10 Mistakes when Planning an Outdoor Kitchen

When you’re caught up in the excitement of sorting through kitchen design ideas for your new outdoor oasis, it’s easy to forget practical necessities like counter space and fire safety. When planning an outdoor kitchen you must consider even more hazards and challenges than their indoor counterparts. Beware of these 10 common mistakes found in outdoor kitchen designs.

1. Poor Ventilation
Even when you’re outside, ventilation is vital when dealing with smoke and gas. Vent panels should be installed within four to six feet of one another to relieve gas buildup. Ideal vent placement depends on the type of gas your kitchen uses, which is why you should work with a licensed contractor to make sure you’ve got room to breathe.

2. Appliances Aren’t Outdoor Rated
If you’re planning an outdoor kitchen, make sure to use outdoor appliances. Appliances built only for indoor use often get corroded or weathered by the elements outside, especially with the sun, salt air and humidity in Florida. Even worse, using them outside likely voids their warranty! Carefully research your appliances, and make sure you are buying outdoor rated kitchen appliances.

3. Installing Cooking and Cooling Equipment Next to Each Other
Even if you have limited space, refrigerators should be at minimum one foot away from grills and burners, and you need a barrier between all cooling and cooking appliances.

4. Forgetting to Account for the Sun
Part of the process of planning an outdoor kitchen is also understanding the sun patterns in your backyard. If your cookouts usually occur in the late afternoon, then your cook could get blinded by the sunlight. Position the grill so that the sun will not impair your vision.

5. Not Knowing the Exact Size of Appliances Before Making Cut-outs
If you can’t have your appliances in-hand when cutting holes, triple check with a sales representative or the manufacturer to make sure you have accurate dimensions. When working with American Outdoor Living, our motto is measure 3 times, cut once.

6. Installing a Small Gas Line
Large grills require generous amounts of gas. A 3/4 inch gas line is ideal for hosting cookouts.
We see too many people install a smaller gas line which in turn doesn’t provide enough power for any type of volume cooking.

7. Choosing Dark Colored Countertops
Dark countertops can absorb heat from the sun during the day, which can make preparing food painful! Select lighter colors that reflect rather than absorb heat.

8. Forgetting to Consider Counter Space
It’s nice to have ample room to prepare your meal.  It’s not just a cutting board you need to have on the counter, remember, there are utensils and serving platters, especially if you regularly entertain a lot of guests. Make sure to leave a clear path around the grill so no one accidentally burns themselves.

9. Not Planning for Emergencies
You need things like an insulated grill jacket to help cool off your equipment, but meeting all safety codes and having safety equipment won’t save you if you don’t have an emergency plan. Develop a written fire plan with your family, and post it somewhere outside for everyone to see. Regularly practice what everyone will do in the event of an emergency.

10. Not Planning for Upgrades
There’s a good chance you’ll want to enhance your new kitchen one day, so budget yard space for future expansions! Many homeowners will begin with a moderate outside kitchen, but then want to expand later. It’s important to discuss these ideas with your outdoor living expert.

A licensed contractor that specializes in outdoor kitchen designs can help you pick out reliable appliances and guide you through the challenges of planning an outdoor kitchen.

As an additional bonus, American Outdoor Living can also build a digital 3D model of your ideal outdoor kitchen to see how it fits in you backyard.  Call American Outdoor Living for more kitchen design ideas today. 407-847-9322 or fill out our online form.