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Cooking and eating outside, especially when the weather is just right, is the perfect way to connect with your own backyard. Whether you have a deck, patio or a simple grassy yard, you can design your own outdoor kitchen to make the outdoor dining experience that much more enjoyable. Plus, creating this exterior space can be a feature many homebuyers look for. Here’s how to design a stylish and functional outdoor kitchen. 

Built-In Grill, Stovetop and Bar
Since you can’t just carry your kitchen stove outside for a day, a built-in kitchen is the perfect solution when designing this space. Prefab outdoor kitchen kits are a simple and easy way to bring the inside out while saving money on a custom space. Many of these kits include a grill, stovetop, counter space, mini fridge and sometimes even an oven, and are usually installed by professionals. If you are looking to create a more customized kitchen, be sure to include all the essentials, including a bar area where you can sit and enjoy your freshly cooked food.

Designated Seating Areas
When designing your outdoor kitchen, it’s easy to get lost in the appliances. But you don’t want to forget about seating. Of course, you should include a table with enough seats for your whole family. If you added a bar to your kitchen, include bar stools or chairs for a separate area where the adults can enjoy a good cocktail or glass of wine. If you have the space, adding a sofa or larger cushioned seats can add a cozy spot to enjoy appetizers, drinks or even lounge around the fire. 

Storage for Supplies
Don’t forget to add storage, like cabinets and drawers, for all of your essential kitchen supplies. This will limit the trips you need to make inside for plates, cups, napkins, silverware and other essential cooking utensils to make and serve a meal. Wherever you choose to place your bar, whether built-in or rollaway cart, be sure there is space to store your cocktail ingredients and glassware. Keep everything in reach of where it is most needed, such as plates and cooking utensils near the grill and stove top.

Add Some Shade
If you plan to dine outside on a sunny day, you may want to add some shade. Whether you use a simple umbrella for coverage or build and awning or pergola for shade, it’s important to protect you and your family from harmful UV rays. In addition to adding shade to your outdoor dining space, having a covering above can allow you to enjoy the outdoors on a rainy day. A covering can also help your appliances and seating last longer and keep you cool on hotter days. 

Personalize to Your Home Style 
Of course, all of the pieces you choose should be weather-resistant and durable. But the space should also compliment the style of your home as well as your personal style. Choose from wood, stone and metal options and accent with tiles and different paint colors for a cohesive and stylish look. Add accents, like patterned pillows on chairs and colorful potted plants on countertops to add in a touch of your own personal aesthetic.