Planning Your Outdoor Kitchen

No matter your motive--to entertain with panache or to spare your home from brutal cooking heat during the summer--building an outdoor kitchen is a great idea. Possibilities are almost unlimited: you can add a pizza oven, a steamer, a barbecue grill, outdoor refrigerators, sinks, prep tables, dining areas, and more. If you're on a budget, you can still create an outdoor kitchen to complement your décor as well as add value to your home.

Outdoor living spaces with kitchens can add home value by including them as a second kitchen when assessing your home. You can spend as little as a few hundred dollars for a grill, or go all the way up to more than $20,000 to include the new patio, sink, counters, tile, and storage.

Designing Outdoor Living Space
While most homeowners know that putting an outdoor kitchen where you already have electrical and plumbing access under building code is critical, many overlook considerations such as whether the space can accommodate grills, eating areas, prep room, and cleanup facilities. Charcoal grills can run upwards of $500, while a high-quality, built-in gas grill can cost as much as $4,000 depending on BTU output and design.

Planning your space and configuring it to suit the outdoors should also include considerations about whether your guests will have to sit in the sun or face into a sunset during a party. Does the design complement your existing décor? If you have children or pets, will your functional design help funnel them away from dangerous hot surfaces?

Call in a contractor to examine electrical supply and drainage if you're intending to include an under-counter fridge or ice maker, gas or electric burners, additional lighting, and a sink.



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