Design 8- Outdoor Kitchen

Summary of Goals

In an effort to increase the comfort inside the apartments by decreasing the temperature, an outdoor kitchen would help avoid unnecessary heat indoors. It would also decrease the humidity caused by the cooking process. An outdoor kitchen would also attract interest for our guests by being available for their use.


Collect, uses the data from the Client Interview and the Site Survey

Current site elements

The image below shows the site as of 2019. It shows other designs which have already been implemented like the Food Forest, Zone 1 Garden, Gray Water Harvester, Compost Bin and Worm Farm (See pages for each design).

The Desire Lines diagram below shows my most frequent foot path on site. I go back and forward between the Main Building and the Tiny House and most of my work is done to the West of the main building which would be the back of the main house.

Below is a zoomed section of the Desire Lines diagram:

Currently, a small part of our cooking is done in a BBQ Grill in this outdoor and roofed area and this BBQ is already available for our guests. See following image:

This location has worked perfectly because it is accessible for our guests and the prevailing winds carry away any smells and heat towards the south-west, away from both residences and neighbors.

Below is the site’s Sector Analysis Diagram showing the direction of the prevailing winds:

Needs and Wants related to this system

One of our goals for our design is to increase the comfort inside the residence and rental apartments. The climate in Puerto Rico is very warm and humid and is common to reach 98° F with a humidity of 80%. Our average yearly temperature in our area is around 85°. This is aggravated by the residence’s construction which is fully made out of concrete, and the roof is flat. This maintains the high temperatures for hours after the sun has set.

We do not have air conditioners in any apartments so we depend on fans and natural air-flow for comfort. Due to this, any element that increases heat and humidity inside, will significantly decrease the comfort level.

Another interest we would cover with this design is to have an interesting element that our guests could use. By having a common kitchen we would also increase the number of social encounters between separate guests.

The kitchen elements themselves could also work as an educational experience by using, not too common systems like a Rocket Stove. which would show that there is no need to use electricity or propane gas to cook, replacing them with firewood collected on site. (Principle of Energy Cycling- Mollison)


This system would need:

  • Wood for a kitchen counter: There are plenty of construction grade wood planks lying around that could be restored and repurposed.

  • Sink and a Faucet: These two items are already available from other remodeling projects.

  • A Rocket Stove: Due to my very limited time, I’m considering buying a premade rocket stove. The one I may choose is the EcoZoom Dura Rocket Stove or a similar portable stove.

  • For a BBQ with side burner: This element is already in use and only its placement would need to be adjusted to complement the whole kitchen.

  • For Pots, Pans and kitchen elements: These elements are already available in every apartment and can be used to cook outside. (Principle 9: Use small and slow solutions)

  • For Firewood: there is a steady supply of twigs and small branches available on site from our own trees. (Principle 2: Catch and store energy)

  • Builder: I have plenty of building experience and would not have to seek any help.

Budget and estimated building time

  • Based on my experience with the previous kitchen I built (See pictures below in the “Apply” section), the whole building process should take me around 4 days.

  • A budget of $200 will be set aside for this project. Most of this will be used to purchase the Rocket Stove: EcoZoom Versa Camping Stove or the EcoZoom Dura Rocket StoveEcoZoom Dura Rocket Stove. The cost of these two options is around $140. The rest of the budget would cover any unexpected expenses. Most of the necessary materials are already available at the site and will be repurposed for this.


Permaculture Ethics– Guidelines within which this design should be completed.

  • Earth Care- Decrease the use of electricity used to cool each room by removing unnecessary sources of heat and humidity. Decrease pollution from using the power grid to cook, by adding a Rocket Stove as part of this kitchen. This design would also supply us with charcoal which we can use in our gardens and trees.

  • People Care- Increase the level of comfort in our home and rental apartments. Decrease the cost of electricity used for cooking by using local renewable resources.

  • Fair Share-. Guests and visitors will be encouraged to use the outdoor kitchen. This could increase social interactions between guests.

Key Functions

Out of the Client Interview process, we can list some specific functions related to this design from which our goals were set:

  • Increase comfort inside the residence and rental apartments.

  • Increase the number of social encounters between separate guests.

  • Decrease cost of electricity by switching to renewable resources for cooking.

SWOC: Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Challenges

Thanks to our experience of having a BBQ outside, in the common areas, and seeing guests using it repeatedly, I noticed how convenient it has been. Also, because most of the necessary building elements are already available, it would be very affordable. The only element that I’m debating, if I should include, is a Cob Oven. The function of the Cob Oven is mainly to have an attractive and interesting system for baking goods. Still this function can be covered by the BBQ itself in which I already have baked breads. For this, I’m using the following analysis tool to make a decision:

  • Strength- A Cob Oven would be a low cost and highly interesting element for our guests. Most of the building material would be very low cost or free.

  • Weaknesses- It may be too time consuming to build. I spend around two months per year at the site and this element would take away from other projects.

  • Opportunities- It could be a major attraction, and would allow us, and guests, to bake goods outside. Pictures of this Oven could be used in our AirBnb site to attract customers.

  • Challenges- Using it may be challenging for some guests. Since I’m not at the site most of the time, I would not be able to explain its usage or to keep a steady supply of firewood.


The decision on the placement of this design is based on our experience with the current location of our BBQ. Originally, the BBQ was placed here (See diagram below) randomly but at a later time, we noticed that it was a perfect location because the prevailing winds would carry any smoke and smells to a vacant lot, to the south-west (Principle: Design from patterns to details).

This section of the common areas is also easily accessible for our guests since it can be seen from their doors or parking spots. (Principle of Relative Location- Mollison) This section is also located under a roof which keeps it cooler and dryer.


The following design shows the results from the analysis process and shows the chosen design to be implemented and its placement. The kitchen would have a counter that is L- shaped with a depth of 2’6” and a length of 6’0” feet on its longer side and 5’0” feet on its shorter side.

It would use construction grade 2” x 10” wood planks to create the legs and the counter-top. The top would be cut so it allows for the sink to be installed. The rocket stove would be placed on the countertop to make it accessible but would only be used in the open to lower the risk of fires. Instructions on the use of the rocket stove would be available for guests. Firewood would also be placed on a metal basket under the kitchen counter to make it available for guests too. The decision on which Rocket Stove to buy will be based on availability since they both have good reviews and similar size and features.

The BBQ would simply be placed next to the kitchen since the unit is fully self-contained. After using the SWOC tool I decided to discard the Idea of adding a Cob Oven even though I may add it in the future if I spend more time on site.

This design would be almost identical to one of the kitchen counters I created for one of my apartments. (See pictures below). Only the lower counter would be built since there is no way to install upper cabinets or shelves.



December 2021- Order the rocket stove. By this time I should be ending my current deployment and getting ready to return home for a month or two.

Early 2022- Four days for the building process:

  1. Gather all the necessary building materials and take all measurements.

  2. All wooden material is to be cut, sanded and scorched to protect it from the elements and to make it more attractive.

  3. Planks will be joined and glued. These are the 2 legs and the 2 top angles. All parts will be assembled and attached to each other using aluminum angle brackets available on site. These brackets will also be used to attach the counter-top to the wall.

  4. The access hole for the faucet and the sink will be made. The counter will be coated with a natural oil for protection and the sink and faucet will be installed.


The wood for the kitchen counter will be construction grade, scorched and sealed but it will need a minimum level of maintenance.

  • The surfaces should be wiped from any liquids when not in use.

  • All wooden parts should be lightly sanded with fine grade sandpaper and coated with a natural sealer to keep its protection intact, at least once a year.

  • The maintenance of the Rocket Stove and the BBQ should be based on the manufacturer’s manual.


After the implementation and usage, any tweaks performed will be posted here.


This design is to be implemented in early 2022. The following questions will serve as an initial guide for its eventual evaluation:

  1. What was the reaction of our guests?

  2. Did they use the outdoor kitchen instead of the one inside?

  3. Did this kitchen increase the interactions between guests?

  4. Was there a significant increase in comfort inside the apartments due to the decrease in temperature and humidity?

Design Process


Learning Pathway Reflections:

I’m pleased that connections between my designs keep coming up, eliminating more and more waste from my site and turning it into resources. Having a design like the Outdoor Kitchen shows me how a simple system can not only increase comfort but also serve as an interesting gathering place for my guests.

How this design helps me apply permaculture in my life:

This design has given me more incentive to continue following the Permaculture Principles. It not only helps me focus more on creating connections but also on integrating designs and using local resources.

How this design helps me apply permaculture in my works and projects:

A simple kitchen like this one is an easy and affordable option for the people in the tropics and can be built using reused and repurposed materials saving money and labor on any upcoming projects.

Principle 12: Creatively use and respond to change

“Vision is not seeing things as they are but as they will be”
Beautiful nature landscape with silhouette of coniferous forest, mountains and sun, natural scene icon in geometric shape design, vector illustration in black and white colors, flat style