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Designing an Outdoor Cooking Space Part 1

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I have been wanting to design and build an outdoor cooking space at my home for a while. One of the key inspirations was the grill I chose.

I ended up going with the Hestan Outdoor Grill. I love that it comes in 12 colors, so the design possibilities are endless, but I also love the functionality it offers us all year round.

Getting Started

I highly suggest planning ahead, it is critical. To start designing my outdoor cooking space, I recommend beginning in the fall, even though I know it sounds too early. Yes, you most likely won’t start using the grill until the weather warms up in the spring, but it will take you that much time to decide where everything should go for maximum functionality, and it will give you time to get all of the pieces in place: labor, materials, and the layout that you want.

For this design, it took a couple of months because I spent a lot of time researching grills and designing the custom table. Lead times on grills is at least two months, and it took about six weeks to get our custom table manufactured and delivered. Getting initial quotes, selecting a fabricator and completing the shop drawings added another couple months!! So you can see how the time adds up.

The Design of an Outdoor Cooking Space

The second thing I always say is “don’t be intimidated by creating a luxurious outdoor cooking space.” You do not have to have a mansion or a high-end home to create a space you love that has all of the bells and whistles you need.

We wanted an outdoor cooking area that would look beautiful, fit into niche I built several years ago in anticipation of creating an outdoor cooking space, and allow us to grill anytime of the year with minimal fuss. We use this area constantly to grill meat, fish, and plan to use the rotisserie for the turkey this Thanksgiving!

So I always say spend the extra money on appliances. They will last longer, give you more options, and you will not regret it, I promise.

It is also the biggest component in most outdoor cooking spaces so I always say start with the grill you want. It was the jumping off point for our design and everything else was built around that.

Choosing the Right Grill

I first saw the Hestan grill at KBIS and was floored by its design because the details are gorgeous! The knurled handle, chrome knobs, and textured front are so unique. My husband loves the color red, so that’s the color we went with. It adds a real pop to our outdoor space.

Plus, there is a lighted interior, which we love and the laser cut grates are so beautiful to look at and cook on.

The Layout

Make sure when planning your layout you give plenty of circulating space around your grill – I like to give six feet minimum. Keep in mind that smoke and fumes will come off of the grill so that should play into the placement of the grill. You won’t want it too close to your home or doors or where you are sitting and enjoying a cocktail.

This means keeping your seating area and grilling area separate. You don’t want to breathe in smoke or fumes while you are trying to enjoy the outdoors, but you want to be close enough that you aren’t running back and forth to cook either.


It is critical to use a non-flammable material for everything around the grill unless you choose to use the optional metal sleeve for the grill. For our outdoor cooking space, we chose stainless steel for its easy of cleaning, and it was the easiest to fabricate from one material using one supplier (which also helps with timing and delivery).

Check back soon for part 2 of how to design the perfect outdoor cooking space where I share my dos and don’ts and more.