Tips for Building an Outdoor Kitchen

To many people, an outdoor kitchen may seem like an unnecessary extravagance, but for those who enjoy spending a lot of time outside, it has become an increasingly popular home addition.

An outdoor kitchen can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $15,000 at an outdoor kitchen depot, so careful consideration of one’s needs is important. The first step in creating an outdoor kitchen is to determine how and when it will be used.

The main purpose of an outdoor kitchen is that it reduces the trips in and out of the house when cooking outdoors. The more time spent outside cooking and eating, and the more complex the preferred menu, the more sense an outdoor kitchen makes. It also is a determining factor in how extensive an outdoor kitchen should be.

Before purchasing any outdoor kitchen equipment, it is essential to decide if it will be permanent or portable. If you need linear slides for your drawers or not? If there is a chance of moving to a new home in the future, it might be wiser to stick to outdoor kitchen furniture that can be taken along to the new home. Building a permanent outdoor kitchen is more expensive, but it also will be more durable and increase the value of the home.

A cement or brick patio makes a good foundation for an outdoor kitchen. Wooden decks may require reinforcement, depending on how elaborate the planned kitchen.

Building close to the house makes trips in and out for supplies more convenient. Once space is chosen, the outdoor kitchen can be simple or as detailed as space, imagination, and budget will allow.

The most common elements of an outdoor kitchen include a grill, work surfaces, and a dining area. A refrigerator, sink, lighting, and small kitchen appliances can be added, including a microwave oven. The more complex an outdoor kitchen, the more attention needs to be paid to the storage, traffic lanes, and sources of electricity and water. Most appliance manufacturers have specialty lines for outdoor use, and precautions should be taken to ensure their proper and safe use.

Weather-resistant materials should be used to construct work surfaces and food preparation areas as well as cabinetry. A stainless steel outdoor kitchen is a good choice. A safe and reliable method of insect control is essential, especially if meals will be eaten outdoors.

The main focal point of any outdoor kitchen is the grill. Choosing the right grill and its placement is key to a successful kitchen. Deciding between a charcoal or gas grill is a matter of personal taste. Plan on a design at least 3 feet of the work surface on either side of the grill and 1.5 to 2 feet on either side of a sink. Plan around the grill, so that important items are handy when cooking. A U-shaped or triangle workspace is ideal.

The products needed to create the kitchen, from simple to state-of-the-art, are readily available, but the most important aspect of an outdoor kitchen is planning. A sensible design will allow for years of outdoor enjoyment.

Nicole Hennig
Nicole Hennig is a freelance writer, content writer, blogger, and also a photographer. She graduated from the University of Caloocan in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2015.

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