1. Outdoor Sink and Dishwasher
While an outdoor sink and dishwasher is not necessarily the most exciting element of an outdoor kitchen, it makes your meal preparation so much easier. There is no need to make multiple trips indoors to refill a water jug, bring in dirty dishes, wash your hands after throwing meat on the grill, and so on. These two elements allow your kitchen to be fully operational, meaning you get to spend more time with your guests while preparing a meal.
An outdoor sink and dishwasher all you to keep the mess of cooking outside as well. All dishes can be washed and returned to their storage drawers for your next big gathering.
2. Outdoor Refrigerator
Outdoor refrigerators keep your ingredients fresh and on-hand for exactly when you need them. These specifically designed units are built to withstand fluctuating temperatures and elements we see in Northern Michigan. A well-placed outdoor fridge eliminates the need for constant trips to the indoor kitchen for another drink or the potato salad you need to keep cold, and are yet another way to keep you more involved with your friends and family.
Other outdoor cooling elements like wine coolers, ice makers, kegerators, and freezers are great options as well that add some fun to dining al fresco.
3. Built-in Outdoor Cooking Surface
The most important element for outdoor cooking is some sort of cooking surface. Over the years, your options for cooking surfaces has expanded! Many homeowners are choosing to include a traditional gas grill along with a flattop griddle. Flattop grills help to elevate the outdoor cooking experience by making favorites like pancakes and bacon possible outdoor treats without lugging pans out to your grill. Flattop grills provide consistent and even cooking surfaces that allow for variety when cooking outside.
A ’built-in’ cooking surface simply means that your grill or flattop griddle is enclosed with stone, allowing for additional storage and preparation surfaces. Even a simple grill enclosure can make preparing a meal outdoors much easier. Looking for even more ease? Your gas grill can be connected to your home’s natural gas line underground so your trips running for a new propane tank are over!
4. Pizza Oven or Smoker
These two cooking appliances open up a world of possibilities for slow cooked meats, wood-fired pizzas, and so much more. A wood-fired pizza oven adds a rustic touch, allowing you to create homemade pizzas with that perfect, crispy crust. These two elements make it more fun and exciting to cook outside!
5. Side or Power Burners
Enhance the versatility of your outdoor kitchen with side or power burners. These additional cooking elements provide extra heat for boiling, simmering, or sauteing, allowing you to prepare side dishes or sauces while your main course cooks on the grill. It is a practical and convenient addition that adds flexibility to your outdoor cooking space.
6. Landscape Lighting
How does landscape lighting improve your outdoor cooking game? Extend the functionality of your outdoor kitchen into the evening with well-planned landscape lighting. Lights can be built directly into the hardscape, and you can illuminate key areas such as the cooking surface, sink, and dining area to create both a warm and inviting ambiance and a more functional cooking area. Strategically placed fixtures not only enhance safety, but contribute to the overall aesthetic appeal of your outdoor space.
7. Warming Drawers and Storage
While storage doesn’t bring the excitement of an element like a pizza oven, it makes cooking outdoors much easier. Keep your cooked dishes at the perfect serving temperature with the inclusion of warming drawers. These handy additions are idea for holding plates and keeping food warm until it is ready to be enjoyed. Additionally, ample storage space ensures that your outdoor kitchen remains organized and clutter-free, providing easy access to utensils, cookware, and other essentials.
8. Pull-Out Trashes
Maintain a clean and tidy outdoor kitchen with pull-out trash and recycling bins conveniently located near your cooking area. These discreet yet functional additions make waste disposal a seamless part of your cooking routine.
9. Counter Space or Island
Looking for a way to add more seating to your outdoor area? Adding an island to your outdoor kitchen can add additional seating and a space to serve dishes. Additional counter spaces allow for you to truly prepare your meal outside.
10. Outdoor Heat Source
Living in Northern Michigan means beautiful sunny days and calming cool evenings. However, our cool night temperatures and quickly changing seasons means without a heating source, your outdoor time can be limited. Extend the usability of your outdoor kitchen with a built-in fire pit or stylish patio heater to keep the fun going even after the sun sets or into the early Fall months.