The outdoor food preparation space should be conveniently located near the dining room, kitchen, and outdoor eating space. The size of many dining rooms is about 125 square feet, with proportions that are equal or slightly longer than wide. The dining room is usually simple in organization and design. The outdoor food preparation space should be studied carefully so that it fits into the overall design and works efficiently yet looks intentional and thought out. The food preparation space needs to be relatively close to the outdoor dining space so food can be easily and quickly transported between the spaces. This surface works well when it is about 36 inches above the ground (typical counter height) and 24 inches deep (typical counter depth). Too often, this space is simply left to occur wherever it may without much forethought and consideration. However, it does combine eating, typically associated with the kitchen, with conversation, typically associated with the living room. The outdoor food preparation space can vary from a simple area of pavement where a portable grill is located to an elaborate space containing built-in appliances, counters, and storage. This doesn’t have to be elaborate, but it does make cooking a lot easier. Regardless of the particular situation, there are several guidelines for the design of this space. Like its indoor counterpart, the outdoor dining space should be located near the entertaining space and food preparation space for ease of access to both. Figure 2-43
The grill should be located so that smoke is blown away from outdoor living and eating spaces. As with all the other functions, the outdoor dining space should be designed as a room. Whether a portable grill or built-in appliances are used, there should be some counter space or a surface on which to place food and cooking utensils. The dining room does not possess the comfort and convenience of the living room and is not as utilitarian as the kitchen. More times than not, the dining room is located next to the kitchen and living room to be convenient to both. The plan proportions of the outside dining space should be equal or perhaps somewhat elongated to accommodate a picnic table. To address these problems, there are a number of design guidelines to consider. And of course, wood surfaces should not be placed too close to the fire source. Because fire in a grill or fireplace is an integral part of most outdoor food preparation spaces, it is necessary to keep its presence in mind. In most cases, the outdoor dining space suffers from the same deficiencies as the outdoor living and entertaining space: little or no identity, spatial enclosure, privacy from neighbors, or protection from sun and wind. It should be placed where it is convenient to the kitchen, indoor dining room, and outdoor dining space (Figure 2-42). Branches of nearby trees should be kept some distance from the grill so that the generated heat doesn’t burn any leaves above. The location of the outside food preparation space is critical. Again, this can be accomplished through a variation in shape, pavement material, or elevation change.