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Creating Your Alfresco Escape: The Best Outdoor Kitchen Ideas

Outdoor Kitchen

“Bringing the outdoors in” has long been a favorite technique of interior decorators. Large windows free of heavy fabric treatments allow floods of natural light to bathe a room. Adding greenery and even natural materials (bamboo, stone, wood) are elements that will also liberate your floorplan.

With these 9 Ways to Bring the Outdoors Inside you’ll find some great insight. “When one thinks of the outdoors they think of sunshine, green growing things, and fresh air carried on warm breezes. Bringing the outdoors into your home will help you create a relaxing environment that your family and guests alike will love.”

Additionally, keeping your interior space free of too much furniture and too many knick knacks will help by providing that sense of openness found in the Great Outdoors. Freeing up your interior will also feng shui your space so your home feels both energized and balanced.

If you’re really looking for balance, then outfitting your outdoors with livable and functional areas is the ideal equal, but opposite solution.

Outdoor Kitchens: What to Consider

The kitchen is the natural hub of the home. Indoors or out, it’s the spot where people naturally gravitate. And just like your indoor one, you can add all the seating and amenities to continue this tradition.

We are fond of saying that all your outdoor elements from backyard pool to deck should integrate seamlessly by sharing a common aesthetic. That way, as you add, everything will feel like it has always been there.

The experts from The Spruce provide helpful perspective about where to begin:

“Like any outdoor building project, you will need to think about:

  • Budget
  • Size of space
  • Location
  • Materials
  • How often you’ll use it
  • Equipment and appliances, like grills, stove burners, pizza ovens, refrigerators, wine storage, etc. (You should only use appliances rated for outdoors)
  • Type and availability of fuel, like gas or electric
  • Codes and regulations
  • Maintenance
  • Climate: Some appliances need to be protected from harsh climates and extremes in temperature.
  • Lighting

Additional features like pizza ovens, beer dispensers, ice machines, smokers, and patio heating will add more to the final cost. Many outdoor ‘all-weather’ kitchen appliances cost more than indoor models.”

Types of Outdoor Kitchens

When you’ve figured how much you have to spend and the space in which to spend it, you can start thinking about scope and style.

Tuscan

How about a stone and artisan look like an outdoor cafe in Tuscany? An ambiance that’s open and welcoming with roughhewn stonework as the foundation is very hospitable. Colorful touches of ceramic tile and an espresso machine will feel (and smell!) like coffee house heaven.

Rustic

If you want unpretentious and downright rural, you can construct your own woodburning stove by building a stone pit crowned with a metal grate. Set an iron pot with your favorite stew ingredients and sip a nice Merlot while it simmers. (Careful here, of course, that the open fire is well contained, away from flammable objects and structures.)

Pizza-Rich

Wood-fired pizza ovens will prove a versatile solution that offers the added benefit of garlic and basil aromatherapy. These also make for a focal point and a compelling gathering spot.

Pergola Accented

Consider framing your kitchen and outdoor seating with a pergola. With such a topping you can run electric for a “ceiling” fan and string lighting for a festive display. What’s nice about a pergola-surround is that it is open and closed at the same time. You’ll still see the sky through the slats but have the feeling of a more permanent structure.

Indoor/Outdoor

Depending upon the climate in which you live, you may want your outdoor kitchen to be tucked in and out of the scorching heat or rainy seasons. That’s when you may opt to have your kitchen constructed beneath an extended roofline of your home. Your contractor will devise a design that ensures the proper venting from your grill station and any other additions.

Tiki Type

To go really simplistic, you can find numerous options for a tiki bar type setting. With models built on wheels, you can set up these anywhere in your yard. Just add water (to your backyard pool!), a couple bar stools and loungers. Roll a few cantilever umbrellas into position, fire up the gas grill and you’re set! It’s the people who make the experience; you don’t need an opulent setting to make a memory.

DIY

If a kitchen is not yet in your budget, perhaps you establish the alfresco experience with a nice table and chair set. Whether it’s undercover in your lanai, or out on the deck surrounded by planters topped with shade sails, you’ll still enjoy the open-air cafe of your creation.

According to Country Living, “If you’re not all in on a built-in outdoor kitchen, you can create a makeshift space by curating readily available, inexpensive items: a table with a flat surface for prep, a tiered bar cart or shelf for storage, a grill, and a cooler. Shop in a tight colorway for a cohesive look.”

Open-Air Kitchen

If you wish to go all out and have the space to accommodate, a full open-air kitchen and dining set would be a wonderful investment in your home’s value. With every indoor amenity like a built-in fridge, refrigerated drawers, a grill, a flattop, an outdoor oven, and a sink, you can even add:

  • Side Burners
  • Bars
  • Trash and Recycle Bins
  • Griddles
  • Built-In Meat Smokers
  • Power Burners
  • Outdoor Kitchen Storage
  • Wine Coolers
  • Kegerators
  • Beverage Coolers
  • Ice Makers
  • Ice Bins & Coolers
  • Paper Towel Holders
  • Smoker or Pizza Ovens
  • Enclosed Pantry
  • Outdoor TV
  • Outdoor Fans & Cooling
  • Patio Heaters
  • Patio Furniture
  • Fire Pits

Country Living’s Pro Tip: “Outdoor products should be built to weather the elements, so durability should be top of mind. Enlist a trusted general contractor to provide an estimate for building the outdoor kitchen of your dreams.”

You may also want to check out these 50 Outdoor Dream Kitchens for Every Style and Space for more inspiration.

Again, as you do in your Great Indoors, you repaint, reupholster, and swap out existing furniture for new as you go. Outdoors, you needn’t build Rome in a day either. Discuss with your contractor about the best ways to design an infrastructure that takes future expansion into account for the outdoor kitchen that suits all your needs… today and tomorrow. Bon Appétit!

Providing pool and home improvement loan solutions since 1979, Lyon Financial loves all the benefits of outdoor living. We also love the difference we can make for your family by providing something that puts years of memories within reach. Call 877-754-5966 for more information about creating your ideal backyard oasis.