How to build an outdoor kitchen step-by-step

An outdoor kitchen is a hot addition to any backyard – no pun intended. Get started with a basic open-air dining space. Now that you have the grill, what’s next? First of all, add a space for food prep. This essential cooking area can be built by stacking up blocks, then top it off with a stone counter.

To avoid the hassle of going to your indoor kitchen multiple times when eating outdoors, add a water supply and some sort of storage to your barbecue island. For a tight budget, install a sink that hooks up to a garden hose and drains into the ground. For a more permanent solution, buy a regular sink that runs cold water; hot water and a dishwasher are a plus. Regarding the storage space, spend a few bucks on a shelf that keeps plates and cooking utensils right where they’re needed.

Now that you’re done with the cooking basic equipment, you need light. Grilling in the dark can be tricky and dangerous. If you’re looking for something temporary and low-cost, go for a battery-operated lamp. Although the best choice is to add task lighting, which is more expensive but it gives the option of outlets for appliances.

Sun has no mercy. Hot weather and a grill together can be unbearable, especially for the cook. Provide shelter in your open kitchen. Building a roof can put your bank account on the low, so a pergola does the trick.

There you go! Now you know how to build an outdoor kitchen step-by-step, call your friends for a cookout in your new wallet-friendly five-star entertainment space.

Outdoor Kitchen Layouts

Once you’ve chosen the area where your outdoor kitchen will be built, it’s time to choose the layout. Budget, space and use determine the barbecue island’s layout. It is also important to settle on a layout that’s both convenient to work in and looks good.

If you’re planning to spend little time and money on the outdoor kitchen, go for a basic barbecue island that clusters the grill and all appliances in one central unit. Since this design is small and only for one person to work in at a time, consider raising one side of the countertop to separate the cooking and socializing areas.

For the more frequent outdoor cooking, build an L-shaped kitchen. This layout provides two separate areas for cooking and preparing food. At the base of the “L” the grill and some undercounter storage are available, while counterspace and stool seating is found on the vertical side.

Professionals of grilling prefer separating areas for cooking, preparing and eating food. If you want to build the ultimate outdoor entertaining hub, the U-shaped kitchen layout may be for you. This design mimics most indoor kitchens and is very convenient for those who have a generous budget.

Remember to always have in mind your site, the amount of space you have to work with, your cooking style, and your budget before getting carried away by a beautifully designed kitchen that may not suit your needs. Now that you have settled on a layout, go have fun building your own barbecue island!

Choosing cabinets, countertops and flooring for your outdoor kitchen

Designing an outdoor kitchen is not only about choosing the perfect grill; cabinets, countertops and flooring are also decisive when building a BBQ island. Finding the style and material that suits your needs is no easy task since there’s a wide range of possibilities. To help you make the right choice, always have in mind the four basic principles: durability, safety, budget, and style.

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When it comes to cabinets, water-resistance is a must. Your best options are stainless steel, polymer, and teak. Stainless steel is durable, weatherproof, and usually will match your grill. Polymer is a good choice, as well. This material is normally easy to hose down and UV-resistant. While teak cabinets will certainly look good, they must be sealed and resealed regularly with a waterproof finish.

When choosing outdoor kitchen countertops your priority should always be durability first. Remember the surface adjacent to the grill and sink must resist both the cooking and the elements. Select a material that will suit the style of your house and your cooking style. Go for natural stone, concrete or tile. If choosing stone, keep in mind porous stones like marble, limestone, bluestone, and soapstone stain easily and darker stones will absorb heat. Granite is your best bet. If you like concrete better, just make sure that it’s installed properly or it’ll be prone to cracking. To prevent cracks, concrete must be sealed on installation and resealed regularly. If you’re on a tight budget, tile is an affordable, easy DIY surfacing material.

Choosing a material for your outdoor kitchen’s floor can be tricky. Since it’ll take a lot of traffic, food, and water and sun it must be both durable and safe. Avoid glazed or porous tiles and stone since they can be slippery when wet. Concrete is the most popular choice; it’s long lasting, slip resistant, and versatile. In terms of style, concrete can be colored and finished for a wide range of looks. This material besides affordable, it is also safe. Tile is cheap and looks good as well. If stone is your thing, your best budget bets are sandstone, limestone, slate and marble. But consider stone can absorb oily stains, and it’s expensive. Affordable and available in many different styles, tile can be an attractive choice for an outdoor kitchen floor.

A dream outdoor kitchen should be stylish, long lasting, and low-maintenance. For all surfaces select materials that suit the style of your house and your cooking style. When you find the right ones, you’ll be halfway of having the perfect BBQ island in your backyard.

Budgeting Your Outdoor Kitchen

Building the outdoor kitchen you’ve wanted to add to your backyard since you moved to your current house is certainly a dream come true for many, but it might not be that dreamy when getting down to the numbers. Before making it a wallet buster project, set an amount of money you have to spend and then find a balance between what you want and what you can afford. Once you’ve figured it out, take 10 to 15 percent off the top of the total amount; this is your contingency fund, in case you’re confronted with unforeseen issues.

The amount you invest in the project should be proportionate to how much you’ll use the space. If you live in a warmer area, you’re more likely to use the outdoor kitchen more often than if you’re located in a cold-weather city. Also, you won’t want to spend lots of money in expensive equipment and accessories if all you’ll grill is casual meals for a small family or group of friends.

The grill is the one item you want to splurge on, so buy the best grill you can afford in terms of durability and performance. If you have to choose among other accessories, put your money on a sink and a refrigerator since they’re both very convenient. You can live without an oven, a dishwasher, and other equipment you can find in your main kitchen.

Remember any addition to your home is an investment, especially at resale. Although outdoor kitchens are attractive, they’re usually not a priority for buyers, so don’t improve far beyond the level of the neighborhood. Also consider that it is always cheaper to build it yourself than to buy those pre-built bundles. Now that you know how to create the perfect, affordable outdoor kitchen you love and can live with, go shopping!

Determining your BBQ island size

Building a BBQ island in your backyard is a decision that must be planned thoroughly, since it’s a permanent addition to your house that will increase its value. Therefore, applying good kitchen design principles is a must. The most important factor to consider is space. Not accounting for adequate space is the second most common design mistake made by amateurs.

Now, the first question that pops into your mind is “How big my BBQ island should be?” To determine the ideal size of your outdoor kitchen, think about the distribution of its zones. For a kitchen to be fully functional, it will need spaces designed specifically for food preparation and cooking, and for dining and socializing. All areas must complement each other, working together effectively in proper proximity, each with enough space.

Outdoor kitchens have four zones: the hot zone (grills, side burners, and pizza ovens), the cold zone (refrigerators, ice bins, and wine chillers), the wet zone (sinks, beverage tubs, and any other water appliances), and the dry zone (prep areas, counters, and storage). The hot and dry zones are essential in every BBQ island, while the cold and wet zones will be found in larger designs.

In order to determine the size of your new BBQ island, decide on the amenities you will buy. Basically, your amenities list will most likely include a grill, a side burner, a sink, and a refrigerator. Be sure to plan for at least 16 inches of countertop space between each amenity and keep in mind there should always be open areas to the left and right sides of a grill and sink.

Now that you know how to design a fully functional outdoor kitchen, go ahead and do some BBQ shopping!