There’s something about cooking outdoors that just makes food taste better. Maybe it’s the fresh air or the sound of the waves crashing in the distance, but whatever the reason, outdoor kitchens are becoming an increasingly popular way to cook.
But before you can start enjoying all that outdoor cooking has to offer, you need to build your outdoor kitchen. And if you want to do it like a pro, there are a few things you need to know.
This article is going to teach you everything you need to know about building an outdoor kitchen, from choosing the right location to adding those all-important finishing touches. So whether you’re a seasoned DIYer or this is your first time picking up a hammer, read on for some tips that will help turn your backyard into a culinary paradise.
One of the most important things to consider when building an outdoor kitchen is the location, as you want to make sure you choose a spot that’s close enough to your house so you can easily access all the amenities you need, but far enough away so the smoke from the grill won’t bother your indoor guests.
You also want to make sure you choose a spot that gets plenty of sunlight, as you don’t want your kitchen to be in the shade all day. Therefore, a south-facing spot is ideal.
Another thing to consider is the slope of the land, as you don’t want your outdoor kitchen to be on an incline, as this will make it difficult to use. If you are choosing a spot on a hill, you want to pick a level spot, as an uneven surface will make it hard to use your appliances and could even be dangerous.
Additionally, make sure that there are no trees or other obstacles in the way, as you don’t want anything blocking your view of the grill or interfering with the smoke.
Once you’ve chosen the perfect spot for your outdoor kitchen, it’s time to start building the foundation. If you’re planning on putting a permanent structure in your backyard, then you’ll need to pour a concrete slab.
But if you want something that can be moved or taken down at the end of the season, then you can build a wooden deck or patio. Just make sure that whatever material you choose is durable and weather-resistant, as you don’t want it to rot or fall apart after a few seasons. You should also consider if you're going to need a different base at an outdoor kitchen bar, or an outdoor kitchen island, as these will have different weight requirements. Here you might want to think about using something like granite as your countertop material or a wooden deck as a foundation.
Additionally, before installing the foundation, consider the fuel option for your outdoor kitchen. If you’re planning on using a natural gas grill, then you’ll need to have a gas line installed. But if you want to use a charcoal or wood-burning grill, then you can skip this step.
Now that you have the foundation in place, it’s time to start thinking about the style of your outdoor kitchen. Do you want it to match the style of your house, or do you want it to have its unique look? Maybe you want a rustic outdoor kitchen with a stone fireplace or a modern kitchen with stainless steel appliances.
If you want your outdoor kitchen to match the style of your house, then you’ll need to use the same materials that were used on the exterior of your home. For example, if your house is made of brick, then you’ll want to use brick for your outdoor kitchen as well.
But if you want your outdoor kitchen to have its unique look, then you can mix and match different materials to create a one-of-a-kind space. Just make sure that the materials you choose are durable and weather-resistant, as you don’t want them to deteriorate after a few seasons.
Another important thing to consider when building an outdoor kitchen is the size, as you want to make sure it’s big enough to accommodate all the appliances and accessories you need, but not so big that it feels overwhelming.
A good rule of thumb is to choose a size that’s proportional to the rest of your backyard. For example, if you have a large backyard, then you can have a bigger outdoor kitchen, but if you have a small backyard, then you’ll want to keep it on the smaller side.
Additionally, you want to make sure that there’s enough space around your outdoor kitchen for people to move around comfortably. You don’t want people to feel cramped when they’re using the grill or prep station.
Once the foundation is in place, it’s time to start working on the walls and frame of your outdoor kitchen. If you’re planning on putting up a permanent structure, then you’ll need to use weather-resistant materials such as brick, stone, or stucco.
But if you want something that can be taken down or moved, then you can use wood. Just make sure that whatever material you choose is properly sealed and treated, so it can withstand the elements.
You’ll also need to decide if you want your outdoor kitchen to be open or enclosed. An open kitchen is great for entertaining, as it allows your guests to interact with you while you’re cooking. But if you live in an area with insect problems, then you might want to consider enclosing your kitchen, so you can enjoy your time outdoors without having to worry about pesky bugs.
Once the walls and frame are in place, it’s time to add a roof. If you’re planning on putting up a permanent structure, then you’ll need to use weather-resistant materials such as metal, tile, or asphalt shingles, otherwise, you can use canvas or another type of fabric. Of course, your outdoor kitchen doesn't have to have a roof, but it's something to consider, especially if you live in an area with a lot of sun or rain.
Also, you can use a thatched roof, which is a popular choice for an outdoor kitchen in tropical areas as it helps to keep the area cool.
Now that the foundation, walls, frame, and roof are in place, it’s time to start thinking about the appliances for your outdoor kitchen. The most important appliance for any kitchen is the grill, so make sure to choose one that’s durable and easy to use. Once you have your grill, you can start thinking about other appliances such as a sink, fridge, or smoker.
Just make sure to choose appliances that are designed for outdoor use, so they can withstand the elements. And if you’re planning on using natural gas, then make sure to have the proper hookups installed before adding any appliances.
On the other hand, if you want to keep things simple, then you can forego the appliances altogether and just use a campfire or fire pit for cooking. This is a great option if you’re planning on using your outdoor kitchen for occasional get-togethers or parties.
For cool drinks, you can use a cooler or an ice chest, and for storage, you can use a cabinet or shelving unit.
Once the appliances are in place, it’s time to start thinking about the finishing touches for your outdoor kitchen, and this is where you can let your personality shine through and add those personal touches that will make your outdoor kitchen unique.
Some things you might want to consider adding are a bar area, an outdoor kitchen island, or some type of seating. You can also add some decorations such as lights, plants, or sculptures. And if you’re feeling creative, you can even add a mural or stencils to the walls.
Additionally, you’ll need to make sure you have all the necessary supplies and utensils for cooking, such as pots, pans, silverware, plates, and glasses. And don’t forget the essentials like salt, pepper, and spices.
You can also add some storage options such as a cabinet or shelving unit to store your supplies.
Now that your outdoor kitchen is complete, it’s time to think about safety and maintenance. First, make sure you have a fire extinguisher on hand in case of an emergency. You should also regularly check the appliances and supplies to make sure everything is in working order.
For instance, check the gas lines for leaks, clean the grill after each use, and wash the dishes regularly. Additionally, you’ll need to empty the garbage and sweep the floor often.
You should also make sure you have a proper storage area for all of your supplies and utensils so they don’t get ruined by the weather. And last but not least, always make sure to put out any fires before you leave the area.
However, when checking the appliances, don’t forget about the state of the grill. Check for any rust or damage that may have occurred over time, and make sure to clean it regularly.
While most people think of an outdoor kitchen as a functional space, it’s also important to consider curb appeal because after all, this is an extension of your home, and you want it to look its best.
There are a few things you can do to make sure your outdoor kitchen has good curb appeal. First, you want to make sure the color scheme you choose for your kitchen compliments the exterior of your home.
You also want to make sure the materials you use match the materials in your home as well. For example, if your house is made of brick, then you’ll want to use brick for your outdoor kitchen as well.
Additionally, you want to make sure that your outdoor kitchen is well-lit as this will make it more inviting and welcoming.
Most of the time, the regulations and the look of the neighborhood are the two main things you have to consider when thinking about curb appeal.
In most cases, you won’t need a license to build an outdoor kitchen, but it’s always best to check with your local zoning department or homeowner’s association just to be sure.
There are some instances where you might need a permit, such as if you’re planning on making any structural changes to your home or if you’re planning on adding any electrical or plumbing. Sometimes, you might even need a permit if you’re planning on making changes to the gas lines.
But in most cases, an outdoor kitchen is considered an accessory structure, which means you likely won’t need a permit.
Here are some final tips from the owners of outdoor kitchens:
An outdoor kitchen can be a fun and rewarding project, but it's important to do it right the first time. Follow these tips to build an outdoor kitchen like a pro for years of enjoyment. Make sure you have all the essentials, including a fire extinguisher, and check the state of your appliances regularly.
Additionally, consider curb appeal when designing your kitchen and make sure you don't need any permits before starting construction.
With these tips, you can enjoy your outdoor kitchen for years to come and entertain family and friends in style.