Location

 

Deciding on the location for your outdoor kitchen is a very important decision and, depending on the layout of your property, there may be several great options you’ll have to choose between. It may be under an existing covered structure or simply out on the patio exposed to the elements. We have found that clients in certain geographical locales prefer to have their kitchen located under a roof structure, protecting them from either the extreme heat of the sun or to allow them to utilize their kitchen during rain or other bad weather. This is a great idea if your space will accommodate this design and dramatically increases its usability. This design does however create challenges for properly ventilating your cooking appliances as smoke can easily build up inside a covered structure. The addition and utilization of a vent hood will remedy these issues, though you will need to be sure to include it in your budgeting. It is recommended that the vent hood be 6-12” wider than the appliances to ensure that all possible smoke is captured.


Questions Before Starting

 

Will outdoor kitchen be against the house and attached to its utilities? If it is close to the house make sure all fire codes are considered. If you’re running separate utilities consider underground obstacles. Is the current patio and yard drainage sufficient? Do you want to provide some shelter from the wind, sun, or road noise? What is the sun exposure, and how will you ensure adequate shade in hotter climates? What are the requirements for any new structures? Are permits needed for the outdoor kitchen or any pavilions or other structures you’re planning? Check with your local building department before starting work.

Utilities

 

Has the gas line size and pressure been confirmed? Natural gas should be 7” water column. Bulk propane should be regulated to an 11” water column. Has the plumber or gas technician planned for the total BTU volume of all the BBQ equipment? If additional gas appliances are running off the same line such as fire pits, pool heaters, and patio heaters, a load test may be required.

Will the kitchen be plumbed for water supply? Hot and cold or just cold? An under-counter water heater installed below the sink is usually less expensive than running hot water lines and performs better. Have you provided a shutoff valve and a drain to winterize the water lines? Do you plan to get rid of the waste water with a french drain or attach it to the city’s sewage?

Have electrical outlets been planned throughout the kitchen and above the counter? Be sure to provide a dedicated circuit to any refrigeration as these typically need more amperage. Outlets for standard appliance should also be on a separate circuit. Outlets above the counter can be used for blenders, rotisserie motors and the like but you will also need outlets below the counter for the outdoor refrigerator, BBQ lights, BBQ ignition, water heaters and things such as these.

If a TV is planned for the outdoor space, be sure to provide conduits to run the cable lines and or HDMI cables from where the TV box will be housed. Low voltage wire (telephone, Cat 5 or Cable) cannot run in the same conduit as high voltage (110 volt) power which will be required to run the TV. If considering High Voltage (220 volt – 440 volt) patio heaters, make sure that a dedicated minimum 50 amp breaker is used for this type of install and that a load test is calculated to consider all uses. It is always best to install switches for any outlets that run refrigeration so that the units can be turned off without anyone having to pull them out to be unplugged.