There's no "right" spot for an outdoor kitchen. You might like the idea of a barbecuing area just outside the back door of your house, or a freestanding kitchen pavilion by the pool might suit your style better.
An outdoor kitchen close to the house is popular for several reasons. When the outdoor kitchen is close to the house, the house provides natural shelter for the culinary station. The walls of the house shield appliances from wind and sun, and it's easy to extend a roof overhang or add an attached pergola or other overhead structure to provide protection from rain and snow. Additionally, it's generally less expensive to run utility lines from the house to the outdoor kitchen.
If you choose a close-to-the-house kitchen, remember you'll stay more comfortable in the kitchen if it's against a north-facing wall instead of a warmer south or west-facing wall. "If the cooking area is positioned under a roof overhang or porch ceiling, make sure it's near the end—otherwise, smoke and cooking odors will be trapped," says Mark Allen, president of the National Outdoor Kitchen and Fireplace Association (NOKFA). It's a good idea to think about proximity to windows and doors, unless you want the inside of your home to smell like a smokehouse.
More far-flung locations can work very well, particularly if you're planning a fully outfitted space that requires less to-and-from the indoor kitchen. In this scenario, you may want to incorporate more storage, so you can keep essentials like mixing bowls, tools, condiments and dishes at their point of use. A sink will keep you from having to run inside every time you need to rinse your hands.
Wherever you locate the kitchen, remember to plan shelter from the elements, and shade from the sun. If it will be on an existing deck, you may have to reinforce the structure to support the weight of heavy grilling equipment.
Once you know where you want to put the outdoor kitchen it's time to evaluate where you should put it. This is a good time to consult a professional, even if you're planning to install it yourself.
"Even if you're not going to have someone else build the project, it's smart to consult an expert in the beginning," says Mark. "They'll see things you haven't, and will probably save you money in the long run." Whether you're working with a pro or not, keep these considerations in mind:
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