Houston Lifestyles & Homes October 2009
Designing an Outdoor Kitchen
The most important thing, however, when designing your outdoor kitchen is to
choose a design, layout and features that suit your specific needs.
“Start with a personal shopping list,” says Erik Hanson, principal of McDugald-Steele/McDugald Steele Austin, LLC, a
Texas-based landscape architect and design firm.
“Pizza ovens, microwaves, refrigerators, charcoal units or gas—all of these decisions can affect your design layout. Personalize your summer
kitchen to suit your particular needs.
Many manufacturers of kitchen appliances are seeing the wisdom of offering
products to meet the growing need for outdoor kitchens. KitchenAid, a leading
manufacturer of cooking products for over 90 years, recently introduced a new
outdoor collection that includes everything from simple grills to built-in
“These latest features, along with our warming drawer, adjustable warming rack,
side burners and rotisserie, allow cooks to easily multitask without
sacrificing the end result,
” says Debbie O’Connor, senior manager of brand experience for KitchenAid.
But how do you decide among the myriad of options available? And can you change
your mind later and add in new features to your existing design plan?
Hanson suggests you think about how you want to use your outdoor kitchen and
customize its design to your own specifications. While you can always add new
features later, Hanson recommends you have those features included during the
original install to save both time and money. Adding unexpected features later
is feasible, but can be a lot more costly if you haven
’t included them in the long-term plan.
“When I work with my clients, I ask them to think about the function of the
” Hanson adds. “Will it be formal or more informal? Will you want to watch a flat-screen TV over
the top of the grill? Or will this be a more functional space for cooking and
you plan to move to a different location for dining?
” Just as our indoor kitchens aren’t just for eating, our outdoor kitchens become the hub of entertainment.
Hanson suggests that once you
have the answers to these questions,
you’ll then be ready to make design
But don’t forget about your outdoor lighting.
When planning your summer kitchen, choose the cooking elements you enjoy most
while entertaining outside. Photo courtesy of McDugald- Steele/McDugald- Steele
KitchenAid offers the ultimate in outdoor entertaining will this fully-stocked
summer kitchen. Photo courtesy of KitchenAid.
“Dimmer switches are a must for outdoor lighting,” says Lexington, Ky.-based IES Architect and Lighting Designer Joseph A.
“They can set the mood and create the desired ambiance you want for your outdoor
” Lights are low, the moon and stars are out and dinner is served.
Task lighting in the cooking area is also another must-have.
“Ideally, you should place at least one light fixture to the left or the right of
the cooking area, at shoulder level, which will provide great task lighting
during food prep,
” adds Rey-Barreau.
Ultimately, of course, the decisions you make about your outdoor kitchen will
reflect your needs as well as your personal preferences and budget.
Consultation with a reputatable landscape architect/designer can identify the
features and options ideally suited for your own backyard.
So get those outdoor kitchen plans a cooking. Happy home entertaining!
Houston Lifestyles and Homes Magazine features
Houston Homes, Upscale Living, Health and Well-Being,
Shopping, and Entertainment in Houston Texas.
Fort Bend Publishing Group 2008