Recipe for an Outdoor Kitchen
Bring the good taste outdoors. Cook up your own outdoor kitchen with these delicious ideas
This Los Gatos, California kitchen combines a freestanding stone-clad pizza oven and an L-shaped stucco-and-stone island that, at this end, holds a built-in gas grill and a painted plank cabinet. The floor is poured concrete.
An 8 1/2-by-6-foot wood-fired pizza oven—with built-in storage, shelving and chimney—is king of this kitchen. But its workhorse is a 53-inch stainless steel gas grill with rotisserie, smoker box and storage. The U-shaped prep-and-serving surface is built of poured concrete that has been stained a rich terra-cotta. It's all-weather, heat-resistant and easy to hose down, as are the concrete-slab floor and concrete-block walls with faux-stone veneers. A pergola lends shade without blocking breezes, while the halogen track lights set into it illuminate the kitchen.
The pizza oven, imported from Italy by Mugnaini Imports, was installed in a custom hearth made of a Napa Valley fieldstone called Syar. The projecting shelf, arched oven opening, and wood storage enclosure are made of local Santa Rosa stone.
The other end of the Los Gatos kitchen's L-shaped island holds a plumbed, stainless steel sink. An underground line extending from the house supplies cold running water to a rustic copper faucet.
The concrete patio and the island were acid-stained for an aged look. Painted plank cabinets provide access to gas and plumbing lines as well as storage. This kitchen is located between the pool and the house. Local zoning laws may restrict a kitchen's size and location. Fire laws dictate clearance requirements between grill flames and combustible surfaces, such as the wall of a wood-sided house.
The side of the house can be an ideal location for an outdoor kitchen. There's no need to excavate trenches for gas and electricity lines, and the house provides some shelter for the appliances. Though most outdoor grills don't require a vent hood, one is needed here to keep the space from getting smoke-filled. The folding louver doors keep post-meal messes out of sight and allow the owner to button up the area in winter.
Family and guests can take in the Southern California surroundings from this outdoor kitchen near the rear of the yard. The grill is placed near the edge of the shade structure so that smoke isn't trapped by the roof. The countertops, sink, and refrigerator are within easy reach of the cook. The color scheme matches that on the house, and the tiles and brick pavers look like those that surround the pool. In order not to disrupt the yard, the electric, gas, and phone lines were run underground in one 24-inch-deep trench.
Exposed aggregate concrete with brick expansion joints is tough enough to stand up to spills and splatters on this outdoor floor. The brick also ties the patio to the built-in cooking area. A screening fence on both sides of the built-in shields the cooking/dining area from the rest of the yard. The pergola consists of 4x10s trimmed down by an inch, with a top made of 2x3s spaced 6 inches apart. A sheet of 1/8-inch-thick clear plastic is nailed to the top to let sunlight through but keep out the rain.