Planning your perfect space
If you have decided to make an outdoor kitchen a permanent part of your patio or deck, then a built in grill is perfect for you. The freedom of a custom grill island will allow you to plan your perfect space. You can incorporate a serving counter and work spaces, or even a high bar for relaxing with friends.
Covers are available to keep most grills safe from the elements. Any other parts of your outdoor kitchen should be made of materials that are weatherproof. It is best to select countertops made of materials such as granite and flagstone that will weather well, especially the darker tones. You can seal your granite as well so it will withstand the elements better.
The ideal location for your outdoor grill is one that is close to the house and perferably covered. This will allow you to use the grill even in the Winter. A covered outdoor grill will allow you to use it when the weather is poor, however ventilation should be considered as well. Leave enough ventilation so smoke from the grill can blow away and not suffocate your guests. If your grill is in a totally enclosed area, consider adding an exhaust hood.
As with an indoor kitchen, proper design of the space will make cooking more comfortable and convenient. You don’t have to adopt the traditional work-triangle design, but think carefully about the way you and your guests use the outdoor space.
There should be plenty of space for people to watch you as you cook, and there should be room for foot traffic to flow around the food preparation area. Leave an area for people to sit and socialize without being involved with the cooking. Make sure children won’t be playing near the grill.
Follow these guidelines for an efficient design:
•Put 36 inches of work space on either side of the grill and burners.
•Keep 18 inches to 24 inches of open space on either side of the sink.
•Allow 36 inches to 42 inches between the edge of the dining table and whatever is around it, so people can walk behind the chairs. Place the table well away from any stairs.
•If you’re including an eating counter, allow 24 inches of width per stool and 15 inches of leg room.