A newly installed outdoor kitchen quickly becomes the hub of outdoor living. But not all kitchens are created alike. If you want something that stands out, you can make a point of creating an innovative outdoor kitchen for your Lake Forest, IL, landscape.
Work with the Space You Have
Placement and orientation contribute to a kitchen’s usability and appeal. Keep your outdoor kitchen an easy walk from the home and orient it to maximize views (if any) and privacy. For a truly innovative approach, inquire about elevating your kitchen above the dining/seating areas or lowering it as a kitchen/dining “pit” for a more intimate cooking/dining ambience. It could be surrounded with a comfortable seating wall lined with cushions. These approaches would make the kitchen more of a focal point and statement than a purely utilitarian feature.
It used to be that a grill station was the extent of an outdoor kitchen. Today, the trend is toward fully functional, do-anything kitchens designed for the gourmet cook. As in any kitchen, adequate work space enhances the experience.
The best gourmet kitchens tend to have distinct work zones for optimized convenience; an L-shaped or U-shaped kitchen will put each zone where it needs to be. Given the design flexibility of modern materials, you can round the corners or even create a circular kitchen.
What about size? If you are planning on using your outdoor kitchen frequently, you may want to prioritize work space and elbow room, as a too-cramped kitchen is unpleasant to work in. The initial investment in a slightly larger kitchen could pay off big in usability!
Add Fun, Utility, and Personality
What features do you love about your indoor kitchen, that you would love to experience outdoors? Built-in speakers could help the music-loving cook work the magic in the kitchen, while a pizza oven would be a hit with any guest. For culinary enthusiasts, a vertical herb garden adjacent to the kitchen makes cooking easier and tastier. Other much-appreciated features include smokers, overhead fans, and moveable stainless-steel kitchen carts.
Factor in Temperature Changes
While the cook may be plenty warm by the grill, cooktop, or oven, what about the guests? Install a fireplace (a perfect spot for your pizza oven), a fire pit, a fire table, or patio heaters to keep guests cozy and happy. These features would also add a wonderful ambience.
On the other end of the spectrum, be sure that your kitchen has at least a beverage cooler to prevent constant traffic in and out of the house. Having as much as possible outside minimizes extra trips.
To cool things down on particularly hot days, make sure that your kitchen and seating areas are shaded from the sun. A misting system works wonders in dropping the ambient temperature during scorching times.
Aim for Self-sufficiency
You may find the best outdoor kitchen for you is largely self-sufficient, meaning it essentially replicates the amenities, features, and convenience of your indoor kitchen—so that you can keep the party in the great outdoors. This means choosing durable appliances and adequate storage for cooking and dining necessities.