Outdoor Kitchens - How To Design The Perfect Summer Kitchen

Building A Summer Kitchen For Entertaining

After surviving a harsh Madison winter, many of us want to make relaxing in the sunny backyard a full-time job. Adding a summer kitchen is an investment that adds value and versatility to your home, while helping you enjoy summertime to its fullest. Moreover, your summer kitchen can be as simple and straightforward, or as elaborate and gourmet, as your space and living needs require.
Designing any outdoor space has special considerations that can be overwhelming to a beginner. Here are some things we at Degnan recommend considering before any summer kitchen build project.

Your Space

Size - Your yard space will determine the upper limit on your summer kitchen's size. Whether you’re working creatively within strict limits or have some flexibility, it’s helpful to think about how you intend to use your summer kitchen. Do you regularly entertain large numbers of people, or favor more intimate gatherings? Do you plan on cooking elaborate meals, requiring more prep area and cold storage, or is your style more burgers-and-beer, making it better to use that area for grill-space and a bar-top?

Location - Think about the placement of the kitchen relative to the home. Most people want their summer kitchens as close to the home as possible, making it easier to travel between the indoor and outdoor kitchens, as well as to connect appliances to electric, gas, and plumbing lines if necessary. Others prefer a spot by the pool or firepit, where people tend to congregate and socialize.

Flooring - When designing a space from the ground up, the flooring is a great place to start. You will need flooring that can endure various weather conditions and stand up to grease or food stains. Particularly if your summer kitchen is near a pool, you will want flooring that does not become slippery when wet.

Appliances in Your Summer Kitchen

Grill - The grill is the centerpiece of any summer kitchen. Choose a durable, high-quality appliance that will last you many seasons. Place it where it will be easily accessible, but not too close to high-traffic areas where children may be playing. If your grill is close to your home, also be sure that the smoke will not drift into your home or your entertaining areas.

Sink - Depending on your needs, an outdoor sink can be a large food-prep and washing area, a place to wash glasses and barware, or a quick spot to rinse your hands. Any outdoor sink will either need to be hooked to a hose or to your home’s water supply.

Fridge - We’ve come a long way from the styrofoam cooler. Having a small refrigerator in your summer kitchen provides easy access to cold storage during every July heat-wave. It also eases pressure on your in-home fridge, which can quickly fill with drinks and food during summer cook-outs.

Extras - For aspiring home chefs, there are many appliances that can provide additional function and fun to your summer kitchen, including hibachi grills, smokers, beer taps, rotisseries, and pizza ovens.

Your Winters

Although no one wants to think about the cold when designing their summer kitchen, building your space in a way that can be easily winterized will preserve its durability and save you a lot of heartache in the long run.

Seating - No one wants their summer furniture to be garage clutter for half the year. If you can choose seating that is easily movable and stackable, this will increase the versatility of your entertaining area in the summer and make winterizing a lot easier.

Storage - Under-counter storage can be a great way to get the most out of your space. This is a spot for bags of charcoal, grill tools, centerpieces and candles, and whatever else you need to protect from the cold and wet, and will want easy access to come June.

Coverage - Having some degree of coverage for your summer kitchen area can be a smart choice. It allows you to use the space in a variety of weather conditions during the summer, and helps protect everything during the winter. Just be sure that whatever option you are considering allows for adequate ventilation.

Heating - Adding a heating source – or multiple – can extend the seasonality of your summer kitchen while also adding ambience. Consider a fireplace or firepit as part of your summer kitchen, or for a simpler option, add heat lamps around seating areas.
Adding a summer kitchen to your Madison home is an investment not only in your property, but in many long summer nights of enjoyment.

Contact Degnan Design Build Remodel for more information about creating the perfect outdoor kitchen for your home.


About Degnan Design Build Remodel
Since 1981 Degnan Design Build Remodel has provided home improvement and construction services to customers throughout Greater Madison, Wisconsin. Our goal is to WOW you with a "Designed For Your Life" solution using a process that will transform your home into a beautiful living space, delivered on time, and on budget. We are known for our communication, respectfulness, and a commitment to our customers and our community. Contact us to speak with one of our designers about your home improvement project.