5 Clever Ways to Design an Outdoor Kitchen with Limited Backyard Space
True to the adage, fresh air and sunshine are good for the soul. Simply stepping outside does wonders to lift your mood, and it’s no surprise more homeowners are electing to take entertaining outside to make the most of warmer months. Whether you like to host summer parties or practice yoga on the patio, adding an outdoor kitchen certainly awards you with more personal fulfillment in your free time.
If you’re challenged by limited backyard space, it doesn’t mean this wistful outdoor experience is unattainable. You just have to work smarter! These five tips will help you plan an outdoor kitchen small in size but big on features.
To evaluate the possibilities in the space you do have, first consider the must-have fixtures for your ideal outdoor experience, such as a grill or cooking area, outdoor refrigeration for cold beverages, food and ice, perhaps a built-in dispenser for cold draft beer, or maybe a plumbed sink and prep counter.
Then determine the optimum location to accommodate your wish list. We suggest staying close to the house – it grants easier access to inside conveniences, less steps away. Consider nestling the footprint into a corner, against a house wall or opt for a modular kitchen island for additional food prep space.
Need ideas? These four outdoor kitchen layouts (at right) will help you maximize outdoor space.
2. Select Adaptable Outdoor Refrigeration Storage
Your outdoor appliances often determine your overall kitchen size. Choosing a refrigeration solution that accomplishes many things and occupies minimal space is wise for small spaces. It’s also critical to select reliable, high-performance appliances specifically built to weather the elements.
Marvel Outdoor recently introduced an all-in-one outdoor appliance solution, CSA certified for outdoor use, the first and only of its kind. The new 24″ Marvel Outdoor Refrigerator and Freezer centralizes the best features of a refrigerator, freezer and ice maker into one dynamic 24” footprint, a new advancement ideal for small outdoor kitchens.
Engineered with Dynamic Cooling Technology, it cools rapidly and provides precise temperature stability even on the hottest days. And its durable, low-maintenance stainless steel exterior is tested to endure harsh sun, rain, corrosion, humidity and extreme temperatures.
3. Look for Portability
Rather than committing to bulky fixed pieces, consider more flexible options that can be stacked, folded or tucked away to maximize space. For example, stacking or folding chairs can be brought out or put away to match your guest list count. Kitchen carts on wheels can provide you with more food prep space or double as a serving station. And, Marvel Outdoor Single Tap and Twin Tap Mobile Beer Dispensers are built on sturdy casters to follow the party, whether it’s tailgating parties at home (homegating) or on the go. The only beer dispenser capable of housing a full keg with 4-in-1 storage configurations, these outdoor kegerators are versatile enough to not only fit multiple keg sizes but also convert to a full refrigerator.
4. Give the Illusion of Spaciousness
There are tricks of the trade that’ll have your eyes convinced your outdoor kitchen looks larger than it is. Lighting will be your best friend, especially task and accent lights to brighten the space, enhance mood and improve visibility. Another technique is bringing in reflective high-gloss surfaces or positioning a decorative mirror to reflect natural light and beautiful elements in your backyard.
Visual optics will give the appearance of greater length and width, so use lighter monochromatic colors, clean lines and flooring patterns to your benefit. Streamline storage with built-in solutions and employ multi-functional pieces to remove clutter. Look for small-scale versions of the fixtures you want, such as a slim work island and lightweight seating.
5. Add Shelter
Considering you’ve taken the steps to invest in an outdoor kitchen, it would behoove you to also ensure you can enjoy it the most days of the year. Adding a pergola, overhang or even a simple umbrella offers cool shade from the hot rays of the sun, protecting you and your guests from sunburn. With shelter, you can languish in the refreshing smells of a calm summer rain without getting drenched. And, more practically, it helps extend the longevity of your outdoor kitchen.
Note: Professionals recommend adequate clearance between a grill and the structure’s ceiling and designing for proper ventilation.