Making the decision that you want an outdoor kitchen is simple. What is not so simple is actually creating an efficient, attractive, entertaining and cooking space that you and your family will use and enjoy is quite a bit more difficult.
Go into your outdoor space and think of how the perfect outdoor entertainment area would look like in your backyard. Imagine this as if money was no object, then take an imaginary picture of this perfect space for your memory.
Now evaluate this perfect space one step at a time. First, how much (or how little) of the items in this space do you really need? You may have imagined a huge, built-in, fully outfitted outdoor kitchen like you may have seen on a television cooking show. But if you use the grill only once a month in the summer, then you money might be better spent elsewhere. If that is the case, then you may be happy buying a basic, small, freestanding grill with a nice prep table next to it.
On the other hand, if you do spend several months a year eating and entertaining weekly in your backyard, cooking complete meals, and regularly inviting guests over, then the bigger setup might be just right for you.
Your lifestyle is just as important of a consideration as your outdoor cooking style, so think about all of the different ways you might use the new space, then plan accordingly. As an example, suppose you love the flavors and smells of grilled food, but really do enjoy eating and entertaining indoors (no insect or weather problems to deal with).
So in your outdoor space, maybe you might think of focusing on creating a simple, well-equipped grilling area, and not put as much into the entertaining and dining aspects of the space.
Others do enjoy the outdoor entertaining aspect, so more effort should be put into the patio furniture and dining area. If this is your style, then it makes plenty of sense to design an outdoor kitchen to those needs. You may take some of the things you like in your indoor kitchen and bring those to your backyard space. For example, if you have an island or bar in your indoor kitchen where everyone regularly gathers around to watch you cook, then place a kitchen island in your outdoor space as well.
The size and scale of the outdoor kitchen and entertainment space depends on how many people will use the space. If usually only having family get-togethers outside, then you might only need seating for 8 to 10. But if you regularly host large, catered events or buffets, then multiple tables and other setups might be necessary.
Would you like to be able to keep dishes outside and handy instead of carrying them from the house? If so, installing cabinetry might be the answer.
Does it matter if you have to carry dirty dishes back into the house, or would you prefer to have an outdoor sink with plumbing to do those chores outside? If it is the latter, then a wet sink should be a consideration.
Another aspect to consider is the climate. If you live in a particularly cold area, putting in some type of enclosure or protection for your outdoor kitchen area might be the smart think to do.
You should now have a fairly good idea of what combination of cooking, dining, and entertainment space you want your backyard entertainment project to include. Once you have that understanding, then adding additional items to the whole layout will be easy. Just try to keep your outdoor kitchen design as practical as possible, and you will ultimately create the perfect space for your needs.