How to avoid big mistakes when designing an outdoor kitchen

How to avoid big mistakes when designing an outdoor kitchen
Feb 3, 2020

Outdoor patios are wildly popular accoutrements in backyards around the country. There’s nothing better than retreating to your own backyard escape to relax or entertain all year round; patios are even enjoyable on a snowy winter day, as homeowners in the Sioux Center, Iowa region can attest. And it’s all made even better if you planned ahead and installed an outdoor kitchen to complement fire pits or other hardscapes.

However, it can be easy to overshoot the runway, so to speak, when it comes to outdoor kitchen design and even seemingly little mistakes can lead to expensive, frustrating changes. Your outdoor living space needs to be functional, safe, comfortable, and visually appealing and to make that happen you must avoid common design mistakes like these:

Not enough ventilation

No matter what design you choose for your Rock Valley, Iowa outdoor kitchen, don’t forget the ventilation factor. The cooking area in particular must be well-ventilated, and every appliance and electrical outlet needs ventilation to prevent overheating. Cooking smoke needs a place to go or you’ll be cooking but struggling to breathe. Include exhaust fans and vent holes, and install a hood for your grill or stove area.

Separate the hot and cold

Give your cooling and cooking areas some space. It doesn’t work to have a grill surface right next to a mini-fridge. Energy transfer battles will ensue and keeping these areas apart ensures a much safer and efficient design.

Stow it

Your wonderful outdoor kitchen is nothing without storage. Imagine throwing a big party but having to run back and forth to the house to fetch what you need to cook and serve. Add plenty of storage to your kitchen area in several locations. For example, an island can add extra counter or cutting space above storage space, and kitchen islands are very practical outdoor additions.

Get that electric feeling

It’s a sinking feeling when you finally complete an elaborate outdoor kitchen project but there’s only one outlet and it’s way over there. While it’s not especially challenging to add power to new areas of a home, electrical work can be tricky. If you are unsure of your DIY skills in the least, contact a pro to help out.

Never enough counter space

Counter space is like gold in any kitchen. In addition to eating space, you need ample room to prepare food, arrange ingredients, and serve up the final product. Err on the side of too much counter space; you won’t be disappointed.

Breathing room

That blank space you set aside in the yard for an outdoor kitchen will feel a lot smaller once everything is in place and you’re deep into your first barbeque.  It’s a very common DIY problem to design a space that’s too small. You want to be able move around in your kitchen and working in a cramped area is never pleasant. Make your kitchen roomy enough for you and your guests, with space for a cooking and food prep area, a place to eat, and any appliances you want to include.

For more information on outdoor kitchen layouts and design, contact Outdoor Elements at (712) 476-5299 or