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What Is a Backyard Kitchen?

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  • Written By: Christian Petersen
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 30 October 2016
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A backyard kitchen is an outdoor kitchen, sometimes covered by a pavilion, awning or other similar structure, but generally open to the elements. Generally used for casual family dining or entertaining in good weather, a very basic backyard kitchen may consist of no more than a built in gas or charcoal grill with storage and counter facilities, or may include nearly every amenity found in complete indoor kitchens such as refrigeration, sinks, a gas range or burners, and electrical outlets for appliances.

The centerpiece, and an absolute must for any backyard kitchen, is the cooking equipment. Most backyard kitchens incorporate a built in gas or charcoal grill as the primary cooking device. Many purpose-built backyard kitchens have gas lines running to the grill or other cooking equipment rather than operating on bottled gas like portable gas grills and stoves. Other cooking appliances are possible such as flat topped grills, ovens for baking, and range top burners for pot and pan cooking. Generally, as they are exposed to the elements, cooking appliances for backyard kitchens are gas powered rather than electric and constructed primarily of stainless steel.

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Other features of a backyard kitchen are installed at the preference of the owner. Certain things are almost a necessity in order for such an installation to qualify as a backyard kitchen, however, rather than just a cooking station. Lighting for night use, counter space, storage, and a water supply are generally considered to be some of the minimum requirements, but there is no hard and fast rule or definition.

Many backyard kitchens are highly personalized by their owners according to their own wants and needs. They may have small or even full sized refrigerators, installed in such a way as to be protected from the elements, or designed to be used outdoors. Cabinets, wooden butcher blocks, extended storage for cooking and eating utensils, plates, and cups as well as other kitchen needs are common, as are sinks for food preparation and washing dishes.

Much of the construction of a typical backyard kitchen is often designed to fit in with the landscaping, the exterior of the home, and overall design of the entire outdoor space. Brick, stone, and concrete are common building materials, but the possibilities for materials are nearly endless. Fine woods such as teak and redwood, high end ceramic tiles as well as fine marble and granite can also be used. Some companies sell portable or semi-portable units, which may be large all-in-one pieces or modular systems, for backyard kitchens.

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