At the very least, an outdoor kitchen is a place to cook and eat outside. It can be located on a screened-in porch or on a patio; it can be set in a courtyard or out in the garden; it can be in any spot beyond your back door. An outdoor kitchen can be temporary and lit by torches, with food cooked on a portable grill and served on a wooden table you’ve brought from inside your house, or it can be a permanent installation, equipped with a built-in grill, a wood-fired oven, major appliances, and electric and gas hookups. The possibilities truly are endless.
Location, Location, Location
If your yard is tiny and borders that of your neighbors, plan your outdoor kitchen to minimize the degree to which your noise, smoke, and light will impact your neighbors. If you yard is larger, however, your choice of possible sites increases exponentially.
Here too, it’s important to keep scale in mind to avoid creating an outdoor space that is either too large or too small for your home. Think about how a cooking area will impact the look of your yard or garden, both from inside the house and from the street. You also need to decide how far or near you want this space to be to your home and its indoor kitchen. There are advantages and disadvantages to both.
Consider Your Landscape
If you are thinking about building your outdoor kitchen on a steep location, you need to think about the cost of building over the incline (in the case of a deck) versus bringing in heavy equipment to level the area. If you choose to go the leveling route, you’ll be moving dirt, which may require the construction of retaining walls to keep the levels stable and in place.
On the other hand, it may make more sense to simply build a deck over the uneven ground. In this case, you need to decide on the relation of the deck to the ground. It could be elevated, level with your indoor kitchen or living room door, or at ground level, with steps leading down to it. Either way you go, there are things that need to be considered.
Budget will certainly play a role in selecting a location and the general construction methods used, but often your setting will dictate your choice by providing the perfect place. Walk around your house, paying close attention to the possibilities. The odds are very good that the right location will present itself to you. As with any other home improvement project, planning is the key to your satisfaction. Investing a little more time during the planning phase will save you time and money over the course of your project.