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Three reasons to have a landscape designer help with your outdoor kitchen

This has been the spring for outdoor kitchens, which is pretty cool considering that I really decided to focus on them this year. Don’t you love it when a plan comes together? While working through the details with a few clients I really came to realize the value I’m bringing to the project – getting these right isn’t easy. Here are three ways in which I’m helping them:

1. We understand the functional needs of an outdoor cook.

If you read my about page you’ll recall that I spent two years studying interior design before getting back into landscape design. There are certain standards that you learn to apply to kitchen design that translate directly to the outdoor kitchen. Counter height standards, the depth people can reach across, minimum workspace dimensions – these are all things that can impact not only your enjoyment of the space but your safety as well.

virginia outdoor kitchen plan

2. We know the appliances and other products.

If you start Googling outdoor appliances and cabinets you’ll discover that there’s a dizzying array of options. You may find yourself asking “why this drawer unit and not that one? What does 18/10 stainless steel mean? Why is a dorm fridge $100 and a similarly sized outdoor fridge $2400?” I’ve been to workshops and showrooms to learn why the difference in stainless steel grade matters, what features to look for in a grill, and why some appliances perform better than others. As a designer I can either select everything for you, or I can help you narrow your choices.

3. We can make it all fit (or tell you when it can’t).

I’ve been designing outdoor kitchens for almost a decade and I’m still amazed at how much space they take up, especially if you want to set it up so you’re on one side and your guests are on the other. Part of the reason why I’m so excited to offer Danver stainless steel cabinetry to my clients is they bolt to one another and allow you to get maximum storage space from each unit.

Virginia outdoor Kitchen Elevation

The more traditional way of doing an outdoor kitchen is building the entire unit from masonry block. It looks cool, but every appliance, cabinet, or drawer unit needs a 4″ support on either side of it. Suddenly that 24″ wide cabinet actually needs 32″ of space. Most masons insist that all your appliances and inserts should be on site when they start so they can get the openings sized correctly. This means that you need to buy and ship thousands of dollars worth of product. Don’t you want to know it fits before you buy it? I thought so. A project that’s installing next week, I’ve spent six hours discussing what fits and what doesn’t and redrawing the plans for the client. Your average contractor isn’t going to do that.

I say it over and over again: my job as a designer is to remove uncertainty from the process. When we design an outdoor kitchen together you’ll be able to see what fits, where it’s going, and how your work areas will function. But most importantly, we’ll have fun.

I’ll also provide a six-pack of beer to christen your kitchen. My extended family (very extended) owns a brewery in Pennsylvania. I’m happy to share the love!

Building a kitchen? Contact me to set up a consultation to find out what Revolutionary Gardens can do for you (and what brewery I’m referring to).


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