The process of adding an outdoor kitchen to your home may seem daunting. Our many years of experience in designing and constructing outdoor kitchens, or summer kitchens, gives us significant insights into what works best in different situations, what products are available, and most importantly how to help create an outdoor living area for our client that meets their ideal of comfort and relaxation. Here are some recommendations on how to add an outdoor kitchen to your home.

We recommend that a homeowner who has decided to add an outdoor kitchen to their home go through two simple steps to help define the scope of the project.

  1. Determine the expected uses of your outdoor kitchen: Whether you are hosting events, or entertaining dozens, or simply relaxing with just the family.
  2. Determine the functionality you wish your outdoor kitchen to maintain, as this will make a huge impact on the form it takes.

Frequency of use, method of cooking, and method of serving (open bar, cooler, etc.) are all important factors in your summer kitchen. Will you prefer to cook up wood-fired pizzas or barbecued steaks? Cold beverages are also often overlooked in a summer kitchen. Would you like to offer your guests mixed drinks, chilled wine, beer, or flavored sodas?

Completing those two steps will help you outline the scale of the project and determine a reasonable budget.

For example, if you feel that your outdoor kitchen will be primarily used for entertaining and hosting events, then incorporating a tap or wine cooler into the layout would make sense.  However, a small fire pit or island seating may be more appropriate if the kitchen’s purpose will be more oriented towards family functions and small gatherings.

Having answered these questions, the next thing to do is create your wish list. Put your dreams on paper. In order to begin getting an idea of what is possible in your own summer kitchen, research and collect information on other outdoor kitchens that suit your needs.

Clip magazine and newspaper articles and print pictures from the internet to save in a scrapbook along with your list of functions that you want your outdoor kitchen to satisfy.

Share your scrapbook with friends and family because their input is valuable – especially considering that you will want them to enjoy this new space too.

As a long time Orlando contractor RF Mannarino Contracting Company has established connections with many local retailers of high-end outdoor kitchen products and can make suggestions on which products will work best for your needs. We can also suggest products that we have experience with that you may not even be aware of such as self-lighting fire pits, rotisserie grills, automatic roller screens, fiber-optic lighting, and stainless steel warming drawers.

The style of your home must be reviewed and your existing landscape and features evaluated.  It is critical to match architectural styles to help accentuate the connection between the home’s indoor spaces and outdoor spaces.

For many of our outdoor kitchen projects we have worked with Terry Irwin, Architect. A professional designer can suggest creative ideas for layouts that maximize the space that you have, while also helping you to create a space that is unique and works in Orlando’s climate.

Once your appliances have been selected and the design for your outdoor kitchen is complete the staff at RF Mannarino Contracting Company gets to work on your project.  If there is any demolition to be done to clear the location it typically will be done first, taking the utmost care to protect existing landscaping and built features. Then we locate and run utilities to the location for the new summer kitchen. Pouring of the foundation and slab follows.

Most likely your project will involve a roof structure and columns and even some walls and floors. Partially enclosing the space helps protect you and your guests from inclement weather and increases the level of comfort. The process of constructing your outdoor kitchen would continue from here with a crew of carpenters or masons erecting your new outdoor space per the plans.

In our shop we will fabricate custom cabinets for your summer kitchen using water proof or water resistant materials appropriate to the application.  Each cabinet must be carefully constructed to accommodate the selected appliances and fit within the space allotted. An area where a gas grill will be installed is often constructed out of concrete masonry units for extra safety and durability. When the work at the site has progressed to where the roof is complete, the painting and stucco are done, and, depending on the design, the finish floor is installed, the cabinets will be brought out and installed.

Shortly thereafter the counter-top will be installed. Concrete, stone, and stainless steel are the most commonly used counter-top materials for outdoor kitchens and are the most durable.

Finally the appliances and fixtures are installed and you are ready to enjoy your new summer kitchen!

Depending on the complexity of the design and how quickly decisions are made this process can take from several weeks to several months but our team will be with you the entire way to help guide and inform.

Outdoor kitchens have become virtually a required feature in many homes, with the desirability approaching that of a swimming pool sometimes even off setting it as the centerpiece of the outdoor space. A summer kitchen allows you to express your individual tastes with more freedom than in the confines of the home itself. A well designed and constructed outdoor kitchen can be an asset to your home and become an amenity that is essential to your lifestyle.