How to Design Your Dream Outdoor Kitchen

The kitchen truly is the heart of the home. It’s where meals are prepared and eaten and where family and friends gather to socialize and strengthen their bonds. But on a beautiful, cloudless afternoon or a starlit evening, wouldn’t it be nice to shift the dining and socializing outdoors? 

Surrounded by nature and awashed with gentle breezes, entertaining is even more enjoyable for hosts and guests when the party moves outside. Your outdoor dream kitchen can become a reality, and it all starts with a plan.

How to Make a Plan For Your Outdoor Dream Kitchen

There are two factors you must keep in mind when beginning to draw up a plan for your outdoor kitchen: 1) your budget and 2) how you want the outdoor space to function.

Figure out how you want to use the outdoor space. Then, prioritize what you consider essential versus what would be nice to have if the budget allows. 

Outdoor Kitchen Functionality

Think of your outdoor kitchen in terms of functional zones. There’s a heat zone (oven/grill) for cooking, a cold zone (refrigerator) to store perishables and drinks, a wet zone (sink) for cleaning and possibly bartending, and a dry zone (counter top) for meal prepping.

Your layout and appliance choices will be determined by how you prioritize these different zones, so, once again, make sure you know exactly how you want your outdoor kitchen to function.

Design Elements and Materials

Do you want your outdoor kitchen to look like an extension of your indoor kitchen or do you desire a design that complements your garden and other outdoor elements?  Whichever you decide, keep in mind that outdoor kitchens require materials that must endure different conditions than those inside that are protected from the elements.

Popular stainless steel cabinets often are powder coated to reduce staining and corrosion, and outdoor countertops hold up better when they’re made from concrete, stone tile, granite, or a glazed ceramic tile. Be prepared to spend time properly maintaining these materials or choose those that are specifically designed for outdoor use.


There are so many appliance choices to consider for outdoor kitchens, so remember what you decided about your kitchen’s functionality. A pizza oven may sound like a great idea but you’ll have to consider if it’s a worthwhile investment and if you’ll actually use it. You might want something more versatile, like a grill that can perform additional functions – like smoking, roasting, and baking, for example.

Should you install a built-in grill or go with a portable one? That decision will depend on your budget and how you plan to use the space.

If you’ve decided to add a stand-alone or add-on bar to your kitchen layout, you might want to consider an ice maker, kegerator, or a wine refrigerator.

Remember that appliances  may require gas, electricity, or water to function, so plan for both the cost and the installation of those utilities.


You’ll need to have a place for your guests to relax and enjoy the ambiance.  For more informal entertaining, a counter with bar stools may be perfect for the guests who wish to chat with the cook while the meal is being prepared. If you plan to host larger parties, you’ll need room for either a dining table or more casual seating throughout the area. 


When the sun goes down, make sure the area is well lit for meal prepping and cooking. Some grills are available with LED lighting that’s activated when you lift the lid, but a few well-placed lamps will help prevent a potential kitchen accident.

For your seating areas, you may want more subdued lighting. Consider where outlets should be placed, and if you are interested in smart lighting that can be controlled with your phone, make sure your wifi connection is strong in your outside space.

Outdoor Comfort

Luckily, the Austin climate allows for a long outdoor season, but to keep you and your guests warm on chilly nights, consider adding outdoor heaters or a fire pit.

When the sun is very hot, pergolas and retractable awning and roofs can provide enough shade to help cool you down.

But on rainy days or when the wind is howling, you can still entertain outdoors. You simply need reliable protection that’s easy to use and will keep you safe and protected. Motorized patio screens let you increase the number of days you can entertain outdoors.

Let the Party Continue with MagnaTrack Retractable Patio Screens

There’s no need to cancel the party or get-together just because the weather isn’t cooperating. Shade Outdoor Living Solutions offers retractable patio shades that are rated to withstand winds of us to 85 miles per hour. These motorized patio shades extend up to 60 feet in width and 25 feet in height, and operate with just a push of a button.

The MagnaTrack retractable porch screens are also much safer than retractable shades from competing manufacturers. There’s no heavy weight bar at the bottom that could potentially harm people or pets, and the shade has obstacle detection that will reverse the direction if something or someone is in the way.

You won’t find a more reliable, durable, or attractive screen on the market. Contact us to learn more about these retractable shades and discover how Shade Outdoor Living Solutions can customize a solution for your outdoor kitchen.

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