Tips for an Outdoor Kitchen

Outdoor kitchens have become an extremely popular outdoor extra for new homes, especially in warmer climates.
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This colorful outdoor kitchen features tile countertops and a stainless steel cooking area.

Outdoor kitchens have certainly become one of the hottest items in home building in the last few years. You can get the same options from your indoor kitchen and you can put those things in your outdoor kitchen. For example, you can get cabinets, grills, refrigerators, but there's one thing that's totally different — everything has to be waterproofed.

The most basic item for your outdoor kitchen is a barbecue grill — don't forget that what makes it a kitchen is that you have a place to cook. You have a few options when it comes to an outdoor grill, you can get something that is prefab, something semi-custom or something that is customized.

You can get something as extravagant as a drop-in stove that's got six burners and a gas kit. You might hire a kitchen designer for your indoor kitchen, but for a more casual outdoor kitchen you might want to do it yourself.

Browse Pictures of Outdoor Kitchens

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Lakeside Outdoor Eating Area

Enjoy a relaxing meal with a beautiful view on the lower deck of the Mancano, as seen on DIY Network's Lake Life.

Photo By: Back Roads Entertainment ©© 2013, DIY Network/Scripps Networks, LLC. All RIghts Reserved.

Bauccio Outdoor Kitchen

This open-air kitchen sits on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. A large mirror hangs over to the back wall to reflect the view. The retractable roof provides the opportunity to use the space no matter the weather.

Outdoor Kitchen with Bar Seating and Sliding Glass Walls

Perfect for socializing with friends and family even if the weather turns on you, this sliding-glass-protected deck sports a professional gas grill and outdoor kitchen, with bar seating and rustic stonework.

Spanish Veranda

Having the cooking area tucked into the wall of the house enables easy hook up to water and utilites.

Elegant Outdoor Kitchen With Ceiling Fans

This high-end kitchen is covered for rain protection, can be cooled off with ceiling fans, and the glass patio doors can be fully opened to allow good weather into the indoors.

Traditional Outdoor Kitchen with Bar

Selecting a granite countertop and planning out an outdoor kitchen for a sink, bar seating, and built-in grill and refrigerator are among the ways homeowners are turning up the heat on outdoor entertaining. The possibilities for granite are endless, says Shayne Newman, president of Connecticut-based YardApes and a member of the National Association of Landscape Professionals. This outdoor kitchen uses Belgard products.

Photo By: Belgard

State-of-the-Art Outdoor Kitchen From The Vanilla Ice Project

As seen on season 5 of The Vanilla Ice Project, the backyard of this Lantana, FL mansion overlooking the Palm Beach intercoastal waterway features a functional and beautiful outdoor kitchen. The Delta Heat barbecue and Kamado Joe Grill get things cooking while floor-to-ceiling cultured old castle stone adds aesthetic charm to this exterior kitchen. The awning that wraps around the bar helps to keep family and friends nice and cool.

Photo By: Tom DiPace

Rustic Outdoor Kitchen with Stainless Steel Appliances

Want to take your outdoor kitchen beyond the basics? Pizza ovens are among the items that companies such as YardApes, based in Connecticut, are helping homeowners incorporate as they splurge on outdoor spaces.

Photo By: YardApes

The Ultimate Outdoor Escape

Inspired by the breathtaking views, an outdoor space wraps the side of the house, providing shade from the intense midday sun. A pergola roof, vertical garden and grill station create the ultimate outdoor escape.

Photo By: Eric Perry

Modern Indoor and Outdoor Kitchen

Licensed contractor Chip Wade, host of HGTV's "Elbow Room," added a garage door that transitions as the clear ceiling of the wood trellis on the Atlanta patio. With the addition of a garage door for easy indoor/outdoor access, a custom concrete table, an outdoor seating area and new appliances, the kitchen area is perfect for entertaining large groups.

Photo By: Chip Wade

A BBQ grill is the most popular choice for outdoor cooking, but there are other outdoor cooking options:

  • A fireplace is a good option. A fireplace outside can easily be transformed into a place outside where you can cook. The idea of being able to congregate around this outdoor fireplace and cook really adds to this outdoor room feeling.
  • More casual than a fireplace, a firepit can also be used to cook — with a rotisserie, skewers or a grill over the open flame.
  • Another way of cooking outside is to include an outdoor oven in your kitchen. The outdoor oven that you "may" want to consider is more of a traditional oven—a brick or stone pizza oven, for example.

Some additional considerations for your outdoor kitchen include:

  • Like an indoor kitchen, your outdoor version might include countertops and storage cabinets. For the countertop in your outdoor kitchen two options are brick or stone.
  • The counter space can also be used to eat on. Usually when you are planning for an eat-on counter, you want to make sure that it's at least 15" deep and approximately 24" wide per person.
  • Storage cabinets need to be waterproofed on an outdoor kitchen, and there are many woods that are resistant to rot — such as redwood. Stainless steel that matches a grill, for instance, is another good option for cabinets.
  • No kitchen would be complete without a sink. Outdoor sinks are either fed with a hose or connected to the home's water supply. Good choices for your outdoor sink would be either stainless steel or ceramic.
  • You might want to consider keeping your kitchen sheltered from the elements. You can definitely have a shelter over your kitchen area, but experts wouldn't recommend having a ceiling or shelter over the grill area because of all the smoke.
  • Finally, it's important to consider the proper flooring. You must try to avoid using flooring that is slick, which eliminates tile or marble right off the bat.
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