All Hands on Deck: How to Incorporate a Kitchen Into Your Deck

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If you’re a summer grill master, you already know how much fun it is to cook and entertain on your back deck. There really is no better place to be on a beautiful sunny day than outside, soaking up the heat of the sun, breathing in the fresh air, enjoying the sound of laughter, and the smell of good food. 

Does this sound like a perfect day to you? If so, you might consider optimizing your outdoor experience by adding a kitchen to your deck

When you add an outdoor kitchen, you’re taking your average barbeque setup and enhancing it tenfold. Why not give yourself the ultimate summer retreat with an outdoor culinary paradise that’s both trendy and functional. 

The Grill

The grill is really the foundation of your outdoor kitchen, so it’s the best place to start. Your grill choice will ultimately guide the rest of your outdoor kitchen design, so make sure you know what you want. Depending on your preference, there are lots of different functions, styles, and dimensions to choose from. Don’t be afraid to make your selection aspirational. 

winthorpe design build decks with kitchenThe Layout 

In your indoor kitchen, you have the concept of the “kitchen triangle,” made up of different zones. Likewise, an outdoor kitchen also has work zones: hot, cold, wet, and dry. 

  • Hot Zone: As you might expect, this is where you’d find your heat cooking appliances, like the grill, cooktop, and/or oven.
  • Cold Zone: This is for your refrigeration storage units, like a fridge and freezer.
  • Wet Zone: Here, you have your sink, sprayers, and adjacent counter space for washing and cleaning.
  • Dry Zone: This is your food prep area and can also be used for plating and service. 

Your zones should have a logical flow so you can move efficiently from one step to the next. For example, with an L-shaped kitchen, you might want your cold zone on the end, and the wet zone beside it so you can take produce out of the fridge and wash it. 

You might put the dry zone beside the wet zone so you can go right into prepping your ingredients, and then the hot zone would be on the opposite end of the L, so that you can throw your prepped food on the grill. This is just one example of an effective workflow in your outdoor kitchen. 

The Size 

As with everything in home design and remodeling, size is up to preference. However, keep in mind that there are best practices when it comes to hinging doors, aisle space, and work room. 

There are four basic size divisions for outdoor kitchens; small (10 linear feet), essentials (13 linear feet), medium (16 linear feet), and large (20 linear feet). As size increases, you can include more amenities, like a fridge, additional storage, and counter space. The bigger the area, the more cooks you can have in the kitchen. 

winthorpe design build decks with kitchenThe Space

Countertop space is key. Frankly, it can make or break an outdoor kitchen design. Each zone should come with a built-in “landing zone” on either side. A landing zone is just a stretch of open counter where you can set things down in between steps. This may sound like a no-brainer, but it really can have a huge impact on your final result. You don’t want your zones to be crammed together in the name of saving space. Without landing zones, your efficient layout really won’t be very helpful after all. 

The Storage

If you want your outdoor kitchen to be fully functional and independent from the one indoors, you’ll need storage space for all your stuff. Make sure it can withstand the elements, so your cookware stays dry and in good condition. Choose weathertight cabinets and seamless rain gutters to divert water away from active areas. 

The Seating

There are three main choices when it comes to seating: bar, dining, and lounge. All are ideal for entertaining guests, but it depends on your goal as a host. A bar is more conducive to pub-style seating, while dining is a bit more formal. Lounge seating is comfortable and relaxed – perfect for all-day chats and snacks. Remember to keep the cook close by so they can take part in the fun while they work! 

Winthorpe Design & Build has more than 3020 years of experience building dreams for DC and Maryland homeowners. We’ll create a beautiful, functional, and cohesive deck kitchen for you that you’ll love so much you’ll never want the summer to end. Reach out today, and let’s get started. 

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