With winter just around the corner, now might seem like a strange time to start thinking about how to design your dream outdoor living space to include some great areas for outdoor cooking. However, with the right outdoor kitchen setup, you can take advantage of those pleasantly cool autumn days to enjoy as much time outside as possible before the long, cold days of winter set in. Below, we offer a few ideas for outdoor kitchen essentials and how to create the best outdoor kitchen setup to extend the amount of time you can enjoy your outdoor living areas.

Outdoor Kitchen Necessities

Cooking outside under the beautiful summer night sky, or when surrounded by the beautiful colors of autumn certainly has a bit of charm. If you don’t have your outdoor kitchen properly designed, however, you’ll probably find yourself exasperated by having to run back and forth between your real kitchen and the makeshift space you're using on your back deck or patio. Those few minutes you spend running into your home to find the meat seasoning or a pair of tongs could be the difference between a great meal and a burnt piece of grilled chicken.

To make sure that your outdoor cooking space is adequately supplied so that all your cooking needs are provided for, consider asking yourself the following questions that will guide you in the design process: 

  1. What sort of meals will you be planning to cook in your outdoor kitchen?
    If you’re not planning to cook breakfast outside, for example, your outdoor kitchen probably doesn’t need a waffle maker or a coffee pot.

  2. Do you have adequate space for cleaning up after a meal?
    Carrying armfuls of dirty dishes inside after a meal probably doesn’t sound like a lot of fun. Make sure you include a small sink for easy cleanup after the meal is over.

  3. Is there enough space for storage?
    Though you might not need a full cabinetry setup for an outdoor kitchen, having space for storing pots, pans, and other important kitchen utensils should also be a priority.

  4. What to do about inclement weather?
    Summer thunderstorms can come up quickly, and quickly ruin an outdoor dinner party if you don’t have a sheltered dining area. Incorporating a gazebo or covered pavilion area for eating should also be a priority.

  5. Will you need to warm up your outdoor cooking and eating area in order to enjoy it later into the year?
    You don’t want your guests to be freezing as they suffer through a Thanksgiving meal. Incorporating a fire ring or outdoor warmers can help create a bit of warmth for outdoor dining outside of the warmest summer months. 

The Best Ideas For Your Outdoor Kitchen Setup

Once you have answered the questions above, you are probably ready to start designing your outdoor kitchen setup. The exact outdoor kitchen design you settle on will depend on your own preferences, the amount of space you have available, and how you plan to use the space. Though most people equate outdoor cooking with grilling, there are certainly other ideas that should be taken into consideration. Some innovative ideas for unique outdoor kitchen setups include: 

  • Building a wood-fired pizza oven. This can be a great hit for dinner parties, and offers a glowing bit of warmth on those cold, fall days.

  • Build a fireplace next to your grill station. Adding a fireplace to an outdoor grilling area can definitely keep your outdoor kitchen cozy on even the coldest autumn nights.

  • Add some repurposed pallets. Old pallets can easily be “upcycled” into beautiful cabinetry or tables to complement the rustic look of an outdoor kitchen and dining area.

  • Complement your outdoor living area with an enclosed dining area. If you want to cook outside but enjoy a meal without fighting the mosquitoes, flies, and other bugs, a small, enclosed patio dining area might also be a good addition to your outdoor kitchen design.

  • Build around a vegetable or herb garden. Lastly, consider adding some raised garden beds to grow some vegetables or herbs. There is nothing better than being able to pluck a ripe tomato or a bit of basil that is literally just a few steps away from where you are cooking! 

Design For Al Fresco Dining With Natale Builders

Natale Builders is the leading custom home builder in the western New York area. We can help you plan and build a custom home that incorporates the most innovative and functional outdoor kitchen areas. We have over 50 years of experience in building custom homes, and we are also proud to be an industry leader in Energy Star and Green Build designs for homes and neighborhoods in Western New York.

Contact Natale Builders
today to get started planning the home of your dreams!