It’s one of the very few frustrating things about summer. You spend all day outside working, swimming or playing. It’s hot, and you’re looking forward to cooling down and enjoying the results of your yard work or resting after a day in the pool.
But then it’s time to eat, which requires prepping, cooking and usually eating indoors, while the beautiful evening dwindles with the sun.
Increasingly, however, homeowners are extending their summer days by adding outdoor kitchens. The concept of outdoor kitchens is nothing new, particularly in luxury homes, but they are becoming must-haves in homes at slightly lower price points, as well. In addition to the enjoyment you’ll get from one as a homeowner, the value of any home – particularly one with a large patio or pool – is likely to benefit from the addition of even a small outdoor kitchen.
There are a few things to keep in mind, however, when making this addition (or buying or selling a home that already has one):
Infrastructure and Location
Water, gas and electricity are going to need to be run to your outdoor kitchen, which means either strategically locating it to use existing lines or running additional wiring and plumbing to the kitchen. This is where much of your cost will come in and will require the expertise of a professional – at some point that kitchen will have to pass inspection. You can cut down on the need for gas by building in a grill, like a Big Green Egg or similar hibachi-style cooker, as your cooking device. But electricity for appliances and water for your sink and (maybe?) dishwasher are going to be musts.
Again, if possible, you’re going to want your outdoor kitchen in some proximity to your indoor kitchen – no one wants to carry a tray of margaritas across a bumpy back yard. Also, you’ll probably want to be making some use of your indoor living and dining areas, and keeping the outdoor kitchen close will allow you to let the kids watch a movie while the adults hang outside. Another perk ( this one from HGTV You won’t isolate the cook.
The design of your outdoor kitchen will, ideally, go along with that of your indoor kitchen, so choose countertops and flooring appropriately. Moreso than indoor, pay attention to the materials you use. They should obviously stand up to the weather elements – cold, rain and possibly even snow – but they should also be able to withstand less dramatic traumas like debris from lawn care, outdoor animals and bird droppings. (Stay away from deep, rough grout in any tile. In fact, stay away from tile.) These materials should also be able to handle a different style of cooking, like grilling, so be aware of the effect the occasional flare-up or charcoal spill could have on your flooring and countertops.
HGTV has an excellent roundup of outdoor kitchen trends and recommends stainless steel or granite (particularly in climates with a lot of freezing and thawing in winter) for countertops and sealed pavers or concrete for flooring, with granite also a good option.
You’re installing a kitchen outside. You already have one inside. This is no time to cut corners.
Think you’ll make good use of an ice maker? Install one. Want to include heaters or a fire pit so you can use the outdoor kitchen well into the fall? Do it! Think a hot tub or spa a few yards away would really cap everything off? We think so too. This is a private oasis, so make it your own.
Designbuildersmd.com has a rundown of must-have amenities that are popular in 2017, including storage and cooking options.
And if you just want to look at some photos and plot and dream, there’s no better place for that than Pinterest.