Your Guide To Building An Outdoor Kitchen: Cost, Materials, and Considerations

by Kier July 14, 2021

Food brings people together, and this includes families. Nothing creates a bond like sitting together to enjoy a meal together with the people you love. An outdoor kitchen is one way to go about creating a more exciting experience. It is fun to cook outside with family surrounding you, enjoying their meals and relaxing.

Furthermore, an outdoor kitchen increases the worth of your home if you ever decide to sell it. Follow this interesting guide if you want to get started on converting your backyard to an incredible outdoor kitchen!

TIME TO PLAN

Before you try to recreate that picture on Pinterest, you need to plan what goes in and what you can afford. what you choose is dependent on your taste and pretenses. Certain things like your arrangement and the appliances you will own. Here are a few things you should consider when planning:

  1.   Are you building a full kitchen or a grilling spot? Do you intend to have full meals with your family or simple casual barbecues on off days? All these and more will determine the size of the countertop you install.
  2. Where are you building your outdoor kitchen, and how far will it be from the home's indoor kitchen? The distance of your outdoor kitchen and also its size is a factor that will determine how much you will need to invest in storage devices, kitchen appliances, and other gadgets. Say you are extending your indoor kitchen and access the outdoor kitchen by a divide or a small door. You won’t need to get more storage or buy an extra freezer or appliances unless you need to do so. But if your kitchen is set up a little further from the house, you might need to get some extras.
  3. Select a design that will be cost/energy-efficient and accessible from your home. Often, when people take on this type of project, they go overboard with expenses. They spend vast amounts of money and get nothing special. Also, measure everything; every appliance, including your cabinets, grill, and such. It is important because you will buy these items before you begin your build. It is a great idea to get a friend or an expert, someone who has done a similar building before. Ask for opinions, show them your plans, ask for criticism and any corrections/advice they have.

SELECT THE CORRECT BUILDING MATERIALS

Building an outdoor kitchen means you will make use of weather-resistant materials. During your build, use materials that have been designed for outdoor construction. A lot of outdoor kitchens are made, making the island out of a galvanized steel frame then covering it in concrete. Countertops are made of different materials like:

  • Granite
  • Stainless steel
  • Travertine Stone
  • Tiles
  • concrete
  • Dekton

Most of these materials are durable, sting and cold to the touch.

Whenever choosing materials, do not choose a porous material. Avoid building materials like Limestone and quartz. They don’t do very well against the elements.

TIME TO BUILD

Enumerated below are the outdoor kitchens made of wood, metal, or concrete panels.

Wood

To build a frame with wood or plywood. You will need to reinforce it with the aid of cement. After completing your build with wood: Go ahead and cover the top with any veneer, such as stucco, tiles, or stones. Make it pleasing to the eye and smooth to the touch. When you are done, mount your hardware and appliances, that is, your fridge, grill, and cabinets. A wooden build is the cheapest amongst all three if you are looking to save money.

Metal

Make a five-inch cement footing. Building your kitchen on the soil without reinforcing it will result in it sinking over time. Create a frame by welding together stainless steel or aluminum studs. Set the cement boards on the rack, matching the cutouts. The process then is the same as the wood listed above.

Concrete

Professional builders now offer the option of concrete when making kitchen islands. They are made out of modular concrete, customer to the clients, and later put together. These types of panels are easy to build and are resistant to weather and fire hazards. Since they are made of concrete, they are cumbersome and need workforces to assemble. When compared to the two above, these frames do a better job at handling the weight of countertops of all kinds. They can also look great with any veneer finish.

WHAT IS A GOOD SIZE FOR AN OUTDOOR KITCHEN?

If you love being a host, then you'd absolutely be head over heels for an outdoor kitchen! A fancy outdoor kitchen may end up being a waste of space to someone who doesn’t entertain a lot of guests. When deciding how big to go, you need to consider the window and space you have in the backyard. This greatly determines how big your outdoor kitchen will be.

If the outdoor kitchen is going to stand out, be used frequently by everyone, outlining a large part of the yard in your plans should be the first thing you do. Choose the size of your kitchen based on your space, and features available in the yard.

Kitchen Sizes

Here are a few recommendations I have when trying to decide on the space of your outdoor kitchen:

  • A kitchen of about ten feet is the smallest size I would recommend to deal with the needs of a kitchen. This includes all the necessary appliances we would need in a kitchen. This kitchen will only carry the bare smallest. A more oversized essential kitchen will be around twelve to fourteen feet. This will take the regular appliances and extra two features, plus more space to move around.
  • A kitchen with sixteen feet, that’s an extra four feet, will be a medium-sized kitchen. Though this kitchen doesn’t need more appliances, it offers more space for movement.
  • A large outdoor kitchen is twenty-five feet and calls out to you from the moment you step into the yard. Multiple people can function and could take on more than one of the essential gadgets.

What do you need for an outdoor kitchen?

There are different gadgets and appliances that usually go in an indoor kitchen.  An outdoor kitchen is typically used for parties, family gatherings, and barbecues. It requires a lot more smoking, grilling, and chilling, all of this for party needs or simple meals.  Channel your inner chef with a wine fridge and grill. No matter what you want to do, you have to start with the nitty-gritty.

Transforming your outside space, from a barbecue to a cooking space, requires some effort. But the appliances recommended for even the minimalist of all kitchens include:

  • Stovetop
  • Sink
  • Grill

They are the simplest, most requirements for any outdoor kitchen, and this is irrespective of size. It is what separates a BBQ from an outside kitchen.

Not a necessity but great to own

If you want a kitchen with the essentials, with more space than a small kitchen, then you can spare some space for the following:

  • Smoker
  • Full Refrigerator
  • Mini Refrigerator
  • Freezer

For people who cook more and are often found in the kitchen storing up something, these are perfect for them. Space allows them freedom of movement and the storage of supplies.

Go big or go home

Suppose you want to live that chef life, with different appliances in your kitchen. A large and fancy outdoor kitchen is for you. You can add many more features and ideas to your kitchen, and you are only limited by space. A few I recommend include:

  • Pizza Oven
  • Garbage Disposal
  • Dishwasher
  • Warming Drawer
  • Blender
  • Ice Maker
  • Wine Refrigerator
  • Bar

These new additions will take your outdoor kitchen from functional, to classy and you will grab the attention of all your guests, including family members. It adds a wow factor to your home and increases the value of your home on the market. It also increases your menu options and gives you a better way to make those things on the menu.

How Much Does it Cost to Build an Outdoor Kitchen?

A study shows an outdoor kitchen costs $14,000 on average, while the heavy hitters with all the needs and wants came at about $30,000. The cost range is about $5,000 to $30,000, depending on the appliances and the type of construction materials. As we said before, wood is cheaper compared to Concrete. Fortunately, your expenses are entirely within your control; you can make decisions that will benefit your checkbook while giving you what you can afford.

Stick to the budget

Several factors contribute to the increase of price when compared to others. The following are some of which you should look at if you are budgeting conscious:

  • Placement: Placing your outdoor kitchen far from the indoor kitchen will raise many questions, like plumbing, more gadgets, and a more giant food prepping station. In turn, it will increase the cost of construction. Build the outdoor kitchen as close as you can to the hose. You will then not need to build a lot of things. Keep the design as minimal as possible. I also suggest you make it on a patio; you will save money on flooring.
  • Appliances: To save on cost, you should consider cheaper devices, like a girl and a refrigerator. More affordable freestanding units are better for your wallet and will save you money on installation. They also allow you to move them around and rearrange them, making them a great investment plan.

Hire help or Do it yourself?

Even if you do not have any experience building things, DIYs can save you up to 20% on any project you undertake. So, if you are confident in your skills, you can undertake this project.

With that said, there are things you do not do yourself but leave to the professionals. Examples include gas line installations, electricity, and plumbing. If your pocket can, hire an expert, ask them about the best durable materials for outdoor kitchens.

DIY & Get it right

If you do decide to Do It Yourself, it is crucial that you know what you are doing. Else, you will only waste your time and resources, and that is something we do not want! There are a large variety of outdoor kitchen projects that it is almost impossible not to find one you are capable of handling.

It could be tiled, concrete, or even something as simple as a minor wooden structure that you will build. The important thing is to ensure that you get it right and you consider the necessary factors if you are doing it yourself. To avoid wastage, let's look at a list of some appealing and top recommended DIY outdoor kitchen projects you can start right away!

  1. DIY Tiled Outdoor Kitchen
  2. Repurposed Cabinet Outdoor Kitchen
  3. DIY Outdoor Kitchen With Concrete Countertops
  4. Outdoor Kitchen Bar With Pergola
  5. DIY Outdoor Kitchen With Food Fired Pizza Oven
  6. DIY Portable Outdoor Kitchen
  7. Super Easy 10 Step DIY Outdoor Kitchen
  8. DIY Outdoor Kitchenette
  9. DIY Stone Covered Grill Island
  10. DIY Outdoor Deck Kitchen
  11. Upcycled Wood And Brick Outdoor Kitchen
  12. Simple DIY Outdoor Grilling Island
  13. DIY Rustic Farmhouse Outdoor Kitchen
  14. DIY Poured Concrete Outdoor Kitchen Countertops
  15. Simple Low Budget Outdoor Kitchen
  16. Outdoor Kitchen For Garden Shed

Why are Outdoor Kitchens expensive?

A basic outdoor kitchen will cost you a few thousand dollars, though all you will have is a grill, a countertop sink, and probably a mini-fridge. Opting for a more significant structure with more space and more appliances will go to tens of thousands of dollars. Furthermore, it is dependent on what you want, and the factors include;

  • The quality of products and devices, the amount of plumbing that needs to be done, gas lines, and other necessities.
  • You might also want to get two essential appliances, like ovens, fridges or grills, to pay the workers.
  • Furthermore, it depends on the size and purpose of your outside kitchen. Pots, pans, utensils, and different grills can cause a dent in your pocket as well.
  • Propane tanks and gas lines directly to the grill.

It is mainly dependent on preference, but in the end, you would have spent close to $40,000. To save costs though, I recommend that you recycle a lot of things. Let’s assume you got a new fridge for the indoor kitchen, do not throw out the old one. Instead, take it to the outside kitchen, seeing as you don’t use the kitchen every day, you won’t have problems with it not being big enough, and it can work for an extended period.

Also, with all these electronics, you will be consuming a lot of power, so unless needed, things like a fridge and such suggest you leave the appliances off until you have a gathering. As long as you can cover the bills and you truly believe in this project, you can go ahead and get started already.

Is an outdoor kitchen worth it?

One question that a lot of people have is, “Is an outdoor kitchen worth it?” and I understand their skepticism. You will be spending between $10,000 to $30,000 on this kitchen, and I want to assure you that it is entirely worth it. Below are a few reasons why it is worth it:

Enhances the appeal of your yard

A stylish outdoor kitchen will enhance your backyard, improve its aestheticism and make it stand out. Many outdoor kitchens bear an elegant, contemporary, homey design that dramatically increases the yard's visual appeal. Beautiful finishes and veneers can make your kitchen become the talk of the neighborhood. Make use of a good-looking countertop, natural stone tiles to improve the color. Also, high-grade grills give the kitchen an excellent professional look, the stainless steel in contrast with everything else, and the best part is you won’t have to worry about rust.

Entertain with guests with more space

Inviting friends and family over to have fun and enjoy drinks and catch up will be easier and more fun with an outdoor kitchen. When you have people over, having all of them inside the house will make it seem cramped, and let’s be honest, we all love our privacy. Nobody wants kids running around and bumping into the TV or finding someone digging through your stuff. Also, if you have little space indoors, you can host your parties outdoors or increase your area by making it an indoor-outdoor party.

Easy management

For people who enjoy cooking, you will agree that it's fun to cook, take recipes from your head and make beautiful dishes that leave your family salivating and grateful for the meal. However, the one thing most people tend to dislike, and I’m sure you do too, is cleaning up.

An outdoor kitchen makes cleaning a lot easier.  After cooking, you only need to grab a hose and wash it down if you’re feeling lazy. In your design, you can add a dink and drain to make your clean-up much more manageable. Remember, wine spilled on the ground isn’t the same as wine spilled on your grey carpet!

Family Bonding

These days we spend more time in front of screens, and not enough time with our families. One way we can change that is to spend more time with the family outdoors. An outdoor kitchen will make this dream a possibility. Cooking, eating, and chilling outside will let you get some much-needed fresh air and Vitamin D. If you have a pool, well, it's time to hop in! Your kids get the needed exercise while enjoying nature, which lets them live healthier lives. With time, the kids and yourself will want to spend more time unconsciously.

Healthier meals

On the subject of health, you eat healthier and better. And when it comes to cooking methods, grilling is much more beneficial than frying, and it's delicious. If you want to prepare healthier and better meals for your family members, an outdoor kitchen is a way to go. You get to grill and do things with vegetables you would never have tried to create these meals.

Saves money

Air conditioning consumes a lot of electricity. Now imagine being trapped in a kitchen, cooking with the AC on, trying to stay cool with a blasting stove. And then your air conditioning has to work to cool you down while increasing your electricity bill.

Cooking in an outdoor kitchen will greatly reduce your bills because all you have to do is stand outside and let the breeze fan over you as you grill that steak. This will save you money, and you don't have to sweat while you cook.

Saves you money

Spending money on eating out and going to fast food joints puts strain on families' wallets, so I have one for the breadwinners. An outdoor kitchen saves you money. I know it doesn’t sound likely, but an outdoor kitchen saves you money. If you create the perfect setting, you and your loved ones will enjoy cooking, learning new recipes, and eating at home rather than going out and spending all that money at food courts. Restaurants are expensive, especially when you have to feed more than one month at a time. Besides, you will enjoy your home more than ever and bond with kids.

CONCLUSION

An outdoor kitchen brings out the best of interactions, bonds the family, and helps you plan the parties where you don't have to worry about many things, especially when it comes to cleaning up. It also can be done with a budget in mind, and it is entirely dependent on you. Flexible and can be upgraded as time goes on.

This combines a trio of improving your home's worth, encourages bonding time with your family, and lastly, you cater to your guests easily. Overall, an outdoor kitchen is an excellent addition that is recommended for any home. If you have plans on installing one, go ahead.