1) Have you owned a grill or outdoor kitchen before?
Staff Tip! Were there any features you loved about your previous grill or outdoor kitchen? You'll want to be sure not to leave those out of the design. Plus, you're starting fresh! Was there anything you wish you'd had in your previous outdoor kitchen? How about anything you didn't like about your previous grill? You'll want to be sure to take that into account when building the new vision for your outdoor space.
2) Will your outdoor kitchen be attached to your home or detached?
Staff Tip! If you're building an attached kitchen, which is connected to your home, you will want to install or even skip over some components that you will need or may already have close at hand. However, if it's detached from the home, such as out by the pool, it may be more of an inconvenience if you have to make multiple trips indoors to grab food, dishes or dispose of trash.
3) What shape would you like your island to be?
Staff Tip! Here's where you really get to turn the vision of your outdoor kitchen into a reality. Lots of customers end up with a design similar to one of three types:
  • Straight Island - One linear island with everything laid out along the counter-top. If you don't have a large area to build in this will typically be the best shape. Don't worry - if you've got the space you can still fit all the components you like here. Counter-top space will definitely be at a premium here.
  • Outdoor Kitchen
  • L-shaped - This is a shape with two straight islands joined in the middle. You'll typically build this with a 90° return in the middle but, if your space allows, you could design it with a gentler 45° return or anything else you like. The big benefit here is that you're able to separate your space into more distinct hot and cold zones. You'll have considerably more counter space for prep and service as well as being able to keep your cold zone - refrigerators, beverage centers, and ice bins - separate from the hot zone where you'll be cooking on your bbq grill, side burner, power burner, and other cooking appliances. You'll appreciate that separation when your guests are able to top off their drinks without getting under foot where you're operating a hot grill!
  • U-shaped - This design definitely requires a lot of space but pays off big by giving you tons of room to work and lots of space for your guests to mingle. Here you're able to separate your hot and cold zones - one each on the "arms" of the U shape - and retain the space in the "middle" of the U for plating and prep space. The thing we hear most from customers after they've completed their project is that, if they were to do it all over again, they'd love more counter space! Here's where you can really spread out and make your outdoor kitchen a true gathering destination for your friends and family.
4) Will you be using standard measurements for your island?
Staff Tip! Standard counter height is 36” with a depth of 30”. Most of the items you'll see have been designed around those dimensions but if you require something different we'll need to make sure to suggest something that will fit in your design.
5) Will your island be built using combustible materials like wood framing or cabinet fronts?
Staff Tip! Most modern islands are built with steel or aluminum framing and a non-combustible outer cover that can be finished as you like. Lots of contractors will tend to use concrete blocks or other such materials which can be covered with a masonry or stone veneer. The most popular choices are brick, stucco, or a nice stone. For countertops, good choices include: granite, tile, slate, and poured concrete is becoming very popular, as well. It's important to be sure if you'll be using combustible materials so that we can pair the correct safety measures with your design.
6) Which fuel will you be using to fuel your grill and other appliances?
Staff Tip! Making sure your gas appliances are set up for the correct fuel type - natural gas or propane - is extremely important! Natural gas will usually be piped into your home by your utility company whereas propane will usually be contained in a tank (either the small 5 gallon tanks that you buy from a store or a large bulk tank that's periodically refilled by your propane company). It's also important to plan a fuel source for each appliance. Some customers are only able to run a natural gas line to their grill but will need to fuel their power burner with a separate small propane tank. That's ok! It's just important to have a plan for that before you order anything.
7) Will you have access to electricity in your outdoor kitchen?
Staff Tip! If so, don't forget to include plenty of electrical outlets! Rotisserie systems, grill lighting, refrigerators, and many other items require electricity.
8) How important is storage to you?
Staff Tip! Storage can play a vital role when keeping grilling tools, cleaning supplies and even serveware in your outdoor kitchen. If it's important there is always the option of adding enclosed cabinets in a water-tight environment. This is ideal for storing dry goods, cookware, and cookbooks.
9) What size of storage are you looking for?
Staff Tip! It's extermely important to consider the type of products your wanting to store outdoors because that will determine the size of your options. Will you need space for large items like cleaning supplies, pool supplies, or maybe even patio furniture cushions? Would you prefer options like storage drawers to fit grill tools or other smaller items?.
10) Will you have running water in your outdoor kitchen?
Staff Tip! Running water is important if you wish to add a sink, beverage center, or an ice maker.
11) Are trash, recycling, or other utility facilities important to you?
Staff Tip! Trash bins and paper towel bins come in handy when you're entertaining and they can help eliminate unnecessary trips inside.
12) Would you like to have seating at your island? If so, how many barstools are you considering?
Staff Tip! Sure, you'll need to make sure you've got enough barstools for everyone to sit comfortably. It's just as important to make sure you've got enough space for those barstools.
13) How many guests do you normally cook for?
Staff Tip! Taking this into consideration will help you make several important choices. Knowing how many people you tend to cook for will give you an idea of how large a grill you'll need. If you regularly cook for twenty people you'll probably want to look at the larger grills. If you normally cook for a small handfull of people every few weeks and for a large group only once every couple of years you may want to go a little smaller on the grill and free up some extra counter space for prep or other items. If you've got a lot of people to cook for this might also mean you should look at appliances like warming drawers or beverage centers. A warming drawer will mean you can cook in batches and still serve all of your guests at the same time. A beverage center will allow your family to take care of their own drinks and allow you to concentrate on finishing off that perfect meal. There's definitely no reason to complicate your outoor kitchen life. Go big if you live big!
  • Small Gathering = 2-4 People
  • Medium Gathering = 4-8 People
  • Large Gathering = 8+ People
14) Will you be serving refreshments and entertaining?
Staff Tip! Understanding your entertaining desires now could save you a lot of heartache in the future. Outdoor refrigerators, wine coolers, refreshment centers and ice bins are products you may want to consider now.
15) Do you need an area to serve food? How about some extra space for prep?
Staff Tip! Counter space is the most valuable feature in an outdoor kitchen. Nothing spells disaster like when you've got your grill hot and ready to go and you trip on the brick walkway bringing your steaks out from the kitchen. Also, what's the fun in having everyone outside while you cook when you have to pack it all up and eat at the dining table? This is your chance to make sure everything about the time you spend outside entertaining with your family and friends is perfect.
16) Do you have good air circulation in your outdoor kitchen?
Staff Tip! You may need to consider a vent hood or other disposal system if you don't have good air movement and especially if you've got a solid cover over the gas appliances. If you've got a strong wind please try to describe which direction it comes from in your sketch.
17) Do you have any manufactured or natural wind breaks in the area where you'll be installing the grill?
Staff Tip! Gas grills exhaust smoke and hot air from the rear of the hood. If there's a strong wind blowing against that exhaust area, in the best case scenario, your grill won't work very efficiently. In the worst case, it can be dangerous. You may need to consider a tall backsplash behind the grill if its rear faces a windy area.
18) Have you considered how you will light your new outdoor kitchen?
Staff Tip! This step is often overlooked and only considered as an afterthought, but knowing that a lot of outdoor entertaining is done at night it should be strongly considered early in the project. There are many ways to light an outdoor kitchen. Multiple hanging lanterns are a popular option, but outdoor rated chandeliers are now available that really bring the feeling of indoor living outside. Another great option are small lights recessed into walls or the island at knee level to light walkways and add a warm, inviting glow to the whole area?
19) Ceiling fans or other means of cooling can help make your outdoor kitchen more enjoyable year round. Have you considered how you will keep your outdoor kitchen cool year around?
Staff Tip! Decorative outdoor ceiling fans are very popular and can also include lighting on them to handle your lighting and cooling needs. Wall mounted and freestanding fans with and without misting options are other choices to choose from. Portable air conditioners are also a great option for partially enclosed kitchens.
20) Just like cooling, patio heaters can also help make your outdoor kitchen more enjoyable year round. Have you considered how you will keep your outdoor kitchen warm year around?
Staff Tip! Patio heaters come in a variety of styles, mounting options, fuel types and heating source. Wall and ceiling mount units are be mounted discreetly above the line of site and can provide a larger area of coverage depending on location and BTU/Wattage ratings. Freestanding patio heaters are portable and easily moved from one area to another. Fuel options include electric, natural gas and propane.

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