What You Need For an Outdoor Kitchen

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.

Such kitchens are a good source of entertainment, help you save on utility bills, keep your house clean and most importantly, you get a lot of quality time to spend with your loved ones in a nature-oriented setting.

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

An outdoor kitchen is incomplete without a grill and some of these are especially constructed to be retrofitted in them.

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BBQ Grill

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Once again, you have a wide variety to choose from – first you have the built-in-grill that may cost anywhere between $1000-$3500. Then there’s the drop-in grill that ranges between $1000-$2500. Lastly, there are the charcoal, electric, and propane grills – you can pick whichever one suits your cooking style. If you want to add a touch of luxury, then you can opt for more than one grill.

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.

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BBQ Smoker

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2. Flooring

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.

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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. Counters

Most counters are included with the grills, but you can also get them custom made. For this purpose, you also need to choose its material. It could be granite, which is quite expensive ranging from $60-$80 per foot.

An alternative for granite is bluestone, a preferred choice for outdoor kitchen’s countertops due to its reliability and elegance. It costs around $250 per linear foot. If you have a limited budget, a tile counter is the best option that will cost between $10 and $25 per square foot on average.

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Worktop and Counters

4. 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.

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Furniture and Shade

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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.

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Covered Area

6. Sinks

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.

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Outdoor sink

7. Shading

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.

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Outdoor kitchen under pergola

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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.

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Fence for Privacy

9. Coffee and Tea Bar

A coffee and tea bar can make a good addition to your outdoor kitchen. It’s not only aesthetically pleasant, but can be a big asset if you’re prone to hosting afternoon champagne high teas and soirees. You’ll need a tea kettle, espresso machine, and an assortment of coffees and teas to make this station a valuable part of your outdoor kitchen. If you don’t have enough space, then you can simply place all these things on a portable tea cart.

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Bar Dining

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.

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Wine and Drinks Refrigerator

11. Entertainment

Entertainment is a must for your outdoor events. Televisions are mostly preferred for the outdoor kitchens, especially if they are housed under a gazebo or another type of a concrete structure. 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.

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TV in the outdoor garden

12. Lighting

If you are installing an outdoor kitchen, then make sure that you have ideal ambient lighting for evening events. However, there should be appropriate lighting for you to prepare meals and beverages as well. Installing task lights is the greatest approach to brighten your work areas without detracting from your entire outdoor lighting system. For a romantic look, you can install string lanterns or festoon lighting.

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Lighting for Outdoor Kitchen

13. Landscaping

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Landscaping for Outdoor Kitchen

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. .

RELATED: Best Ways to Incorporate Japanese Zen into Your Garden

14. Decorative and Additional Features

Decorative and Additional Features
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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.

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Built-in Pizza Oven

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.

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Big green egg kamado oven

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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.

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Modern pizza oven

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Edited by Samuel J Tan