Put Your Deck to Work by Adding to an Outdoor Kitchen

Spring is here and summer is right around the corner, so now is a great time to start focusing on fixing up outdoor living spaces. If the home already has a deck, try putting it to work by adding an outdoor kitchen. With a little effort and a small investment, that otherwise neglected deck could become the perfect place to entertain, cook family dinners, or relax in peace in the great outdoors.

Why decks are perfect places for outdoor kitchens

Of the things to consider when you design an outdoor kitchen, location always reigns supreme. Experts recommend placing an outdoor kitchen close to the house so it’s easy to move between outdoor and indoor spaces, and that’s just where decks are usually located. Plus, there’s no need to pay a contractor to install an entirely new patio to create a place for kitchen appliances, seating, and accessories.

Placing an outdoor kitchen on a deck also gives home chefs, family members, and guests a better view of the yard. It requires no alteration to the landscape, which means there are plenty of opportunities for creating eye-catching gardens, hardscaping features, and other elements in the yard without worrying about how it will impact the use of the outdoor kitchen space. In other words, decks are the perfect places to put outdoor kitchens in terms of function, aesthetics, and budget.

Factors to consider

It’s worth noting here that not every deck will be suitable for this purpose. Homeowners who plan to have decks constructed should share their intentions with the contractors so they’ll be sure to have enough space and a sturdy base to work with. For existing decks, consider factors such as:

weight limit

The first step to take when building an outdoor kitchen on an existing deck is to hire an engineer to determine its load capacity. Adding the extra weight of outdoor kitchen appliances and furniture, plus the people that will be using them, can leave old decks sagging and more prone to structural failure, which can create a dangerous situation.

Availability of utilities

Homeowners will need gas for grills and burners, electricity for mini-fridges, coolers, and lighting, and plumbing for sinks. All those lines will need to be placed either along the deck’s support beams or on its underside. Decide in advance where they should go to make sure the rest of the design fits these practical concerns.

Age of the Deck

Over time, wood decks age and begin to weather and weaken. Even if the wood is painted, stained, or otherwise treated against moisture and insects, Mother Nature will take a toll as time goes by. If the deck is already old and in a state of disrepair, consider replacing it before building an outdoor kitchen.

Features to Include

Once homeowners work through the basic design concerns, it’s time for the fun stuff. Consider including features such as:

  • grills
  • griddles
  • Pizza ovens
  • Mini fridges
  • bars
  • cabinets
  • countertops
  • sinks
  • Built-in seating
  • Lighting
  • sunshade
  • And more

The sky’s the limit here. As long as they stay within weight and dimensional limits, homeowners can include all kinds of features and fixtures.

Start brainstorming now

It takes some time to design the perfect outdoor kitchen. Homeowners planning to complete these improvement projects this summer should start brainstorming and creating potential designs now.

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