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Outdoor kitchens are the way of the future. They provide warmth, comfort, good food, and an outdoor environment that can be enjoyed by both adults and kids alike.
However, what is it like to have an outdoor kitchen? Is there a design for every garden? How much does one cost? What exactly needs to be taken into consideration before the installation of an outdoor kitchen? How much space does it need, and what do you need to consider before buying it? Here are some insights into these questions:
Photo by Ibiza Ibiza Ibiza on Unsplash
Table of Contents
Outdoor kitchen: which kitchen to choose, price, styles & ideas
1. Why install an outdoor kitchen?
An outdoor kitchen is a beautiful addition to any backyard for many reasons, the main one being that it can bring family and friends together more easily! When you are busy cooking inside the house, guests are often left waiting outside by themselves without anything to do. However, with an outdoor kitchen, they can be cooking and talking to you simultaneously. There is no need to move everyone back in when it’s time to eat or clean up. It allows everyone to stay together, and the fun doesn’t have to stop when you go back inside!
If you are a great entertainer of friends and family, then an outdoor kitchen is for you! With the addition of these appliances, you can easily create menus for your guests that include different choices than if you were indoors. For example, cooking up burgers on the grill is usually more prevalent during the summer months when spending time outdoors is an activity that most people enjoy.
An outdoor kitchen can provide a location for hosting parties, large social gatherings, and celebrations while keeping guests from overheating in the summer heat within cramped spaces indoors.
It is convenient to have all of your equipment together in one place rather than in a kitchen with multiple rooms.
An outdoor kitchen even provides a shady space during the summer when you need it most!
A modern and stylish exterior makes your home look more sophisticated and appealing to potential buyers if you ever plan to sell.
Outdoor kitchens provide an attractive and comfortable place for guests to gather.
If you are interested in adding an outdoor kitchen to your home, then there are a few disadvantages that you must consider first, including the fact that they can be expensive. This is yet another reason you should start planning ahead of time by getting quotes from various contractors specializing in this type of work.
An outdoor kitchen can be challenging to use if cooking is more complicated than heating something or preparing the occasional meal over an open flame. A controlled heat, ventilation, and air conditioning are required to make this setup more efficient. Also, it may not be safe for young children who could get burned quickly.
4. Outdoor kitchen styles
You can choose from different outdoor kitchen designs depending on the location of your grill, your cooking equipment, and where you plan to place the furniture. You will want to designate a specific area for each piece of equipment that you use to maximize the benefits of your space. Here are some popular outdoor kitchen styles:
The appliances are placed in a straight line where the grill sits at the end. If you choose this arrangement, make sure that your hot water tap and refrigerator are within easy reach, or else they will not be used very often. When deciding what furniture to place within this enclosed space, consider the broader range of options such as a countertop and bar stools.
These kitchens are ideal if you want to maximize your grilling area without sacrificing too much outdoor living space. If you do not need a grill and only plan on cooking with burners or an electric stove like the one pictured below, then an L-shaped kitchen is perfect for you.
Upside down “L”
This shape allows the individual to maximize their grilling surface and utilize the burners without turning around too much. It also provides more counter space if your appliances are anchored underneath like the refrigerator and sink are shown in this example.
If the idea of an outdoor bar that is entirely open is appealing to you, then this style is right for you as it provides a lot of floor space and counter area. No appliances obstruct the view, making it simple to entertain guests with drinks and conversation.
5. Additional features
There are several options that you can add to your outdoor kitchen to enhance your barbecue experience:
A patio heater is a beneficial addition to your outdoor kitchen because it allows you to cook outside even when the weather gets chilly. As the name suggests, these heaters are explicitly designed for patios and will provide enough heat to keep you warm while you cook. They come in varying shapes and sizes; however, one of the most popular choices is a propane patio heater because it emits heat very similar to natural gas.
This idea is highly recommended if you live in an area with chilly nights or even snow! The patio heater shown below will keep the grill area nice and cozy while cooking your food. It is available on Amazon for $451.47 with free shipping here.
If you are looking to have a more permanent outdoor kitchen, then having an outdoor television will prove helpful when the weather is not so great or if you want to catch up on your favorite shows.
Adding string lights to your outdoor kitchen will provide a more intimate setting and can be easily switched on or off whether you want to grill at night or not. This feature is also suitable for patios located under large trees where the lighting above may not be sufficient. Consider hanging these lights along the edges of your ceiling to avoid having them dangle over the center area where you will be preparing meals.
Related: How to cut LED lights
6. How much does an outdoor kitchen cost?
The cost of building a backyard grilling station depends on many different factors, such as the size, the types of appliances, and whether or not there are any additional features that you may be interested in adding. According to a study by Remodeling Magazine in 2012, the average cost of an outdoor kitchen was around $35,000, which is a significant amount when you compare it to the simple task of installing a grill on your back deck or patio. A less expensive alternative might be to start with just countertops and furniture such as an outdoor kitchen table with chairs.
7. How much space does an outdoor kitchen need?
The dimensions of your new grilling station depend on what you plan to cook on it, how often you plan to use the appliances, and if you want to entertain guests while cooking. As a general rule of thumb, outdoor kitchens are typically sized with seating for 2-6 people and, even at its smallest, should allow for 1.5 square feet per person. If table space is not a concern and you plan on grilling more than simply hamburgers, we recommend that you go for something more extensive like this outdoor kitchen with a grill island.
8. Out of which materials are outdoor kitchens made?
Many different materials can be used to craft your outdoor kitchen, such as:
This is the most common material and provides a classic “barbecue” feel which is simple to install and can be painted or stained in various colors.
This material provides a sleek, modern look with few seams that require grout. Concrete outdoor kitchens are more expensive to build but are incredibly durable against the elements. They are also effortless to clean with quick-drying concrete mixers.
This material is very modern and sleek while also providing added durability against the elements. The panels are also lightweight, which makes them cost-effective to ship.
If you want your outdoor kitchen to resemble a cave, then stone is the perfect option for you! This can be customized with smooth or rough finishes, painted or stained in different colors.
Although durability is essential when choosing materials for your outdoor cooking area, it should not be the only factor you consider. Imagine how well these materials will withstand temperature, water, and salt exposure changes.
9. Which cabinets to choose from?
Depending on your budget and style, you can go with either custom-made cabinets or pre-fabricated home and garden suites sold at big box stores such as Home Depot and Lowes.
These options will require professional installation, which means extra costs. Standard cabinets can be purchased at home improvement stores and are relatively easy to assemble. They also come with their countertops which means you will not need to buy additional materials.
There are a dozen types of storage cabinets to choose from when you start building your outdoor kitchen on a budget, and it can be challenging to know where to start; we have selected the most popular styles below:
This type of storage is a popular choice for those who want a quick setup and utilize plastic containers to store all their utensils, spices, and grilling tools. These cabinets are also easy to clean as they do not absorb dirt or moisture as other materials would. In the example below, it is very evident that attaching these cabinets and creating a clever storage solution that will slide under the countertop when not in use.
These cabinets are made from TruStone, a mixture of high-grade resin and crushed stone, making them both lightweight and durable. Because they are so strong, these cabinets will not crack, warp or fade over time and come in a variety of matching colors for your existing décor. The manufacturer even guarantees that it is entirely waterproof, which makes this material perfect for building outdoor kitchens on a budget.
Oak cabinets are solid and sturdy with an attractive grain pattern that will add a touch of elegance to your outdoor kitchen. Although these cabinets are more expensive than some alternatives, they will last a lifetime and neither crack nor warp due to extreme temperatures. As you can see in this example, Oak cabinets can be used as both storage units for utensils and extra countertops that fit neatly under the grill.
Plastic drawer units
This type of cabinet may not look as attractive as the others, but it is a perfectly functional choice and can be found at bargain prices. These cabinets come with an integrated storage area for plastic containers and durable drawers that should last for a few years. If you like this type of cabinet but prefer it to be made from bamboo, you should check out this example.
This is a fantastic choice if you have plans to keep your kitchen fully stocked with fresh vegetables, meat, and marinades. These cabinets are also great for storing utensils, cutting boards, and grilling tools.
10. Ikea outdoor kitchen
IKEA is well known for its contemporary yet affordable furniture, but did you also know that they sell complete kits to create stylish and functional grilling stations? The ‘Grill House’ series comes in different sizes and allows DIY enthusiasts to save on the hassle of purchasing every unit separately and making them fit in their garden.
Ikea is also famously known for its low prices (and sound design, if that’s your style), so it makes sense they’d want to expand into the world of kitchens. Their newest collection is called Luröy, and it has been available in Australia, Canada, and Europe so far.
11. Plans for outdoor kitchens
Many outdoor kitchen plans are available on the internet; however, if you’re on a budget, you should probably stick to pre-designed cabinetry sets or recycle wooden units that can often be found at local recycling centers. If you want to create your outdoor kitchen from scratch, there are plenty of online resources that show you how to create a customized and functional kitchen that is ideal for grilling and entertaining guests.
If you are a DIY enthusiast and enjoy the process of building your furniture, then it may be possible for you to construct an outdoor kitchen from scratch. If this is what you had in mind, we have provided some great examples that will hopefully give you some great ideas.
12. Outdoor kitchen cabinets
Outdoor Kitchen Cabinets can be made from many different materials such as plastic, metal, bamboo, concrete, and stone – some more affordable than others. Here we will explore the pros and cons of each type so you may decide which style will work best for your outdoor cooking area.
If you do not want to go through the trouble of hiring a designer and general contractor for your new outdoor kitchen, then countless plans are available on the internet. These are designed to give you a clear idea of what goes into building your outdoor kitchen, including the costs involved and how much time it will take to complete.
When considering different outdoor kitchen options, one of the first things you want to think about is the number of people who will be using it. To keep things organized, you may want to think about a separate kitchen counter for each person as well as ample storage space. The standard size of your outdoor kitchen should be able to accommodate one grill and 2-4 hot plates simultaneously.
13. Maintenance and upkeep
Suppose you’re planning on spending a lot of time in your outdoor kitchen. In that case, it’s essential to do the necessary maintenance to keep your grill or perishables fresh and clean with regular cleaning and sanitizing. It may seem like a chore, but it is essential to keep your grill in good condition so you won’t risk having any injuries or accidents when cooking.
The outdoor kitchen design you choose should fit the style of your home and backyard while also reflecting your tastes. You can choose among many different styles, colors, and materials when designing an outdoor kitchen, keeping in mind the expense and the amount of time you want to maintain your outdoor kitchen.
A well-planned outdoor kitchen will be a space that suits all your needs, whether it’s just a grill or an entire cooking area with a built-in skylight and natural stone countertops. Explore these options to come up with a design that works for you.
There are many benefits of having an outdoor kitchen, which is one of the biggest reasons homeowners worldwide choose to install them on their patios and deck areas. However, you mustn’t forget about regular maintenance as these appliances will be exposed to the elements each time they are used.
Now that you have explicit knowledge of what things to consider when building an outdoor kitchen, you can start looking for a contractor or outdoor kitchen designer who can help you out.