This outdoor kitchen guide is designed to help homeowner's and professionals avoid the most common mistakes that often inhibit the usability and enjoyment of completed outdoor kitchen projects. This is not a complete guide but rather a handful of recommendations to help assist you in designing your outdoor kitchen.
Work Areas and Functional Zones
of the Outdoor Kitchen
Outdoor kitchens use the same functional zones as an indoor kitchen.
* Hot zones * Grills, sideburners, powerburners etc.
* Cold zones * Refrigerators, icemakers, wine chillers etc.
* Wet zones * Sinks and bar caddy's etc.
* Dry zones * Prep areas/counters/storage
While smaller outdoor kitchens may eliminate cold or wet zones, one of the crucial considerations is adequate space allocated for dry zones. Dedicate adequate space for each functional zone and consider the relationships among them for a variety of serving activities.
Overall Counter Space
One of the most common design mistakes is planning too little counter space or prep areas for the size of your kitchen. Four basic size categories:
* Small kitchen * A grill, sink and storage roughly 10 linear feet.
* Essentials kitchen * A grill, sink, storage and refrigerator roughly 13 linear feet.
* Medium kitchen * Adds additional storage, counter space and more refrigeration,
ice maker roughly 16 linear feet.
* Large kitchen * Features multiple amenities and able to accommodate multiple cooks totally more than 20 linear feet.
Specific Landing Areas
It is very important to provide proper landing areas around each major piece of equipment along with plenty of counter space. Planning these areas allows the cook to rest plates, pots, utensils and supplies next to each major work station.
The most common mistake is omitting landing areas to one or both sides of a grill or sink. A minimum of 12" on either side of the grill, 18" on either side of a sink. Remember these are only recommendations, not all kitchens have the room for these measurements.
Overall Storage Cabinet Space
Storage space in an outdoor kitchen is less important than an indoor kitchen. Pots, pans and dishes are normally stored indoors and brought out when needed. Items like wood chips, hot mitts, barbecue tools and grill brushes remain outside.
* Small kitchen * At least 21" of linear storage frontage
* Essentials kitchen * At least 36" of linear storage frontage
* Medium kitchen * At least 72" of linear storage frontage
* Large kitchen * At least 96" of linear storage frontage
Outdoor kitchen seating requires appropriate width for each seat and knee space below countertops and bars.
* Seating widths Normal use, 24" per seat. More accessible, 30" to 36" per seat.
* Traffic Clearance For no traffic behind seat, allow 32" between bar/counter and nearest obstruction. For people to edge past behind the seats, 36" minimum. For people to walk past unobstructed, 48" minimum.
* Knee Space for Counter and Bar Seating Raised counter (bar height) 42" high with 8" to 12" knee space.