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Outdoor Kitchen Placement & Materials

Learn about the factors to consider when choosing materials and location for an outdoor kitchen.

A video transcript featuring Scott Cohen, The Green Scene

This outdoor kitchen is what we call an L-shaped configuration, and it's split-level which means it's at counter height, which is about 36 inches high and bar counter height which is 42 to 44 inches high as industry standard goes. What I did here is drop down this part of the counter back down to counter height, so the bar doesn't carry all the way. That allows us to put a beverage center here so that people can help themselves to drinks from either side of the counter. That's just a little bit more convenient when you're entertaining.

In between our two levels of counter, between the counter height and the bar height, I'm bringing back this architectural detail with this cast concrete tile that's going to go in between our two levels, matching on the outside the pattern, the decorative piece that we're building a frame for now in the stucco side of the counter here. We're going to be matching that same material that we're using throughout the project.

Outdoor kitchen placement considerations
Several factors you want to consider when you're placing your outdoor kitchen and barbecue counter in the backyard. One is prevailing wind. Where does the wind blow from most often? Because we don't want smoke blowing onto our patio areas. Another consideration are the views from the house into the backyard. We certainly don't want to block windows and have our primary focal point be the actual barbecue counter.

Another thing to consider is keeping the barbecue area away from active child activity, for instance in this case, a sport court. We don't want to be playing basketball and have that ball bounce over into a hot grill. So on this property I placed the outdoor kitchen on the far side of the property. Outside the view from the house to the backyard, keep it clear.

Countertop materials
I've got a nice L-shaped counter that allows us to serve to guests and still have a functional outdoor kitchen. This counter is constructed of cast concrete that's been hand-seeded with beer bottle glass all amber in color and then ground and polished to a smooth finish. It's built over an entire masonry block unit construction. We build everything out of cinder block and reinforce it with steel, and then ground them solid with concrete. These are pretty strong structures, and they can handle just about anything outdoors.

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