Take outdoor entertaining to a new level with a gorgeous and functional outdoor kitchen. Whether you want to grill, have a pizza party, or serve tapas, you want a well-planned space to prep and serve food. Here are important considerations when planning your Oyster Bay, NY, outdoor kitchen project.
Your Cooking Style
The first and most important question is, how will you use the space? Most people enjoy grilling, but a simple grill station may be too limiting if you’re a gourmet cook who happens to love entertaining outdoors. Consider adding a pizza oven, smoker, and four-burner stove if you want to expand your horizons beyond grilling. Other popular appliances include:
Refrigerator: You don’t need a full sized fridge outdoors; a small under-counter fridge will keep water, condiments, salads, and various beverages easily accessible.
Ice maker: If you typically use a lot of ice, it makes sense to have a machine outdoors to save endless trips to the house.
Kegerator: If you’re a beer aficionado, consider a kegerator with two taps so you can serve two types of beer.
Sink: Make cleanup and bartending easier with a sink.
Dishwasher: This may be a luxurious touch, but it will be highly appreciated night after night in the outdoor cooking season.
Who’s Doing the Cooking?
Do you enjoy doing all the cooking while friends and family relax with a glass of wine? Or do you prefer communal cooking, where everyone’s participating? Your answer will help you plan out the size and layout of the kitchen, depending on how many cooks you want in the kitchen at any one time. Give careful thought to how much prep space you need as well.
When the Kitchen Will Be Used
During the summer months, you will want protection from the sun. A pergola could be the perfect solution for the kitchen as it would let the heat escape through the roof slats. If you’re a rain-or-shine entertainer, rain protection can be achieved with a permanent roof. If you plan on using your kitchen later into the season, you’ll need to consider sources of warmth, such as a fireplace or portable patio heaters.
There’s something magical about cooking with a view. Position your kitchen to maximize the best views in your landscape for a truly inspirational cooking experience. You can also position the kitchen to take advantage of a focal point in your yard, such as a koi pond or perennial garden.
Everything in your outdoor kitchen, including the countertops, cabinetry, and appliances, needs to be able to stand up to sun, rain, snow, heat, wind, and freezing temperatures. They also have to be easy to clean; for this reason, stainless steel, tile, and natural stone are popular outdoors. Granite is gorgeous but keep in mind it will need to be sealed every few years to maintain its appearance.
Task lighting and ambient lighting are both necessary for outdoor kitchens. Task lighting needs to illuminate cooking and food prep areas while accent lighting or string lighting gives a festive feel to dining areas. Also remember to illuminate nearby walkways for safety.