We hope the information in this article will help anyone create an enjoyable and functional outdoor kitchen. In general, the basic concept of an outdoor kitchen encompasses an area to prepare, cook, and entertain. An ideal scenario allows for your guests to enjoy your food as far away from the heat and smoke from the grill or cooking appliances as possible while still being able to stay close enough to the action. Whether you want an expansive U-shaped outdoor living space to imitate the effects of being sent away on a tropical paradise vacation, an L-shaped outdoor kitchen full of your indoor kitchen comforts and amenities, or a basic in-line grill island, you’ll want to start by making a solid plan before you even start looking at costs. The amount of people you plan to cook for on a regular basis or entertain for on occasion can affect the design as much as the space you have available and your budget can. If you want to extend the season or have your guests comfortable outdoors all year long, there are other design elements that can come into play as well.
There is currently an incredible selection of products to make your outdoor entertaining space one of the most pleasurable aspects of your home. Having this amount of selection is wonderful, but it can become overwhelming or make you feel like there are too many items you must have in your kitchen, thus affecting the overall design, plans, and costs of your project.

Rule of Thumb


Don’t let the available items be your primary concern. The projects with the most satisfying result are usually initially dictated by space allotment and budget. Sometimes simple is better and sometimes it’s nice to have a few luxurious amenities. Take your time and make the choices that best fit your family’s needs then add the fun stuff. Far too often we see people choose everything they want and force them to fit in the space allowed, making everything appear cramped together. In other cases, people eyes are bigger than their budget and they simply choose the lowest priced items from multiple brands and the island ends up looking like a Frankenstein creation. Neither of these lend itself to a well thought out design and will often times lead to a less than attractive result.
If the budget is a concern, choose a quality grill and go with a more affordable brand for all the doors and drawers. This will ensure the stainless on the front and all the handle styles will match. It is true that an outdoor kitchen or basic BBQ island can bring overall value to your home, but usually only at a rate of 1/3 of an indoor kitchen. Regardless of your budget, count your costs wisely and select your items accordingly.

In-Line or Small Island


This island style is the most common with a fairly basic design being common throughout. Simply keep the BBQ grill or any other source of heat as far away from your guests as possible. Nothing is worse than trying to enjoy a cooked meal while being engulfed in smoke and heat. If an outdoor refrigerator, ice chest, or sink is part of your plans, these would instantly establish your dedicated serving area nearby and you would want the grill at the opposite end of the kitchen.
Depending on overall dimensions of the kitchen cabinet base, it might be best to install a door/drawer combination cabinet under the grill and a single access door under the sink. Though more expensive than a door, a combination cabinet is a great utilization of space. If your fridge is going to be placed next to your sink, you don’t have to use an access door. The cutout opening for the fridge will provide ample space to install your sink. The only drawback is that if you need to winterize the supply lines, you will have to pull the fridge out in order to do so, so keep this in mind during your designing.

U- or L-Shaped Island


If you are designing an expansive outdoor entertaining space or a commercial kitchen, the layout will be broken into different “zones”. The location of each zone is placed strategically in order to create a harmony within the work area. Regardless of the specific zone’s purpose, you want to ensure that the zone itself is ergonomically intuitive, having all the essential items needed for that zone to function easily. It’s essential to keep everything within arm’s reach to minimize the steps taken by the chef. This not only lessens the amount of fatigue that the chef could experience, but it also increases the harmony, pleasure and enjoyment of working within that space.

The zones consist of a preparation zone that you would use to wash and cut the needed meats or vegetables, a cooking zone to cook the prepared food, a plating zone to arrange the side dishes and plate the cooked items, and finally a serving or entertaining zone where your guests can comfortably enjoy your meal and receive refreshments and libations of their choosing.

Depending on the layout of your backyard or the proposed location of the commercial project, you can also extend the entertaining season by adding a heat source, either an electric or gas heater, luxurious outdoor fireplace, or even a simple fire pit. Some folks are even installing televisions, stereos, and artwork specially made to be weather-proof. Whatever you decide to do on your next outdoor kitchen project, contact the outdoor living experts at the Wholesale Patio Store for all your outdoor living needs.