Upgrade Your Backyard with an Outdoor Kitchen

An outdoor kitchen with a fire pit and a grill.

If you like to grill and entertain often, or just enjoy the ease of meals outdoors, designing an outdoor kitchen could be a project for you.  They can be simple or on a more grand scale, depending on your needs. Outdoor kitchens are a definite plus when entertaining and can be the centerpiece of your backyard or patio.

An outdoor kitchen with stone counter tops.
An exterior kitchen with sink and counter space for meal preparation (quzimex)
An outdoor kitchen with outdoor furniture.
A beautiful outdoor kitchen (hotnick)

Outdoor kitchens can cost anywhere between $3,000 and $30,000, depending on the design and the appliances you choose.  Your design may include a covered area, a bar, top-of-the-line grill and appliances, as well as a fireplace.

A backyard with a fire pit and patio furniture transformed into an outdoor kitchen.
A fire pit is featured in this backyard kitchen (Chrispardodesign)
An outdoor kitchen with seating.
An outdoor kitchen with all the extras (kitchenclan)
A wooden pergola with an outdoor kitchen.
A spacious outdoor kitchen layout (jengooch)

Generally, an outdoor kitchen includes a grill, refrigerator, sink, storage space and counter space for preparing meals.  Creating an outdoor room is an ideal set-up.  Include a fireplace and seating for comfort and a bar for entertaining.

An outdoor kitchen with a fireplace and grill.
A fireplace and seating area complete this outdoor kitchen design (outdoorkitchensideas)
A backyard with an outdoor kitchen featuring an outdoor fireplace and grill.
This outdoor kitchen design is charming and includes a sitting area by the fireplace (houzz)

An outdoor kitchen can be as simple as a covered grill and a prep area, with perhaps some cabinets or cubbies for storage.  If you simply enjoy grilling, this is most likely all that is necessary.

Benefits of an Outdoor Kitchen

1. Increased Property Value

Outdoor kitchens can significantly boost the value of your property. As they become more popular, potential homebuyers often look for homes that offer this luxurious feature.

2. Energy Savings

Cooking outdoors, especially during the hotter months, can save energy. It prevents the house from heating up, which reduces the need for air conditioning.

3. Expanding Living Space

An outdoor kitchen effectively extends your living space, providing an additional area to entertain guests or relax with family.

4. Healthier Cooking Options

Grilling is often a healthier cooking method as it allows fat to drip off the meat, reducing calorie intake.

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A stone patio with an outdoor kitchen.
An outdoor kitchen covered with pergola (freshmoderndesign.BlogSpot)
A wooden pergola with an outdoor kitchen.
A simple outdoor kitchen design (danddsfurniture.net)

If entertaining is the major purpose for your kitchen, you may want to incorporate a refrigerator, sink and bar area.  Counter space is essential for this setup to have ample room for food preparation and serving.  A raised bar area is ideal for entertaining and can provide extra seating for guests.

An outdoor kitchen with a grill.
A small bar area accents this outdoor kitchen (parkdaleave.blogspot)
A patio with an outdoor kitchen.
A raised bar area offers extra seating in this outdoor kitchen (Kitchen by Dream Retreats, AZ)
An outdoor kitchen with potted plants.
A charming Mediterranean-inspired outdoor kitchen (mediberian)

A comfortable seating area adjacent to the cooking area is a plus.  This offers guests a place to relax and mingle, while still keeping the cook in the mix.  A dining table for large gatherings completes the outdoor kitchen.

An outdoor dining area with a view of the mountains.
On this rooftop terrace by Fantastic Frank, a sleek outdoor kitchen features stainless steel appliances and a built-in barbecue. It faces away from the lounge area, while a pergola offers dining shade and modern chairs in white, gray, and blue enhance the contemporary vibe.

Considerations When Designing an Outdoor Kitchen

1. Location

It’s crucial to consider the location of your outdoor kitchen. It should be easily accessible from your indoor kitchen, especially if you’ll be moving items between the two frequently.

2. Weather Protection

Depending on your location, you might need to consider weatherproofing solutions. This can include covered areas, pergolas, or even roll-down screens to protect against rain or intense sun.

3. Storage

Outdoor kitchens require adequate storage for cooking utensils, dishes, and other essentials. Ensure that the storage solutions are weatherproof to protect your items from the elements.

4. Lighting

Good lighting is essential, especially if you plan to use the kitchen during the evenings. Consider both task lighting for cooking and ambient lighting for the overall atmosphere.

5. Safety

Ensure that the design is safe, especially if you have children. This includes securing any sharp tools and ensuring the cooking area is safely distanced from play areas.

A large backyard with a covered patio featuring an outdoor kitchen.
A beautiful outdoor kitchen with seating area (interiordesigninspiration.net)
A patio with a stone fireplace.
An open outdoor kitchen with comfy seating and fireplace (onekindesign)

Additional features such as fireplaces, pizza ovens and beverage coolers can give the outdoor kitchen a boost.  Adding these features turns an ordinary outdoor dinner into a party.  In a covered area, install a television over the fireplace to watch outdoor movies while enjoying a meal.

Designing a Kitchen Nook
A stone patio with an outdoor kitchen.
A pizza oven is a great feature to include in an outdoor kitchen (fanelis)
An outdoor kitchen with a grill.
A raised bar adds extra seating and completes this outdoor kitchen (groovexi)
A wooden deck with an outdoor kitchen.
A lovely patio kitchen (mabledesigns)

Incorporating an outdoor kitchen in your backyard transforms your space into one that is ready for entertaining or just for enjoying a quiet meal outside.  Whether simple or extravagant, the outdoor kitchen gives you dining and entertaining alternatives that everyone can enjoy.

A living room with an outdoor sliding glass door.
Lance Thomas of Thomas Guy Interiors masterfully integrates an outdoor kitchen into a vast exterior patio, harmonizing with its gray and white theme and neighboring relaxation area. Thomas suggests utilizing resilient, weather-resistant materials like eco-friendly rattan. He also advises adding natural elements like banana leaf trees and orchids, emphasizing that stylish planters can reflect individual flair.

Popular Features in Modern Outdoor Kitchens

  • Built-in Grills: These offer a sleek look and are often more durable than standalone grills.
  • Refrigerated Drawers: Perfect for storing perishables without having to run back and forth to the main refrigerator.
  • Pizza Ovens: A favorite for many, they can bake pizzas to perfection and can also be used for other baked goods.
  • Wet Bars: These are great for those who love to entertain, offering a space to mix drinks and keep beverages cold.
  • Fire Pits and Fireplaces: They add warmth and ambiance, making the outdoor space usable even during cooler months.

Incorporating an outdoor kitchen into your backyard not only provides a space for delicious meals but also creates a hub for entertainment and relaxation. Whether you opt for a simple design or a lavish setup, the benefits are numerous, making it a worthy investment for many homeowners.


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