Complete Guide to Outdoor Kitchens

If you own your own home and enjoy preparing meals for your family and entertaining friends and neighbors, it’s likely you’ve considered the prospect of adding an outdoor kitchen to your house. Not only are outdoor kitchens functional, they are also unique, fun, and perfect for entertaining everyone from the kids’ friends to large groups of colleagues or clients. The best thing about outdoor kitchens is how versatile they are. No matter what your budget, personal tastes, or lifestyle, you can have an outdoor kitchen that will perfectly fit your needs. Want to learn more about outdoor kitchens to see if they are the right choice for your family? We’ve got your complete guide right here!

What is an Outdoor Kitchen?

‘Outdoor kitchen’ is a term that can be used broadly to describe everything from a grill on the porch to an elaborate set-up that includes everything you have in your indoor kitchen (and more!). Don’t be put off if you think you don’t have the budget for a full- blown feature that includes outdoor refrigerators, sinks, a fireplace, smoker, and granite countertops. You can start small with just the basics and expand as your needs (and budget) grow. 

The typical outdoor kitchen includes the gadgets you don’t normally find indoors such as a smoker, gas grill, or rotisserie. It also features countertops that stand up to the elements and can be used for food prep, as an eating surface, or for entertainment purposes. Extra features can include outdoor televisions, ceiling fans, pizza ovens, wine coolers, refrigerators or insulated drawers, enclosures, and high-end outdoor furniture. Basically, an outdoor kitchen can be anything you can dream up and the sky is the limit!

Why Should You Consider One for Your Home?

There are a number of reasons why a homeowner may want to add a kitchen to their outdoor living space. They are great for entertaining, will help you prepare healthy and quick meals, will reduce messes inside your home, and can even increase the value of your home. When you add an outdoor kitchen to your house, you extend the amount of enjoyable, entertaining space in your home. Depending on the climate in which you live and whether or not your kitchen is enclosed or partially enclosed, you can enjoy it for many months out of the year and create a staycation environment right in your own house.

What Can Outdoor Kitchens Include?

The type of equipment you choose for your outdoor kitchen is based on a number of factors including the climate you live in, the number of people you intend to feed and entertain in your outdoor space, the types of food you like to cook, and, of course, your budget. The basics of a good outdoor kitchen are a patio, a counter, and a grill. From there, you can enhance your kitchen with features like fire pits, outdoor ovens, sinks, smokers, rotisseries, weather-tight cabinetry and refrigerated drawers. Outdoor entertainment can also be added with flat-screen, weather-proof televisions, a stereo system, and plenty of comfortable seating for your family and guests.

How Much Do Outdoor Kitchens Cost?

When it comes to cost for an outdoor kitchen, there is a wide price range depending on what features you choose. You could spend as little as a few thousand dollars if you only want a grill and counter. If you choose a more elaborate design with high quality materials and appliances, your project could run as high as $40,000. Of course, if you really want to go over the top, you could spend as much as $100,000. The versatility of outdoor kitchen designs is truly one of the best things about this type of project. No matter what your budget, you can install an outdoor kitchen that will enhance your home for years to come.

What Are Some Common Mistakes to Avoid When Installing an Outdoor Kitchen?

If you are going to spend the time and money involved in having an outdoor kitchen installed, it’s important that you avoid some of the mistakes made by homeowners. Here are some of the common ones:

Not enough space If you don’t include enough counter space, your cooking and entertaining experience will not be optimized. You should plan on at least three feet of counter space around the grill and sink to truly have enough cooking room. You should also consider how much seating space you want around your kitchen so friends and family can gather while you cook and serve the food.

Not located close enough to an interior door No matter how elaborate your outdoor kitchen, you will still need to run inside occasionally to grab ingredients, utensils, or other items. If you locate your outdoor kitchen too far away from a door—or if the door doesn’t lead directly to your other kitchen—you’ll do a lot of unnecessary running around.

Not including a roof No one wants to cook outside while it’s pouring rain or the sun is beating down on them. If you don’t include a roof over your kitchen, you could lose precious months of outdoor cooking and entertaining time.

Not matching the rest of the home’s style It might be tempting to create your outdoor kitchen in an ultra-modern design, but if the rest of your home is rustic, the end result will just not work. Make sure you take a good look at the rest of your home and design your kitchen as an extension of the current design.

Not including storage Do you really want firewood, tongs, grill brushes, and mitts cluttering up your indoor kitchen? If you don’t include enough storage in your outdoor kitchen, you’ll end up with a mess inside.

Installing an outdoor kitchen is an excellent way to increase your enjoyment of your home as well as boost your house’s value. If you plan to add an outdoor kitchen to your home, make sure you set a budget and do your research to see what style of kitchen you want as well as what features you’d like to include. Work with a professional contractor who is familiar with installing outdoor kitchen for a hassle-free experience that will deliver results you and your family will love for years to come.