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How to Design an Outdoor Kitchen in 3-D

Outdoor kitchens let you simultaneously enjoy the natural pleasures of the outdoors with the conveniences and comforts of home. Outdoor kitchens also reduce the burden that indoor kitchens place on your home's cooling system. Several free tools exist to help you design your outdoor kitchen in 3-D, including computer aided design software. Since such software takes time to learn, however, first use one of the free Web-based applets that feature intuitive drag-and-drop interfaces.

Floorplanner

Understanding zoning laws helps turn outdoor kitchens designed in 3-D into reality.
  1. Use a tape measure to measure the space you have available for your kitchen.

  2. Open the Floorplanner home page and click the "Signup" button; then follow the prompts to open a free account.

  3. Click the "Start new" button on the "Dashboard" page, and then the "Create" button on the page that follows.

  4. Click the "Construction" palette's leftmost icon to select the tool for defining your kitchen's area. Drag in the drawing area until the space measures the same as your measurement.

  5. Click the "Category" control's "Kitchen" item to display a gallery of kitchen items. Drag a refrigerator, stove, countertop, and other items you want for your kitchen from the gallery onto the drawing area.

  6. Position appliances and other items by dragging them. Work from the largest to smallest items as the easiest way of organizing the available space. Keep appliances in the broad categories of storage, preparation and cooking close to each other, for efficiency, speed, and food safety. For example, ensure the refrigerator, counter top and stove are within 10 feet of each other.

  7. Click the "3-D" button above and to the right of the drawing area to tour your outdoor kitchen in 3-D.

Homestyler

  1. Navigate to the Homestyler main page, and then click the "Gallery" link at screen top.

  2. Enter "outdoor kitchen" in the search box, and then click the "Copy design" button of the "Indoor/Outdoor" icon. The kitchen design will load for you to edit.

  3. Scroll the middle mouse wheel to zoom into the kitchen plan. Read about the furniture, appliances and other items in the plan by clicking their "I" icons.

  4. Drag the handles at the edges of the kitchen floor until the floor's size matches your available space for the kitchen.

  5. Drag refrigerators and other items to where you want them, working from the largest to smallest. Keep appliances in the broad categories of storage, preparation and cooking close to each other, for efficiency, speed, and food safety.

  6. Click the "3-D" button above the drawing area to view your outdoor kitchen in 3-D.

Sketchup

  1. Download and install Google Sketchup, which is a general purpose drafting tool that lets you create and visualize structures in 3-D.

  2. Surf to Google's 3-D Warehouse site, and then enter "outdoor kitchen" in the search box.

  3. Click the link for one of the outdoor kitchen designs that appears to learn more about the design, and then download the design by clicking its "Download" button.

  4. Drag the mouse while pressing the middle mouse button to orbit the kitchen design in 3-D.

  5. Click the kitchen's floor area, and then click the "Tools" menu's "Scale" tool. Drag one of the floor's green handles to resize it to the dimensions of your available space.

  6. Click the tool bar's four-sided arrow to run the "Move" tool, and then click and drag on any appliance or other item in the kitchen to position it where you want it.

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