The four biggest mistakes people make when designing an outdoor kitchen

Jeff and Teresa Metke in Metke Remodeling and Luxury Homes Design Studio Lake Oswego, OR

Not assessing the site for the kitchen.

It is important that you look at the relationship between your indoor kitchen and outdoor kitchen. Here are some questions you should consider while accessing this relationship:

  • Is there a path that makes it easy to transport items in between the two spaces?
  • Do you wish to use your outdoor rooms in the rain?
  • Are you dependent on the indoor kitchen for prep space and refrigeration?  
  • Can you take advantage of the kitchen utilities by placing the outdoor kitchen against the house? Will you need to build a cover for the kitchen? What are the sun, shade, and wind patterns that should be considered?
  •  Do you need to provide shelter from the sun? 
  • Do you know the codes that govern the placement of your outdoor kitchen?
  • Are permits required for the outdoor kitchen?
  • Does the site need to be leveled? How will that potentially affect drainage on your lot?

Not designing a good kitchen layout.

Designing an outdoor kitchen layout is no different than designing an indoor kitchen. You need to apply proven indoor kitchen design principles for your outdoor space. 

  • How large does my kitchen need to be to meet my needs? You should ask yourself the following questions: Have you thought about how you will use this outdoor space?
  •  What type of outdoor cooking do you want to do? Gourmet meals? Basic grilling, pizza making or frying? All these require different pieces of equipment and utilities. 
  • How large are the parties you like to have? Do you like to feel like part of the party when you are cooking? How many cooks to I need at one time? 
  • Will most of the prep work be done outside or inside? Have you planned enough countertop space and landing areas around each workstation? What about storage? What about garbage and recycling?  How is the lighting in the area? Do you need additional task lighting in the cooking area? Do I need a sink or refrigeration?
  •  Do I need to run gas to my bbq? Do I need a water line? Do I have enough GCIF outlets for my kitchen? Have I considered seating for my guests? 

Not understanding the proper materials & finishes.

  • Outdoor cabinets are not all created equal. Be sure the cabinets are 100% weatherproof. We love NatureKast cabinets because they stand up to any weather and look beautiful as well. Remember that all handles, hinges, and screws should be corrosion resistant.
  • When selecting countertop material be sure it is rated for outside use. Is it freeze and fade-resistant? Most Quartz products are not UV stable and will fade. We have used Dekton for countertops with great success. 
  • Avoid dark countertop materials that may get very hot in the sun. Always take a sample of your countertop and leave it directly in the sunlight to test it. Are the countertop and patio materials stain resistant as well as slip-resistant?
  •  When selecting an outdoor sink be sure it is rated for outdoors, 304 stainless steel, solid copper, or a concrete synthetic. Blanco sells some great outdoor sinks. Think about strainers for your outdoor sinks. Many times, leaves and other materials end up in these sinks. 
  • How do you feel about maintenance? Some materials require a lot more time every year to be ready for the season. 

Not considering how the dining and comfort relate to my new kitchen.

  • When I have guests where will I clear the dirty dishes too? Will I have seating in my outdoor kitchen? How many people can I seat at my raised counter leaving 24” width for each guest?
  •  Is my seating at the correct height for knee space, a minimum of 15”?
  •  Do I have storage for folding tables and chairs I may use on occasion?
  • Where will the garbage and the recycling be located? Have I provided shelter from the sun in my dining area? Is there enough ambient light in the dining area? 
  • Do I have a plan for dealing with insects? Will the smoke from the grill be a problem for guest dining? Does my outdoor furniture coordinate with the style of my indoor?

Creating a well, thought out outdoor kitchen and entertaining space changes the way your home lives. Take the time upfront to be sure you think about all your needs and hire an experienced professional to partner with you in creating your dream space.

Metke Remodeling has been designing and building luxury outdoor kitchens for years in the greater Portland metro area. Contact us today to see how we can transform your outdoor space into your dream relaxation and entertainment area, you can also see our Outdoor Kitchens and Exterior Remodels for ideas and examples of our work throughout Lake Oswego and the surrounding areas.