As the lines between indoor and outdoor living continue to blur, outdoor kitchens are becoming a must-have for many homeowners. These spaces are perfect for entertaining, allowing you to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors without sacrificing the convenience of a full kitchen. Here’s what you need to create an outdoor kitchen that will be the envy of the neighborhood.
An outdoor kitchen is a space outside the home where people can prepare food. Backyard outdoor kitchens are becoming increasingly trendy. They have become an integral part of the garden, ranging from a basic BBQ area to a complete cooking station.
However, designing and planning for an outdoor kitchen is a time-consuming process that involves a variety of facilities and choices. It can be difficult to determine the precise cost of one of these, because there are so many choices and such a wide array of personalized details that can add or subtract from the final value. So let’s discuss some basic things that are needed for an outdoor kitchen and you can use it as a checklist to determine what you need in yours. Let’s take a look:
1. Grills & BBQ Smoker
When it comes to choosing a high-performance grill for your outdoor kitchen, think of it as an investment in culinary excellence. A superior grill isn’t just about size; it’s about the quality of heat it can produce and maintain. Whether your preference is the quick convenience of a gas grill, the smoky flavor from charcoal, or the versatility of a hybrid that offers both, aim for models that deliver consistent, even heat across the entire cooking surface — a crucial factor for cooking food evenly.
Look for features like integrated thermometers for precise temperature control, robust grates that can withstand high heat without warping, and ignition systems that offer reliability and ease. High-quality construction is also pivotal; brands like Weber and Lynx are renowned for using premium materials that resist the elements, prevent rust, and last through countless seasons. Additional amenities such as side burners for sauces and rotisserie attachments for slow-roasting can enhance your cooking repertoire.
The right grill should not only match your cooking style but also act as a centerpiece for social gatherings, turning every al fresco meal into an event to remember.
Of course, for the hard core BBQ-ers, a smoker with a separate firebox is a must-have. Here, you will find that these are mainly standalone units. You also do not want to put it too close to the house to avoid smoke getting in there.
It is wise to pick trendy and weather-resistant products for the flooring of an outdoor kitchen and there are quite a lot of options to choose from.
Tiles are easy to maintain and install. They never go out of style and allow you to create wonderful patterns or layouts on the floor. You may need to pay around $500-$2000, depending on the covered area and the type of tiles you choose i.e. porcelain or ceramic. There’s a world of difference between the physical properties of these two choices. Porcelain tiles are hardwearing and highly durable while ceramic tiles can’t stand rough weather and tend to crack or lose their glazing over the course of time.
Poured concrete is a good option. It is resistant to harsh weather and easy to maintain. A concrete slab may be properly laid for around $3,000.
Stone flooring can offer both longevity and rustic elegance to your outdoor kitchen. You may need to pay around $40-$100 per square foot for natural stone flooring and $60 square per foot for manufactured stone flooring.
3. Durable Countertops and Cabinetry
When planning your outdoor kitchen, the choice of countertops and cabinetry is not just a matter of aesthetics; it’s about longevity and maintenance, too. Durable countertops like granite and quartz are not only prized for their robustness against scratches and heat, but they also resist the stains and impacts that are inevitable in a busy outdoor culinary space. These materials stand up beautifully to UV rays without fading, ensuring your outdoor kitchen remains as vibrant as the day it was installed.
For cabinetry, the ideal materials are those that can brave the humidity, temperature swings, and potential saltwater air. Marine-grade polymers are specifically designed for harsh weather conditions and are known to retain their shape and color over time, while stainless steel offers a sleek, modern look and is highly resistant to corrosion and rust. It’s also easy to clean, which is essential for any outdoor cooking area.
These materials guarantee that your investment is protected against the seasonal challenges and will remain a cornerstone of your outdoor living space for years to come.
4. Weatherproof Furniture
Good furniture is an absolute outdoor kitchen essential, as one needs a place to entertain, sit, relax and enjoy. Over the course of time, many unique furniture ideas have been introduced for outdoor kitchens. From billowey metal mesh constructions that lean on the modern side to clean and sophisticated rattan concoctions, there are a lot of options to choose from.
The main thing is to create a suitable layout. The furniture is arranged in relation to the kitchen itself, and should be proportionate in size. You can pick loungers, chairs, and couches that are designed in weather-resistant materials and match your kitchen’s overall color scheme and vibe. They can be placed in an adjoining patio or on an extension of the kitchen floor itself.
This area can also be used for dining, so make sure that you choose the appropriate furniture. Do some research on alfresco furniture and you’ll certainly find a wide variety to choose your pick from.
5. Covered Area
To keep all your invested lasting longer, you need a pergola or a structure to create a covered area to protect the furniture, grill and appliances from the elements. Here you can opt for a contemporary and modern design with glass roof, a partially covered orangery or conservatory or a full on tiled room with open sides.
Sinks are one of the most expensive features of an outdoor kitchen, but it’s also necessary as you can’t run indoors whenever you need water. Install it near your kitchen to make cooking and cleaning easier. Undermount sinks will cost between $150 and $500, whereas top mount sinks might cost up to $750, excluding drainage and labour cost.
Outdoor kitchens with shading are more comfortable, relaxing, and appealing. On good sunny days, umbrellas would be sufficient but one should consider a long-lasting solution. A beautiful and decent gazebo or pergola would be a great idea to provide shade. The other advantage of installing something permanent is that you can fit lights, fans, and other such ceiling accessories on it. Another feasible alternative for shade is a canopy, as it costs less.
8. Vertical Fence for Privacy
Fencing is another feature that should be kept in mind when designing an outdoor kitchen. Fencing increases security and keeps your outdoor space safe from intrusions. There is a huge variety of fencing materials including wrought iron, cedar, redwood, brick etc.
A bar can make a good addition to your outdoor kitchen. It’s not only aesthetically pleasant and inviting with those high bar stools and counter, but can be a big asset if you’re prone to hosting parties. On the opposite site is a drinks prep area with easy access to drinks refrigerator or wine chiller under the counter.
10. Wine and Drinks Refrigerator
A wine refrigerator is a valuable item for your outdoor kitchen. An under-counter fridge and free-standing wine refrigerators are the two options you can choose from depending on your budget and your choice of liquor. An outdoor-rated refrigerator, designed to tackle extreme temperature fluctuations and humidity, is the backbone of an efficient outdoor kitchen, ensuring that everything from meat waiting to hit the grill to crisp vegetables for the salad stays chilled and at optimal freshness.
Cooler drawers offer an additional, easily accessible spot to keep drinks ice-cold, making it convenient for guests to help themselves without interrupting the chef at work. These appliances often feature reinforced insulation and powerful cooling systems specifically engineered for outdoor use, meaning they not only cool effectively but also stand up to the outdoor environment without excessive energy consumption.
Plus, with lockable doors, they keep beverages secure and animals at bay. Integrating these cooling powerhouses into your outdoor kitchen keeps the party outside, where it belongs.
Entertainment is a must for your outdoor events. Televisions are mostly preferred for the outdoor kitchens, especially if they are designed to be outdoor and are protected under a gazebo or part of a summer house. Stereos are another preferred choice, as they are easy to install. Another inexpensive source of entertainment is firepits. Nothing beats gathering around it and enjoying cold nights with loved ones and great conversation.
A beautiful, elegant, and classy garden may be an excellent complement to your outdoor kitchen. A jasmine-filled gazebo with overhead lighting may look nice around the kitchen station. It’s a good idea to plant an herb garden or hanging pots with your favorite veggies alongside a cooking area.
A small pond or waterfall can also be added to enhance the beauty of your outdoor space. .
14. Decorative and Additional Features
Decor and accessorizing are the final adjustments to your outdoor kitchen to make it more enticing. There are plenty of possibilities, such as decorative panels behind the kitchen area or a distinctive drinks chiller. Consider textiles as well, because an outdoor kitchen will be complemented by a table and sitting area. Sofas and pillows are crucial, but so are a variety of warm blankets for visitors to use when the temperature drops.
15. Pizza Over, Smoker and Kamado Style Barbecue Cooker
If you are really into food and have the space for it, you want to go beyond the grill and gas cooker. Start your little collection. From Pizza Oven, be it built-in brick oven or the modern kind to a full size smoker, there are plenty to choose from.
The Big Green Egg is a popular Kamado-style ceramic barbecue cooker, with its heavy base and cover. If you want to make your own, check out these DIY Kamado inspired BBQ cookers based on flower pots.
- DIY Kamado Smoker & Grill – Make your own Green Egg BBQ from terracotta flowerpots
- Make Your Own Improved Charcoal Terra Cotta Smoker: Green Egg and Kamado BBQ alternatives
So, this is everything that can make your outdoor kitchen a total party to be in. We hope you find this guide useful and can even use it as a checklist during the design process.
ZG Edited by Samuel J Tan