests.

Remember, these spaces aren't just for cooking but for entertaining and hanging out, too.

Some clients may want a standalone outdoor kitchen, while some might prefer to incorporate an outdoor living room or pool in with it. Thankfully, there’s more than one way to create a spectacular design, so your clients should have many options to choose from.

Next comes the process of choosing appliances for the space, as they can affect the overall layout. The more appliances your customers want, the bigger the space will need to be.

With such a wide range of appliance options to choose from, communication with your customers is paramount to ensure they get the specifications they want.

Be sure to take into account the possibility of countertops, refrigerators, freezers, patio furniture, trash cans, ice makers, proper ventilation, and more when discussing options with your customers. The more appliances added to the space, the more power sources will need to be incorporated.

If your customer’s outdoor kitchen won’t be located in an area of the landscape that already has shade, you’ll need to talk to them about adding in shade elements, such as pergolas or other coverings. Before adding these in, be sure to check with local building codes to ensure everything checks out.

Pathways, seating, and other features

For customers with larger yards to fill, talk to them about incorporating a few pathways to accompany the outdoor kitchen. Even if it’s just a simple stone walkway leading from the home to the outdoor area, having that leading line can help draw the eye to the space and keep guests from trampling the surrounding landscaping.

As stated before, be sure to fully understand the needs your customer will have with their space before moving forward with bringing in furniture and bringing the design to life. When it comes to choosing seating, be sure to fit the furniture to the family. Take into consideration the environment, weather, the age groups that will frequent the area, durability, and more.

Don’t forget that water, lighting, and fire features can also be incorporated into the space to give it added flare. Having a fire pit in the outdoor kitchen can prove beneficial later in the season when the nights get colder, and gently flowing water features can add an element of relaxation when customers retire to their outdoor space at the end of a hectic workday.

Lighting is definitely a must for these outdoor spaces, but this is where your customers can let some of their creativity and style come through. Lighting serves the purpose of giving off much-needed light for everyday use, and it also adds atmosphere and mood to the space.

Whether the lighting is incorporated along the top of the space in the form of string lights or a chandelier or in different lamps and fixtures, let your clients express themselves with different light colors and layers. Also, don’t underestimate the look and functionality of tiki torches and citronella candles to keep pests at bay.

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