If you’re looking for a way to spend more time outdoors, upgrade your home, and turn your backyard into a true oasis, there’s a way to do it all at once: design and build a gorgeous outdoor kitchen. It’s a great way to utilize a patio or backyard you already love, and it gives you a unique way to cook and entertain friends without having to crowd everyone indoors and crank the air conditioning. You can enjoy the landscape and invite all your favorite people to gather around a beautiful, custom space created with help from Artisan Outdoor Kitchens. We are dedicated to creating an outdoor living space that you’ll love for years to come, with stainless steel materials made to be both durable and good looking, and we’ll work hard to ensure we make the kitchen you’ve always dreamed of a reality. Keep reading to get ideas on how to design a custom outdoor kitchen tailored to you and contact Artisan Outdoor Kitchens today to get started!

How Do You Want to Use Your Outdoor Kitchen?

The first step to designing the outdoor kitchen of your dreams is to define what you need from your space. Why do you want an outdoor living space? How do you want to use it? If you’ve dreamed of a custom outdoor kitchen for years, what did you picture in those daydreams? Think of your plans for the future, and you can tailor your outdoor kitchen and bar design to those plans. The advantage of creating a custom outdoor kitchen is that you can make sure you have everything you need for whatever events you want to host, and leave out any unnecessary appliances or features. Check out our blog for ideas on how you can use your outdoor kitchen and keep reading to see what design features best fit your plans.

Enjoy the Outdoors

If you’ve always wanted an outdoor kitchen simply because you just want to spend more time outside, you can keep things small and simple. You only need enough space to accommodate the people closest to you. An outdoor kitchen design with seating incorporated into the bar might be just perfect for you. You only need a few seats, which keeps everyone close, and the cooking area only needs enough room for one chef at a time.

Entertain Friends

If you like to cook for your friends, you might want to choose a larger, more open design. You can retain the feeling of a barbecue with the added bonus of all the appliances and supplies you need within easy reach. You could choose incorporated seating, but if you plan bigger parties, you’ll probably want a separate seating area to provide more chairs and minimize chaos around the cooking area. It also might be worth your budget to have enough space for two people to cook or prepare food at once.

Host Big Family Gatherings

If you’re always the one hosting the family reunion Labor Day barbecue, then an outdoor kitchen is the perfect way to cook and spend time with your family at the same time. You’ll want a lot of space. Separate seating will free up even more counter space, which you can use to prepare food and set it out buffet-style. Another advantage of creating a custom outdoor kitchen is that you can create as much counter space as you need. You’ll also probably want enough room around the grill and cooking area for several people, because a feeding an extended family – or maybe just a very hungry family – often means a lot of hot dogs and burgers.

How you use your outdoor kitchen is up to you. Do you want to keep your space small and your friends close, or do you need an open design that will let you cook for as many people as your backyard can hold? Consider your expectations for the future and keep them in mind as you design your outdoor living space. The team at Artisan Outdoor Kitchens can craft exactly what you need, whatever that may be, and we’ll make sure that the final product is exactly what you wanted.

Choose Your Space

The next step in designing your custom outdoor kitchen is deciding where you want it. You can sprawl across your backyard, keep your new outdoor living space close to home, or get creative with lawn space on either side of your house. There are just a few things you should keep in mind when deciding the best location for your outdoor kitchen.

What are You Working With?

Check out the space you have and see if there’s anything you can use, change, or need to work around. If you built a patio or deck in your last home remodel, those can be great places to start. You can design your outdoor kitchen to stay within the parameters of those spaces. On the other hand, you can also use your kitchen to extend that space and utilize more of your backyard. Is there anything you need to keep in mind when designing your space? If you have a pool, then that may limit the space you have to work with, but you can also decide whether you want your outdoor kitchen to cater to that space or be closer to the house. If you have a garden, or you’ve put a lot of work into landscaping your property, the design of your outdoor kitchen should complement those elements.

The Pros and Cons of Keeping It Close to Home

When it comes to designing an outdoor kitchen and deciding on a location, the central point is your home. Do you want it built right up against your house, or do you want to preserve some room between the two living spaces? A portable grill is, as its name suggests, made to move, but the needs of a fully equipped outdoor kitchen require a little more thought when it comes to distance.

Advantages

Utilities like electricity, gas, and water need to be connected to your outdoor kitchen. The further away from your home the kitchen is, the more expensive it is likely to be to run lines for those necessities, which is one major advantage to keeping your kitchen closer to your house. Your home can also provide some degree of shade for guests and shelter from harsh weather for your outdoor appliances, which can make your outdoor kitchen a more enjoyable place to spend time and help it last longer. As one last small but worthwhile point to make, the further your outdoor kitchen is from your home, the further you need to go when transporting groceries and supplies.

Disadvantages

Most outdoor kitchens feature a grill, and having a grill too close to your home comes with a number of drawbacks. For one, it can be a fire hazard if you have a wooden deck or flammable siding. Look for a future blog post on the safety considerations of an outdoor kitchen to learn more. You can also experience the “smokehouse effect” if the grill tucked close to the house, where the smoke from cooking blackens the underside of any overhanging sections of the roof above.

Try It First

If you think you’ve found the perfect spot for your outdoor kitchen, then it’s best to test it out. Grab a portable grill and some patio furniture or folding chairs and mimic the design you have in mind. Spend some time in your temporary setup and see if there are any downsides you might have to plan around. Do you need to plan for an awning or umbrella to offset the lack of natural shade? Is it at just the right angle that your neighbors can stare you down through their windows? If it meets all your qualifications, from comfort to privacy, then you can start planning the design of your custom outdoor kitchen without worry.

Choose Your Layout

Unlike the kitchen inside your home, your outdoor kitchen is not confined by walls, windows, and doors. You can define your own space when you build an outdoor living area, and the possibilities are endless. To help you get started, here are a few popular outdoor kitchen designs:

Along A Wall

If you’re overwhelmed by the expanse of your backyard, or you want a more budget-friendly design option, you can utilize a wall of your home as the starting point for your outdoor kitchen. It will likely offer less space than the other layouts, but it keeps everything in one place and it will make running gas, water, and electric lines to your outdoor kitchen simple. It’s a great solution for a household where one family member is the dedicated cook, and you can get creative when it comes to designing a separate area for eating and sipping drinks.

Island-Style

An island-style outdoor kitchen is a great choice if you want to keep your outdoor kitchen compact, but you still want to be the center of attention. Keeping your outdoor kitchen appliances away from the house can even come with some safety benefits. You also have the option to add seating opposite the cooking area when you choose an island design.

L-Shaped

Give yourself a little more space with an L-shape design. You can spread out your appliances and have more room for added conveniences, like a sink or an under-the-counter refrigerator. L-shaped outdoor kitchens are one of the most popular designs on the market, offering a versatile combination of open space and defined boundaries. It’s a great choice for families with two or more chefs, and the counter space can become a bar, a buffet, or incorporated seating.

U-Shaped

If you have a chef in your home that likes to get creative, stay in control, and be the center of attention, then a U-shaped outdoor kitchen is the perfect choice. There is more limited space inside the cooking area, but there is plenty of space for appliances, and they are all within easy reach. An abundance of counter space offers up opportunities to make sprawling new recipes or front-row seats for your favorite chef’s demonstrations.

What layout works best for you? The experts here at Artisan Outdoor Kitchens can help you decide. We create custom outdoor kitchens built to your specifications, whether you want a classic island design or you want to create a new, never-before-seen layout. Whatever you decide, we’ll work hard to make sure that the final outdoor kitchen design is something that excites you.

Choose Your Appliances and Accessories

Your outdoor kitchen and bar is a place to relax, entertain friends, and enjoy some good food and drinks. With the right design, enjoying the outdoors without sacrificing the comfort and conveniences of your indoor kitchen is easy. Make sure that you have everything you need by considering what appliances you want to incorporate into your custom outdoor kitchen.

How to Arrange Your Appliances

Designing your own outdoor kitchen means that you can put your appliances exactly where you’ll need them and customize the layout for efficiency and simplicity. While you can organize the elements of your space however you like, there are a couple of design ideas that might make cooking outdoors easier and more enjoyable. The number one outdoor kitchen design element you should consider? Splitting your kitchen into “zones.” Hot and cold zones, for instance, should be kept separate. That means that your grill and your refrigerator should not be next to each other, because the heat from the grill may force your fridge to work harder. You might also want to consider designating wet and dry areas if you choose to install a sink. You can ensure that there is counter space away from the splash zone, so that you have a preparation area that will remain dry.

What You Need

The needs of your custom outdoor kitchen will depend on how you want to use that space, but there are a few basic elements that you will definitely want.

Cooking Appliances

First things first, you should have something to cook on or with, the classic choice being a grill. You can also install a smoker or extra burners, depending on the dishes you love to make.

Preparation Area

You will also need a surface where you can prepare ingredients, set down dishes and utensils, and so on. You can customize the square footage of counter space available for your needs.

Storage

Storage space is another important element of an outdoor kitchen. In particular, you will want a place to store trash so it doesn’t blow across your lawn on a windy day or encourage wild animals to rummage through your space.

Lighting and Seating

You should also remember to include lighting and seating, although you can get creative with these and design them separately from your outdoor kitchen if you like.

Keep in mind that all the appliances and accessories that you choose need to be suited for the outdoors. That means they need to be able to stand up to harsh weather, like high winds, hot and cold temperatures, rain, and snow. Fortunately, almost every appliance you can find in an indoor kitchen is available in a weather- and waterproof version. Artisan Outdoor Kitchen works specifically with stainless steel appliances, because not only is it a beautiful material, but it is also durable and easy to clean.

Common Choices

If you’re looking for a checklist of appliances to choose from, then you’ve come to the right place. You can design your outdoor living area with whatever appliances and accessories you like, but the four major components included in most outdoor kitchens are:

  • A grill
  • A refrigerator
  • A sink
  • Cabinets

Interesting Add-Ons

Now comes your chance to truly customize your custom outdoor kitchen. A grill and a fridge are just the beginning. With a company like Artisan Outdoor Kitchens, the world is your oyster. Some fun accessories and appliances to consider adding to your outdoor living space include:

  • A pizza oven
  • An ice maker
  • A deep fryer
  • A kegerator
  • A wine cooler
  • A stereo system

Important Design Elements to Consider

With an outdoor kitchen, you can expand the space around your home that you use and enjoy. It’s just one step in creating an outdoor living area that you’ll never want to leave. The next step is considering the area in and around your outdoor kitchen, and how you can make it a safer and more pleasant place. At the most basic level, there are four different elements that any outdoor living area needs to truly become an living space.

Seating

Your friends and family will need places to sit and enjoy the wonderful culinary creations you make with your outdoor kitchen. If this is not your first home project, then you probably already have a seating area with your existing deck or patio. If not, you have options. Many outdoor kitchen designs include seating, which we mentioned in the discussion on choosing your layout. You can also create a separate seating area, which offers more opportunity to host big events or change the design on a whim.

Lighting

Summer days are long, but they never seem long enough when you’re spending time with people you love. Make sure your outdoor living space includes lighting so you can keep celebrating after sunset. There should be lights around the outdoor kitchen if you want to keep cooking after dark; a clip-on light for the grill is a simple, budget-friendly option, but consider options that will light the preparation area and sink as well. You should also have a well-lit path between your outdoor kitchen and your home, as well as a way to illuminate any stairs or tripping hazards.

Shade

You will probably spend most of your time using your outdoor kitchen during the summer, which means you should consider ways to provide shade. You need to keep your household chef and your guests cool and protected from the sun. If you build your outdoor kitchen against an outdoor wall of your house, then an overhanging section of the roof or the house itself may provide some shade, but that won’t always be an effective solution. An umbrella over your patio seating is one simple way to shade your guests. Planting trees can be a more long-term solution, or you can build a pergola over the entire outdoor living area.

Heat

Get the most out of your outdoor kitchen by making it comfortable in other seasons. There are plenty of creative ways that you can add heat. Explore portable heaters — if you have visited restaurants that use their patio seating into the fall, you have probably seen a few designs that could work with your custom outdoor kitchen. You can also build a fire pit, which offers not only warmth, but also entertainment and another way to make delicious food outdoors. S’mores, anyone?

Artisan Outdoor Kitchens wants to create an outdoor living area you will love for years to come. If you want any of these elements to be a part of your custom outdoor kitchen, let us know, and we will try to create a design that incorporates everything you need. We take pride in building spaces that are both beautiful and functional.

Ready to Get Started?

If you’re not excited to start building your custom outdoor kitchen, then we’ve been doing something wrong. There are so many ways to tailor your design to your dreams and your lifestyle, whether you need an expansive L-shaped kitchen to accommodate multiple cooks and offer plenty of counterspace, or you want to enjoy your backyard on a budget with a simple island-style design and just a few appliances. Whatever great ideas you have, Artisan Outdoor Kitchens can make them a reality. Schedule a consultation today to talk to a member of our team or visit one of our Colorado Front Range locations for even more inspiration. We look forward to working with you!