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Complete Guide to Outdoor Kitchens

outdoor kitchen under pavilion

Outdoor kitchens are unique, fun, and perfect for entertaining friends and family or any variety of social gatherings. 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.

What is an Outdoor Kitchen?

An outdoor kitchen can be everything from a grill on the porch to an elaborate set-up that rivals your indoor kitchen. The only limit is your imagination and your budget. Don’t be put off if you think you don’t have the budget for a full-blown kitchen 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.

What Can Outdoor Kitchens Include?

A typical outdoor kitchen includes items you don’t normally find indoors such as a smoker, gas grill, or rotisserie. It may also feature countertops that stand up to the elements and can be used for food prep, as an eating surface, or for entertainment purposes. The type of equipment you choose 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, pizza ovens, weather-tight cabinetry and refrigerated drawers. Outdoor entertainment can also be added with flat-screen, weather-proof televisions, a stereo system, ceiling fans, wine coolers, refrigerators or insulated drawers, enclosures, and high-end outdoor furniture

How Much do Outdoor Kitchens Cost?

The versatility of outdoor kitchen designs is truly one of the best things about this type of project. You could spend as little as a few thousand dollars or if you choose a more elaborate design with high-quality appliances, your project could run as high as $40,000. If you’re a Grill Master and want to really go over the top, your budget could exceed $100,000. The good news is that no matter what your budget is, an outdoor kitchen will enhance your home for years.

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

It’s important to understand that your Shangri-La project might have some pitfalls along the way. Here are some of the common mistakes you can avoid:

Not enough space

How can you dazzle anyone with your martini mixing or shrimp skewering skills if you don’t include enough counter space? 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 have a place to sit and relax 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.

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.

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