A well designed outdoor kitchen will add value to your home and extend the length of your outdoor cooking season. To ensure your kitchen is just as functional at night as it is during the day, start with a good lighting plan. Adding the right lighting will elevate the look of your Lexington, MA, outdoor kitchen from ordinary to spectacular.
If you’ve ever struggled with flashlights while trying to gauge if a burger is cooked, you know that task lighting in an outdoor kitchen is extremely important. Don’t take risks with food preparation due to inadequate lighting. Proper illumination over the grill and prep areas is perhaps the most important aspect of your exterior kitchen lighting plan.
Start with overhead lighting. A combination of ceiling lights and hanging lights creates the best overall light. Track lighting allows for light to be directed to high-use areas without adding extra fixtures. Including a hood fan with a built-in light is a convenient method to brighten your cooking area. Incorporating counter mounted vertical task lamps can add focused lighting when your grill area isn’t covered. Wall sconces behind the cooking area are another possibility for lighting an uncovered kitchen.
Under-counter lighting is an excellent way to highlight focal points in your outdoor kitchen while also adding functional light. Including lighting under upper cabinets will illuminate countertops and workspaces. Without adequate lighting, locating items in cabinets and in drawers can be frustrating. Rope lighting under counter and bar tops creates a soft, even light that won’t overpower guests. Add under-cabinet strip lighting along the base of lower cabinets to provide ground lighting. Ground level lighting increases safety and ensures dropped items don’t get missed.
Lighting options vary greatly depending on whether your dining area is covered or not. Covered dining areas provide considerably more lighting choices, but lighting an uncovered area is possible with a bit of creativity. For a covered dining area, pendant lighting illuminates well and also offers a variety of stylish designs. Adding dimmers to lights in your outdoor dining area allows lighting to be adjusted for more intimate meals or post-dinner drinks.
Torches and pole lighting are excellent options for adding light in an uncovered dining space. Incorporating a pergola into your design creates a place to add wall sconces and hang string lighting. Featuring an outdoor fireplace in your dining area is a great way to ensure guests are comfortable while also adding a light source.
Directing traffic safely to and from your kitchen is another important task to consider when creating an outdoor lighting plan. Incorporating path lighting will help guests find their way from the home to eating and dining areas. Solar path lights are a convenient way to brighten walkways and complement your landscape design.
Lighting from Other Elements
If your outdoor kitchen is open concept to improve views, good lighting will require extra planning. Adding dual-purpose lights on other elements in your backyard will illuminate multiple areas. Update existing spotlights on your house or garage to two-light models to direct light at different locations. Unmounted lanterns are an extremely versatile lighting option. Place them on counters or hooks to produce lighting where needed. You can also hang lanterns in trees around the kitchen for short term lighting. String lighting in trees provides perfect ambiance lighting.
Image courtesy of Unilock.