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If you’re having a gathering, big or small, it’s common that people tend to gather in the kitchen. After all, you’re likely to have gracious guests who want to help, people who want to enjoy your company or some just curious about what’s cooking. For the home chef, there can sometimes be too many cooks in the kitchen. If that’s the case, it might be time to bring your indoor cooking outdoors.
Raise the bar for the average backyard BBQ. An outdoor kitchen is a lovely investment to any home, large or small. It’s easy to customize the cooking area to your needs, style and space. Here are a few ideas to help you start planning your outdoor kitchen.
Patio Vs. Deck
To start your outdoor kitchen plans, you must have a solid surface to work on. If you have an existing deck or patio, this decision will be a bit easier. When deciding between the two, think about what you’ll want to put in your outdoor kitchen and how much upkeep you plan to do. A deck can be a good choice for uneven terrain, however they require more maintenance than patios and have certain weight restrictions.
Patios are a great choice for an outdoor kitchen if you have a flat backyard and are looking to incorporate heavier features. One drawback would be its susceptibility to stains. And in the kitchen, we know that spills are bound to happen, so this is one thing to be aware of as you build out your patio outdoor kitchen.
Outdoor Countertop Ideas
Besides the cooking equipment, choosing an outdoor countertop is the next big decision in creating the outdoor kitchen of your dreams. By adding permanence to the grill and defining the space, your countertop is really what defines your cooking space apart from the rest of your backyard. The key is to choose a countertop that is fairly weather-resistant, though over time and exposure to the elements, it’s likely repairs will have to be made.
Here are a few trendy choices for outdoor kitchen countertops:
- Concrete: For the modern outdoor kitchen, the clean, sleek look will be just what you need. It’s has easy clean up and low maintenance, as long as it’s installed correctly.
- Granite: To bring the indoor feel outside, granite countertops are a great choice. This durable material is easy to clean but not the cheapest option available.
- Corian: This type of countertop is best for homeowners that live in a climate where the weather tends to be unpredictable. Corian countertops are weather-resistant and stain-proof, so it’s likely this countertop will last a long time with proper care.
- Tile: The most affordable outdoor countertop is tile. This option is customizable and has the ability to match your current backyard décor. Ceramic tiles are the best choice, due to the durability and weather-resistance.
Building an outdoor countertop to fit your appliances just right can be tricky, especially if you’re working with concrete that can crack if installed incorrectly. Not only is it typically custom-fit for your needs, but it must be properly installed to ensure that weather has as little impact as possible.
Grilling Station Appliances
To make an outdoor kitchen an actual kitchen, appliances are needed and a grill is necessary! Gas or charcoal grills are great choices, depending on your preference. Gas grills may require a gas line that must be installed by a pro and align with your cities codes. The grill could be your highest outdoor kitchen expense, with models that include multiple burners and cooking surfaces running about $3,000. If you’re building on a budget, there are plenty of other large models that function like a standard BBQ grill, starting around $200. Your cooking surface is determined by your preference, but be sure to choose a quality product you know will last.
If you’re building an outdoor kitchen, you don’t want to be running inside to get items from your indoor kitchen. Consider adding a small refrigerator to keep food cool. A sink could also be a helpful addition to have water when you need it for cooking or rinsing. Keep in mind, if you choose to add a sink, you’ll also need to add plumbing to your outdoor kitchen.
Tables, Chairs & Stools
An outdoor kitchen is designed to be a gathering spot to enjoy. Take into consideration who you’ll host in your backyard gatherings. Do you intend for small cozy get-togethers? A few outdoor stools and bar seating at the counter will create a cozy feel. Do you plan on hosting summer parties? An outdoor table with comfortable wicker couches and Adirondack chairs will create a fun look for your gathering. The options are truly endless when it comes to lawn furniture for your outdoor kitchen.
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When cooking dinner or just creating ambiance, lighting is a necessity in your outdoor kitchen. This is not a feature to be overlooked. Undercooked food is a common BBQ hazard and having proper lighting will help to ensure food is cooking correctly. Adding light over the grill or cooking area is a must. If you’re able, consider adding recessed lighting or a ceiling fan, installed properly to avoid weather damage.
Lighting can set the mood for any gathering, so lighting over the cooking area may not be enough. String lights add a fun element to any party and citronella candles on countertops will help keep mosquitoes away from food.
Shelter & Weather Protection
If you’re worried about rain or sun running the outdoor cooking fun, consider adding a shelter to guard from the elements. A covered pergola or awning can be a great solution to resist the elements. Both provide temporary protection from rain, wind and snow when the kitchen is not in use. A permanent canopy or patio roof can add even more protection to your appliances.
DIY or Call A Pro?
As you can see, an outdoor kitchen can be as minimal as a grill and countertop to a full cooking area, that has everything an indoor kitchen provides. For that reason, you should evaluate your own remodeling capabilities if you’re considering a DIY outdoor kitchen. If you’ll need to connect any gas, electric or plumbing lines, call a pro who can ensure this is done correctly.
An outdoor kitchen is a dream amenity for many, but can be obtainable with proper planning and budgeting. In addition, outdoor kitchens have great ROI when it’s time to sell.
Now is the time to start building your outdoor kitchen. Ready to get started? Call a pro today for up to four free quotes.