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7 Things to Consider When Designing Outdoor Kitchens

An outdoor kitchen does have a certain element of extravagance. It’s an entire, defined space dedicated to the preparation of meals among family and friends – set outside, no less. From a practical side, an outdoor kitchen extends your home’s living and entertaining space and allows you to make the most of your backyard.

If you’re considering adding an outdoor kitchen to your outside escape, you likely have questions. You need to think about how you’ll use the space, the outdoor appliances you need, the best location for a kitchen in your yard, and and how it will weather the elements over time.


How much does it cost to build an outdoor kitchen?

As with anything, the cost of your kitchen will be reflective of how elaborate you want your space to be. A ballpark cost of an outdoor kitchen with countertops, a built-in barbecue, and a bar could range from $8,000 – $17,000 – not including appliances and pavers.

First, set a budget and do your best to work within it. Things can easily end up costing more than you anticipated. There may be expenses that you didn’t expect such as the cost of hiring a designer, plumber or electrician, getting permits and requiring excavation work. To minimize surprises, it’s smart to work with a professional contractor to help you determine a realistic cost for your project.


Should I cover my outdoor kitchen?

There are many reasons why it makes sense to plan for some form of coverage for your outdoor kitchen.

If the sun is highest around mealtime, you might want to build a pergola around your kitchen or install sunshades to keep the area comfortable for cooking and eating at all times. If your region experiences weather changes like sudden wind gusts or frequent rain showers, a covered shelter or retractable canopy will help ensure that you’re ready for anything.

Keep in mind that even when you’re not using your outdoor kitchen, your appliances will still be exposed to the elements, including snow in many areas. You want to protect them with at least partial coverage so they can maintain their appearance and functionality for years to come.


What is the best outdoor kitchen?

The ideal outdoor kitchen is one that best suits your lifestyle. Doyou like to entertain large groups or host intimate gatherings? Is your taste gourmet or is casual, fuss-free cooking more your family’s style?

An outdoor kitchen can include anything – a gas, propane or electric grill, a smoker, pizza oven, and even a full-size oven and stovetop. If you want to prepare food outside so you can be with your guests, you will want lots of counterspace and a sink with running hot water.

A refrigerator may make sense for ingredients, prepared dishes and beverages. And don’t forget storage space for cooking utensils, dishes and cutlery so you don’t have to carry items from the inside kitchen each time you want to use them.


Where should I put my outdoor kitchen?

For convenience, it makes sense to locate your outdoor kitchen close to your house, particularly if you require electricity, running water and gas – but also for easier transport of food and dishes from inside.

If you live on a large property, you may want to position your outdoor kitchen in a more scenic spot or close to the pool area. Keep in mind that running water, gas and electricity will add to your budget, and you may have to work around buried lines, septic tanks and property easements on the home. Plus, it’s a longer walk to start the grill.


What material is used for outdoor kitchens?

When choosing materials, think durability first, followed by easy maintenance. An outdoor kitchen must be extra tough to hold up in all seasons, resist stains from outdoor debris, dirty shoes and dropped food, and ward off scratches and scuffs from heavy furniture and appliances.

Stainless steel is a good option for countertops as well as for appliances because of its durability and toughness. Stainless steel looks sleek, is strong against the elements and easy to clean.

When it comes to your outdoor kitchen flooring, the Beacon Hill Smooth concrete paver is a good choice for durability and a look that lasts. Made with EnduraColor, a two-step manufacturing process, Beacon Hill Smooth has a stronger foundation and a surface made with concentrated color and fine aggregates that prevent the appearance of fading over time.

Another excellent option for high traffic areas is the Umbriano paver, which is factory-sealed with EasyClean™ to provide surface protection and allow for quick clean-up of messy spills. For a cohesive look, Umbriano is also available in the U-Cara Modular System, which can be used to build pillars and grill islands in hours rather than days.


What is a good size for an outdoor kitchen?

Ultimately, it will depend how much space you have available, but size doesn’t really matter. Even the smallest urban settings can include things like barbecue grill islands, pizza ovens and more.

Be realistic in how many family members and friends will be eating outdoors, and the type of cooking you like to do. Don’t forget to factor in enough seating room for el fresco diners.


How do you plan an outdoor kitchen?

There is no end to inspiration on websites like Houzz, Pinterest, HGTV and the Unilock Project Gallery. Gather your ideas and wish list together, and then talk to a Unilock Authorized Contractor to help you make your dream outdoor kitchen a fabulous reality.



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