It’s Nearly Summer in Austin! Tips for Setting Up Your Outdoor Kitchen

When the weather turns warm and the daylight hours extend, you probably want to spend as much time outside as possible. One of the best ways to do this is by installing an outdoor kitchen. An outdoor kitchen extends your outdoor living space, increases the value of the property and improves your overall level of enjoyment. The beauty of the outdoor kitchen is there are options for every budget. It really just depends on what you're looking for. Before you begin planning though, here are a few tips for setting up your optimal outdoor kitchen.

Cooking Surface

The first step is to determine what kind of cooking surface you want to take advantage of. A built-in grill is a great feature for most outdoor kitchens, and is certainly an option for most homes. However, do you want to constantly swap out canisters of propane (or risk running out of propane during the middle of a cooking session)? The optimal outdoor kitchen will run off the home's gas line. This way, you always have fuel for cooking.

Other cooking options include the charcoal grill and/or smoker. There's just something about cooking with charcoal that speaks to that summer feeling. Having a separate cooking surface option in your outdoor kitchen when using charcoal is a great addition, but it also takes up further space, so you should keep this in mind.

Additionally, you may want to consider a wood burning stove, such as one you might find in more authentic pizzerias. These can function both as an outdoor heating source and as a great way to bake bread, prepare pizza and other baked goods. Much like charcoal, there's just no replicating this flavor. So keep all of the different cooking surface options in mind when creating the optimal outdoor kitchen.

Water and Plumbing

Having outdoor cooking options is one thing. Being able to prepare other food while outside is something totally different. Having a sink and faucet on hand makes it easier for food prep and just adds another layer of functionality to a kitchen. Without water and plumbing can you really call it a kitchen? You should have the same level of functionality as your indoor kitchen. Similar to the gas line connection, you can have the outdoor kitchen connect with your home's water and plumbing lines.

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Electricity Options

Electrical connections make it possible to both have a working refrigerator outside and install external lighting. This way, you don't need to only use the outdoor kitchen during the daylight outs but throughout the night (and at other times of the year as well). The outdoor electrical connection also allows you to bring out a television and other forms of entertainment.

When considering refrigerators, lighting options and other electrical devices, just remember the number of appliances (and the size of the appliances) will dictate how large the kitchen needs to be.

Building Material

Now that you are thinking about the kind of cooking surfaces you want and the appliances to go with it, it's time to consider the building materials. Some homeowners want the outdoor kitchen to match that of the home, so they choose a similar brick to the house or use a similar color.

There are many different options when it comes to your outdoor kitchen. When selecting a building material you want something that ages well and can sustain the foot traffic you'll experience with the new kitchen.

From increased functionality to an increased property value, you can finally have the kitchen of your dreams and dine al fresco at the same time!