Updated: May 7, 2021
Article author: Alejandro Smith
An outdoor kitchen and dining space can completely transform your home: adding a backyard hangout area will make your house feel bigger and will give you a new way to enjoy warm summer evenings with your family and friends. And, during COVID-19, an outdoor dining space can offer a great alternative to going out to eat.
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Outdoor kitchen considerations
If you love to barbecue and find that most summer evenings are spent firing up the grill, it’s probably time to consider building a proper kitchen in your backyard. If you have a patio, designing a kitchen will likely be pretty straightforward: patios especially those with concrete flooring—are great for supporting the extra weight, and can usually accommodate most kitchen features. For your creative fodder, research some ideas for patio kitchens that feature everything from fire pits to pool-front bar tops.
Building a kitchen on a deck can be done, but you’ll need to consider how much weight your deck can handle, and build some reinforcements if necessary. Determine what kitchen elements you can’t live without, whether it’s a big kitchen sink, stove/oven combo, or a long countertop where you can get the whole family involved in dinner prep.
Along with weight considerations, you’ll also need to look into what utilities you’ll need. If you have a gas-burning stove, oven, or grill, be sure that you can plumb in the gas lines. Likewise, kitchen sinks will need to be plumbed in, plus any extra electrical outlets you may want to install.
Once you’ve considered all your wants and needs, make sure to work with an experienced and dependable outdoor kitchen designer like Arte Patio. If you’re going to add an outdoor kitchen, make sure to document all the work you’ve done by keeping receipts and taking before-and-after photos, as these types of modifications can boost your home’s value if you ever decide to sell.
Your outdoor dining area can be quite simple, but be sure to have the bare minimum of an outdoor table and chairs. You may want to consider buying them from a consignment store, especially if you’re building on a budget.
You should also consider including a cover for your kitchen and dining area. Not only will it keep you shaded and protected from the elements, it will also help maintain the quality of your outdoor furnishings. If you don’t want to build an awning and you live in a dry climate, consider a pergola to help shade you from the sun.
While some of your kitchens build will need a contractor, there are some projects you can take on yourself, like adding an evergreen screen to your yard for privacy or building a garden edge from found objects.
One fun project could be building a fire pit next to your dining space. This can be done with relatively few items; just be sure to follow guidelines to make sure it’s safe. A fire pit can create an amazing hangout area for after dinner or when you want to have drinks with friends.
Other good DIY projects are shelving for outdoor storage or creating a backsplash behind your kitchen sink or stove. You can do this on your own with simple tiling materials and by following online tutorials.
Your outdoor dining space will be an automatic hit with your friends, but consider adding a few extra elements to make them feel even more comfortable. For instance, you may want to install a changing area if you have a pool or get a filter system so that you and your guests have easy access to palatable drinking water. Think about what you and your friends and family will actually use and enjoy, and go from there!
Since we’ve been spending more time at home, having a fun, comfortable way to enjoy our homes is more important than ever. Remember to consider both practical measures and creature comforts. By building an outdoor kitchen and dining area, you’ll transform your home into space where you can invite your close friends over for a drink or for dinner.