How to Design an Outdoor Kitchen | Ask This Old House

Ask This Old House landscape contractor Jenn Nawada discusses the common elements she includes in outdoor kitchen designs.

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Steps for designing an outdoor kitchen:
1. The most cost effective and straightforward outdoor kitchen to install is a grill station. It provides workspace, storage, and can be used as an anchor or focal point for the patio. When designing a grill station, Jenn thinks about the following:
a. Placement – how far does the gas line need to be run, where can it vent, where does it fit practically, does it have comfortable access from the interior kitchen to bring food in and out of the house? All cook stations typically have the gas plumbed in from the house and electrical outlets to either plug in a refrigerator, connect a rotisserie, incorporate lighting, connect the grill ignitor, etc. These are all things Jenn needs to consider before determining the right location.
b. Aesthetics – which materials will best match the aesthetics of the rest of the patio and the house?
2. Consider what type of appliances you might like outside. Select specific appliances that would be important to the way they cook and want to use the space. These include refrigerators, warming drawers, drawers for storage, trash/recycling, paper towel holders, etc. Once those are selected, it will be easier to design the layout of the outdoor kitchen.
3. In general, Jenn recommends that, just with every design, everything should have a purpose. The first question she usually asks homeowners is what they plan on using the outdoor kitchen for? That informs the elements that will go into the kitchen. If someone wants more of an elaborate seating area for entertaining guests, she’s not going to waste space and budget on an elaborate grill station that cuts back on how much seating she can have.

Jenn showed photos of some of her own outdoor kitchen designs as installed at homeowners’ houses. In general, she recommends that homeowners think about what they plan on using the outdoor kitchen for to inform what elements they put into it.

About This Old House TV:
This Old House is America’s first and most trusted home improvement show. Each season, we renovate two different historic homes—one step at a time—featuring quality craftsmanship and the latest in modern technology. We demystify home improvement and provide ideas and information so, whether you are doing it yourself or hiring out contractors, you’ll know the right way to do things or the questions to ask. Our experts including general contractor Tom Silva, plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey, landscape contractor Jenn Nawada, master carpenter Norm Abram, and host Kevin O’Connor give you the tools you need to protect and preserve your greatest investment—your home.

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How to Design an Outdoor Kitchen | Ask This Old House


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