Outdoors: Basics for Building Your Outdoor Kitchen

by Dana Lawlor 11/21/2021

Outdoor kitchens are ideal when you want to cook outside when the weather’s pleasant. Instead of being cooped up in a stuffy kitchen, you can get some fresh air and sun while preparing lunch or dinner on the grill or outdoor range. Your outdoor kitchen can also include an area for dining, so you don’t have to go back inside to enjoy your food. Since outdoor kitchens involve several elements, including electricity and even plumbing sometimes, it’s important to know the basics of building one. The following can help you understand more about what to expect when you plan on doing a DIY outdoor kitchen.

Check Local Codes

Before you plan an outdoor kitchen, check your local building codes. You’ll need to know what rules and regulations you need to follow when building your outdoor kitchen, such as how close it can be to your property line and whether you need to file any permits. You should also look into fire safety codes, since outdoor kitchens involve the use of fire for grilling or cooking. Knowing your local codes can help you plan your outdoor kitchen.

Choose a Location

Where you put your outdoor kitchen involves taking a few factors into consideration. You’ll need to make sure you won’t have any grills, stovetops or other appliances that produce heat near your house. These should be at least 10 feet away from home exteriors and any materials that are combustible. You should also think about odors and noise from an outdoor kitchen. While you might want yours close to your home for convenience, avoid putting it in an area where odors will become trapped and seep inside. You should also avoid building your outdoor kitchen right by your property line out of consideration for your neighbors.

Plan for Utility Connections

You might need to plan carefully with hooking up utilities for your outdoor kitchen. For example, you might need to run a gas line for a gas grill or have pipes installed for a sink. You might also need wiring for a refrigerator and other appliances that use electricity. Having these closer to your home rather than farther away can reduce the cost of hooking up these utilities.

Ventilation

Even though you’re cooking outside, it’s still important to have good ventilation. Smoke from grills can build up around your outdoor kitchen, making it an unpleasant environment for you and your family or friends. You can put in a ventilation system to eliminate this problem, or place your grill close to the edge of your outdoor kitchen so the smoke blows away from it. Reducing smoke buildup in and around your outdoor kitchen helps you get more use and enjoyment out of it.

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Dana Lawlor

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