One of the most exciting aspects of designing an outdoor kitchen is the amount of freedom that you have in choosing layout, style, and functionality. Unencumbered by the standard logistical issues encountered when remodeling an indoor kitchen, the power is truly in your hands. That being said, with great power comes great responsibility, and even the most enthusiastic of homeowners occasionally feel overwhelmed by the amount of possibilities. This is especially true when it comes to families with children.
How can one design a space that is both accessible, enjoyable, and safe for grown ups and young ones alike? Here at Diamond Decks, we boast over 20 years combined experience constructing and designing outdoor spaces for folks just like you, and we’re always willing to offer our advice and perspective. Of course, our guidance will be more individualized should you choose to reach out to us and schedule a consultation, but there are a few general tips that we recommend to nearly everyone with children. They include:
Slip resistant floor materials. This is an important safety feature for people of all ages, and it’s no wonder that labor laws now stipulate that many industrial and commercial spaces, including most restaurant kitchens, use slip resistant floor materials. Falls are always dangerous, but a fall involving sharp kitchen utensils and scalding hot food can be especially dangerous. Kids tend to be especially rambunctious is outdoor spaces, making this an issue of extra concern. Although care should be exercised to ensure that kids are never playing around the kitchen when food is being prepared, any fall could potentially lead to injury, and it is always better to be safe than sorry.
Keep spaces with high-heat isolated. From a pizza over to the space reserved for your charcoal grill, any area that will house high-temperature food preparation should be strategically placed away from high-traffic zones. The more isolated your heat source is, the less likely kids will be to expose themselves to danger by passing by or touching hot surfaces.
Room for a kid’s table. It’s a tradition that both grown ups and children appreciate: pulling out a smaller separate table for the kids at a large family event. Make sure you leave enough space to let kids be kids and let adults be adults when the time calls for it. This will also help you keep a more spacious layout in general, even when you are not entertaining–an important characteristic that we will discuss later on in this article.
Counter Design. The choices you make in regard to your counters often define both the aesthetic and the functionality of your space, and this is especially true for areas that will be used by children. Here are a few simple choices you can make for your counters that will make your entire outdoor kitchen more kid-friendly:
- Round Corners. This one is a no-brainer: crashing into a counter-corner can be quite painful (something that even many of us adults have learned first hand), so it’s safer to minimize the potential damage by installing counters with rounded-off edges.
- Low Levels. Depending on the age of your children, you may wish to opt for slightly lower countertop heights in order to make the space more accessible. This is a good idea within certain limits, however, we advise most people not to take this too far, and here’s why: kids grow very quickly, and our outdoor kitchens are designed to last for a long time. What might be a good decision at first may quickly turn into an outdated feature that is less than optimal for both you and even for your kids.
- Easy-to-clean surfaces. Porous countertop materials may give your outdoor kitchen a charming rustic feel–but they also tend to stain a bit easier than smoother materials. If you have kids, you may wish to think long and hard about what type of surface best suits your needs.
Keep it open. Many homeowners get so enthusiastic about their new outdoor kitchen that they want to fill every inch of space up with the latest feature: one important piece of advice worth considering is that open space, too, is quite valuable. This gives you flexibility to entertain especially large groups of people, and it also gives kids the chance to move around freely without risking bumping into anything or knocking anything over!
Durability. All aspects of construction–from materials, to layout, to the contractor you choose–should be chosen with durability in mind. Your outdoor kitchen is an important investment, and you deserve for that investment to last.
Have questions about building an outdoor kitchen for you home? Don’t hesitate to contact Diamond Decks. We are an experienced company with a passion for building dream-back yards–and we’ve got the customer reviews to prove it!