Outdoor Kitchen Designs can be really exciting, and more often than not, this excitement is what causes homeowners to commit serious mistakes in the design and planning stages—from awkward angles to lack of storage and more. As such, here are some of the most common outdoor kitchen design mistakes that you should avoid so you can have the outdoor kitchen of your dreams.
Not Consulting a Professional Contractor
Many ordinary homeowners usually have limited knowledge about electricity and plumbing, which is why they often forget to include these when planning and designing their outdoor kitchens. They often think about installing gas-powered barbeque grills without thinking about where the gas lines will pass. They think about installing outdoor lighting but forget to plan where the electricity lines will run through. A faucet and a sink will certainly be necessary, but they forget where the plumbing lines will be installed.
If you’re not sure how to go about in planning for these things, then it is best that you consult a contractor, preferably one with knowledge and experience in building outdoor kitchens. Sure, you can talk to an electrician and a plumber separately, but why bother talking to different people when you can get all your answers from just one?
Prioritizing Design over Function
Everybody wants to have a great looking outdoor kitchen design, that’s a given. This is why many homeowners often spend a lot of time looking up great photos of outdoor kitchens in Google or home and garden magazines for inspiration. There isn’t anything wrong with this unless you start prioritizing kitchen design over function.
Having a pretty outdoor kitchen wouldn’t be any fun if you don’t like using it anyway because of certain inefficiencies. For instance, maybe you placed the grill in a certain spot because you thought it would look good there, but now whenever you cook the smoke wafts into the living room. Or maybe you chose a smaller version of counter space because you didn’t like those big, bulky ones and now you have to prepare your food in the indoor kitchen because there isn’t enough space outside.
It is understandable to get excited and follow an outdoor kitchen design that you saw on the internet or magazine simply because it looked nice. However, it is always important that you prioritize function over design when planning your outdoor kitchen. If you’re not sure how to fuse your design tastes with functionality and practicality, then you should consider talking to a kitchen design expert to help you out. By keeping your outdoor kitchen functional, you’ll end up using it more and cherishing every moment of it.
Not Applying Good Kitchen Design Principles
A truly effective outdoor kitchen follows certain design principles. For instance, there’s the concept of the working triangle. Here, the cleaning area (i.e. the sink), the cooking area (i.e. the cooktop), and food storage (i.e. the refrigerator) are placed in a triangular set up. This makes it easier to move from one area to another and enhances your efficiency while working in your outdoor kitchen.
There’s also the concept of properly setting up hot and cool zones. For example, some homeowners often place their refrigerators next to their ovens in order to save some space. This is not really recommended since both appliances produce heat on their exteriors and this can cause either one (or both) of them to overheat.
If you’re not sure whether your intended design for your outdoor kitchen follows good kitchen design principles, don’t hesitate to talk to a professional designer or contractor.
Not Setting a Budget
It is somewhat easy to spend more than what you intended to when it comes to outdoor kitchens. But there’s nothing worse than having started your dream outdoor kitchen and stopping halfway through construction because you ran out of funds. Both of these problems could’ve been easily remedied had you only set a budget for this particular project.
Building custom kitchens are just like any home construction or improvement plan—you need to set a budget for it. And make your budget realistic. Think about how much you can really afford to spend and be sure to let your contractor know about that. If you want to make estimates, do your research including prices for the materials to be used and the appliances to be installed. Be sure to include the professional fees in your estimate as well.
Choosing the Wrong Materials
It is important that you choose the right materials for your outdoor kitchen. Keep in mind that your outdoor kitchen and everything else therein will be exposed to the weather and certain hazards. There are certain factors that you’ll want to consider. For one, choose materials that can withstand the rigors of the outdoor elements, like choosing stainless steel instead of wood for framing your appliances. Second, choose materials that are fireproof like brick and stone or maybe an insulated grill jacket if possible. Lastly, you may want to go for materials that are easy to clean and maintain. You won’t be able to keep oil and grease from getting all over the place, so you don’t want to make use of porous materials that easily absorb liquid and creates a stain.
Choosing the Wrong Appliances
You may have a long list of appliances in mind as you plan your outdoor kitchen—grills, ovens, refrigerators, or maybe even a beer tap. When it comes to choosing and buying appliances, you need to make sure that those you get are rated for outdoor use. Never get appliances that do not have this rating for your outdoor kitchen.
The reason is that those appliances rated for outdoor use are made to be much more durable and resilient against weather conditions. Those that do not have this rating will not fare well outdoors, and may even break down in a relatively short span of time. That would be a waste of money. And don’t think that you can get them repaired or replaced by the manufacturer because the warranty has been voided when you placed the appliance outside.
In addition, make sure that you only buy appliances that you will actually use. Avoid installing unnecessary appliances just because you think it would be cool to have them. Also, make sure that they are of the right size—you wouldn’t want to have an overly large refrigerator that takes up a huge portion of your outdoor kitchen and use it only during the summer.
Insufficient Counter Space and Food Preparation Area
Aside from cooking and entertaining, another thing that you will mostly be doing in your outdoor kitchen is food preparation. This is why you’ll want to make sure that you include ample space for food preparation in your design. Otherwise, you’ll spend a lot of time running back and forth to your indoor kitchen which kind of takes the fun out of an outdoor picnic.
Many homeowners often compromise their counter space or food preparation area in order to make way for other things. For instance, some choose a smaller counter space in order to have a larger dining area. However, as explained above, this is rarely a good idea. There are certain guidelines that you should follow when determining just how much space you should allot for the food preparation area, and a knowledgeable kitchen design expert can help you with this.
Not Planning for Upgrades
It sometimes happens that you don’t have the budget to build your ultimate dream outdoor kitchen in one go. As such, you may find yourself making compromises in certain areas for now. That doesn’t mean though that you’ll have to live with that outdoor kitchen forever. There will come a time when repairs and replacements will be necessary, and you’ll want to be prepared when that happens. Thus, aside from putting aside funds for these repairs and replacements, you should also put aside funds for upgrades. Make a final build-out plan that has provisions for upgrades and future expansions. You can ask the help of a kitchen design expert or a contractor to help you with this.
Avoid Those Design Pitfalls with the Help of an Expert
Designing your outdoor kitchen designs can be exciting and a lot of fun. However, if you get the design, materials, and several other things wrong, then you may end up with an outdoor kitchen that will give you more headaches instead of long hours of fun cooking and entertaining. If you are not sure how to go about in planning an outdoor kitchen that is not only aesthetically pleasing but fully functional as well, do know that we’re here to help.
With extensive knowledge and years of experience, our experts here at Dream Kitchens are more than capable of building quality custom designed indoor and outdoor kitchen designs that will more than satisfy your demands. To further ensure quality, we only make use of high-grade materials from reputable suppliers for all our products like kitchen cabinets, which are true kitchen clever storage and others. For more information about our range of products and services, do call us on 02 9484 3464. You’re also welcome to pay a visit to our showroom located in Pennant Hills, NSW 2120 and we’ll have one of our staff answer your queries personally.