Outdoor barbecue pits are very common, however many homeowners are now upgrading to full outdoor kitchens.
Here are several things to consider if you want to design an outdoor kitchen at your house.
Decide what type of appliances you want in your outdoor kitchen.
What type of grill do you want - charcoal, gas, or both?
Would you like a side burner, warming drawer, or pizza oven?
Rotisseries and smokers are also popular.
Would you like a refrigerator or ice maker?
A sink would be nice, but a dishwasher would be a true luxury.
Keep in mind that most indoor appliances are not appropriate for outdoor use.
Make sure to account for the typical wind direction with appliances that emit smoke so smoke does not blow into the house or towards areas where guests might congregate.
What other amenities would you like surrounding your outdoor kitchen?
Would you like a pool or hot tub?
Do you want to sit in a hammock, dining style seating, and/or lounge type seating?
Would you like a TV, wood burning fireplace, or mosquito fogger?
Do you have seat cushions, lanterns, or dishes that need to be stored when not in use?
Don't forget to plan for adequate storage for now and the future.
Do you want your summer kitchen completely enclosed in a covered patio, an open pergola or arbor, or just have a sun umbrella?
Do you need a ceiling fan or outdoor heater?
Natural light might work fine during the day, but parties often carry over into the night.
Make sure to plan for proper lighting to light your kitchen as well as your garden so it doesn't feel like a black hole at night.
Should your kitchen floor be stained concrete, slate, brick, or another material?
Your cabinets should be very durable - maybe concrete or metal.
Your countertops can be concrete, tile, granite, slate, or other durable surfaces.
Your landscaping sets the style of your outdoor kitchen.
If you would like a tropical feel (and your climate accommodates it), select palm trees and other bright tropical plants.
If you would like another feel for your summer kitchen, select plants in that appropriate style.
After you have decided what you want your outdoor kitchen to have, draw out the space you have available.
Use a piece of graph paper to draw your available area to scale using the actual dimensions of the space.
Next, draw in the items you want to have in your space using the exact dimensions.
This exercise will show you what you actually have room for.
Hire a General Contractor
Once you have finalized how you want your outdoor kitchen to look, hire a general contractor to construct your outdoor kitchen.
Make sure he follows all building codes and pulls all applicable permits.
Ensure that you get all of the necessary utilities required for your outdoor kitchen, such as water, gas, and electricity.