Building an Outdoor Kitchen

If you live by your outdoor grill — or your family and friends love to eat in your lovely backyard — you already may be thinking about building an outdoor kitchen. 

There are many different ways you can go with this popular outside amenity from permanent installation of a gas or charcoal grill to adding wood-burning ovens, rotisseries, sinks, task lighting, a pergola or canopy, even a dishwasher and tableware storage. Total cost can range from less than $3,000 to more than $30,000 depending on the appliances and materials included. 

Several factors about what you want and are able to do in your yard need to be considered before your contractor breaks ground or, if you’re so inclined, your DIY project can begin: 

Know your code

Local zoning codes and HOA regulations, depending on where you live, can have an impact on what kind of kitchen you can build. You need to consider permitting and setback requirements, additional utilities needed and whether they can be extended. Are there any “no-burn” days that could be declared if you’re planning to use wood or charcoal as fuel? Once you have this information you’ll have a better idea which features can be included in your kitchen. 

The grill

This is usually the centerpiece, and if you don’t get the right kind you may not use your outdoor kitchen very much. Many have more than one type, such as an open grill and a smoker. The costs of having a built-in grill and a drop-in grill are roughly the same. Gas, electric and charcoal grills are all available. Deluxe models can use different types of fuel, include side burners and electric rotisseries, allowing you to cook for large parties.

Other features

An under-counter refrigerator, sink, fireplace or pizza oven, built-in cabinets for storage, wine cooler, kegerator and other luxuries will make it that much more fun to cook outside. 

The floor

Its size will determine the cost. You can go with a poured concrete slab for durability, tile for beauty or natural stone, which provides both but is harder to clean.

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