About Outdoor Kitchens
Outdoor kitchens generally feature a substantial manufactured grill or barbecue pit, countertop space, a sink, cooktop and storage cabinet. These items are usually set into a stone or brick structure that is custom built to fit conveniently onto the property near the house, patio or deck. The materials used should enhance the look of the house as well as look natural in an outdoor setting. Durability is a factor in outdoor kitchens that are constantly exposed to the elements, so materials that can stand up to the weather are essential.
Planning Your Outdoor Kitchen
A good plan will help the do-it-yourselfer create an attractive work area that fits in with the layout of the property. Locating the kitchen near the house in an areas with trees that will shelter diners from the sun is a good idea. Make a drawing of how you would like the appliances placed and what size they will be. The sketch will give you an idea of how large the frame of the cooking center will need to be. This area will be framed out with sections to hold the various appliances as well as some storage space for frequently needed items. The paver blocks are then attached to the frame exterior to simulate a brick layer.
Building the Kitchen's Framework
The cooking center is basically a framed box made of wood with various openings to allow the installation of a sink, countertop and grill. This framework is assembled with 2-by-4-inch lumber and ¾-inch plywood board that is attached with carpenter’s glue and nails. Inside the skeleton of this basic box, you can assemble structures to hold the grill, sink and counters, as well attach hinges for doors for a storage section. Water, natural gas and electricity is piped into the box. Builder’s felt is then applied over the plywood. A layer of wire is applied to the box frame’s exterior to provide a solid base for the pavers, according to writer Sal Vaglica of the ThisOldHouse website.
Installing the Paver Brick Surface
The paver stones are applied to the exterior of the frame layer by layer, staggering the pattern to simulate brickwork -- that is, the second layer of payers overlaps the joint between the pavers below. The back side of each block is "buttered" with mortar and set into position and allowed to dry. Each layer, or course, is dried before the next layer above is started. Mortar is filled into the joints between the pavers and smoothed with a wet finger or a tool, such as a plastic spoon. The mortar is then allowed to dry completely. This work can be done over a period time to allow proper placement and drying of the mortar material.