Building Outdoor Kitchens

By: Bundan
Building outdoor kitchens is all the rage and if you haven't already built one, I'm sure you're cooking up an outdoor kitchen plan for your home. And why not upgrade your backyard to be the hot spot on the block for entertaining and relaxing...

Outdoor kitchens increase your living space adding tremendous value and appeal to your home. That's why building outdoor kitchens is the second most popular remodeling project after indoor kitchens.

However, a great outdoor kitchen is a complex project.

You can certainly enjoy your backyard and grill up some tasty BBQ on any charcoal or gas grill, but to truly bring your kitchen outdoors requires significant planning, skill and expertise. This project is not a do-it-yourselfer.

Here's what you'll need to consider:

Your basic outdoor kitchen set-up will include a built-in barbeque grill, countertop, sink, refrigerator, outdoor kitchen cabinets and cozy outdoor furniture or barstools for yourself and all your guests to kick back.

The barbeque grills on the market today offer so many bells and whistles that you should start shopping around early to determine your favorite options and how much you want to spend.

Next, the type of countertop surface is a crucial decision when building outdoor kitchens. Options include tile, quartz, solid surface, granite and other natural stones. Choosing the right countertop will ensure years of enjoyment and admiration. The wrong one...years of hassle and headaches.

If price is a primary consideration then take a look at tile. Just know that a tile countertop may not stand up as well to the elements and will require significant maintenance to keep the grout clean and the tiles intact.

Granite and quartz are more expensive, but offer the best long-term value with excellent durability and superior styling.

For the ultimate in luxury, you may also consider installing pergolas, stereos, ceiling fans, fire pits and more. Even TVs are moving outside.

Comfort & Flow

Comfort is key to enjoying your outdoor kitchen and entertainment space. But before you empty your wallet on that imported teak dining set with bar stools, take a look at the space you have available and decide how it's going to "flow."

Everyone needs a little space so, make sure your outdoor kitchen plan accounts for some basic and standard construction measurements to allow plenty of room to sit and move about.

Outdoor Kitchen Location

Of course, the idea of an outdoor kitchen is to relieve you of all the shuttling back and forth from your kitchen inside. Nonetheless, you'll want to locate your outdoor kitchen as close as possible to the indoor one for overall convenience.

Also, when building outdoor kitchens keep in mind things like, electricity, water and gas. The closer your outdoor kitchen is to your house the easier it will be to hook up to these utilities.

Sun and rain exposure is an important consideration. Certainly you'll want some protection from the rain so grilling can continue even if the party must move indoors.

In northern areas you may want to maximize sun exposure, while most southern backyard kitchens should be designed to shield the sun either by location or the addition of a pergola or large umbrella.

Wind protection is another reason to stay close to the house. You don't want to be so close that smoke from the grill is easily blown around seating areas, but taking advantage of walls and fences will make grilling more pleasant. However, fencing, trees, shrubs and planters can be added for greater protection.

Utilities & Permits

If you're not building a new home that includes an outdoor kitchen, chances are your outdoor kitchen plan will require installation of water, electric and possibly gas supply to your cooking area.

Water supply to the sink will need to be installed so it can drain in winter to prevent freeze damage and building codes will probably require the sink drain be connected to the main house drain.

You'll need to hire an electrician to install GFCI outlets above the countertop and for your lighting. If your outdoor kitchen plan calls for cooking with natural gas vs. propane then you'll need a plumber to run an underground gas line.

Permits will be required so everything should be mapped out in advance. And although some aspects of building outdoor kitchens can be handled by the competent do-it-yourselfer, the complete project involves extensive and specialized installations that are best left to professionals.

You'll have many discussions with your contractor about all of these items, but this should get the juices flowing on your great outdoor kitchen plan.
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