Must Haves for an Outdoor Kitchen
Do you live in a warm climate? GriIl outdoors a few nights a week? Sick of bopping in and out of the house to prep your sauce, veggies, and meat?
Bringing the indoors outside is all the rage. Does adding an outdoor kitchen make sense for you?
Top reasons to get an outdoor kitchen:
- Great for entertaining
- Keeps the smells and mess outside
- Increases your living and dining space
- Gives you convenient prep and storage options
- Encourages healthy eating
Does that sound like you? The possibilities for outdoor kitchens are seemingly endless. Let's discuss the top considerations.
How much does it cost?
The top question on most outdoor-kitchen-seeking minds is: how much does it cost? Like most reno projects the answer is—it depends. Experts say prices range from $5,000 for a basic setup to $50,000 for the whole nine yards—we’re talking televisions, refrigerators, new gas and water lines, and the finest cabinet and countertop finishes. Chances are you can get a very nice outdoor cooking space for around $15,000.
What features do you want?
One of the first questions a designer will ask is about the size of your appliances and how many you want. Determining these three components will help you plan your ideal outdoor kitchen.
The grill is likely the centerpiece of your outdoor kitchen operation, so give some time to this decision. Gas or charcoal? Mobile or built-in? Are you planning to entertain for large groups or will a smaller setup work?
Also, keep in mind that ventilation is key. You’ll want the smoke blowing away from your cooking area.
Don’t underestimate your need for outdoor storage. How much space will you need? Remember cabinets under the sink and grill might not be enough as they’ll be crowded with plumbing and gas lines.
Just like your indoor kitchen, you’re going to want some preparation space. Having space on either side of the grill gives you functional surfaces to prepare your feast.
It’s also important to choose the material that’s right for you. We recommend a surface that’s easy to clean and waterproof. Stone, concrete, and stainless steel are among the most popular surfaces.
Pros & Cons of Outdoor Countertop Materials
- Stainless steel—a durable, anti-bacterial surface that doesn’t require sealing, but it’s among the most expensive options and it’s going to get very hot when exposed to the sun.
- Concrete—a durable option that can be easily tinted and shaped. Yet, it may fade and is prone to cracking—especially if not properly installed. Concrete also needs to be sealed regularly.
- Natural stone—a unique, timeless option. Granite, limestone, travertine, and soapstone are your most durable options, but being porous surfaces, they will likely weather over time and will require regular maintenance to avoid etching, scratches, and stains.
- Tile—an affordable option that’s fairly durable. However, the grout between tiles can easily stain, and freezing temperatures can cause the grout crack.
More outdoor kitchen inspiration
Say you've got the big three figured out, what else strikes your fancy? Here's a list of common outdoor kitchen features.
- Lighting—you'll likely be cooking in the evening hours, so be sure to install adequate lighting—there's everything from stringed market lights to pendants and chandeliers.
- Flooring—another must-have, get a low-maintenance, weather-resistant material that matches your countertops.
- Sink—having a sink certainly adds convenience to your setup, but additional water lines can be costly.
- Refrigerator—some rely on coolers and drink bins, and others go all in and install large refrigerators.
- Smokers & pizza ovens—do something a little different and become known as the place for smoked meats or Neapolitan pizza.
- Heating & cooling—relax in comfort with fans for the summer, and heat lamps and fire pits for cooler temps.
- Entertainment system—go all-in and install an outdoor sound system, or keep it simple and rock your portable speaker.
- Seating & landscaping—finish off the ambiance with chairs, tables, and planters.
Ready to get started? Get our guide to finding the right contractor.