Nothing compares to the luxury of an outdoor kitchen. Imagine searing meat over an open flame while guests lounge at the bar, making friendly conversation. Imagine eating dinner at your outdoor dining table, feeling the breeze tickle your skin, smelling the sea-salt air as it mingles with the scent of roasted vegetables and full-bodied red wine. Imagine sitting back in an upholstered chair, watching the sunset over your kitchen counter.
Previously, this experience was exclusive to outdoor eateries, patio dining at coastal cafes, and beachside restaurants. Today, these exquisite moments happen in homes around Florida and other tropical locales. It’s more than just convenient: it’s extravagant. Whatever your tastes in outdoor furniture and design, you can bring home coastal dining to your backyard.
Create Flexible Indoor-Outdoor Spaces
Outdoor kitchens are changeable, flexible spaces, partially covered and shaded, partially exposed to the open air. Shelter and shade are practical in these settings because they allow for large groups to spend all day in the space if need be, even in the heat of the day, or in the midst of a gentle rainstorm.
Install shelter over your kitchen area to keep cooking spaces dry, clean, and comfortable while they’re in use. Some homeowners choose a pergola-like cover that can support vining plants, creating a living shade over the kitchen area. Composite woodwork is a preferred option, as it does not rot or deteriorate, nor does it need to be restained or repainted over the years.
Other homeowners install a solid-construction shelter that extends from the house outward over the patio or deck. Work with your contractor to build a shelter that matches your home’s style, siding and roofing. Use silky draperies or curtains to keep areas deeper in shade or protected from the sun. Silk curtains also convey a sense of richness and even an exotic flare that transports you and others to someplace far off, away from home.
Install Paneled Glass Doors
Install sliding glass or folding doors to open up your indoor space and connect the interior of your home with the outdoors. Sliding panels ride on multiple tracks to open an entire wall, revealing everything on the other side.
Whether the doors open to reveal an indoor kitchen space or a living room where guests enjoy refreshments and conversation, paneled glass doors allow for the ultimate flexibility, making an outdoor kitchen a simple extension of your indoor space. Use custom paneled glass doors with Low-E coating to reduce energy loss.
Create a Bar At the Window
Is your outdoor kitchen adjacent to your indoor kitchen? Connect the two spaces with a bar at the kitchen window. An awning window opens out to your outdoor counter to accommodate guests, friends and family members with a convenient location to stride up to the bar and sit down for a drink.
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Focus on Luxury, Entertainment, and Functionality
Make your outdoor kitchen a place where you love to go by focusing on the essential elements of kitchen design.
Create a Luxurious, Attractive Dining Space
The right dining room furniture elevates your luxurious outdoor dining space. Match the outdoor furnishings to the space itself, in style and color. You might choose to match the upholstery to the tropical flowers adorning your garden terrace or sundeck, or to the nearby curtains and decking material.
Coordinate the colors in the kitchen area with the colors in the dining area to draw the two spaces together, creating a link between them. Your contractor or designer can help you establish a rich, sophisticated color palette that will draw the eye and create a sense of order in your dining area.
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Don’t Forget the Kitchen Triangle
The kitchen triangle is important for the functionality of your kitchen – even if it’s a kitchen in an outdoor space. The position of the elements within the kitchen, like the oven, sink, refrigerator and counter space, determines whether your kitchen is a joy to use or a poor space to spend time. Work with an experienced designer to create an outdoor kitchen that heightens the culinary experience, whether you’re putting together a sandwich or barbecuing for your full family and guests.
Beautify the Whole Landscape
Finish the outdoor kitchen with a beautiful view onto a living landscape. Install pathways for navigating the outdoor spaces, whether they’re winding down to the beach or into a lavish backyard garden. Install tropical, low-maintenance perennials to beautify the space around your outdoor kitchen.
Position larger plants and shrubs strategically to provide more shade and protection on hot days and during rainstorms. Work with a landscape designer to coordinate colors and bring the outdoor landscaping together with the beauty of your outdoor cooking and dining area.
The Most Important Lesson
If you’re a homeowner, the most important lesson of all when creating an outdoor kitchen is to work with a professional who can create a beautiful design and bring it to fruition. If you’re a contractor, the most important lesson is to install quality products that will bring a sense of luxurious style and high-end beauty to your project.