What’s the Perfect Outdoor Kitchen for Your Lifestyle?
April 21, 2020
Designing an Outdoor Kitchen of Your Dreams
Many of our customers opt to build an outdoor kitchen as part of their landscape project. With the beautiful evening weather we get in Phoenix, it’s a great way to enjoy your outdoor space.
When you work with our design team, we’ll help you design a space that will work perfectly for what you intend to use it for, that complements the rest of your outdoor space, that will look beautiful and last for years.
Here are a few things to consider as you start designing an outdoor kitchen in Phoenix that is perfect for you and your family’s lifestyle.
How Often Will You Use Your Outdoor Kitchen?
The first question we always ask is, “do you love to grill out?” If your answer is, “oh my gosh all the time!” then we’re off to a good start!
Will you cook outside every day, a few times a week, or only occasionally? This will help you decide how big of a kitchen you’ll want, where it’s located and some of the features you’ll want to build in.
How Will You Use It?
Do you like to host? If so, how many guests? Do you simply need a grilling station, or an entertainment space as well?
Many of our customers like to entertain, or even have big parties. This will prompt us to consider a seating area, a bar top or even space for a bartender. Extra counter height space is great for preparing meals, while a raised bar height is ideal for socializing.
Will you dine outside? If so consider your family size, entertaining preferences and seating area needs. If you’ll be using it just for grilling we might look to a smaller design without the extra seating space.
What Kind of Cooking Will You Do?
Next we’ll ask what kind of cooking you do. Will you just need a grill? If you like to get saucy we have options for different grill sizes and configurations, we can add a side-burner for all your side dishes or even a smoker.
We have other features we can build in as well. Do you want to have a mini refrigerator outside? This is perfect for drinks and keeping food outside, or maybe you’d just like to have a drop-in cooler for the occasional party.
What Kind of Features Can be Added to Your Custom Outdoor Kitchen Design?
Once you’ve got your dream kitchen in mind, you’ll want to think about the extras you can include or add on to make it more exciting.
- Pizza Oven – Can you smell the delicious aroma of a great pizza wafting through your outdoor space? A pizza oven is a perfect add-on because they come in nearly any size. Get a brick oven set up for those rockin’ parties you throw, or a gas-powered option that sits near your stove. Whichever size you opt for, one thing’s for sure, it’s not an add-on you’ll regret anytime soon.
- Built-In Fridge – If you plan to cook outside often, you’ll want a place to store your necessities. Plus, planning for a party can easily take over your indoor fridge, so why not make it easy on yourself with the added space? Even if you only store drinks here, it still frees up room and eliminates the need for a cooler on those hot summer days.
- Lights – If you spend time or entertain outdoors past the daylight hours, you’ll want the benefit of kitchen lights. If your kitchen’s enclosed — such as those contained within a lanai, ramada or pergola, you can easily add fixtures to the overhead covering. Otherwise, you can choose specialty fittings that light up the countertops for prep work and such.
- Prep Counters – Speaking of prep work, having the additional space in your custom outdoor kitchen is an added benefit you don’t want to miss out on. Otherwise, you’ll need to transfer food back and forth from your indoor kitchen and that can get tedious. Spend the extra, have prep counters incorporated into your design and you’ll be thankful every day that you did.
- Sink – Much like prep work and transferring food, nobody wants to trek the dirty dishes in the house while cooking or during cleanup. Install a sink in your kitchen, and you’ll have access to running water to wash your hands and dirty dishes as you use them. No more avoiding door handles because you touched raw meat or running indoors to wash your hands after cleaning up a spill.
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Benefits of a Custom Outdoor Kitchen
There are several reasons why people decide to add an outdoor kitchen to their Phoenix homes.
- Wow factor. Let’s face it, outdoor kitchens just look fabulous. How nice is it to see a friend or family member’s face light up when you take them outdoors to show off your space? That feeling you’re getting — it’s a great sense of pride.
- Convenience. When you’re entertaining, it’s easy to miss a lot of the action if everyone’s outside and you’re indoors cooking. Instead, an outdoor kitchen creates another gathering space, so you’re not missing out on the company of your guests.
- Value. There are many things you can do to increase the value of your home, but an outdoor kitchen really ups its attractiveness. If you ever decide to sell, prospective buyers will easily be able to imagine themselves outdoors, which means your house may not sit on the market for long.
- Uniqueness. Plain and simple, a custom kitchen is yours. Nobody else will have another one that looks just like it, so kiss the idea of a cookie-cutter home goodbye. Instead, your custom kitchen will have the amenities you want, and it’ll be exactly where you want it, whether it’s in the center of your yard overlooking the pool, or tucked away as part of the patio.
The Process of Designing an Outdoor Kitchen: Countertop & Siding
Our standard countertop is honed and filled travertine tile, typically the same color we use for travertine pavers or a color that complements your concrete pavers. The travertine tile is nice because we can use larger tiles to minimize grout, cut them to exact size, and polish them for clean, finished edges. Travertine also stays cooler on the surface than ceramic tile or granite.
Other options include ceramic tile, granite slab or flagstone, but you really just can’t beat the travertine.
Your best options for siding are stucco, stone veneer or tile. Tile could be more expensive, or somewhere between stucco and stone veneer depending on the tile you choose. Honed and filled tile like we use on the countertop will be less expensive, while a wood-look tile will offer a sleek, refined appearance. Stone veneer is really good because it’s a natural material and will never trend in or out.
Designing Around the Rest of Your Landscape
We design using a concept of “entertainment triangles,” which just means we’ll use different elements to complement each other. For example, we’ll design your landscape to flow from the grill to a shaded area to a sitting area, or from grill to seating to the pool.
This helps to create a flow in your space where your family and guests can congregate naturally and keep everyone engaged. Good design isn’t just a rectangle kitchen plopped outside somewhere. It’s about making spaces work together for what you intend to use them for.
Things You May Not Have Thought About
Most outdoor kitchens will require gas and/or electrical runs. Ideally we’ll keep these as short as possible, with the electrical on it’s own breaker, with it’s own GFI.
Speaking of electrical, how many outlets do you want? Do you use appliances you’ll bring outside? Think about one for the grill, one for the fridge and one for your margarita mixer. Then don’t forget your crock pot for fondue night and a phone charger to post all your parties on social media!
Lastly, our structures are made out of masonry, built on a footing. We build them this way for stability, ensuring minimal cracking, broken grout joints, stone falling off and damage over time.
Alternatively you can go and buy a prefabricated structure. With these structures you should consider durability, stone falling off, grout cracking and damage over time. Our structures are built tough, with our customers often remarking, “I had no idea it was going to be this solid of a structure.”
Your Perfect Outdoor Kitchen Starts Here
Your perfect landscape design starts with how you intend to use it, and these questions should always be considered when designing an outdoor kitchen in Phoenix.
When you hire Straight Line Landscape, we’ll design and build a landscape that’s perfect for you, your family and your lifestyle. You can almost smell the grill from here.