Put the grill front and center. I like to position the grill space so that it is included in the landscaping. A lot of times, the grill is on the deck, away from the rest of the group or the dining table. This way, when the food it done, you are not carrying it far to your dining table.
Consider how big of a grill you need. The grill size is dictated, a lot of times, by how much a homeowner likes to entertain versus how they entertain. When you have people over, do you want to do the grilling, or do you like to have your events catered? Then you might need only a smaller grill. As for what other appliances in the kitchen are important: Adding a warming drawer to an outdoor kitchen is great, since not everyone eats at the same time.
Light it up. Lighting is key to outdoor dining. Some grills will have lights inside their grills; others will not. It’s important to pick out the appliances and adjust the lighting according to the model. Task lighting [if you’re working at any outdoor countertops] is important, as well as adding some ambient lighting where you will be dining. You don’t want to be out in the dark with your phone flashlight on.
Get coverage. If you love to grill—rain or shine—it is nice to have a covering over your grill area. Whether it’s a pergola, shade sail, or solid roof, pick something that gives you protection you need. This allows you to use your grill more often and not have to work dinner plans around the weather. Consider adding a heater, as well, to use all year.
Make it your own. Outdoor kitchens are so personal aspect. It’s important to think about how this space will work on a quiet Monday night versus a larger event or party.
–Heather Sweeney, senior designer, momsdesignbuild.com