The summer months are the perfect time to enjoy some BBQ and a cold drink with friends and family, especially if you have a nice outdoor kitchen space that can accommodate your culinary talents. If you’ve been considering upgrading your small patio grill spot to an outdoor kitchen, complete with a gas grill, counters, storage, and a fridge, then this blog is for you. We’re covering how to build an outdoor kitchen – from the different types to consider, the planning stages, outdoor kitchen essentials, and more.
Quick links from the blog…
- Why would I want an outdoor kitchen?
- Types of outdoor kitchens
- Planning for an outdoor kitchen
- Outdoor kitchen essentials
Why Would I Want an Outdoor Kitchen?
Aside from the luxury of owning one, an outdoor kitchen is a cost-effective way to expand the livable space of your home. Think of it like adding another bedroom or finishing your basement – except at a much smaller price tag (depending on the design and materials). Compared to a full kitchen remodel, an outdoor kitchen can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000 depending on your design and the cost of materials. Whereas homeowners might spend anywhere from $13,374 and $37,797, or $75 to $250 per square foot on a full kitchen remodel.
Outdoor kitchens can also be great for homes that have small kitchens because they draw guests out to the yard to free up space indoors. Plus, when it comes time to sell your home, you’ll recoup about 55 percent of your investment, and it may just be the selling point of your home in the future.
Types of Outdoor Kitchens
Portable, or mobile, outdoor kitchens are perfect for smaller spaces because they can move around the patio or backyard as needed. These types of kitchens are popular because they are easy to install, maintain, and transport – and are easier on your wallet. Portable outdoor kitchens give you great flexibility in design and placement, as they require minimum utilities like plumbing, electricity, and gas. If you’re going this route, consider options like an all-weather prep cart, grill, some patio furniture, and an umbrella for a cozy outdoor entertainment space.
Prefabricated, or prefab, outdoor kitchens are typically kits or packages that can include grills and/or ovens, beverage coolers or refrigerators, sinks, countertop options, dining space, and more. Most prefab outdoor kitchens can be taken with you when you move and are quick to assemble, depending on the design and size. If you choose to go with a gas grill, fridge, and sink, you will need to have a licensed plumber come by to finish the appropriate hook-ups.
Also, keep in mind that prefab kitchens aren’t fully customizable. While you may have the option to choose between grill styles, countertop options, and countertop length, you won’t have the option to change every feature. That brings us to the final type – custom outdoor kitchens.
Custom outdoor kitchens give you full control over the style, materials, layout, and placement of your kitchen. If you’re looking to invest in a nice outdoor space, custom kitchens may be the perfect option for you because you can design the space to work with your unique needs and lifestyle without being limited to a ‘one style fits all’ kitchen.
Planning for an Outdoor Kitchen
Now that we’ve covered the three main outdoor kitchen types, we can move onto the planning stages.
Choose your location
With mobile kitchens and some prefab kitchens, your location isn’t as important because you have more flexibility to move them as needed. With custom kitchens, location and configuration is key. When it comes to the location, we recommend placing your outdoor kitchen near your home, particularly as close to the kitchen as possible to reduce the distance required to walk back and forth between the two.
Finding a space that is protected from the wind and has limited exposure to the elements is also ideal, and you’ll want to make sure there aren’t any flammable materials nearby or overhead in your outdoor kitchen.
When considering the configuration of your outdoor kitchen, you have several options to choose from – U-shaped, L-shaped, placed along an existing (or new) wall, or as an island. When selecting your configuration, consider how much space you need and how many appliances you plan to include in your kitchen.
Depending on the appliances you choose to include in your outdoor kitchen, you will need to contact a licensed plumber for assistance with the utility hook-ups. If you choose to have a sink, it will need a water supply and drain; a refrigerator, beverage cooler, and lighting will all need electricity; and if you have natural gas, a plumber can help you run a gas line from your home to power the gas grill.
Building codes and permits
Before finalizing your design, be sure to talk with your local permitting department about building codes and any related permits. You’re more than likely required to obtain permits if you plan to run plumbing, electrical, and gas lines to your outdoor kitchen. Any structure that is intended to cover the kitchen may also require a permit if certain conditions are met. It’s a great idea to work with a general contractor, like our team at Kegonsa Plumbing, to ensure your outdoor kitchen is up to code and you’re pulling all of the necessary permits.
Outdoor Kitchen Essentials
While we’ve already mentioned several kitchen accessories and options to include in your outdoor kitchen, here is a quick list of the outdoor kitchen essentials we recommend considering.
- Built-in gas grill with proper insulation and ventilation (like an insulated grill jacket, grill hood, and/or vent panels)
- Stone countertops that can withstand the elements, like granite, quartzite, or concrete
- Plenty of storage (cabinets, or floating shelves if you’re building against a wall)
- A sink (or consider a no-plumb sink that works with your garden hose)
- A small refrigerator
- Seating and dining space
A few fun things to splurge on…
- Other cooking options, like a flat top griddle, smoker, or pizza oven
- Additional beverage coolers (wine fridge, kegerator) or an ice maker
- Additional gas burners
- Small heaters or a fire pit
- A roof, like a pergola, to stay cool in the hot summer months, and to provide some protection to your kitchen
Are you considering a custom outdoor kitchen space? Reach out to our team for assistance with the design, planning, and construction. We offer free in-home consultations and quotes and are happy to work with you to design an outdoor kitchen space that meets your unique needs and fits your lifestyle. Reach out to us here to get started!