Outdoor kitchens and dining areas can be magical places. Hosting dinner parties and get-togethers becomes a special event against the backdrop of a sunset on a warm evening.
Cooking outside, firing up the grill and enjoying an evening spent entirely in your backyard with friends and family is definitely something to look forward to when COVID-19 restrictions are no longer a part of our lives.
It is pretty easy to remember the basics for your outdoor kitchen: a grill, a table and some chairs. It can be tempting to consider things completed after you have installed these few things, but there are plenty of common mistakes made by people creating outdoor kitchen and dining space.
Let us run through five of the biggest outdoor kitchen mistakes that you do not want to make when setting up a designated area in your backyard.
Using stainless steel cabinets & surfaces
Of course, this material is perfect indoors and is one of the most commonly used in kitchens. However, things get more problematic when transferring it outside to your backyard. Unfortunately, it is susceptible to developing rust and is not very weatherproof.
In its place, HDPE outdoor kitchen cabinets are the best choice for outdoor applications. Known as high density polyethylene, HDPE is an extremely durable building material that is capable of resisting most things nature can throw at it. It should remain largely unscathed by rain, wind and dirt.
Forgetting about lighting
Naturally, the most common time you are going to be outside enjoying a relaxing meal is likely going to be in the evening. With the light drawing in on your first meal using your outdoor kitchen, you might suddenly realize that you neglected to think about how you would illuminate your dining area!
The last thing you want is for your dinner party guests to go trudging back indoors due to a lack of light. Make sure you prepare to spend warm evenings outdoors with plenty of strong outdoor kitchen lighting.
There is a lot to consider when it comes to positioning your outdoor kitchen:
- Ideally, avoid having refrigeration and seating areas exposed to direct sunlight. Exposing machinery to heavy sunlight can cause serious damage. On a slightly less important note, you don’t want people to be shielding their eyes from harsh sunlight when enjoying a meal in your backyard!
- Make sure your outdoor kitchen is close enough to your house, but not too far away. You want to avoid feeling cramped, but you do not want to have to make a long walk every time you need to go indoors.
- Avoid positioning your kitchen next to a pool, hot tub or any other garden features. Again, this will only cause your kitchen space to feel cramped and be less enjoyable.
Not budgeting for counter space
Strangely enough, the main thing you will be doing in your outdoor kitchen is cooking. Make sure you have enough counter space to prepare meals, drinks and appetizers!
It is recommended to have at least 3 feet of 24-inch counter space next to each cooking area.
A sink running cold water is another optional extra for you to think about when designing your countertop.
Forgetting about storage
To be a fully operational kitchen, the area is going to need space to store plates, pans, glasses, cutlery and other things that make a kitchen usable!
Think about other situations that will take space, such as storing dirty plates when people are finished eating. You want to make sure that there is enough space for everything. Yes, even to store all those spices you need to use for your signature casserole