How to Design a Durable Outdoor Kitchen for the Naples Elements

Updated: 4 days ago


Step 1: Determine the location. Before designing an outdoor kitchen, you need to decide where you'd like to build it. You can either place it close to your house, on an existing patio or along your home's exterior walls, or farther from your home for a more intimate, immersive experience. We've laid out some of the parameters for deciding where to place your outdoor kitchen below. Close to the House Benefits

  • More protection from the wind.

  • Easy to install or connect to existing plumbing and fuel lines.

  • Quick access to indoor amenities (helpful if you want to avoid installing too many appliances outdoors).

  • Ability to extend the roof or attach a shade structure to your home.

  • Ability to install kitchen features and appliances against existing exterior walls.

Drawbacks

  • May need additional ventilation to prevent smoke from filling your home when cooking.

  • Less flexibility with placement and configuration of kitchen.


Away from the House Benefits

  • Creates a separate entertaining area in your yard.

  • Unique environment and ambiance.

  • A lot of flexibility with placement and design.

Drawbacks

  • More difficult to install or connect to existing plumbing and fuel lines.

  • May need to install a level floor and pave a pathway to your home.

  • Outdoor shade structures must be built from the ground up.

  • May need to install more features to avoid having to go back to the house for necessities.

Step 2: Determine your project scope and budget. Make a list of the features you'd like to install in your outdoor space. Of the outdoor kitchen components listed below, decide which are important for your outdoor kitchen.

  • Built-in or freestanding grills

  • Food prep and bar sinks

  • Refrigerators

  • Flooring

  • Storage components

  • Waste receptacles

  • Bars, bar tables, and bar stools

  • Dining tables and chairs

  • Shade structures

  • Lighting and decor

Make note of the utility lines you have and which you may need and be sure to factor installation costs into your budget estimate. We recommend consulting a professional. If you'd like your outdoor kitchen to have running water, you'll need to ensure that the proper plumbing lines are installed. The same is true for gas- or electric-powered appliances – if you don't have the proper fuel lines, you will need to have them installed. If you live in a colder climate and can only use your outdoor kitchen a few months out of the year, you'll need to think about winterization and insulation, or consider outfitting your outdoor kitchen with just the essentials. Designing Your Outdoor Kitchen Once you've outlined your budget and project scope, it's time to design! Designing an outdoor kitchen can be a complicated, highly technical process that must take plumbing, fuel lines, electrical wiring, proper construction, and fire safety into account. To increase the likelihood that your outdoor kitchen will have a safe and successful design, we recommend hiring an experienced and reputable company.

Step 1: Measure your space. Using a tape measure, measure the length and width of the space you're planning to use for your outdoor kitchen. If you're planning a big outdoor remodel, you can use tape to help you section off areas for dining, entertaining, and cooking. Step 2: Make a blueprint of your space. On paper or in an online space planner, make a blueprint of the space available on your patio or in your yard using the measurements you've taken. This will help you visualize where and how the kitchen components you want will fit into the space. Once you've drawn up an outline, it's time to start positioning your outdoor kitchen features. 3-D renderings are great tools to visualize how the outdoor kitchen will look in your patio or backyard.

Step 3: Place your outdoor kitchen essentials. At this step, roughly outline where you'd like your outdoor kitchen furniture and accessories to go as a guideline for when you shop later on. Start with the basics: flooring, countertops, and any built-in features and appliances. Keep utility lines in mind. Whether you're connecting them to your existing systems or installing new ones, your outdoor appliances will need access to fuel or power lines. When designing your outdoor kitchen, it is appropriate to leave a length of at least 8"-12" of countertop space beside any grills and griddles, and beside any sinks. We also recommend having a length of at least 24" of open counter space for food preparation. All countertop space should be at least 27" deep. Also note that grills and refrigerators should not be directly beside, above, or below each other.

Step 4: Place secondary outdoor kitchen features. With the essentials in place, you can start placing additional features in the remaining space. Think about placing a bar and bar stools adjacent to a kitchen island or, if you have less space, opt for a bar cart. If you sectioned space for a dining or entertainment area, now is the time to plan where you want to place your dining tables, dining chairs, or lounge chairs.

Lastly, outfit your outdoor kitchen with shade structures, lighting, and decor. Step 5: Get shopping! With all the components of your outdoor kitchen laid out, you can start shopping for actual products. Again, we recommend working with a contractor to ensure that the units you are buying are up to code and will fit properly in your space. One of the most common outdoor kitchens are equipped with inserts and/or drawer storage with a built-in grill. If you're interested in additional features, you can find many other outdoor components like built-in sinks, refrigerators, stove top side burners, bar centers, and lights.

Outdoor Kitchen Appliances Make sure to choose appliances that are meant specifically for outdoor use.

Grills: Available in charcoal and gas fuel types, grills are the essential outdoor cooking appliance. Freestanding grills are the easiest to place in your outdoor kitchen, while built-in grills are meant to fit snugly into outdoor kitchen islands or countertops. Be sure to purchase grill covers to protect your grill when it's not in use. Don't forget to leave 12" of countertop landing space beside your grill! Side Burners: Installed in outdoor countertops beside the grill, side burners allow you to cook just like you would on a normal stove top. These add more cooking functionality to your outdoor kitchen – you can't boil water for pasta or make a fried egg on a grill, but you can on a side burner. Sinks: An outdoor sink provides easy access to water for cleaning and cooking, which will help you avoid extraneous trips inside. Large outdoor sinks are great if you want to be able to wash dishes or rinse ingredients in your outdoor kitchen, while smaller bar centers are perfect for refreshment stations. Refrigerators: Keep drinks, condiments, and side dishes nearby and out of the sun by installing a mini outdoor fridge in your outdoor kitchen setup. Additional Appliances: Increase the culinary potential of your outdoor kitchen by installing a smoker or outdoor wood-burning pizza oven. These outdoor entertaining staples are perfect for adding atmosphere and personality to your outdoor kitchen.

Outdoor Kitchen Materials Durable materials will help ensure that your outdoor kitchen stands up to the elements and lasts for years to come. Outdoor Countertop Materials Because they must weather the outdoor elements, outdoor materials and countertops must be highly durable to withstand the Naples weather.

Granite and other Natural Stones: Ideal for outdoor countertops, tough, durable granite is attractive and easy to clean. It also comes in hundreds of colors!

Stainless Steel: Water-resistant, easy to clean, and highly durable, stainless steel is a popular choice for outdoor kitchen components, like doors, drawers, fridges, etc.